Acer D240H review: Acer D240H

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MSRP: $329.99

The Good The Acer D240H has good overall performance, a satisfying assortment of connection options and cables, built-in speakers, two memory card readers, and PC-free digital photo frame support.

The Bad The Acer D240H lacks ergonomic features and has copious backlight bleed-through.

The Bottom Line The Acer D240H is a good-performing general-purpose monitor, with useful extras and a welcome number of connections.

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6.9 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 8

The Acer D240H shares its design with the H243H. Other than a couple of feature differences and their prices, the monitors' designs are identical. The D240H includes two USB ports, a Compact Flash reader, and a SD card reader; none of which the H243H has. Both monitors include not only DVI, VGA, and HDMI, but also have the required cables for each connection. The displays have built-in speakers and perform well when playing games and watching movies. The D240H can cost as low as $290; about $50 more than the H243H. However, the D240H's $50 price difference is a bit much considering the only extras it has are the USB ports and card readers. Still, though the D240H's performance isn't in quite the same league as the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370, it matches the performance of the H243H and H233H. If you're looking for a good-performing monitor with a large screen and useful extras at a price that--though not ideal--won't break the bank, look no further than the Acer D240H.

Design and features
The 24-inch Acer D240H is a 16:9 aspect ratio monitor with a glossy, black bezel and foot stand. The oval-shaped foot stand is 10.6 inches wide and 7 inches deep. The distance from the bottom of the bezel to the desktop is about 2.6 inches. The back of the panel is a smooth, black matte and is relatively flat. The panel measures 1 inch thick with its connection options and ventilation system adding another 1.5 inches of thickness, bring the full thickness to 2.5 inches. The panel's full width measures 22.6 inches. The angular bezel measures 0.8 inch wide on the sides and the screen has a slightly frosty matte finish. Unfortunately, the D240H's screen height isn't adjustable and there isn't a screen rotation or pivot option for portrait mode. Its capability to tilt back 15 degrees is its only ergonomic feature.

The D240H's connection options include one HDMI, one DVI, and a single VGA port. In a rare move by a monitor vendor, Acer includes cables for all three connections as well as an audio cable for the built-in speakers. All of the monitors connections sit on the back right of the panel and are easily accessible, as they aren't tucked into the monitor too far. On the left side of the panel are a USB downstream port, an SD card reader, and a Compact Flash card slot. On the back of the H243H are four holes for mounting the display to a wall, VESA-style.

The onscreen display button array is aligned horizontally in the lower right hand corner of the bezel and includes the power button, a left and right button--which double as volume control--as well as a menu, Auto, and preset shortcut button. Each button emits a white light from an internal LED, which is great if you are calibrating the monitor in a dark room. To the left of the OSD array is the power button that emits the same light.

The OSD includes five presets: User, Text, Standard, Graphics, and Movie. It also includes controls for brightness, contrast, color temperature, and the capability to change the color temperature and the red, green, and blue values individually. Navigating the OSD has a short learning curve; however, it's not quite as easy to use as Dell's OSD is.

The Acer D240H can also be used as a digital photo frame. By connecting an external drive or card, slideshows can be viewed directly from the external device or transferred over to the 1GB of storage included on the monitor. This feature can be used with the monitor connected to a PC or not.

The Acer D240H's display has a 16:9 aspect ratio and supports a "Full HD" 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution. This continues the trend of monitor vendors moving toward 16:9 from 16:10 because high-definition content--in particular 1080p movies--can fit onto a 1,920x1,080-pixel screen in full-screen mode without stretching the image.

Manufacturer's specifications:
Resolution: 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel-response rate: 2ms
Contrast ratio: Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 80,000:1
Connectivity: HDMI, DVI, VGA
HDCP compliant? Yes
Included video cables? HDMI, DVI, VGA
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Backlight: CCFL
Panel Type: TN

We tested the Acer D240H connected to a computer via its DVI connection. On CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, the D240H earns a composite score of 88, coming in much lower than the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370's score of 96, but performs slightly better than the H234H with its 87 score. The D240H has a good DisplayMate performance overall, and like the H243H, it had no trouble displaying dark gray. However, the D240H's poor performance in the Dark Screen test mirrored the H243H's performance. During this test--a plain, black screen--clouding or backlight bleeding was obvious and overt.

The D240H achieved a brightness score of 239 candelas per square meter (cd/m2) and has a pretty good contrast ratio of 876:1. In comparison, the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 has a brightness score of 344 cd/m2 and contrast ratio of 1,008:1, and the Acer H234H has a brightness score of 290 cd/m2 and a 885:1 contrast ratio.

We used the D240H's Movie preset to check out "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" on DVD as well as several 1080p movie files from Microsoft's WMV HD Showcase. We also looked at the same movies on Samsung's XL2370 and the Acer H243H. In both "Kill Bill" and the 1080p movies, we found that the D240H had more accurate color than the H243H had, which had an overall green tint to its images. All three monitors delivered fairly deep colors and didn't oversaturate too many of them in bright scenes. For example, one scene includes an abundance of clouds that each monitor displayed brightly while retaining the clouds' detail. On the XL2370, the clouds were noticeably brighter than they were on the H234H and the D240H, thanks to the XL2370's high maximum brightness levels.

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