Archive: 22''-30'' LCD Displays 2009 to 2011

REVIEW / Acer GD245HQ

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Alexandre Botella Published on December 30, 2009
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Screen size 24 inches
  • Panel type TN
  • Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Response time 2 ms
  • Inputs (HDMI / DVI / VGA / Component) 1 / 1 / 1 / 0
  • Other details Headphone jack
Acer is the first manufacturer to release a Full HD 120 Hz monitor with a 24'' diagonal.  Until now, the only 120 Hz screens were from Samsung and ViewSonic and measured just 22''.

That makes the GD245HQ a highly anticipated monitor, whose design resembles that of the earlier G24, even if only the stand now has a metallic finish.

Hardware: VGA, DVI and HDMI

So this is the third 120 Hz screen on the market, and the hardware is gradually improving from model to the next: the Samsung 2233rz, for instance, only had a single DVI input for instance, but ViewSonic added VGA to its VX2268wm a few months later.  The Acer GD245HQ, though, has VGA, DVI and HDMI.  It isn't all wonderful news, though, as at this pace, we'll need to wait through another five or six product launches until we get a height-adjustable stand or a USB hub ...

While we're looking at the connectivity, it's a good time to revisit a question that we're often asked: can a HDMI cable carry a 120 Hz signal/?

The answer is 'no'--with the current version of the standard (1.3) at least.  Our tests did manage to push the refresh rate above 60 Hz, but only to 75 Hz with a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels.  That means you'll have to use DVI--and a Dual Link cable at that--if you want to get up to 120 Hz in 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Responsiveness: record breaking

As you might know, we prefer to examine the responsiveness of a monitor by counting the number of frames of ghosting, those traces that take too long to disappear and end up on top of images that are currently on show, rather than in milliseconds.  That's because you can't really compare figures for response time from one display technology to another.  Even on two typical 2 ms TN monitors, the results aren't identical.  Here's an idea of how the different technologies stand up:
  • 6 ms e-IPS: 0.4 colour frames, 0.35 transparent frames (for example: Dell 2209WA)
  • Average 2 ms TN: 0.8 colour frames, 0.5 transparent frames (for example: Samsung T220)
  • 8 ms C-PVA 8: 0.95 colour frames, 0.2 transparent frames (for example: Samsung F2380)
  • The best 2 ms TN 2 (not including 120 Hz): 0.35 colour frames, 0.5 transparent frames (the Samsung 2253BW).
And as we hoped, the GD245HQ did better than all of them:
Coloured    Transparent
Average ghosting over ten frames

Even more surprisingly, it also beats the two 120 Hz that are already available.  The gap isn't huge, with just half a frame less of ghosting in each case, but it's enough to displace the VX2268wm from the podium, which itself had lead the 2233rz by a similar margin.  The icing on the cake is that the input lag is on average only a single frame: taken together, these two scores make this monitor any gamer's new best friend.

Colours: a slight blue tinge

Default Colours

Ideal Colours
Compare the Acer GD245HQ to other LCD monitors in our Product Face-Off
Just like in other areas, the Acer GD245HQ manages to do a little better than its competitors.  The average discrepancy between the colours requested by the graphics card and those shown on screen, or deltaE, is 3.0 by default.  Our test equipment showed a slight tendency for blue shades to dominate, but it was nothing too serious, although it might be problematic if you're editing photos.  You can't do anything to improve it using the OSD, so you'll need to calibrate the screen.

Contrast tops out at 900:1, which isn't anything to write home about but still perfectly average.

Don't Forget!

If you're new to this type of monitor, you should know that a 120 Hz display is just one link in the 3D chain: without 3D glasses and a powerful new graphics card from NVIDIA, you won't be able to get the most out of it.
3D in games and movies
Gaming
Here's NVIDIA's solution:
Instead of using 120 Hz to send a single image, the graphics card produces two 60 Hz signals, one slightly to the left of the other. The lenses are actually two small LCD screens, which alternatively block one eye then the other.
Then it's up to your brain to do what it does with the two views it has of any 'real' object and construct the two images to make a 3D view.

The 3D Gaming Experience
We count some fairly fierce gamers amongst our numbers here, so we always test games with lots of people. The general opinion is that you feel more involved with a 3D game, and even people who don't do that much gaming really enjoyed it.
Things can get better still, but now it's time for game studios to get to work. Most games aren't optimised for 3D, and the result is a scene that has a little more depth than usual without actually coming to life with objects flying out of the screen.

Movies
There are three 3D systems in use at the cinema:
- The first uses 'active' glasses, and is based on the same principle as the computer-based system, except the refresh rate in question is 144 Hz instead of 120 Hz.
The other two both use 'passive' glasses, where each lens is polarised so each eye only sees the signal it's supposed to.
- One type of filter is based on the direction that light is travelling in, while another changes based on the colours in the image. It's an up-to-date version of the red and green lenses that used to grace cereal boxes when we were younger ...

> For more information:
Where we're at with 3D

PROS

  • Excellent responsiveness: the best we've seen so far
  • New gaming experience with NVIDIA 3D glasses
  • Average colour handling, but better than the ViewSonic VX2268wm

CONS

  • TN panel, so narrow viewing angles
  • Not many hardware options

CONCLUSION 5/5

The GD245HQ is faster and has more accurate colours than other 120 Hz monitors we've seen, giving it the crown of the best 3D monitor currently available. And it's the only one with a 24'' display.
5 Acer GD245HQ DigitalVersus 2009-12-30 00:00:00
Compare: Acer GD245HQ to its competitors
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