capsule review

Acer AL2423Wdr

At a Glance
  • Acer AL2423Wdr

    PCWorld Rating

    A bargain-hunter's dream, this spartan 24-incher makes text and graphics look great. But the speakers are no great shakes.

Acer's 24-inch, $699 wide-screen AL2423Wdr excelled in many of our text and graphics tests. The model boasts one of the best combinations of low price and good performance that we've seen in this monitor category lately. Microsoft Office documents were consistently readable, and menu icons exhibited a nice sharpness. The photo of colorful fruit in our tests looked very well saturated and the monitor reproduced natural-looking flesh tones. One tester commented on the monitor's "uniformity" in reference to both its brightness and the crispness of text throughout the panel.

The AL2423Wdr is wrapped in a unique titanium-colored bezel. The screen is framed with a black reflective border. The screen itself is glossy, which may not be to everyone's liking, including mine. (I find the reflections on the screen distracting to some degree.) Its lines are sleek, but the bezel's color makes for a drab look. The bezel is also a bit thick for my taste, especially when compared with design favorites such as Dell's 2407WFP and Apple's 23-inch Cinema HD Display. Disappointingly, it does not include a cable management system, so expect your power and DVI/VGA cords to peek through.

The on-screen display controls are easy enough to adjust, though at times confusing to navigate. The controls are nicely hidden at the bottom of the panel. You'll need to remember when using them that the Auto button does double duty as the menu exit button. The monitor includes speakers, but even mildly interested audiophiles need not bother with them. They were so weak-sounding--even at maximum volume--as to render them practically unusable.

The glossy screen performed admirably when I watched scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. I did have to adjust the overly bright initial setting for this generally dark-toned movie. After this tweak, skin colors gained more definition. What initially looked like uniform skin tones in the characters began to pop out more, particularly with the tanned Jack Sparrow character. Lighter tones were just a subtle shade on the side of blue, but still pleasing overall. My adjustment also increased the realism of the sunset scene, making highlights less blown out and sequences in the shade not as washed out. Colors were muted, but still rich and with a satisfactory saturation. But extremely dark scenes or backgrounds proved a distraction akin to someone aiming a laser pointer at the screen in a movie theater. I couldn't help but notice my own vague silhouette on the reflective screen during sequences enveloped by darkness.

Acer includes Portrait Displays's PivotPro software (a $40 value when purchased separately) to help you manage the pivoting feature of the monitor. Installing this software enables you to rotate your operating system's desktop to match the screen's orientation, such as 90 degrees for a vertical "portrait" mode. The stand is height adjustable and includes a lock at the bottom of the base. Unlike with some monitors that let you easily move the display panel up and down without a lock, you'll need to stand up, push down on the bezel, and then pull the monitor's lock to the left to release it. The AL2423Wdr does not come with a lot of other extras. But for the price, it may just be what people on a budget are looking for.

Roy Santos

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    A bargain-hunter's dream, this spartan 24-incher makes text and graphics look great. But the speakers are no great shakes.

    Pros

    • Appealing low price
    • Good screen quality

    Cons

    • Very weak sound from speakers
    • Few features
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