I've had a search and can't really find this particular question answered so here goes
Is there enough horizontal resolution on a 1440x900 screen for general officey/web surfing to not look squashed? I've been toying with the idea of getting a widescreen monitor (I just prefer the format) and obviously I could get a better 19" for my money (budget of around £200-£250) than 20", but I've been worried about the fact that you lose about 12% horizontal screen space in the 19" monitors because of the 1440x900 resolution.
I was thinking about getting a 23" or 26" TV that I could stream my games and videos to so that's not of massive importance to my general monitor.
Would it be better to get a 1680x1050 screen for some modicum of future proofing? I certainly remember websites being made for 800x600 screens and now 1280x1024 seems to be the standard 4:3 monitor size so it can't be long before sites start adopting higher and higher resolutions again.
I'm just sompletely undecided and confused so I'm coming to you all here for some advice.
The highest resolution you can afford is obviously going to serve you better for longer.
1680x1050 is quite a bit bigger than 1440x900, especially in the vertical. Also, keep in mind that HD content can be up to 1080 in the vertical, which means that even the 1680x1050 monitor will fall short of this by 30 pixels in the vertical and 340 in the horizontal (1920x1080 = high res HD). You will need to look at a much larger monitor to get to those figures (24" maybe) if you intend to use the monitor for HD purposes as well.
You also need to keep things like response time in mind - get the lowest response time you can afford.
Using TV's (even so called HDTV's) to display text may give you varying degrees of satisfaction. Most "HDTV's" out there are only 1368x768, yet are physically much larger than the 19" or 20" LCD's you are considering at the moment; the lower resolution and larger size equates to larger pixels on the screen, which will cause text to be "fuzzier" than on a monitor with smaller pixels. The 1080p TV's currently on the market will cost you an arm and a leg.
When I was shopping around for a new LCD, I wanted something that would allow me to open two application next to each other in minimum 800 pixels wide, meaning a 1600xXYZ monitor. The only ones I could find on paper were some 20" 4:3 aspect monitors from Samsung and Dell with 1600x1200 resolution (although I'm sure there are others) - yet, the price and performance of both were not satisfactory. If you're after screen real-estate and concurrent applications on your desktop, then arguably the cheapest way is to go for a dual-monitor setup, then you can go for 2 fast 17" monitors running 1280x1024 each, giving you 2560x1024 in total, else you need to buy the big boys (24" or 30").