For most PC tasks, a screen around 23in is sensible. But if you want bigger visuals stepping up to 27in is now possible with a display such as the Acer S273HL.
It's not just the large screen that captures the attention — the Acer S273HL has a rather distinctive look, with an L-shaped base that keeps the screen stable while consuming very little desk space. Loudpeakers are built into the base, nicely recessed, and the two-tone colour scheme (brushed metal crossed with a stylish black) gives it a sleek business-like look.
No pivot is provided, although the Acer S273HL's screen does tilt. One VGA and a pair of HDMI ports are built into the back, although the lack of DVI is disappointing in an upmarket screen.
Control buttons take the form of tabs built into the Acer S273HL's base. They aren't the most interesting we've seen, but work reasonably well, with a menu system that allows for quick adjustment.
The main problem is the Auto button. Frequently needed to jump out of menus, it’s set rather high and hidden underneath the Acer S273HL's screen, and you have to crane your head in order to locate it.
The menus themselves are full of features. Acer eColour Management options lets you quickly adjust the colour palette for different purposes, although you can't access these from a dedicated button. The Acer S273HL's software disc is better than most, with an in-depth interface that uses a series of test images and applications to help find the best settings.
The native resolution is 1920x1080. While fine on a 21.5in model, it feels rather restrictive on a screen the size of the Acer S273HL. The coarse 0.311mm pixel pitch hints that pixels on this panel are a little chunkier than they could be. For everyday PC use, this screen feels slightly uncomfortable. But for gaming and, in particular, for films (when you’ll be several feet away), it has significant potential.
The contrast ratio can be bumped up to ‘12,000,000:1’, we’re told, using Adaptive Contrast Management. It works quite well too, giving images some extra vibrancy.
The Acer’s image is adequate, although not very consistent. Nor does it have the purest colour palette. Partly this is due to the limitations of the Acer S273HL's budget twisted-nematic (TN) technology. It’s slightly disappointing to see a £400 flat-panel with so-so technology at its heart.
While a very decent performer visually, the Acer S273HL doesn’t have that final dash of quality that you might hope from such an expensive screen.
See also: Group test: what's the best LCD display?
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