The styling is not going to win any awards, or help to differentiate the AL2216w from other 22" widescreen monitors. Its dull silver plastic bezel with an angled inner frame gives the whole display a rather dated look, while the OSD buttons under the bezel also look cheap.
The OSD sports an attractive looking design and is straightforward to navigate. Press the Auto button and you get five pre-sets, User, Text, Standard, Graphics, and Movie.
These are self explanatory and I’ll describe the effects further on in the review. Press the menu button and you’ll find that there aren’t many options, especially if you’re connected via DVI, as there’s no need to adjust the tracking. The OSD doesn’t let you choose between the industry standard colour temperatures but you can also choose between Cool and Warm image settings, which seems to be a choice between having a picture that’s too yellow or one that’s far too blue.
There’s no height adjustment, or pivot, and these no clever rotating stand as there is with the Viewsonic VG2230wm. At least setting up is nice and simple, you just click the display into the oblong space on the stand and you’re ready to go.
Round the back you’ll find DVI-D and VGA ports and a power socket. As mentioned on the previous page, the DVI connector isn’t HDCP complaint, which straight away is going to put a lot of people off as you’ll be unable to watch HDCP protected Blu-ray or HD DVD content using this monitor, which might well seem a waste of 22” of display. There are no other connections and no built-in speakers.
Stylistically and feature wise then, the AL2216W doesn’t really set the pulse racing. Can it make up for these shortcomings with a stonking performance in the image quality? In a word, no.
The Acer is based on a TN panel offering 6-bits for each colour – that’s a maximum of 262,144 colours, which using dithering to reach 16.2 million colours – as opposed to ‘true-colour’ which would be 8-bits per colour delivering 16.7 million colours. It is possible to deliver convincing colour from a 6-bit panel, as proved by the IIiyama ProLite X486S-B1 but the Acer didn’t match this.
Connected up by DVI, the display is sharp enough and thanks to the generous pixel pitch, text is always easy read. However, in general, pictures were on the dull side, lacking warmth and richness. From the pre-sets I mentioned earlier Standard and Graphics lighten the image but these seemed merely at the expense of contrast. Movie mode tones it down again, and some might find this to offer the best balance of brightness and contrast.