The T230H is one of Acer's gifts to the touch generation. We're still not sold on Windows 7 touch — sure, it's the best Windows has ever been integrated with the feature, but it still feels largely pointless and tacked on, especially on the desktop. We can see it (sort of) in all-in-ones, but stand-alone monitors? Nah. Leave touch to the single purpose devices, and we'll continue to use keyboards and mice on desktop PCs, thanks.
Regardless, the T230H is quite the well constructed beast, reminding us a little of Dell's previous generation of UltraSharp range, particularly because of the stand and ergonomic features therein. Tragically, this is where the similarities end. For a start, Acer has chosen to include a glossy screen, meaning much higher glare and reflectivity than usual.
The touch software is also not thoroughly thought through. For multi-monitor set-ups, the T230H registers touch just fine, but if you have another screen set as primary, the click ends up there instead of on the Acer. Vexing indeed.
Another oversight — when the monitor is turned off, the screen still receives touch input. Should you ever want to clean the thing, you'll need to yank the USB or power cable to avoid entering click hell.
It is multi-touch, for what it's worth — Windows Photo Viewer and anything else that supports it will accept two fingers just fine to pinch zoom and rotate, although if you use more than two, it starts getting a bit confused.
The Acer uses infrared technology for the touch, which means you don't actually have to touch the screen for it to receive an input. A few times when hovering our finger close to the screen but not touching, it registered a click. This makes quick writing or drawing difficult, with you needing to lift your hand further away than normal from the screen if you intend to get an actual break on screen, rather than a continuous line.
Shiny. No, really: the screen is high gloss. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Specs at a glance
|Max vertical refresh||60Hz|
|Connections||DVI, HDMI, VGA, 3.5mm line in|
|Accessories||DVI, VGA, 3.5mm audio and power cables|
Stand and ergonomics
The T230H is a cut above most stands you see in this range, and is heavily reminiscent of Dell's last generation UltraSharp stands. From the "flying V" legs, to the central swivel point, rack and pinion height adjust, tilt and hole-in-neck-style cable management, someone at Acer has clearly decided that imitation is the best form of flattery. The only thing it's missing is pivot to put it in portrait mode, and the ability to lift the panel itself off the stand.
Well done Acer, even if it is a blatant copy of Dell's older stand.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Power, USB upstream, 3.5mm line in, HDMI, DVI, VGA (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
The T230H is decked out with some fully sick ... no, wait. It's a pair of 1.5W speakers that are tragically underwhelming, have little volume, no definition, sound distant yet somehow manage to distort easily, and you'd do a million times better with any stand-alone speaker set.
This is pretty much standard with any monitor speakers, so we won't be too harsh on Acer here, but we sure wish someone would follow Apple's iMac lead and bundle something decent for a change. Or just leave them out — they're only adding cost.
Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)
Acer's buttons are not only situated under the display, but are rockers that are smaller than the labels lead you to believe, resulting in many frustrated missed hits, and difficulty navigating anywhere. We found ourselves tilting the monitor up just so we could see the buttons and minimise mistakes. It is, in a word, vexing. There is no quick input switch button either; you'll have to go through at least eight button pushes before you get the option to switch to your device of choice.
Another annoyance arose here: if you're using multiple inputs, and one of your machines goes to sleep, the T230H will automatically switch to another machine that isn't asleep. In our test case, the computer would turn the monitor off, then the monitor would auto-switch to the running PS3. We couldn't find an option to turn this off, and to our eyes it's nothing but potential power wastage.
The prize for worst monitor buttons goes to Acer. At least they don't beep. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Acer's OSD is understated and easy enough to navigate, awful buttons aside. It offers nothing about the standard menu options.
Of course, what it does offer is the usual glut of presets, this time under the moniker "Acer eColor Management". We have "User", "Text", "Standard", "Graphics" and "Movie" this time, although as always we recommend leaving it on Standard, and then turning eColor Management off through the OSD.
A simple menu, with only the barest of features. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
|Contrast||Sharpness||Gamma||Black level||White saturation||Gradient|
|Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass||Couldn't differentiate level 254 from white||Banding towards dark end of the scale, purple/green discolouration|
|Inversion pixel walk tests|
|Test 1||Test 2a||Test 2b||Test 3||Test 4a||Test 4b||Test 5||Test 6a||Test 6b||Test 7a||Test 7b|
|Pass||Flicker||Slight flicker||Pass||Flicker||Slight flicker||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass||Pass|
The gradients aren't the best on the T230H, nor is its ability to discern true white when calibrated. It failed four of the pixel walk tests, but up to four failures here is typical for LCD screens.
Measured against a Samsung SyncMaster 975p CRT, and using a Canon 40D set to a shutter speed of 1/320, an average of over 60 photographs were taken using Virtual Stopwatch Pro. The average result over DVI came in as 0ms — in what is becoming a trend for TN-based screens, the T230H actually posted a number of scores that were faster than the CRT, in some cases upwards of 20ms.
ΔE is the measurement of how far a measured colour deviates from its expected value, allowing us to determine the colour accuracy of a monitor. While a ΔE value of 1 is considered perceivable, as long as it's less than 3, the shift shouldn't be too obvious. HCFR was used to determine ΔE for the monitor, and dynamic contrast ratio was turned off.
|Black level (cd/m²)||0.30|
|White level (cd/m²)||211.18|
The uncalibrated CIE chart. The white triangle is the colour space of the monitor, the dark is the sRGB gamut it's trying to match. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)
Not the worst we've seen, but those greys are way out and the gamma is shot. Let's see if we can get things a bit better with Eye-One Match 3 and HCFR.
|Black level (cd/m²)||0.33|
|White level (cd/m², target 140cd/m²)||142.17|
|Gamma (target 2.2)||2.17|
The calibrated CIE chart (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)
We had a heck of a hard time calibrating the T230H, which seems to be something common among touchscreens. Blues didn't register accurately until the colour values were brought right down below 50, and even after significant tweaking in HCFR, we weren't able to coax any more accuracy out of it. For a low-end consumer monitor, this is not the be all and end all, but compared to its competition, the T230H suffers.
While a monitor might have an HDMI port that's no guarantee it'll display images as expected. We hooked up a PlayStation 3 and checked for 24p capability, as well as judder and ran the HQV Blu-ray test to see how well it coped with an interlaced source and noise.
|24p capable||Understands YUV||Mission Impossible III
Scene 11 judder test
|Mission Impossible III
Scene 14 judder test
resolution loss - stadium
|Total score (out of 100)|
1080i content on the T230H was jumpy, and as you can see from the HQV tests, wasn't filtered as well as it could have been. 24p is off the cards, and panning both horizontally and vertically created judder in our Mission Impossible III test chapters. You can certainly watch movies over HDMI on the T230H, it just won't give you the best experience.
Viewing angles were taken with a Canon 40D in spot metering mode, with only shutter time adjusted to obtain a good exposure.
Expected viewing angles, along with the usual TN inversion when viewed underneath. Touchscreens seem to have 10° less horizontal viewing angles than their non-touch equivalent. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
Backlight uniformity was measured by placing HCFR into free measure mode, displaying a completely white image and recording the brightness along a 5x3 grid on the screen. This should be considered a guide only, as backlight uniformity is likely to change from unit to unit.
It's not amazingly uniform, but this is typical and there's no need for concern. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)
The T230H exhibited obvious light bleed from the top of the screen, and a faint glow from the bottom.
It's important to note that the effects of light bleed will likely change from monitor to monitor, regardless of make.
We measured power consumption using a Jaycar mains digital power meter. It's important to note here that due to limitations of the meter, measurements are limited to values of 1W and greater, and are reported in 1W increments.
All measurements, screen brightness and contrast were set to 100 per cent, and a test image displayed.
|Maximum power draw||41W|
That's a huge draw for a screen of this size — even the SX2210T from Dell doesn't get near it. Acer's G225HQ does though, which leads us to two conclusions: adding infrared-based touch doesn't add too much to the power draw of a monitor, and Acer really needs to look into its power consumption.
Acer covers the G225HQ with a three-year pick-up and return warranty. If the user finds any dead pixels seven days after purchase, Acer will arrange a pick up and return repair. We are still waiting for Acer's response in regards to its policy after this period ends.
Acer's T230H is a passable screen that makes some good ground with the build quality, but loses it again through silly design decisions. The gloss screen, lack of dedicated input switcher, high power consumption, not-thought through touch functionality, premium price and the lacklustre HDMI performance lead us to recommend you look elsewhere.