The theme continued in games. To test I fired up one of my favourites – Trackmania Nations ESWC, which is fun, colourful and fast – a good test for a monitor's gaming performance. The monitor advertises a response time of 5ms, and certainly gameplay was completely smooth to my eyes. However, the old bugbear of colour reared its head. Trackmania has a lot of vibrant green in it, but on the Acer it doesn’t really have much impact. It fact, they’re positively dull.
The final test was putting the display through DisplayMate, a set of tests designed to highlight any weaknesses in a display. It certainly emphasised the problems I found in my subjective tests. Where the screen did well was in the sharpness and the 256 Intensity Level Colour Ramp – which was smooth and even, with no banding evident. However, in the colour uniformity test this was visible lighter patches, with darker seems of colour towards the bottom. The Colour scaling tests was handled well in Text and Standard modes, but choosing the Graphics or Movie presets, really revealed what these modes are about. On the far left, the blacks were no longer intense while in the two or three blocks became completely washed out. It’s trying to compensate for the lack of colour vividness by boosting brightness, but all it’s really doing it taking away detail.
The problem with the AL2216wis that it's not really great at anything at particular. It's adequate for general office work and web browsing, but you don't buy a 22in widescreen monitor for office work and web browsing. As soon as you start to venture into those other activities such as playing video or games its deficiencies start to become apparent. It's much cheaper than the competitors, as the Miria matches it for price.
The concern with the AL2216W is that the design and picture quality clearly hint at a product being designed to hit a price point. Design is uninspiring, connectivity is poor (no HDCP) and picture quality is just ok. This monitor truly shows that colour vibrancy and contrast ratio are a lot more important for enjoying images than just a low response time.
If you’re in the market for a 22in screen I could only recommend looking at spending more on the IIyama or Viewsonic. Of course, if you truly value quality and connectivity over size you’ll look at something like the Samsung 215TW, assuming you've got the budget.