Articles: Monitors

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We have tested ten inexpensive 19-inch LCD monitors, both widescreen and with the classic aspect ratio of 5:4, for this review. It may seem that 19-inchers should have already given way to but slightly more expensive models with a diagonal of 20 inches, but that is not yet the case. 19-inch monitors are still demanded in the office where a larger screen is not called for while the cost of the whole PC is so low that even ten dollars make a difference. 19-inchers are also popular among gamers because the smaller native resolution allows running modern video games at highest graphics quality settings even on mainstream graphics cards.

On the other hand, gamers also prefer monitors with response time compensation which are somewhat more expensive but better at displaying dynamic images such as in 3D shooters or arcades. For quests and real-time strategies many people will find RTC-less TN-based monitors sufficiently fast, though. Therefore we are continuing our series of reviews of 19-inch LCD monitors.

Testing Methodology

Use the following link for a description of our testing methodology, the equipment we use, and a brief explanation of what the specified and tested parameters of LCD monitors mean: X-bit Labs Presents: LCD Monitors Testing Methodology In Depth. If you feel overwhelmed with the numbers and terms this article abounds in, check out an appropriate section of the mentioned article for an explanation.

You can also view all previous monitor reviews in our Monitors section.

Acer AL1916W Ds

Following alphabetical order, Acer’s AL1916W Ds model goes first. It is a typical representative of the class of inexpensive 19-inch widescreen LCD monitors.

The specifications suggest that this model differs from the AL1916W Asd in one point: it features dynamic contrast technology. Thanks to it, the declared contrast ratio is as high as 2000:1. To remind you, the dynamic contrast ratio is calculated as the static contrast ratio multiplied by the backlight brightness adjustment range in dynamic contrast mode. In fact, dynamic contrast should rather be called dynamic brightness because the contrast ratio remains as high as the static one for each particular image but the overall brightness changes, making the whole image brighter or darker.

The monitor is declared to have a response time of 5 milliseconds, which indicates the lack of response time compensation technology. Otherwise, we’d have a specified response time of 2 or 4 milliseconds.

Like many other models from Acer, this one comes in two color schemes: with a silver front and black rear or in an all-black case. I guess the all-black version is somewhat more impressive, yet also gloomy. Some people don’t like black devices due to this gloominess. Anyway, the Acer AL1916W Ds looks just like many other models from this company. It has a plain plastic case without any decorations and a square plastic stand.

The stand allows you to change the tilt of the screen. It can be replaced with a standard VESA-compatible mount. The mount would increase the total cost of this very inexpensive monitor greatly, though.

The monitor offers a minimum of connectors: an analog D-Sub and a connector for the integrated power adapter. I didn’t have problems with signal quality on modern graphics cards but the lack of a digital interface is a problem anyway. The DVI interface is offered by a majority of mainboards with integrated graphics cores, let alone by standalone graphics cards. You’ll have to use an adapter in order to connect this monitor to most graphics cards.

The control buttons are placed on the protrusion below the front panel, the Power button differing from the others with its size and shape – it is highlighted with a soft green LED at work. Quick access is provided to the auto-adjustment feature and to switching between the factory-set modes. These modes are referred to as Empowering Technology. When you switch from one mode to another, the automatic adjustment procedure is performed.

The menu is typical for monitors of this brand. It is not very pretty and does not offer any special conveniences, but it does its job well enough. The menu doesn’t remember the last option you changed and always opens up on the preset modes screen. It is unclear why if there is a quick-access button for accessing these modes.

The monitor has 90% brightness and 61% contrast by default. I lowered both to 56% to achieve a 100nit white. Color gradients are reproduced correctly through the entire range of settings and there are no problems with darks, either. Light halftones merge into white at a contrast of 85% and higher. The monitor regulates its brightness by means of pulse-width modulation of the backlight lamps at a frequency of 240Hz.

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