Acer T231H review
Acer ushers multitouch technology into its latest 23in monitor, but we struggle to see the point
Touch control on desktop PCs hasn't exactly lived up to its promise yet, but manufacturers are still queuing to convince us of its benefits. Acer's T231H is the latest, combining a 23in frame with a multitouch panel.
Lounging among the increasingly slim and sexy ranks of lifestyle monitors on the market, this Acer looks a little overweight - so much so that we initially mistook it for an all-in-one PC. Its black, squared-off corners and plain design do little to excite, the short front legs and single prop at the rear aiming for practicality over style. They keep the T231H stable while it's prodded by excitable fingers, and although there's no height adjustment, it's easy to tilt it back with a single hand.
Installation is simple too. The integrated power supply cuts down on clutter, and D-SUB, DVI and HDMI outputs team up with a 3.5mm audio input and a USB connector for the touch functions. Once hooked up, Windows 7 automatically detects the display as multitouch capable and installs the drivers without prompting.
Perhaps the most positive thing you can say about the Acer T231H's touchscreen is that it works. The optical sensors along the screen's edge track finger presses with pleasing accuracy, and there was no discernable lag or jitter during our testing.
As ever, though, the need for a strengthened screen is a double-edged sword; it protects the screen from dirty fingers and does wonders for image quality, but it's soon covered in ugly fingerprints and smudges. We'd keep a lint-free cloth somewhere close to hand.
That glossy finish rewards with vivid colour reproduction and punchy high-contrast images, and it put in a great performance in our HD video and game testing. It isn't totally accurate, with our test images revealing its tendency to oversaturate colours, and the mediocre viewing angles betray its TN heritage. There are technical issues too: the very darkest shades are crushed into black no matter how you tweak the brightness and contrast controls, and the backlight leaks through from the top and bottom edges of the panel. And that's before you consider the sheer reflectivity.
Audio performance is more disappointing. The integrated speaker lacks the volume to make movies or TV watchable from a distance, and music playback reveals the absence of both bass and treble frequencies.
Acer's T231H does what it says on the tin: it's a 23in Full HD monitor with multitouch abilities. That it does its main job well enough is hardly the issue, though. Rather, it's that you can buy a monitor with far better image quality for much less, and multitouch on a desktop still offers few, if any, compelling reasons to shell out.
|Price ex VAT||£260|
|Price inc VAT||£306|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||3|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Pixel response time||2ms|
|Dynamic contrast ratio||80,000:1|
|Horizontal viewing angle||160 degrees|
|Vertical viewing angle||176 degrees|
|Speaker power ouput||2W|
|TV tuner type||N/A|
|Upstream USB ports||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||1|
|3.5mm audio input jacks||1|
|Other audio connectors||N/A|
|Other cables supplied||VGA|
|Internal power supply||yes|
|Colour temperature settings||Warm, Cool, User|
|Forward tilt angle||0 degrees|
|Backward tilt angle||60 degrees|
|Swivel angle||0 degrees|
|Pivot (portrait) mode?||no|
|Dimensions||563 x 82 x 395mm (WDH)|