In the old days (like only twenty years ago), CRT monitors were big and bulky, and without a computer they were pretty much paperweights, not really good for anything else. Today, thanks in part to cutting-edge companies like AOC, computer displays have come a long way.

AOC is quickly becoming a popular choice for quality-conscious monitor shoppers. The $399 2230Fm is unique for its standalone capability, in the sense that it doesn’t need a PC to do its best work. It also features some impressive specs, like 1680 x 1050 resolution capability, USB 2.0 and HDMI inputs, a 4-in-1 media reader that accepts portable memory cards as a standalone digital photo / video / audio player, headphone jack and integrated speakers, and a lightning-quick 2ms response time, critical for gaming applications.

The 22 inch monitor has a glossy black piano finish and adapts to a wall mount for less desktop clutter. Its crystal-clear graphics can run digital photos and media files in a loop, perfect for background noise or a digital photo frame display. PC World this graphic gem its Monitor of the Year for 2008, and although the market for a display this good is small, the accolades point to a great product line that will continue to drive the market in the future.