Articles: Monitors

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Acer AL1916Ws

Widescreen monitors with an aspect ratio of 16:10 rather than 5:4 or 4:3 had been largely ignored by the public until recently. The main problem was that such monitors were in fact cut-down versions of ordinary matrixes in terms of matrix resolution: the standard 19” monitor has a native resolution of 1280x1024 (or 1.31 megapixels) whereas the typical widescreen monitor had a resolution of 1280x768 (0.98 megapixels or two thirds the total area). And while it was all right to use widescreen matrixes in TV-sets for which the physical size is more important than the number of pixels, the reduction of workspace by one third wasn’t at all welcome in PC monitors. Moreover, pixels in widescreen matrixes just looked large (they don’t look small even on ordinary 19” matrixes).

Still, it goes without saying that widescreen monitors brings about a number of advantages over ordinary ones. It is easier to organize your workspace on them by tucking the additional menus, toolsets, etc. away to the sides of the document (photograph, a fragment of program code) you are working on. Widescreen displays are also superior in terms of ergonomics because it is easier to place them in the right way on the desk (ergonomics demands that the top of the screen be not higher than your eyes level). The eyes are also getting tired less when moving left and right rather than up and down.

And now the manufacturers seem to have listened to the customers’ cries and introduced a new type of widescreen 19” matrixes with an increased native resolution of 1440x900 (1.3 megapixels which almost equals the total area of a classic 1280x1024 matrix). Quite a few companies have already produced their monitors on such matrixes. Acer in particular released an AL1916Ws model.

The 1400x900 matrixes are currently being manufactured with TN+Film technology exclusively, with a curious consequence: the horizontal viewing angle of modern TN+Film matrixes is already quite wide while the vertical one calls for improvement, so the wide TN matrixes look even better in practice than classic TN matrixes with the same diagonal! But surely it would be good if this widescreen trend were spread to S-IPS and MVA/PVA technologies, too.

I want to draw your attention to the fact that the aspect ratio of the widescreen matrixes for PC monitors is 16:10 rather than 16:9, so there will be narrow black bands above and below the frame when you are watching movies on them.

The monitor is assembled in the uniform case for Acer’s low-end models which doesn’t show any trace of originality in design.

The stand only allows adjusting the tilt of the screen. It’s also rather flimsy, so the monitor wobbles all over at the slightest push.

You can attach a standard VESA mount to the four screw-holes in the back panel. There is no decorative cap over the holes.

The monitor has an analog input only and is equipped with an integrated power adapter. Of course, it’s a drawback not to have a digital input here, but the monitor worked normally on the Radeon X600 graphics card our testbed is fitted with, yielding a sharp and noise-free picture and not requiring manual image setup.

The monitor’s controls are located separately on a slat below the case. The Power button differs in shape and size from the others and is highlighted with a mild green LED at work. Quick access is provided to the automatic image adjustment feature. The “<” and “>” buttons have no purpose outside the menu.

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