Acer G24Manufacturer: Acer
UK Price (as reviewed): £352.49 (inc. VAT)
There are lies. There are damned lies. And then there are monitor specifications. More than most PC components, buyers should be extremely wary of the specs monitor makers attach to their produce.
Partly, the problem is down to the fact that it typically requires expensive specialist kit to confirm or deny screen performance stats. If you buy a CPU advertised with a 2.5GHz operating frequency, it's straight forward to get a reliable confirmation that the chip is behaving as promised.
But how is the average punter supposed to check that their new gaming panel is the real 2ms deal? Or that their lovely 24-incher really kicks outs 400cd/m² and has viewing angles of 178 degrees in both planes? The answer is that they can't, monitor makers know this and they play pretty loose and free with specifications as a result.
Making matters worse, even if it was easy for consumers to objectively measure screen properties, that wouldn't make for a final solution. For several image quality attributes there is no rigidly defined metric and hence no standard to be held to.
Viewing angles are a good example. Broadly speaking, viewing angles are a measurement of how stable rendered colours remain when viewed off centre. But frankly, manufacturers essentially have a free hand to create their own definition of what constitutes the loss of colour stability and then draw a largely arbitrary line at that point.
Of course, the are some farily widely used standards, such as grey-to-grey and black-to-black pixel response times. So there is some value to be had in comparing specifications from one monitor to the next. But the essential moral of this rant on monitor specifications is that they provide only a very rough guide to relative real world performance.
All of which brings us to Acer's snazzy new 24-inch monitor, the G24, and specifically its eye-popping 50,000:1 claimed contrast performance. In the strictest possible sense, it might just be true. But in terms of the expectations it creates compared to other monitors rated around the 1,000:1 mark, for instance, it's pretty bloody disingenuous.
The 50,000:1 rating is of course a dynamic rating, the implications of which we'll come to momentarily. Suffice to say for this introductory passage that it's a completely unnecessary gimmick on what is otherwise a very attractive and well specified gaming panel.
The other key item of interest on the G24 is its glossy screen surface. This sort of screen surface is certainly an opinion splitter. But given the general lack of choice in terms of panel technology currently, we welcome something a little different.
On a final note, you might be a little surprised to learn that the G24 is based on our old friend, the TN+Film LCD panel. Surprised, that is, given the huge contrast ratio claim. TN technology has been improving of late, so it will be interesting to see what Acer has managed to achieve with the poor man of LCD panel types.