If you’re in the market for a new monitor the chances are that a 22in widescreen display will be on your list, with virtually every monitor manufacturer now offering a display at that size. Widescreen is definitely the way to go – applications such as Outlook or Thunderbird really make good use of the extra space as does something like Excel. As for games, all titles released under Microsoft’s recent Windows for Games initiative have to support widescreen monitors. Equally, Vista’s Sidebar feature makes most sense on a widescreen display. I think you get my drift. Widescreen is most definitely a Good Thing.
So is the Acer AL2216W the monitor upgrade you’re looking for? As with all 22in displays the native resolution is 1,680 x 1,050. This is also available on 20in and 21in widescreen displays but 22in though is going to be preferred by many – simply because it’s larger. The 22in display then is the new 19in – virtually the same amount of pixels vertically, (1,050 vs. 1,024) but with a good few more horizontally (1,680 vs. 1,280).
However, with so many other 22in displays now on the market the Acer has its work cut out to make its presence felt. I’m not sure that the styling is going to help in that department. Its dull silver plastic bezel with an angled inner frame gives the whole display a rather dated look, while the OSD buttons under the bezel also look cheap. The OSD itself sports an attractive looking design and is straightforward to navigate. Press the Auto button and you get five presets, User, Text, Standard, Graphics, and Movie. These are self explanatory and I’ll describe the effects further on in the review. Press the menu button and you’ll find that there aren’t many options, especially if you’re connected via DVI, as there’s no need to adjust the tracking. The OSD doesn’t let you choose between the industry standard colour temperatures but you can also choose between Cool and Warm image settings, which seems to be a choice between having a picture that’s too yellow or one that’s far too blue.
There’s no height adjustment, or pivot, and these no clever rotating stand as there is with the Viewsonic VG2230wm. At least setting up is nice and simple, you just click the display into the oblong space on the stand and you’re ready to go.