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

REVIEW / Acer S231HL

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Alexandre Botella Published on August 23, 2010
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Screen size 23 inches
  • Panel type TN
  • Resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Response time 5 ms
  • Inputs (HDMI / DVI / VGA / Component) 0 / 1 / 1 / 0
  • Other details NA
Acer's S231HL is an ultra-flat 23'' monitor whose TN panel has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.  To keep the frame less than 3 cm thick, the manufacturer has chosen LED backlighting.  Not only does this system take up less room than the traditional fluorescent tubes, it also requires less energy.

Hardware: the absolute minimum

There's no use looking for any accessories or flexibility: you won't find anything, apart from the ability to tilt the screen back by a few degrees.  You'll also have to make do with just VGA and DVI inputs, which leaves the S231HL with just one star in this section.

Responsiveness: a pleasant surprise for a 5 ms TN 

There are dozens of 5 ms monitors out there, and it isn't very often that they surprise us with their responsiveness.  That's what the Acer S231HL managed to do though.  It's not as fast as a 2 ms screen, but its results leave it firmly between the two categories.

Coloured   Transaparent
Average ghosting
over 10 frames

In reality, that means that fast-moving objects are displayed slightly more smoothly than we'd expect on a monitor that's reserved for office work.  It's still not responsive enough for us to actually recommend it for gaming though.

And as for the input lag, the gap between the signal leaving the graphics card and actually appearing on screen, there's nothing to worry about: it's so short in this case as to not be noticeable.

Colours: skin tones look purple


Measured Colours

Ideal Colours
Compare the Acer S231HL to other monitors in our Product Face-Off

With its default settings, this monitor produces colours that have a strong blue tinge.  Flesh tones, meanwhile, have an annoying tendency to look purple.  We would normally correct this sort of problem by adjusting the colour temperature mode from 'Standard' to 'Warm'—except that the S231HL is already set to 'Warm' when it leaves the factory.

The good news is that you can switch to 'User' mode and correct goings that way.  You need to set red to 50, green to 29 and blue to 28.  The bad news is that things still aren't perfect, and the deltaE, or discrepancy between the colours requested by the graphics card and those shown on screen, is still mediocre.  To make sure you get a decent display, you'll have to download a calibration profile.
More crazy contrast
Although Philips still holds the record for the most ridiculous claim about contrast ratio at 20 000 000:1, Acer isn't far behind. The S231HL is sold with a contrast ratio of 12 000 000:1. When we tested it in the lab, we measured 1050:1, which is actually an excellent score for a TN-based monitor. Even with dynamic contrast turned on (something we advise against), the contrast peaked at 1075:1, a long way from the twelve million to one claim.

Manufacturers need to be careful: consumers might justifiably get fed up at being taken for idiots with such unrealistic claims. It's been a long time since we've actually taken any manufacturer statistics seriously.

PROS

  • Low energy consumption
  • More responsive than most 5 ms monitors
  • Low input lag
  • Above av

CONS

  • Strong blue tinge with factory settings
  • Mediocre usability and accessories

CONCLUSION 3/5

The S231HL is thin, energy efficient and has virtually no input lag. However, there's a little room for improvement with colours, responsiveness and hardware before it can climb above three stars.
3 Acer S231HL DigitalVersus 2010-08-23 00:00:00
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