Acer H243H review: Acer H243H

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MSRP: $259.00

The Good The Acer H243H has a decent price, good overall performance, a satisfying assortment of connection options and cables, and has built-in speakers.

The Bad The Acer H243H lacks ergonomic features, has copious backlight bleed-through, and oversaturates colors in one of its presets.

The Bottom Line The Acer H243H is a good-performing general-purpose monitor with a welcome number of connection options.

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

The Acer H243H is a 24-inch version of the H233H. Both monitors are similar with only price and a few design minor differences between them. Acer sells the smaller H233H for $209, and you can find the H243H can for as low as $240. The monitors include DVI, VGA, and HDMI connectors as well as the required cables for each; a welcome novelty we hope more vendors start including. The displays have built-in speakers and perform well when playing games and watching movies, with the H243H having a slight performance edge thanks to its low black level. Like the H233H, the Acer H243H is a great, cheaper alternative to the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370; however, its good performance is not quite in the same league as the XL2370.

Design and features
The 24-inch Acer H243H 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 monitor's 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 H243H'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 H243H'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 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.

The Acer H243H'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: 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 H243H connected to a computer via its DVI connection. On CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests, the H243H earns a composite score of 87, coming in much lower than the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370's score of 96, but it earns an identical score as the H233H. Overall, the H243H has performs well and doesn't have trouble displaying dark gray as the H233H does. However, the H243H has the same poor Dark Screen test performance score as the H233H has. During this test, which is just a plain black screen, the displays clouding or backlight bleeding is obvious and overt.

The H243H gets a brightness score 290 of candelas per square meter (cd/m2) and has a pretty good contrast ratio at 885:1. In comparison, the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370 has a brightness score of 344 cd/m2 and contrast ratio of 1,008:1, and the Acer H233H has a brightness score of 252 cd/m2 and a 818:1 contrast ratio.

We used the H243H'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 looked at the same movies on Samsung's XL2370 and the Acer H233H. In both" Kill Bill" and the 1080p movies, we found that the H243H has an overall green tint to its images; something we didn't see with either the H233H or XL2370. 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 H233H and the H243H, thanks to the XL2370's high maximum brightness levels.

We looked at World of Warcraft and Unreal Tournament III on the H243H didn't see signs of input lag, streaking, or ghosting during fast movement. The Acer H243H colors in games on looked nearly as full and vibrant as what we saw on the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370. However, the monitor oversaturates colors when we switched to the graphics setting. This was something the H233H didn't do and made text in games look less sharp on the H243H. We recommend using the default User preset for playing games. With User selected, the games colors are less saturated and the text is sharper than when using the Graphics preset.

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