The annual Consumer Electronics Show may not kick off until January 7, but Dell Thursday officially announced two new (and long rumoured) widescreen computer monitors that it plans to showcase at the event.

Dell's new 30-inch UltraSharp 3008WFP is the first monitor we've seen to include DisplayPort connectivity. In size and shape, the digital DisplayPort connector looks similar to an HDMI port (which the 3008WFP also has), but Dell touts DisplayPort as a future-proof digital connection, one approved by the video standards body VESA.

Like HDMI, DisplayPort can handle high data rates (up to 10.8 gigabits per second versus HDMI's 10.2 gbps) of video and audio with the same cable, potentially positioning the new technology as a multimedia or home theater connector.

The 3008WFP comes with a bounty of other analog and digital connections too: DVI, HDMI, VGA, S-Video, Composite, Component and USB. The monitor has a native resolution of 2560 by 1600, an 8ms response time (grey to grey) and a 3000:1 contrast ratio.

The 3008WFP's design is attractive and subtly understated thanks to its brushed gray aluminum bezel. It features a forward-looking industrial design: a glass and metal base, double-hinged height adjustment, and high-quality materials. The 3008WFP also swivels and tilts, but the height adjustment is particularly impressive for its smooth mechanism.

We like Crystal

Also eye-catching is the stylish 22-inch Crystal display: It boasts an innovative design and gained favorable attention when first unveiled as a concept product at last year's CES.

The Dell Crystal has a native resolution of 1680-x-1050. More uniquely, it features capacitive touch controls, and a panel encased in 4mm ultra-clear tempered glass (with integrated speakers) that sits on a chrome-plated zinc alloy stand for a floating screen effect. The Crystal lacks height or swivel maneuverability, but tilt adjustments can be made.

Further specifications include a two millisecond response time (grey to grey), 2000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and--through Dell's TrueColor technology--the stated ability to provide 98 per cent colour gamut of the NTSC color space.

The monitor also has an integrated two-megapixel Webcam that's capable of capturing video at 30 frames per second (fps) in 640-x-480 resolution, but just 10fps at 1600-x-1200 resolution. The Webcam also has a microphone.

Connection options include DVI, HDMI, sub-woofer out and USB. More details are available at Dell's Web site.