Product Review: Page (1) of 1 - 04/17/06

Acer AL1916W Widescreen LCD Monitor Review

Great, no-frills widescreen monitor with an unbeatable price

By Guy Wright

The Acer AL1916W widescreen LCD monitor

The Acer AL1916W widescreen LCD monitor

Due to the sudden death of my beloved 22 Sony CRT (she served me well for nearly seven years) I was forced to get a replacement monitor. This time, however, I decided to bite the bullet and finally make the switch to an LCD display the Acer AL1916W widescreen. After using the monitor for a few days I decided to put it through its paces, run a few benchmark tests, and see how this $300 monitor stacked up against its more expensive cousins.

In the box you get a Quick Start Guide, warranty info, CD-ROM with 10 page PDF manual, VGA cable, power cable, and the stand. The monitor comes with either a simple black or silver bezel that extends about around the edges of the active display area. On the back are the VGA connection and the power cable port. Oddly enough the manual and quick start guide reference an optional DVI connector and optional audio input our unit didnt have either and the Acer website makes no reference to a DVI or audio connection. Either Acer changed their mind at the last moment or the DVI versions are only available in other countries.

Setting up the AL1916W takes about two minutes. You snap on the plastic base, plug in the power cord and VGA cable, change your computer display output to 1440 x 900 and off you go.

On the front are a power button and four other buttons for accessing and changing settings using the OSD (on-screen display) menus. One of the buttons will also perform an auto-adjustment to optimize the position, phase, and clock pulse if pressed when the OSD is not displayed. Selections on the OSD menu are fairly rudimentary. You can adjust contrast and brightness, focus and clock pulse, screen position, color temperature (warm, cool, or user defined RGB), OSD language, OSD position on the screen and timeout, activate the auto configuration, get resolution and frequency information, reset to factory settings, and exit. Navigating through, and making adjustments in the OSD is quite simple but youll rarely need to change things once youre set up. On our unit adjusting the brightness didnt seem to have much effect but we were happy with the factory settings anyway.
 

For initial calibration and benchmarking I used DisplayMate (www.displaymate.com), one of the most comprehensive display calibration programs available. Since the AL1916W is one of the least expensive widescreen LCDs out there I was expecting to find a few problems, however I was pleasantly surprised to discover only one a slight variation of intensities around the edges of the screen. This is a common problem for LCD displays caused by excess light leaking through from the backlight. There isnt much you can do about it but the problem wasnt terribly severe. Other than that the monitor did remarkably well on all the other tests. The display is extra crisp on all parts of the screen, colors are spot on, and it had a very wide grayscale range (something that many LCDs have problems with).

Since the monitor has a fast 8 ms response time I didnt notice any smearing issues while watching TV or DVDs. If youre a hardcore gamer you shouldnt have any problems except perhaps on a few extreme games or games that dont support 1440 x 900. While the monitor does support other resolutions it really functions best at 1440 x 900 so running games at that resolution may leave older graphics cards gasping for breath.

Like all LCD displays youll notice changes in image brightness as you move off-center but I felt the 150-degree horizontal and 130-degree vertical viewing angles were well within my comfort range.

Finally, the only other things that I found slightly annoying were the stand, lack of scaling adjustments, and lack of DVI inputs. The stand only tilts vertically a small amount (no horizontal tilting) and only raises the monitor by about 3 (no height adjustment) so youll need to put it on top of something in order to get it up to eye height. As far as scaling goes there is no way to force the monitor to display a 4:3 image without stretching it (not really a problem if you are using the Windows Multimedia Center). This is a problem common to many widescreen displays and there isnt really a simple solution short of putting black bars along the sides of the image, however other display manufacturers do include that option. As far as DVI goes, perhaps it really is an option somewhere in the world or perhaps Acer plans to include it in a newer version.


Conclusions
I was quite impressed with the Acer AL1916W Widescreen LCD Monitor. Even though it is a ?bare-bones monitor with only a single VGA input, no audio, and limited controls it performed well on just about every one of my tests. The backlight leakage will be noticeable on very dark images but for most applications youll never notice it. I wished the stand provided more height but I can live with that. The extra screen real estate is great when youve got multiple windows opened and, if you are using the Windows Multimedia Center to watch movies its nice to be able to see the complete widescreen image without black bars. Finally, you simply cant beat the price! I give the AL1916W high marks in just about every category. Its not perfect but its a pretty darn good monitor for the price.


Acer AL1916W Specifications
Screen size: 19" diagonal (widescreen)
Screen type: TFT active matrix
Resolution: 1440 x 900
Aspect ratio: 16:10
Contrast ratio: 500:1
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Input Analog: VGA
Response time: 8 ms
Viewing angle 150 degrees Horizontal / 130 degrees Vertical
Weight: 9lbs
Dimensions: 17.6(W) x 14.5(H) x 7.2(D) (with stand)
Three year limited warranty

Street price: $290 - $320

For more information visit www.acer.com.

 

Guy Wright has been kicking around computers and video for more years than he cares to admit and written too many articles to count. He has been a director, editor, producer, video operator, and announcer for a score of radio and TV stations. His credits include hundreds of insipid local-origination programs and commercials, dozens of cheesy radio spots, and even a book or two. Mainly he writes and edits articles for Digital Media Online.

Related Keywords:Acer, AL1916W, Widescreen, LCD Monitor,

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