Articles: Monitors

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Until today we have reviewed only LCD monitors of average diagonal lengths (mostly 17” and 19” models, with a few 15” ones in the very first article on the subject), but larger monitors have remained outside our focus.

This has been justifiable to some extent since 17” and 19” models have accounted and account today for a biggest share of the market due to their relatively low price. Meanwhile, the prices for larger monitors have recently sunk down to the level where 19” models were just a little while ago. As a result, large LCD monitors have become a more interesting option for both work and home applications.

In this review I will examine five different monitor models that cover all the price range, i.e. from inexpensive home models to the top-end ColorEdge series from EIZO.

Acer AL2021

The AL2021 has the typical looks of Acer’s business series of monitors, being the senior model in it. You should be already familiar with this exterior – it resembles the AL1721 model I reviewed in the article called Closer Look at 17” LCD Monitor Features. Part III . These monitors look very plain, the only difference from other manufacturers’ office monitors being the pretty labels on the buttons. These labels are placed on a narrow black panel under the screen and are highlighted with mild LEDs as you turn the monitor on. This looks quite pretty, I should confess. If the monitor is off, you cannot read the labels.

The monitor’s base is very simple, allowing to adjust the tilt of the screen only. No portrait mode and no screen height adjustment here.

The Acer AL2021 has an analog and a digital DVI-D input. The latter input is in fact a must for monitors with a native resolution of 1600x1200 and higher because not all graphics card/monitor combinations can ensure a sharp picture in such modes, if connected via an analog interface. For example, even when connected to a Matrox G550 card which has a very good analog output, the Acer AL2021 produced a slightly blurry picture and also displayed strong noise on a 1-pixel grid that could not be eliminated by phase/frequency adjustments in the settings. There were of course no problems with the digital DVI-D connection – the onscreen picture was ideally sharp in this case.

The monitor also has an audio input. The speakers are located at the bottom of the case and are oriented downwards rather than forward as usual. That’s why you can’t see them in the snapshot above.

The monitor’s control buttons are placed at the bottom of the case, too. They sink down easily under your touch. The Power button differs from the others in shape and size, so you cannot mistake it for some other button as sometimes happens with monitors where all the control buttons are identical.

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