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Acer T230H - 23in Multi-Touch Monitor - Acer T230H
Just like its styling, Acer's control implementation for this monitor is quite unusual. It provides physical buttons on the tilted bottom edge of the bezel, marked by clear white icons along the bezel's front. However, only the 'power' and 'e' functions are regular buttons; left/right and auto/menu are controlled by two-sided rocker switches with raised edges, making finding the right control in the dark a breeze.
Once you get used to this atypical arrangement it works well enough, although Acer's choice of small, mostly monochrome menus doesn't provide much visual appeal. A dedicated source button for switching between VGA, DVI and HDMI would also have been nice, though to be fair the monitor does automatically switch to the next active source if you deactivate the one it's on.
The 'e' button lets you switch between a sensible selection of User, Text, Standard, Graphics and Movie presets. However, navigation isn't always intuitive. Aside from the presets, brightness and contrast can only be altered in the menus, as the left/right buttons double as volume controls. Furthermore colour balance can only be altered under Temperature, which includes Warm, Cool and User options.
At 23 inches and with a 1,920 x 1080 resolution there's plenty of screen real estate, but the first thing you'll notice about the T230H itself is its highly reflective glossy coating. It really is like a mirror, more so even than normal glossy displays. It's not just distracting with dark material either, but is even a problem on a white background.
On the plus side it does give colours the appearance of being more vibrant and also increases perceived contrast, which is a good thing since the monitor's actual performance makes an absolute mockery of its claimed 80,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. As is usually the case with TN-based monitors, you can get pure whites or more dark detail, but not both at the same time. Even then, the T230H failed to show the darkest gradations of the greyscale no matter how carefully we calibrated it. Noticeable backlight bleed along the bezel's bottom edge and slight banding across some colour gradients further spoil things.
It's not all bad news though. Excellent sharpness means even the smallest fonts are legible and horizontal viewing angles are particularly good for a TN-based display. Indeed they're easily among the best we've seen on this kind of panel, though vertical ones are as poor as ever. With its 2ms response time there's not a hint of ghosting either, so despite the very subtle dark details you might be missing out on, this is a decent display for gaming – just don't mistake your reflection for a monster in the heat of gunplay.
Before we get onto the T230H's touch abilities, the performance of its speakers is also worth a mention. These receive audio either through HDMI or from the 3.5mm analogue input, but don't do a very impressive job. While they manage decent volume levels, distortion does creep in now and then despite their utter lack of bass, and the soundstage they create lacks any sense of depth. It's quite baffling that Acer has decided not to include any kind of audio output either.