Acer AL2623W review

£490
Price when reviewed

The time has arrived when it’s no longer only the applications you use and the money in your wallet that determines your TFT size; you must now also consider the size of your desk. At more than 60cm wide and nearly 30cm deep, the Acer AL2623W positively dwarfs even the largest models from our recent widescreen TFT group test, and as with the NEC below you’ll need a good few feet between yourself and the screen for comfortable use.

Acer AL2623W review

The price is comparable with a good 24in model such as the BenQ FP241W, and the 1,920 x 1,200 resolution also stays the same. But the Acer follows the trend set by the first 22in TFTs when they arrived to erode the 20in market: the payoff for the two extra inches is the inclusion of the bare minimum in terms of ports and features. You get a choice of DVI (with the now-obligatory HDCP compliance) or VGA inputs, but there’s no HDMI port for hooking up standalone high-definition A/V devices.

Besides, the AL2623W is part of Acer’s office line of monitors, and it’s for everyday work that you’ll notice the greatest advantage it offers. It’s incredibly liberating to have four windows open at once and, although it’s nothing a 24in model can’t do, the extra Desktop real estate makes everything that much clearer.

To get comfortable, we had to lower the brightness while working- the white level of a full-screen text document is downright blinding -but after that we didn’t need to tweak much else. Colours were vivid but accurate, apart from a green tinge in some darker scenes in our video test, and the remaining tests showed perfect blending on colour and greyscale ramps.

The 5ms response time meant we saw no blurring in our test games, and 1,920 x 1,200 high-definition video looks glorious. More importantly, it doesn’t noticeably lack the sharpness of a 24in TFT, which is a problem we often find with 22in models over their 20in siblings. The black level isn’t dark enough, though, which can be off-putting, and some may find the oversaturated colours a little nauseating.

At this embryonic stage in the life of the 26in TFT, you know you’re being short-changed by adopting early. Unlike the more mature 24in TFTs, there’s no media card reader or USB hub, the screen sits at a fixed height from the desk, which makes positioning it awkward, and the decision to place the power button in the middle of the adjustment controls will grate when you mistakenly switch it off for the umpteenth time.

But it’s a 26in TFT for less than £500. That fact alone will be reason enough for some people to buy it, and we have to admit to finding the AL2623W extremely addictive company. However, the first vanilla 22in TFTs were followed just months later by all-singing, all-dancing models at only slightly higher prices, so it remains to be seen if the Acer will retain its appeal.

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