The sleek Acer AL1951B offers a lot: easy-to-access ports, built-in speakers, a headphone jack, and a bright screen with vivid colors--all for $379. Though other 19-inch monitors, such as the , offer greater adjustability, they're typically $100 more and cannot match the feature set and the performance of the AL1951B.
The Acer AL1951B has an innovative and attractive design. A slim 0.5-inch black-and-silver bezel surrounds the panel, and the handsome color scheme extends to the large and very stable base. Unlike most LCDs we've seen, the AL1951B has its menu buttons and speaker embedded in the base instead of the bezel. Similarly, the audio and signal inputs connect to the back of the base instead of the back of the panel. This design makes connecting cables much easier and eliminates the need for a cord-corralling device. The drawback: the AL1951B doesn't have room for an internal power converter, so you'll have to make space for a small power brick.
The AL1951B offers very little in the way of adjustability: the screen tilts about 5 degrees forward and 10 degrees back, but its height isn't adjustable, and the panel sits just 3.5 inches above the desktop. Other 19-inch monitors, such as theand the , are more flexible, but you'll pay significantly more for those features.
Arranged conveniently along the back of the AL1951B's base are digital and analog ports as well as an audio input that channels sound to the headphone jack and the 1.5-watt speaker. Like most built-in speakers, these sound weak and tinny.
The AL1951B's five-button control panel is well placed and simple to use. The two middle buttons control speaker volume and double as scrolling arrows when you're using the onscreen menu (OSM). The easy-to-use OSM lets you control the basic brightness and contrast settings as well as color temperature.