The Acer T230H is a 24-inch touch-screen monitor available for as low as $360. The monitor includes screen height adjustment, swivel, and tilt. Unfortunately, its performance, though not near the worst we’ve seen, cannot compete with the likes of the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 in games or movies. The T230H is fine at general tasks and includes a nifty touch-screen feature, but it’s too pricey if you’re interested only in surfing the Web and writing Word docs. Its touch-screen functionality (only with Windows 7) is an entertaining novelty, but without the option to tilt the screen back all the way so that it faces directly up, you will find your arms fatigued very quickly. The Acer T230H’s disappointing performance means we can’t recommend it over cheaper, better performing monitors like the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370.
Design and Features
The 23-inch Acer T230H is a 16:9 aspect ratio monitor with a dark gray bezel and a glossy, black foot stand. The sleek foot stand has two 9-inch long “toes” that extend out from the neck of the display, each at a 45-degree angle, with the full width of the span measuring 19.8 inches.
Knocking the display from the sides yielded minimal wobbling, as the display’s wide stance and 17-pound weight kept it fairly grounded. The screen height is adjustable by 3.4 inches, and at its lowest the distance from the bottom of the bezel to the desktop is about 2.6-inches. The screen swivels 20 degrees left and right, and tilts back 15 degrees and forward 5 degrees. No pivot option is included.
The panel measures 1.6 inches; the connection options and ventilation system add another 1.4 inches, bringing the full panel depth to 3 inches. The panel’s full width measures 22.3 inches. The angular bezel measures 1.1 inches on the sides. The screen has a very glossy coating. On the neck of the stand is a hole for routing the cords to keep them neat and tidy.
Connection options include one HDMI, one DVI, a single VGA port, and one USB upstream port. Also, in a rare move by a monitor vendor, Acer includes cables for all three connections, including an audio cable for the built-in speakers. All connections sit on the back right of the panel and are fairly easily accessible, but are tucked into the monitor a little more than we’d like. The neck can be removed from the four screw holes and the display mounted on the wall, VESA-style.
The OSD array is aligned horizontally in the lower right-hand corner of the bezel and includes the power button, left and right buttons (which double as volume controls), as well as a menu, AUTO, and ‘e’ (preset shortcut) buttons. The power button emits a blue light that slightly illuminates the button array.
The OSD includes five presets; User, Text, Standard, Graphics, and Movie. It also includes controls for brightness, contrast, color temperature, and the option to change the color temperature and the red, green, and blue values individually. Navigating the OSD has a short learning curve and soon became second nature, although it’s not quite as simple as Dell’s.
The Acer T230H’s 16:9 aspect ratio supports a “Full HD” native resolution of 1,920×1,080 pixels. This continues the trend of more and more monitor vendors moving toward 16:9 from 16:10, because high-definition content–in particular 1080p movies–can fit onto a 1,920×1,080-pixel screen in full-screen mode without stretching the image.
Pixel-response rate: 2ms
Contrast ratio: Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 80,000:1
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI, VGA
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? HDMI, DVI, VGA
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Panel Type: TN
We tested the Acer T230H with its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 86 on CNET Labs’ DisplayMate-based performance tests, coming in much lower than the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370′s 96. The T230H had good overall DisplayMate performance; however, its poor performance in the Dark Screen test mirrored Acer’s H243H and H233H. During this test–where we have the monitor display a plain, black screen–the clouding or backlight bleeding was obvious and overt. However, the biggest performance issue of the T230H is its color-tracking problem, specifically its tendency to display images with a noticeable green tint. The tint is diminished when using the Warm color temperature, but in the User preset it is very apparent.
The T230H achieved a brightness score of 230 candelas per square meter (cd/M2) and a very low contrast ratio of 320:1. By comparison, the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 posted a brightness and contrast ratio of 344 cd/m2 and 1008:1 respectively. This low contrast ratio can be attributed to the display’s incapability to display a close approximation to black. Its black is more of a medium gray.
We used the T230H’s Movie preset to check out “Kill Bill: Vol. 1″ on DVD and a number of 1080p movie files from Microsoft’s WMV HD Showcase. We also looked at the same movies on Samsung’s XL2370. In both “Kill Bill” and the 1080p movies, we found that the T230H had an overall green tint to its images when directly compared with the XL2370. In the User preset, we noticed the monitor over saturates colors near peak white, but in the Warm preset, the saturation isn’t anywhere near as pronounced and colors are more accurate.
We looked at World of Warcraft and Unreal Tournament 3 and noticed no signs of input lag or any streaking or ghosting during fast movement. Colors in games on the Acer T230H looked muted compared with the full and vibrant colors we saw on the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370. We recommend the Warm preset when playing games.
The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the screen’s distance down from the top. At this angle, you’re viewing the colors and gamma correction as they were intended. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on its panel type, picture quality at non-optimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when viewed from non-optimal angles. The Acer T230H uses a TN panel, and when viewed from the side or bottom, we perceived the screen darken about 6 inches off from center. Of course, when viewed from the optimal angle, we had no problems.
The T230H includes touch-screen support if running on a Windows 7 system. Thanks to Windows 7′s support for large icons, we were able to accurately “click” them for the most part, although we still preferred the mouse for all applications. Also, since the screen doesn’t tilt 90 degrees back (it tilts back only 15 degrees), which would make using this functionality easier on the arms, you’ll find your arms get fatigued quite easily after only a few minutes of use.
At the highest volume, sound from the Acer T230H’s built-in speakers was tinny and harsh, as it lacked enough bass to balance the sound. The speakers are located on the top, back of the monitor, so they were prone to sounding a bit muffled. The speakers don’t deliver great sound by any stretch, but once you get used to it, it’s not uncomfortable to listen to.