If you’re in the market for a new monitor the chances are that a 22” widescreen display will be on your list, with virtually every monitor manufacturer now offering a display at that size. Widescreen is definitely the way to go – applications such as Outlook or Thunderbird really make good use of the extra space as does something like Excel.
As for games, all titles released under Microsoft’s recent Games for Windows initiative have to support widescreen monitors. Equally, Vista’s Sidebar feature makes most sense on a widescreen display. I think you get my drift. Widescreen is most definitely A Good Thing.
So is the Acer AL2216W 22” widescreen the monitor upgrade you’re looking for? As with all 22” displays the native resolution on the Acer AL2216w is 1680 x 1050. This is also available on 20” and 21” widescreen displays but 22” though is going to be preferred by many – simply because it’s larger. The 22” display then is the new 19” – virtually the same amount of pixels vertically, (1050 vs. 1024) but with a good few more horizontally (1680 vs. 1280).
However, with so many other 22” displays now on the market the Acer has its work cut out to make its presence felt. Let’s find out whether it manages to do that.
On paper, the specifications are actually better than what the Viewsonic 2230wm offers. The contrast ratio of 700:1 is pretty good and this should enable the display to deliver a decent colour range in games. However, Acer has made the same mistake with the AL2216w as Viewsonic did with its 2230wm – the lack HDCP support is a major omission on a monitor like this, in my opinion.