Features, Specifications, and Warranty

As a brief overview of some of the display features and specifications that we will discuss, we again refer back to our earlier Gateway FPD2485W review. How important the individual specifications are is up for debate, and what matters to one person may not matter at all to someone else. We will see how the Acer AL2216W stands up to the competition in a moment, but first here are the manufacturer specifications.

Acer AL2216W Specifications
Video Inputs DVI with HDCP support, VGA
Panel Type LCD Active Matrix TFT TN
Pixel Pitch 0.282mm
Colors 16.7 million
Brightness 300 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio 700:1
Response Time 5ms (GTG)
Viewable Size 22" diagonal
Resolution 1680x1050
Viewing Angle 170/160 horizontal/vertical
Power Consumption 55W max
Power Savings 3W
Power Supply Built-in
Height-Adjustable No
Tilt Yes
Rotation No
Auto-Rotation N/A
Swivel No
VESA Wall Mounting Yes
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 20.2"x16.1"x7.7"
Weight w/ Stand 10.5 lbs
Dimensions w/o Base (WxHxD) 20.2"x13.4"x1.9"
Weight w/o Stand 10 lbs
Additional Features None
Limited Warranty 3 year parts/labor manufacturer limited warranty
Pixel Defect Policy 22 or more total subpixels
2 or more subpixels in center of screen

Compared to all of the 24" LCDs that we've looked at, the AL2216W is clearly lacking in features. It provides support for analog and digital inputs, but you only get a single VGA and DVI port. Most of the 24" LCDs on the market include several other input options, making them better for anyone that wants a multifunction display. However, if you intend to use any of these LCDs purely as a computer monitor, the extra input options really don't matter much.

Having the ability to use an analog VGA connection can be useful at times (i.e. for use with an inexpensive KVM switch), but ideally you want to use the digital DVI connection. The problem with analog signals is that the image ends up being converted twice - digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital - en route from your graphics card to your display, which can reduce overall image clarity. Throw in something like a KVM and the resulting output can look downright awful (at least with low-quality KVMs). Where possible, you should always try to use the DVI port, as that will provide a cleaner image. Except where noted, all of our testing is conducted using a DVI connection.

The specifications of the panel appear to be pretty good. The viewing angle, contrast ratio, brightness, and response time are all competitive with other offerings on the market. The Acer display uses a TN panel, which is generally considered to be the low end of the totem pole in terms of overall quality. IPS is regarded as being the best panel type at present and PVA/MVA falls somewhere in between. Having said that, a large number of people are more than happy with TN panels, so the use of a TN panel does not necessarily make this a bad LCD and it does help to keep costs down.

Besides a lack of input options, the other area where the AL2216W is clearly lacking in features is in adjustment options. Higher-quality LCDs will usually allow for tilt, swivel, rotate, and height adjustments. The AL2216W comes with a base stand that only allows you to tilt the display, and we generally find that to be inadequate. The lack of rotate and swivel options aren't a big concern, but depending on the location of the LCD the lack of a height adjustment option can be a problem. In that case, you can always place the display on top of something else, or you could resort to using the VESA wall mount. Neither option is ideal, but neither is it a deal breaker.

All of Acer's LCDs come with a standard three-year limited warranty, which is pretty good. We have actually had personal (i.e. unrelated to AnandTech) experience with getting a display repaired/replaced in the recent past. After determining that the display was nonfunctional, Acer had us pack up the panel (sans base) and ship it to them. Turnaround time was about two weeks, which isn't very good if you don't have a spare display, but when they shipped the panel back to us everything was working properly again. The display was nearly two years old at the time it failed, so we were quite happy to get it repaired rather than being forced to shell out another $200+ for a new LCD.

Acer's pixel defect policy is somewhat confusing at first glance, and we had to read through it a couple times to fully understand it. In essence, they will not replace a panel unless more than four pixels per million are bad, or if you divide the LCD into nice equal sections more than one pixel in the center section is bad. The number of pixels is actually calculated as the number of subpixels, so the AL2216W has 1680 x 1050 x 3 = 5,292,000 pixels. That means your display would need to have 22 or more bad subpixels before Acer would replace it - or only two bad pixels in the center of the screen. That may seem like quite a lot, but a black dot on a white background would actually count as three dead pixels, so the policy is competitive with what we've heard from other LCD manufacturers. For the record, our particular display did not have any pixel defects, and we haven't seen a display with more than two dead pixels over the past two years.

Technical support is available either via phone or online support. Phone support hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Central Time and Sunday at 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central Time. A variety of information is also available on the web site to help answer questions, but unfortunately we have to say that the Acer web site can be extremely sluggish. The telephone support wasn't much better, as hold times in several tests were over 30 minutes, with the longest hold time being 40 minutes. If you're not in need of immediate support, dealing with a periodically sluggish web interface is probably better than sitting on the phone. Once we got through to support, the people we spoke with were able to answer our questions and provide the requested help; we just wish we didn't have to wait so long.

Index Appearance and Design
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  • DannyR - Sunday, July 8, 2007 - link

    I went to Office Depot just to see which size LCD I might like and happened to see the 22 inch Acer on display. I did not write down the model which was a mistake. It had the best image of the monitors on display. I was not happy with the fact that all the displays were set to a single resolution regardless of wide screen or 4:3. But my wife also noticed the Acer had the best picture. So I did more research and found the 22 inch wide screen is the best bang for the buck. The monitors smaller than 22 inches are shorter and have less pixels than the same size 4:3. In other words, the hight of a 19 16:9 is shorter than a 19 4:3 and has less square inches of screen. The 22 inch wide screen is taller than my old 19 inch CRT. So the choice for me was 22 inch wide screen.

    I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the differences between Acers 22" monitors. Acer makes 4 models, AL2216W, AL2251W, AL2223W and X221W. Sometimes they are W and sometimes the are Wsd.

    I went online and checked several reports and found the Acer was not worse than the others and in some ways better. I don't need speakers, I can use a book to raise the height and the monitor rotates left and right on the desk and that is OK with me.

    I shopped the Sunday ads for the local big box stores and checked on line again. Tiger sells the AL2216W for $199 but was out of stock. I called Tiger to see if they could tell me the difference between the $199 AL 2216W and the AL 2251W "gamers" monitor which sells for $319 and I was told they did not know what was different. I check the specs on both and I found very little difference.

    I went to a different Office Depot location to look at he AL 2216W in person and found they did not have one on the shelf. When I asked if they had any Acer monitors I was told they did not know, but they did not think so. I found an empty spot on one of the shelfs which had a tag for Acer 22" widescreen and a price of $299 minus instant savings of $30 and a mail in rebate for $70. It was the Acer AL2216W. I asked if they knew when it would be back in stock and the sales person called to the back room and told me it was in stock and do I want to buy one. I told him I wanted to see the box and check out the specs. They brought the box out and it told me little. I asked about the return and they said I had 14 days. I noticed the 1680x1050 resolution and I thought my Matrox Millienium G400 dual head has up to 1900x1200 so I figured no problem it must support 1680x1050. I bought the monitor for $300 less $30.00 instant savings and $70 mail in rebate and $30 tax. I thought that was a good price and I could take it home, check it out and bring it back if there were problems.

    I got home and set up the monitor. I am very pleased with the whole package. The physical cabinet, the look, the screen are all acceptable. I set up the monitor as my main monitor and I set my 19" CRT Princeton Graphics as my second monitor. I set the the AL2215W to 1600x1024 since my video card does not support 1680x150. I figured I could upgrade the driver from the CD or online.

    I set the brightness and contrast and the monitor looks great unless you want to read fonts, which are funny looking due to the resolution issues. Images and everything else look great.

    I spent two days trying to find new drivers for the monitor. I loaded the zip file for the drivers and got a message the windows did not recognize the file extension. I sent e-mails to Matrox and Acer. Finally I got a telephone call through to Acer tech support and they told me they did not have any other drivers. They said go to my vendor for new drivers. I asked what the differences were between the four Acer 22 inch monitors and the tech guy did not know. He was very polite and nice, however.

    I checked everywhere I could and I can not find a way to open the new driver file. I guess I am going to have to buy a new graphics card which supports 1680x1050.

    The Matrox dual head works great and I can really see an improvement in the quality of the image on the new LCD since my 19 inch CRT was getting dim and loosing brightness.

    I am going to build a new computer soon and I may have to live with the wrong resolution until then or I may have to buy a new graphics card now.

    I hate to buy a new AGP when the new computer is getting a PCIe card which my old computer does not support.

    Does anyone know of any issues where Windows XP Pro SP2 won't recognize a driver file with a ICM extension?

    Does anyone know a way to open a file with a .ICM extension which windows does not recognize?

    Thanks
    DannyR
    Reply
  • panagrass - Tuesday, July 3, 2007 - link

    I got mine on sale at BestBuy for $189

    Hell of a good deal IMO @ sub $200 if u can wait for Holiday Sales
    Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Monday, March 12, 2007 - link

    What's the effective difference between the calibration tool you use there and the inexpensive "Spider2" line?

    I think you've effectively gotten many of us geeks quite interested in proper monitor calibration ... but can we archive that with a sub $75 tool? For $75 and if it was easy enough to use, I could justify that by using it to calibrate the display of friends, family, and possibly customers as well. But if the $75 Spider2 is more of a Toy then a tool ... and I have to spend close $250-$300 for the right equipment then I've already lost interest.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - link

    http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/reviews.html">http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/reviews.html

    there is a site with some decent reviews of some common calibration tools. Unfortunately they don't include the DTR-94 that Anandtech uses. http://www.behardware.com/articles/626-1/monitor-c...">http://www.behardware.com/articles/626-1/monitor-c... has some more, and http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/monitor_calibra...">http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/monitor_calibra... includes the Coloreyes software with a X-Rite DTP-94 (dunno how close it is to the DTR-94), but was last updated in 2005 or so.

    I got my Eye-One Display 2 for $180 or so from Newegg around Christmas time. The Eye-One Display LT uses the same colorimeter, but is crippled in software - for some it is probably all they need though, and within the settings you can choose I would expect the results to be as good as the Display 2.

    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - link

    Sorry - my mistake on the names. The "DTR-94" should have been "DTP-94". For what it's worth, the third link (drycreek) was what led to me purchasing the Optix XR Pro bundle for doing monitor reviews. I also have a "Lite" version of the software that creates profiles that are just as good as the Pro software I think, but it doesn't provide any information about the final results - i.e. Delta E or luminance levels. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, March 12, 2007 - link

    My understanding is the Spyder2 doesn't do nearly as well, but for casual use it's probably sufficient. The Monaco Optix XR with Pro software goes for more like $300. ColorEyes is another option, but just as expensive I think. It might be interesting to do a review of color calibration tools at some point, but honestly I think even a basic hardware calibration tool like Spyder2 is going to an adequate job for non-image professionals.

    The software side of things might be the more expensive aspect... not sure what Syper2 comes with in software. ColorEyes Display with the Optix XR is $300 or so. GretagMacbeth Eye-One Display 2 is $250 for the bundle. Spyder2Pro with software is also $250, so if you can get the same colorimeter with "basic" software for $75 that's probably a good deal; somehow I doubt it's the same colorimeter, though.
    Reply
  • Resh - Monday, March 12, 2007 - link

    Great! Loved all the detail re: calibration for print, etc. Fantastic! Reply
  • BernardP - Monday, March 12, 2007 - link

    The article is very interesting, but I feel it tends to minimize problems associated with viewing angle limitations of TN panels: Sitting 18 to 24 inches in front of the monitor, it is fairly obvious that slight vertical head movement will make a darker band mode up and down the screen. The vertical viewing angle is so restricted that a 22-inch wide TN screen can't produce uniform color/brightess from a normal viewing ditsnce. This effect is not revealed when taking screeshots from 6 feet away, even with zoom, as the subtended angle is then much narrower.

    There is a new 22-inch LG L226 22-inch widescreen which has been top rated in its class in the LCD sticky in Anandtech Video Forum. It uses a new LG TN panel. I gave seen this monitor in store, and it seems to have better viewing angles than other 22-inch widescreens. I would be very interested to see a review comparing this monitor to the Acer 2216 (and newer Acer2223)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, March 12, 2007 - link

    I suppose I just don't sit that close to my displays. 18-24"? I'm more like three feet away in most cases. Still, your point about angles isn't entirely correct. At 24", you would need to move your head about 14" to either side to achieve a 30 degree viewing angle. I have used this LCD on a regular basis for several weeks, and while I did notice that the viewing angle was clearly less than other LCDs I've used, for the most part I noticed that when approaching or leaving the PC and not while actually using it. Reply
  • SleepNoMore - Monday, March 12, 2007 - link

    Over at NewEgg a very popular 22" is the Chenmei. It's sort of the most bang for the buck right now. A buddy of mine - his friend bought it and he is going to get one too. It doesn't have a height adjustment though, does have tilt. I'm assuming from this article that it's one and the same panel. It would be interesting to have that reviewed also as it comes in a 80 bucks less ( I think - doing this from memory) than the Asus. Reply

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