Filling in the rather niche space between commonplace 22-inch LCD monitors and larger 26-inch models, Acer’s 24-inch P244W promises buyers a hefty chunk of screen and full 1080p resolution for a reasonable $340. While the price manages to please, though, not many other aspects of this monitor really do. Mediocre image quality, a wobbly, barely adjustable mount, and lackluster connectivity all had us reluctantly admitting that you get what you pay for when it comes to monitors.
Features and Design
The most impressive specs on the P244W comes from its 24-inch widescreen LCD panel, which offers full 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels), and a claimed 20,000:1 contrast ratio. Take note though, contrast ratios are infamously fudgeable, and contrast wasn’t a strong point for this monitor when it came to image quality (see below). Acer has set it into a glossy black bezel that we can actually applaud for its clean, relatively Spartan approach. Designers even had the forethought to put the controls down on a matte piece of trim that swoops an inch below the gloss bezel, leaving the mirror-black finish mercifully smudge-free.
Acer carried the relatively clean aesthetic values from its bezel down to the P244W’s stand, which looks like two black boomerangs spliced together for stability, with a silver neck in the middle craning to meet the back of the monitor. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work nearly as good as it looks, since the neck offers zero adjustability for anything but tilting up and down. With a chin just three inches off the desk thanks to this squatty stand, and no way to bring it higher, this pretty much means you’ll be glaring down at it, rather than looking at it straight on.
If that were the end of our stand woes, we might leave it as “passable,” but it gets worse. A slight knock to the desk turns the P244W into an oversized bobblehead thanks to the rather flimsy connection between stand and screen. A little wobble is typical for some of these big-screen behemoths, but the P244W is so bad that even overly enthusiastic fits of typing (our favorite kind) are prone to setting it off.
Though Acer’s manual claims the P244W can come equipped with VGA, DVI and HDMI inputs, the model shipped to us for review nonsensically came with dual HDMI ports, a VGA input, and no DVI input. Frankly, selling any monitor without a DVI connector seems like a pretty asinine choice in 2009, but we can’t rib the company too hard, since it purportedly offers this configuration as an “option.” Just check twice before you bring it home from the store.
The P244W does not include onboard speakers as some monitors do, but it includes a standard mini stereo jack for connecting up speakers if one of your inputs is pushing audio via HDMI. There’s no way to connect up an analog audio input and use this connector as a pass-through for headphones, though, and the monitor is also missing the usual array of built-in USB connectors found on many higher-end models.
Acer opted for low-key touch buttons that light up beneath the surface of the monitor’s edge, which don’t actually have any “click” to them. Despite this lack of tactility, we found them perfectly useful for infrequent monitor adjustment, and liked how options lit up brighter when accessed. In general, the interface for adjustments was clean, organized, and easy to access.
As we mentioned earlier, specs don’t tell the whole story with the P244W, which works well enough as an office workhorse, doesn’t excite much when scrutinized much for image quality. Even after a long session spent wrestling with settings, we couldn’t manage to get much more than a somewhat muted, off-color white out of it, and the dullness carried over into all the other colors as well. In short, the P244W just lacks pop. It’s easy on the eyes for typing in Word or browsing the Web, but plastering up a brilliant color photo of fall scenery won’t be dropping any jaws.
The P244W does, however, deliver on video quality, where it surprised us with no blur thanks to its snappy 2ms grey-to-grey refresh times, and a crisp image due to its native 1080p resolution.
Acer’s P244W makes a large and capable desktop monitor that might be a good fit for someone outfitting a home office on a budget, but probably not much more. Its stand, especially, can become a major annoyance, and display quality leaves much to be desired when it comes to graphics.
- Attractive bezel
- Good for motion
- Flimsy stand with few adjustments
- Mediocre image quality
- No DVI port (on our model)