We ran the monitor through a series of real-world and synthetic tests to see whether or not the AL2216w is worth parting cash for.
General Desktop Usage:
I spent most of my time with this monitor, using it for general office tasks – email, documents, web browsing and for these tasks it was satisfactory, if no more. However, I was sent a link to an amusing video which generated one of those everyone in the office crowd round a monitor
moments and this soon highlighted one of the major drawbacks of the screen – the poor viewing angles.
The screen is based on TN technology which never has great vertical viewing angles, but in the case of the AL22126w it seems the horizontal angles aren’t up to much either. All those wanting to view the video had to stand directly behind me, as viewing from the side causes a huge amount of colour shift. Blue turns to purple, white turns to yellow.
High-Resolution Images & Video Playback:
The same was true with images. My immediate comparison was a 24" Dell 2407 display, which I don’t consider to be the last word for colour or detail, but it was noticeably better than the Acer. Even sitting directly in front of it video playback is no more than adequate. With black areas not showing that much detail and colours muted and lifeless. It’s very much the same thing with images – the monitor severely lacks colour vibrancy.
The theme continued in games. To test I fired up one of my favourites – Trackmania Nations ESWC, which is fun, colourful and fast – a good test for a monitors gaming performance. The monitor advertises a response time of 5ms, and certainly gameplay was completely smooth to my eyes. However, the old bugbear of colour was rearing its head. Trackmania has a lot of vibrant green in it, but on the Acer it doesn’t really have much impact. It fact, they’re positively dull.
The final test was putting the display through DisplayMate, which is a set of synthetic tests designed to highlight any weaknesses in a display and it certainly emphasised the problems I found in my subjective tests. Where the screen did well was in the sharpness and the 256 Intensity Level Colour Ramp – which was smooth and even, with no banding evident. However, in the colour uniformity test this was visible lighter patches, with darker seems of colour towards the bottom.
The Colour scaling tests was handled well in Text and Standard modes, but choosing the Graphics or Movie pre-sets, really revealed what these modes are about. On the far left, the blacks were no longer intense while in the two or three blocks became completely washed out. It’s trying to compensate for the lack of colour vividness by boosting brightness, but all it’s really doing it taking away detail.