We knew we were in for something special when the box arrived because it was just so small, considering there was a 20.1 inch widescreen LCD inside.

Opening it up confirmed our suspicions as we were met by a shimmering brushed aluminium sculpture rather than a big lump of black plastic with another smaller lump of black plastic to attach it to.

Indeed, the fact that we pulled out a single block of lightweight metal rather surprised us, what had happened to the stand? Aha, we thought in our best Alan Partridge manner, there it is at the bottom of the box - but how can that small tube support a 20.1 inch monitor, won't it be all top heavy and wobbly?

Well no, it won't, because that was the speaker attachment as it happens. The stand is an integral part of the monitor itself, testament to the thought that has gone into the design of the S20. This is not just another LCD screen, it's a thing of beauty both in terms of design (it looks good) and design (it's bloody clever).

Fold one slim piece of curved aluminium back on itself, press a button and ratchet another piece upwards and the monitor is ready to roll - or tilt and adjust for height at any rate.

Don't expect any swivel because it doesn't do that, nor does it pivot like some monitors in this size range. But then no other monitor of this size that we have seen has an integral carry handle.

Probably because you wouldn't want to carry the average 20 inch screen too far too often, but the S20 is far from average. Being made of aluminium it's amazingly light, hence the carry handle, it also negates the need for air vents by adequately dissipating the heat from the unit. So what, you may be thinking, but it's another clever design touch: no air vents equals no dust sucked inside which in the end means that components last longer.

But do design plus cleverness equal a good display? In the case of the S20 yes, they do.

Technically speaking you get contrast of 800:1, a viewing angle of 176degrees/176degrees, response time of 8ms, brightness levels of 300 cd/m2, a maximum resolution of 1680 x 1050 (it's widescreen remember) and 16.7 million colours. Which translates into a crisp and bright picture that you don't need to be sitting straight in front of to see, and that will handle video and games action without hassle.

The automatic setup works perfectly to ensure you are getting the best from all those specifications, and if you find the brightness a little over powering (it's set up more for longer range movie viewing than close up desktop use) you can easily adjust it using the simple on-screen menus.

Was there anything we didn't like about the S20-1W?

The speaker which clips in below the screen not only spoils the crisply curved lines of the monitor, but does so without adding the benefit of decent audio output.

The claimed 2W per channel sounded more like 1W split between them, tinny, painful and best left in the box. Oh, and the only bit of design that the Fujitsu-Siemens Computers engineers got wrong: the power supply cable connector.

This is of the tiny mobile phone type, rather than a solid mini-kettle lead, and was a less than tight fit. Indeed, during testing we managed to disconnect the monitor no less than three times. Admittedly, in actual day to day use you are less likely to be snooping around the back and lifting the monitor up than we did, but it's an annoying oversight none the less.

The lack of any USB hub is less so, although it is a feature that most of the competition in this price range manage to squeeze in.

Verdict

The Apple 20 inch Cinema Display and Dell 24 inch Widescreen both look as good in their own way, but don't come cheap. If you want 20 inch of breathtaking design with a crisp display you simply won't find better value for money than the Scaleoview S20-1W.