Acer S243HL

It’s a known fact that larger display sizes and higher resolutions can help improve productivity. With the back to school season looming, the Acer S243HL might just be the display you’ve been looking for. Featuring a 24-inch wide aspect ratio screen with LED backlighting and a 1920 x 1200 resolution, the S243HL for around £230 is priced reasonably with a unique design.

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With LED technology, manufacturers have been able to shrink the display bezel and overall packaging when compared with the previous generation. LED makes those displays look like yesteryears technology. Acer squeezes a few more millimetres out of the display by moving the connectivity to the monitor base and power in the form of a separate power block.

The base glows with a blue LED strip which lines up the buttons for controlling the OSD. The base is offset to the right, making the display look as though its defying gravity – a deceptive, but unique take on the traditional centre positioning of the base.

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Included in the stand is a set of basic speakers suitable for casual entertainment. If you expect anything more than that, you’ll be sorely disappointed with its tinny audio feedback.

The S243HL is a welcome contrast to the traditional glossy finish that you find on most monitors. Acer has differentiated itself with its design, but it’s a question of whether the display can produce the goods with quality picture and performance. On paper, the S243HL looks promising. The panel has a 2ms response rate and has a 16:9 aspect ratio, making it a great fit for video games and movies. So my first set of tests was to see how well it performed with an Xbox 360 attached to one of the two HDMI ports.

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Racing titles are usually a good test for displays and seeing if they can keep up to the fast paced and constantly changing image. It was great to see games like Forza 3 and DIRT 2 on the 360 perform well with no lag and dynamic colours. Videos looked sharp and bright with good colour levels that weren’t over-boosted – skin tones and environment colours looked as they should.

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The area, which the S243HL doesn’t excel at, is its ability to show the contrast between dark and light. I noticed on some videos and games where you would find it difficult to make out any of the details in a dark scene or when you’re playing a particularly dark game.

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If you’re looking for a good sized monitor featuring the latest in LED technology, the Acer S243HL is a contender in both quality, design and performance. The slim design and non-glossy looks make it ideal for the all purpose display for entertainment and work purposes.

2010-08-16 Onwah Tsang

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