The Acer T231H multitouch monitor is quite an exciting product: besides touch, it offers a large screen and a full HD screen resolution to go with it.
Acer T231H: Introduction, Design, Features, OSD
Acer hopes that its 23-inch full-HD multi-touch monitor will sway you towards the premium priced Acer T231H. It does alright for the targeted purpose - communicating with your PC over a touch-screen user interface.
Touch does work, although idiosyncrasies of the OS (Windows 7 in our case) comes in the way. The Acer T231H's touchscreen is sensitive enough to detect input (from finger or any soft pointing device) even half-a-millimetre off the surface, and sensible enough to not take random "hard presses" as input.
Accuracy was pretty good, with no lag seen when using touch-enabled (or even normal) applications. A USB cable connecting the Acer T231H monitor to the PC (or laptop) conveys input to the PC. But you are not going to keep using the touch interface all the time, beyond the novelty first few days. So besides the touch, what else did we find in the Acer T231H monitor?
Acer T231H: Design and Features
The Acer T231H is a widescreen monitor with an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a Full-HD resolution of 1920x1080, also known as a 1080p display. It offers a (grey-to-grey) response time of 2ms, uses a TN panel (Twisted Nematic) like most monitors available, and a horizontal/vertical viewing angle of 160 degrees. Package contents comprised of two manuals, a CD, and VGA/DVI/Audio/power cables.
This monitor is decidedly confused about whether it wants to be stylish, or frumpy. It does away with a traditional stand - there are foot stands at the front and an "ergonomic" prop at the rear to hold it in place and to change (tilt) viewing angle. Yet it does not manage to particularly look stylish, nor is the monitor as thin as current-gen TN panel ones.
The glossy screen is strikingly shiny when new, and sadly prone to fingerprints due its nature of usage as a touchscreen display. The Acer T231H's bezel is as glossy as the screen is shiny, and its thickness is as usually seen on most monitors. All edges are rounded. VESA wall-mounting is supported.
As usual, the rear bottom of the Acer T231H has the display input connectors - VGA, DVI and HDMI. There is also an Audio-In jack, which along with the HDMI port offers two ways of using the integrated speakers. The two 1.5W speakers were ordinary as expected, with treble/bass and audio quality being nothing to write home about. Acer offers a three-year warranty on this monitor.
Acer T231H: On-Screen Display
The oddest part of the Acer T231H monitor has to be the placement of its OSD (On-screen Display) buttons. The power button is at the side-bottom-right corner, and the OSD buttons are situated at the bottom right, facing downwards. It takes just a minute to get used to the button placement. The OSD interface itself had the usual set of operations and looked unremarkable. The poor usability comfort seemed to indicate that the OSD was not intended to be used much.
Acer T231H: Performance, Conclusion
Acer T231H: Objective Tests
We first calibrate the monitor using Spyder Elite 3 and its hardware-based solution, ensuring that what we see is the best that the monitor can provide. Then we run a battery of tests including those from Lavalys Everest, Lagom (http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/), and DisplayMate, measuring them with a Chroma meter.
The Acer T231H multi-touch LCD monitor claims a dynamic contrast ratio (DCR) of 80,000:1 which is fine for movies and games, especially when combined with its glossy screen. However, we disable DCR to measure the true contrast ratio. Our Chroma meter measured this to be 372:1 which is quite good. We measured an actual brightness of 183 cd/m2 and a black level of 0.46 cd/m2 which is acceptable for a TN-panel monitor of this size.
It performed acceptably with regard to the RGB (colour accuracy) levels and contrast ratio. The colour temperature measured higher than the 6500K expected, and black levels across the screen remained fairly stable. We saw some backlight bleeding at the top and bottom of the screen. As expected, it offers a colour gamut of 72% as measured on the CIE1976 standard.
Acer T231H: Subjective Tests
Our subjective tests consisted of browsing and productivity apps, viewing photos, movies and playing games. The colours and vibrancy were nice, attributable to its glossy screen. Importantly for movie watchers, the depth of the black levels was quite decent during our movie playback (even though it scored worse in objective measurements). Viewing angles of 160 degrees horizontal and vertical, mean a desk-and-individual approach, best experienced by the person sitting directly in front of the monitor.
There were no dead/stuck/coloured pixels on the unit that came to us for review, as confirmed on 5 uni-colour screens (completely dark, white and the 3 primary colours). Text that scrolls by fast (as in really fast) can get hard to distinguish, as borne out by PixPerAn tests. However, there was no noticeable blur or ghosting in games and movies – it remained visually sharp, mouse lag in fast-paced FPS games was not perceivable, and audio remained in sync while watching movies.
See also: Group test: what's the best LCD display?
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