Best known for its PCs and computer monitors, Acer was once quite into its TVs, too. But it seldom managed to bridge the PC-to-AV gap particularly successfully, so it didn’t really surprise us all that much when Acer TVs suddenly stopped arriving on our test benches way back in 2007.
Much more surprising as we head into summer 2010 is the fact that suddenly we’ve found an Acer TV back before us again! Admittedly at just 23in across the AT2356 is a small first step back along the TV road for Acer - but it’s a start. And we can only hope that if Acer has deemed the AT2356 worthy of running by us, then it might be a TV with plenty to say for itself.
Aesthetically it cuts a reasonably appealing dash. Its black frame is slender and glossy enough to look quite cute in an office, study, bedroom or conservatory, and the little circular desktop stand seemingly defies science with the way it supports the widescreen 23in frame on such a small base without leaving the TV feeling alarmingly wobbly.
The only catch is that the bezel feels plasticky once you’re up close enough to touch it. But then let’s use this as the first of many opportunities to remind you that at just under £200, the AT2356 is remarkably cheap for a widescreen HD Ready 23in TV, so we can hardly expect it to be hewn from a chunk of gold.
The AT2356’s price becomes even more startling when it turns out that the screen isn’t just HD Ready, but actually crams in a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. And it boasts a pretty effective-looking response time of 5ms, and an even more promising claimed contrast ratio of 20,000:1.
This latter figure doesn’t look much compared with the frequently preposterous figures bandied around in association with large LCD and plasma TVs, but it certainly stands out against most small-screen rivals.
Such figures always have to be taken with a large pinch of salt, however. So it’s nice to see our hopes reinforced by a claimed native (as in, not created by a dynamic backlight system) contrast ratio of 1,000:1, where many small TVs struggle to get above 500-800:1.
Connectivity isn’t quite so rosy. There are only two HDMIs, for instance - but then, will anyone buying such a cheap TV for a second room actually need more than that? Probably not.
There’s only one SCART, too - though again, we’re bound to say that if you’ve just bought yourself a Full HD TV and are then feeding it with a resolutely standard definition SCART source, you’re selling yourself very short.