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Luckily we have already had a chance to look at Acer LCD monitors, and we have to admit that the impression they made was surprising. We have always known Acer company for their computers where monitors were just one of components and didn't boast any peculiar features. However, the LCD monitors they introduced showed such beautiful image quality that we got every right to call them one of the best among their competitors. And it still remains one of the best though the industry keeps developing all the time.

In fact, the situation in the market has changed in the following way. The prices on 15" models dropped (some of them managed to get below $1000), TFT panels manufacturing grew up or on the contrary, reduced, from time to time, marketing analysts forecast all sorts of things concerning the prices and the manufacturers offered the world their 18" models (and some of them even 20" ones) in the meanwhile. Acer seemed willing to become one of the leading LCD monitors manufacturers and tried to keep pace with all the rest having introduced its 18" model - Acer FP855.

Specification

  Acer FP855 Mitsubishi LCD80
CRT size/type 18.1'' LCD 18.1'' LCD
Viewable size (width x height) 361x288.5mm 359x287mm
Brightness 235 cd/m2 180 cd/m2
Contrast 300:1 230:1
Viewing angle Horizontal: 160o
Vertical: 160o
Horizontal: 140o
Vertical: 110o
Max resolution 1280x1024/75Hz 1280x1024/75Hz
Pixel pitch 0.2805mm 0.28mm
Colors 16 million 16 million
Input signal Analog RGB Analog RGB
Power supply Universal, 90-264V 100-120V or 220-240V; 50/60Hz
Power consumption 75W (with USB)
65W (without USB)
50W
Size (with the stand) (width x height x depth) 457x469x217mm 460x481x220mm
Weight 9.8kg 9kg

For a better idea you can compare the features of Acer FP855 with those of Mitsubishi LCD80.

Besides, Acer FP855 can also boast:

  • Response time 50msec
  • VESA DPMS, EPA & NUTEK 803299 standards
  • Onscreen menu
  • Image resize
  • iKey function for automatic image parameters adjustment
  • Built-in speakers and microphone
  • USB hub

As usual, the manufacturer is not quite sure about some features of the product that is why the information in the user's manual and the info on the manufacturer's web-site are slightly different. For instance, the required voltage is 100-240V and the power consumption - 36W, however, you may come across a couple of alternative values as well. Actually, it seems to us that all the primary features and image parameters are still rather credible.

The table mentioned above shows that the features are pretty promising, which gives us every reason to hope for good performance.

Closer Look

The monitor is supplied in a more or less standard box and is accompanied by the following stuff:

  • VGA cable
  • Power cable
  • Audio cable
  • Microphone cable
  • USB cable
  • User's manual
  • CD-ROM with the drivers and pdf-file with the manual

The monitor is designed in a very simple way and has a nearly standard look. The only peculiar looking thing seems to be the stand of the monitor with a small platform where you could put all the stuff, which you usually keep on the table, such as coins, staples, pins, etc. Well, quite a nice thing :-) We were a bit surprised to find out that it was impossible to turn the monitor around the vertical axis: you have to move it only together with the stand, which is not always convenient. As for the horizontal regulation, thank god, it is available.

Right in the center of the top panel there is a microphone. Though it is quite an ordinary one, it is very sensitive.

As for the monitor controls, Acer engineers seem to have followed a very well-known principle: the less, the better. That's why you won't find the familiar buttons on the monitor front panel.

There are only two buttons on the lower front panel: power (1) and iKey (2). A bit higher you can see a power indicator (3). iKey button serves to automatically adjust the image, namely, having pressed the button just once you will adjust the color temperature, center, and focus the image (Pixel clock and Phase). This adjustment takes about a second and in the meantime the monitor displays which parameter is being currently adjusted. When we tested the monitor automatic adjustment worked impeccably even if the resolutions and the working modes were changed.

At the back of the monitor you may see the volume regulator (5) and the built-in speakers are located at the very bottom of the stand very close to each other.

On the right there is a regulator (4), which serves to set all the monitor parameters and to move in the onscreen menu. It works in the following way:

  • If you move the regulator upward or downward, you will be able to adjust brightness and contrast without entering the onscreen menu. You will get a corresponding picture on the screen, which will help you control the process. All changes are made with the same regulator moved upward and downward again.

     
  • If you need to access the onscreen menu, you should press the regulator and move within the menu by rotating it in any direction. The parameter is selected or set again by pressing the regulator. In fact, this is not a bad idea, and you can see something like that in a few Nokia CRT monitors, however the way it is put into life leaves much to be desired… The matter is that this regulator is very small therefore it turns out very hard to press it without rotating upward or downward accidentally (which will cause the change of brightness and contrast). The same thing can happen after you have successfully entered the menu: you rotate the regulator instead of pressing it and then have to start from the very beginning.

Let's take a closer look at the onscreen menu and the parameters it contains:

  • Luminance: to change the contrast and brightness;
  • Geometry: to center the image, to adjust Phase and Pixel Clock;
  • Color Adjustment: to change the share of blue, red and green colors;
  • Recall: calls the preset parameters and shows the info on the current workmode (resolution, vertical/horizontal refresh rate)
  • Miscellaneous: to change the vertical/horizontal location of the onscreen menu on the monitor, to enable/disable image scaling (with Zoom mode disabled and the screen resolution set to 1280x1024 the image occupies only the central part of the screen with black bands along the edges. With Zoom enabled the image is spread all over the screen. Note that scaling is done very precisely and the "spread" image at 1024x768 looks very life-like), to select the language of the onscreen menu.

The rear panel of the monitor has a lot of ports and connectors on it, such as:

  • Power supply connector
  • Headphones jack (1)
  • Port to connect the built-in speakers to the sound card (2)
  • Port to connect built-in microphone to the sound card (3)
  • USB hub (up to 4 USB devices)

We have to point out right away that the monitor is very conveniently connected to the power supply: the power supply unit is built into the stand and doesn't have an external case, which has already become very popular by many other monitor manufacturers. So, the power supply cable connects the monitor directly to the power plug, which makes a much more favorable impression.

Image and Sound

Since this monitor is one of the most expensive in the today's market that is why we would consider it a real insult if there were any problems with the image quality. Actually, FP855 monitor operates exactly as they promise in the user's manual. It provides clear and vivid image at a standard resolution of 1280x1024. The viewing angle allows you to relax and there is no need to keep your head in one and the same position all the time, although if you move too much you may notice that the colors and contrast are a bit different. At lower resolutions the image scaling is done correctly, however, we would recommend you not to work at a resolution lower than 1024x768.

Moreover, iKey button is more than enough to adjust the image if you change the workmode. This button once pressed will adjust your image quality just impeccably and will save you time and trouble when trying to do the same thing via very inconvenient onscreen menu.

Actually, there is not much to say about the integrated multimedia functions: the microphone works fine, is very sensitive, however, it will hardly suit for recording your solo concert. The integrated speakers sound as they should, bearing in mind that they are located 20cm from each other.

Conclusions

Highs

  • Perfect technical features;
  • High quality image;
  • Multimedia functions;
  • USB hub.

Lows

  • Very inconvenient implementation of the onscreen menu;
  • No way to arrange the monitor on the table without moving it together with the stand.
 
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