The T230H is one of Acer's gifts to the touch generation. We're still not sold on Windows 7 touch — sure, it's the best Windows has ever been integrated with the feature, but it still feels largely pointless and tacked on, especially on the desktop. We can see it (sort of) in all-in-ones, but stand-alone monitors? Nah. Leave touch to the single purpose devices, and we'll continue to use keyboards and mice on desktop PCs, thanks.
Regardless, the T230H is quite the well constructed beast, reminding us a little of Dell's previous generation of UltraSharp range, particularly because of the stand and ergonomic features therein. Tragically, this is where the similarities end. For a start, Acer has chosen to include a glossy screen, meaning much higher glare and reflectivity than usual.
The touch software is also not thoroughly thought through. For multi-monitor set-ups, the T230H registers touch just fine, but if you have another screen set as primary, the click ends up there instead of on the Acer. Vexing indeed.
Another oversight — when the monitor is turned off, the screen still receives touch input. Should you ever want to clean the thing, you'll need to yank the USB or power cable to avoid entering click hell.
It is multi-touch, for what it's worth — Windows Photo Viewer and anything else that supports it will accept two fingers just fine to pinch zoom and rotate, although if you use more than two, it starts getting a bit confused.
The Acer uses infrared technology for the touch, which means you don't actually have to touch the screen for it to receive an input. A few times when hovering our finger close to the screen but not touching, it registered a click. This makes quick writing or drawing difficult, with you needing to lift your hand further away than normal from the screen if you intend to get an actual break on screen, rather than a continuous line.
Shiny. No, really: the screen is high gloss. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Specs at a glance
|Max vertical refresh||60Hz|
|Connections||DVI, HDMI, VGA, 3.5mm line in|
|Accessories||DVI, VGA, 3.5mm audio and power cables|
Stand and ergonomics
The T230H is a cut above most stands you see in this range, and is heavily reminiscent of Dell's last generation UltraSharp stands. From the "flying V" legs, to the central swivel point, rack and pinion height adjust, tilt and hole-in-neck-style cable management, someone at Acer has clearly decided that imitation is the best form of flattery. The only thing it's missing is pivot to put it in portrait mode, and the ability to lift the panel itself off the stand.
Well done Acer, even if it is a blatant copy of Dell's older stand.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Power, USB upstream, 3.5mm line in, HDMI, DVI, VGA (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
The T230H is decked out with some fully sick ... no, wait. It's a pair of 1.5W speakers that are tragically underwhelming, have little volume, no definition, sound distant yet somehow manage to distort easily, and you'd do a million times better with any stand-alone speaker set.
This is pretty much standard with any monitor speakers, so we won't be too harsh on Acer here, but we sure wish someone would follow Apple's iMac lead and bundle something decent for a change. Or just leave them out — they're only adding cost.
Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)
Acer's buttons are not only situated under the display, but are rockers that are smaller than the labels lead you to believe, resulting in many frustrated missed hits, and difficulty navigating anywhere. We found ourselves tilting the monitor up just so we could see the buttons and minimise mistakes. It is, in a word, vexing. There is no quick input switch button either; you'll have to go through at least eight button pushes before you get the option to switch to your device of choice.
Another annoyance arose here: if you're using multiple inputs, and one of your machines goes to sleep, the T230H will automatically switch to another machine that isn't asleep. In our test case, the computer would turn the monitor off, then the monitor would auto-switch to the running PS3. We couldn't find an option to turn this off, and to our eyes it's nothing but potential power wastage.
The prize for worst monitor buttons goes to Acer. At least they don't beep. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Acer's OSD is understated and easy enough to navigate, awful buttons aside. It offers nothing about the standard menu options.
Of course, what it does offer is the usual glut of presets, this time under the moniker "Acer eColor Management". We have "User", "Text", "Standard", "Graphics" and "Movie" this time, although as always we recommend leaving it on Standard, and then turning eColor Management off through the OSD.
A simple menu, with only the barest of features. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
|Contrast||Sharpness||Gamma||Black level||White saturation||Gradient|
|Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass||Couldn't differentiate level 254 from white||Banding towards dark end of the scale, purple/green discolouration|
|Inversion pixel walk tests|
|Test 1||Test 2a||Test 2b||Test 3||Test 4a||Test 4b||Test 5||Test 6a||Test 6b||Test 7a||Test 7b|
|Pass||Flicker||Slight flicker||Pass||Flicker||Slight flicker||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass|