This monitor looks unpretentious, save for the cute dark panel with highlighted buttons. The designers didn’t paint or print the designations of the buttons on the buttons themselves, but inserted a transparent plastic plate into the monitor’s front panel. The back side of the plate is painted black, and symbols are cut out in the paint. When you turn the monitor on, every symbol is highlighted with its own LED. This doesn’t have any deep meaning, as the characters are static and shine with the same colors when the monitor is on. Anyway, this is a smart variation of the LCD monitor design concept, and it’s easier to hit the buttons if you work in a dark room. The control buttons are placed along the lower edge of the case. The base is small and only allows changing the screen tilt (the screen doesn’t readily tilt back, though, only by a few degrees).
Unlike the previous model, this one features both: DVI and analog inputs.
The Acer AL1721 is a multimedia product, but you don’t see the speakers easily as they are on the bottom edge of the case, looking downwards. In theory, this should affect negatively the sound quality, but the overall quality of any integrated speakers is low, so their position hardly makes it any worse.
The settings menu resembles the one of the AL1731, but works much faster. Quick access is only for auto-adjustment and for controlling the sound volume – you have to enter the menu even to switch between the inputs (by the way, the menu can’t memorize, which item the cursor stood on the last time).
By default, the brightness control is set to 80%, the contrast – to 60%. The choice of color temperature is limited with three variants: “Cool” (it is default, corresponds to 7110K white and 9250K gray), “Warm” (corresponds to 6200K and 7500K) and “User” (manual adjustment; by default it corresponds to 5650K white and 8840K gray). To achieve a screen brightness of 100nit, I moved the brightness control to 20% and the contrast – to 26%. Thus, the AL1721 allows reducing the screen brightness lower, than the Acer AL1731.
The viewing angles are average: the irregular distribution of brightness along the vertical is visible, however slightly. When you look at the screen sideways, it appears yellowish. The auto-adjustment feature works well, but you’d better use it on a one-pixel-wide black-white tessellation rather than on a page with text. Auto-adjustment works much worse in the latter case.
The color reproduction is set up neatly, only the blue color is out of order. Well, we should have guessed it from the measured color temperatures.
The monitor’s responsiveness on black-to-white pixel transitions fits into the specified 16msec, so there is no problem with this parameter. Of course, the response time grows on black-gray transitions, as this is a common problem of all tested monitors, but Acer AL1721 put on a sparkling performance here – only 24msec!
But to tell the truth it was the contrast ratio that pleased me much. The level of black was unusually low for a model with a fast 16msec matrix, never going above 0.6nit. So the contrast ratio varied from 300:1 to 400:1, and that’s just a little lower than the specs say.
AL1721 LCD monitor surpasses the earlier-described AL1731 in every respect: a truly fast matrix, good viewing angles and color reproduction (for a matrix of this type), an excellent level of black (twice or three times better than by the competitor products we discussed in our previous reviews). Thus, this monitor suits perfectly for both home and office use if you don’t put any specific demands on the viewing angles or color reproduction.