capsule review

Acer AL2051W

At a Glance
  • Acer AL2051W / 20 Wide / 8ms / 800:1 / WSCGA+ 1680 x 1050 / DVI-VGA / LCD Monitor Acer AL2051W / 20 Wide / 8ms / 800:1 / WSCGA+ 1680 x 1050 / DVI-VGA / LCD Monitor

Acer AL2051W
Photograph: Chris Manners

Selling for $409 on 5/18/06, the Acer AL2051W is one of the least expensive 20-inch wide-screen LCD monitors on the market. For that price, you can't expect gobs of features, and you don't receive them here. However, the AL2051W's image quality pleased us--in some case, more than that of pricier LCDs.

The AL2051W makes no bones about its bare-bones design. It's a plain affair with a black bezel and no USB ports whatsoever. Decent-sounding speakers and a headphone jack reside in the matte silver base. The on-screen menus are reasonably easy to use, largely because they don't bother with advanced functions.

Scoring well on both text and graphics, the Acer AL2051W showed up some more costly models, notably the Dell UltraSharp 2007WFP. The AL2051W scored particularly well in displaying the tiny print of PC World's real-world Microsoft Excel spreadsheet test and in showing an evenly lit screen in our white-screen test.

My main beef with the AL2051W is that it doesn't offer Sunday support. Any monitor with speakers is a candidate for the home or home office, where many PCs see a fair amount of use on the weekends. If something should go awry on a Sunday, you could be out of luck until the work week officially begins.

These quibbles aside, the AL2051W is a solid (if basic) monitor. Its fusion of low price and good image quality makes it a good fit for general use.

Laura Blackwell

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At a Glance
  • This bare-bones model offers good image quality--and stylish packaging--for little cash.


    • Good image quality at a low price


    • Lacks Sunday support
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