3D is still touted as the missing ingredient that will enhance our entertainment experiences, be it in movies or games. I've yet to be persuaded of this, but it doesn't stop many companies from dipping their toes into the 3D waters. On the PC gaming front, Nvidia has led the charge with its 3D Vision technology for the last few years and has done a good job of getting the technology out there, while garnering up support from game developers. To display in 3D, a monitor needs only the capability to display images at a 120Hz refresh rate, which is about double the typical rate. So, whether your 3D gaming experience is a positive one, it relies less on the monitor in question and more on the game's developer.
Fortunately the Acer GD235HZ is a monitor that does more than just play 3D games.
Design and features
The 23-inch Acer GD235HZ follows the company's typical design aesthetic for a gaming monitor, with its black chassis, sharp corners, and an X-shaped, "four-toed" foot stand with orange highlights on its edges. Knocking the monitor from the sides results in some wobbling, but, given the width of the foot stand, with its gorilla-style, front and back "toes," we weren't too concerned about it toppling. At 12.1 pounds, the monitor is lighter than your typical non-LED gaming monitor; its substantiality betrays its plastic origins.
The monitor tilts back 10 degrees, but unfortunately includes no other ergonomic options. Its profile is a fairly thick 1 inch initially, with another 0.9 inch included for its connection options, bringing the full depth to 1.9 inches. The bezel measures about an inch on the left and right sides and also includes VESA wall-mounting capability, provided via four symmetrically arranged screw holes on the back.
Connection options include DVI, HDMI, and VGA. The connections are arranged as on most monitors, facing downward instead of out, thus requiring more effort when connecting cables.
On the front, in the lower-right-hand corner, sits the power button, designated by its bright blue LED light. On the underside of the bezel are five buttons arranged horizontally. Each button is aligned under a white dot on the bottom of the bezel. Pressing any of the buttons brings up the onscreen display (OSD).
The OSD includes controls for brightness, contrast, RGB color controls, and color temperature. Five presets are featured, including User, Text, Standard, Graphics, and Movie. Navigating the OSD was fairly simple. Pressing any of the buttons brings up the OSD, which consists of five symbols, each aligned to the five buttons, allowing access to the full OSD or the presets. Navigating through the full OSD took some getting used to, but as long as we remained aware of which symbols corresponded to which buttons, we had little difficulty.
|Design and feature highlights|
|Connectivity||DVI, VGA, HDMI|
|Ergonomic options||10-degree back tilt|
|VESA wall mount support||Yes|
|Included video cables||DVI, VGA|
|Number of presets||Five|
|Picture options||Brightness, Contrast|
|Color controls||RGB, Warm, Cool, and User temperature|
|Additional features||120Hz refresh rate|
We tested the Acer GD235HZ through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC, using the included DVI cable. The display posted a composite score of 88 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests.
The GD235HZ's worst offence was the amount of backlight luminance, or clouding, that seeps through its screen. The monitor saw its most dramatic backlight bleeding at the top and bottom of the screen. This level of clouding disrupted our ability to accurately test using the Extreme Grayscale Bars text pattern. The test pattern evaluates the monitor's ability to display very dark gray, using dark gray blocks on a black background. If any of the blocks can't be seen, it indicates that the monitor may have trouble displaying dark detail. In the case of the GD235HZ, the clouding is so prominent in the area where the blocks appear, that it rendered the results inconclusive.
The clouding issue resurfaced in the Screen Uniformity tests (which tests how evenly the backlight light is distributed over the screen) and Dark Screen tests (which specifically looks for backlight bleeding) as well.
As for color, the monitor had good results when displaying linear, dark to light progression of color. In our Color Tracking test, however, we saw some obvious green tint issues.
Text: In text, we saw no color problems with black text on a white background. Fonts were clearly visible down to a 6.8-point size. We did see a lot of blooming around text with both blue and pink fonts on a black background.
Movies: We tested the Acer GD235HZ using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar." Dark details were easy to spot and the monitor displayed fairly dark blacks. Colors were slightly hindered by a green push, but not to an egregious level.
Games: Because of our intimate familiarity with StarCraft II (SCII), it remains our favorite tool for judging color quality and vibrancy in games.