The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
I'm one of those people who find it hard to live without the latest gear when it comes to computers, but I'm also really cautious when it comes to managing a budget. I tend to save up a few hundred pounds every few months and blow it all on upgrading my PC. My PC is to me, what a brand new Golf GT Sport is to a boy racer.
The latest upgrade to empty my bank balance is a brand new 22" Widescreen TFT monitor - the Acer AL2216W. I've had my heart set on a new monitor for a while now - even though my old one is a 19" conventional TFT - and the choice to go widescreen wasn't really a difficult one. What frustrated me about my old monitor was that most streams, TV broadcasts and DVDs are in widescreen format, and on a 4:3 monitor this leaves two very unappealing black bars that engulf the top and bottom of the screen. In this era of rich multimedia experiences, if your intention is to go with a large monitor - as is more and more common now with the advances in technology and drop in cost - the only way to go is widescreen.
After shopping around, there were a few reasons I settled on this particular model. I'd learnt my lesson from previous monitor and TV purchases, and I knew that buying from the internet alone was a bad idea. I decided that the best way to really see which monitor excelled was to see them side by side, first hand. I jotted down a couple of stores that had this monitor in stock - along with some other contenders - and hit the high street.
When I got the chance to see the various models that fell in my budget side by side, I noticed that the AL2216W really stood out from the others. The monitor seemed to be a lot more robust and sturdy and despite being the thinnest on offer by few millimetres, the overall build quality was noticeably better than the others.
I was sold when I saw the picture quality whilst the monitor was playing a blu-ray film. Even though it falls short of what some would consider "True HD", being only a VGA input rather than DVI and having a maximum resolution of 1680x1050, it was better than any other monitor of it's size I'd seen before and certainly wowed me over the improvement in quality to what I was used to with my old Samsung monitor. The 700:1 contrast ratio really showed, with some others only having 500:1. The monitor has a 5ms response rate, and whilst gamers might want better from their monitor, it really hasn't effected me at all and it still a pretty good rate.
Connecting the monitor to the PC was easy, and even though I had to use a DVI-> VGA adapter to get it to plug into my graphics card, it was a painless procedure. Windows immediately detected the monitor and helped set it to it's optimum resolution. I connected my old monitor to the second display connector on my graphics card, and Windows also detected this and extended my desktop to cover both the screens. I find having the space of two screens improves my productivity even more than having a large widescreen!
On the bottom of the monitor itself there are buttons by which you can change the obvious settings such as OSD language, brightness, contrast, colour profiles and presets. There are five preset options which you can change by pressing the 'AUTO' button. These are: User, Text, Graphics, Standard and Movie. By selecting these, you can quickly adjust the settings of the monitor to suit the type of media being displayed.
So after all these good points, you must be thinking that there are some negatives... and you're right! The lack of DVI is a shame, since I can't help think that VGA is a dying standard in favour of the higher bandwidth alternatives that are DVI and in turn, HDMI. The monitor base, whilst it does its job, doesn't offer a lot of range and the monitor lacks the ability to be rotated or mounted on the stand at a 90 degree angle. This would be highly useful for editing A4 documents, which in any other case would see large portions of the left and right of the screen put to little use.
Overall, the monitor is certainly a good buy. It was the best 22" monitor I could find for under £200 at the time, and I wouldn't have any problems buying from Acer again. Two months down the line and the monitor has only developed one lit pixel, which is so small and discreet, I'm not sure if it was there when I bought the monitor and hadn't noticed. Other than that, I find it difficult to fault and therefore I highly recommend for anyone looking to upgrade on a budget.