Acer H233H review: Acer H233H

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MSRP: $219.00

The Good The Acer H233H has a low price, good overall performance, a satisfying assortment of connection options and cables, and built-in speakers.

The Bad The Acer H233H lacks ergonomic features, has copious backlight bleed-through, and has a difficulty displaying very dark gray.

The Bottom Line The Acer H233H is a good-performing general-purpose monitor with a welcome number of connections at a low price.

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

The Acer H33H is a 23-inch monitor with good performance and a low price. For many of you, that's as much of the review you need. For the rest, the Acer H233H not only includes DVI, VGA, and HDMI connectors, but it also includes the required cables for each--a welcome novelty we hope more vendors start including. The display has built-in speakers and performs well when playing games and watching movies. The Acer H233H is a great, cheaper alternative to the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370. The Acer has good performance, but it's not quite in the same league as the XL2370.

Design and features
The 23-inch Acer H233H is a 16:9 aspect ratio monitor with a glossy screen, black bezel, and a foot stand. The oval-shaped foot stand is 10.6 inches wide by 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 it 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 21.7 inches. The angular bezel measures 0.8 inch wide on the sides and the screen has a slightly frosty matte finish. Unfortunately, the Acer'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 Acer can be connected via its HDMI, DVI, or 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 back of the H233H 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 a 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.

The Acer H233H's 16:9 aspect ratio 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: 5ms
Contrast ratio: Dynamic Contrast Ratio: 40,000:1
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 H233H connected to a computer via its DVI connection. The display posted a composite score of 87 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, coming in much lower than the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370's score of 96. While the H233H performed well overall on the DisplayMate tests, there were a couple areas where it disappointed us. First, the display had a hard time displaying dark gray and instead crushed much of it to the point that they were not only indistinguishable from black, but also from other shades of gray. This indicates you'd lose a lot of dark detail when watching a movie on the display. The Acer's Dark Screen performance elicited disappointing glances from us as well. During this test--which is just a plain, black screen--the clouding or backlight bleeding was obvious and overt.

The H233H achieved a brightness score of 251 candelas per square meter (cd/m2) and has pretty good contrast ratio of 818:1. By comparison, the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 posted a brightness and contrast ratio of 344 and 1,008:1, respectively.

We used the H233H's Movie preset to check out "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" on DVD and several 1080p movie files from Microsoft's WMV HD Showcase. We also compared it with the same movies playing on Samsung's XL2370. In both Kill Bill and the 1080p movies, we found that the XL2370 and H233H were nearly identical in their color accuracy. Each monitor delivered fairly deep colors that didn't over-saturate many bright scenes. For example, one scene includes an abundance of clouds that each monitor displayed brightly, while retaining the clouds' detail. The XL2370's clouds were noticeable brighter though, thanks to its high maximum brightness.

We looked at World of Warcraft and Unreal Tournament III and noticed no signs of input lag or any streaking or ghosting during fast movement. The Acer H233H's colors in games looked nearly as full and vibrant as we saw while playing them on the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370. The XL2370's higher brightness gives the colors the extra oomph they need to really pop. Overall, games looked better when using the default User preset, and not the Graphics preset.

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