Round the back you’ll find a DVI and VGA port and power. Unfortunately, the DVI connector isn’t HDCP complaint, which straight away is going to put a lot of people off as you’ll be unable to watch HDCP protected Blu-ray or HD DVD content using this monitor, which might well seem a waste of 22in of display. There are no other connections and no built-in speakers.
Stylistically and feature wise then, the AL2216W doesn’t really set the pulse racing. Can it make up for these shortcomings with a stonking performance in the image quality? In a word, no.
The Acer is based on a TN panel offering 6-bits for each colour – that’s a maximum of 262,144 colours, which uses dithering to reach 16.2 million colours – as opposed to ‘true-colour’ which would be 8-bits per colour delivering 16.7 million colours. It is possible to deliver convincing colour from a 6-bit panel, as proved by the IIiyama ProLite X486S-B1 but the Acer didn’t match this.
Connected up by DVI, the display is sharp enough and thanks to the generous pixel pitch, text is always easy read. However, in general, pictures were on the dull side, lacking warmth and richness. From the presets I mentioned earlier Standard and Graphics lighten the image but these seemed merely at the expense of contrast. Movie mode tones it down again, and some might find this to offer the best balance of brightness and contrast.
I spent most of my time with this monitor, using it for general office tasks – email, documents, web browsing and for these tasks it was satisfactory, if no more. However, I was sent a link to an amusing video which generated one of those ‘everyone in the office crowd round a monitor moments’ and this soon highlighted one of the major drawbacks of the screen – the poor viewing angles. The screen is based on TN technology, which never has great vertical viewing angles, but in the case of the AL22126W it seems the horizontal angles aren’t up to much either. All those wanting to view the video had to stand directly behind me, as viewing from the side causes a huge amount of colour shift. Blue turned to purple, white turned to yellow.
It’s was the same with images. My immediate comparison was a 24in Dell 2407 display, which I don’t consider to be the last word for colour or detail, but it was noticeably better than the Acer. Even sitting directly in front of it video playback is no more that adequate. With black areas no showing that much detail and colours muted and lifeless. It’s very much the same thing with images – the monitor severely lacks colour vibrancy.