Acer Ferrari F-20 review

£458
Price when reviewed

You can barely throw a remote control in PC Pro’s labs without hitting a Media Center PC these days, but to take full advantage you’ll need a TFT that both looks the part and supports widescreen TV. Finished in glossy black and Ferrari red, Acer’s Ferrari F-20 will certainly lend your living room a certain something.

Open the box and you’ll be greeted by S-Video, component video and scart leads, all of which have ports on the monitor. The built-in analog TV tuner is another plus. To switch easily between video inputs, there’s a supplied remote control, which also handles the volume of the built-in speakers, as well as controlling Teletext.

Its paper credentials are impressive too. The contrast ratio is 800:1 (normal desktop monitors have contrast ratios of around 500:1), and in our tests we could see all but the last four darkest shades in a scale of 255, and all but the brightest two. In real-world use, this means you’ll be able to see a lot of detail in dark scenes.

The response time of the panel is 8ms, and our technical tests showed the F-20 to be highly commendable; you’ll have to look very carefully to spot any lag. We used it to watch TV, films and for a spot of gaming, and were highly impressed. The gloss finish on the screen makes the panel more attractive, at least for homes, and also means that the contrast appears increased.

Viewing angles are a slight drawback. For most monitors, a viewing angle of around 45 degrees off-centre is easily achieved, but the F-20 starts to diminish in brightness a little before that point, which will definitely be a problem if you intend several people to watch the screen at once. Also note that the panel doesn’t offer much in the way of adjustment: you can tilt it forward and backwards, but there’s no way to rotate it or adjust the height.

But what stops us recommending the F-20 is that for £82 less you can buy Acer’s AL2032WA, which is precisely the same panel minus the Ferrari branding and TV tuner. For £82, you could kit your PC out with a digital TV tuner, which will offer you far more than the analog version included in the F-20. However, if it’s sheer impact you’re looking for, this version wins.

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