• Acer S243HL and Samsung P2570 24" & 25" monitors

    Review of Acer S243HL and Samsung P2570
    By Kyle “Rumble” Bousquet

    I recently lost a good friend. One of my 22” Samsung 2253BW monitors. It was a very sad day. I can remember when I got the monitors, twins if you will, to replace the two Dell 17” non-widescreen monitors I had been using. It was like being given new eyes. The monitors were large, and bright and crisp. I was thrilled. Now two years later one of them has died. Smoke spewed out of the back with the acid scent of burnt circuit board. It was my own fault, I had moved the monitors to a normal power strip while I shopped around for a new UPS (but that’s a different article). One storm later a monitor was lost to enemy fire, literally.

    So I set out on the journey to find a new monitor. When I bought the 22” monitors they ran about $250 each, and anything bigger was just outrageous. When I started looking into the purchase of a replacement I found the pricepoint I was using was right in the wheelhouse of good 24” to 25” monitors. What follows is a review of the two monitors I could not decide between without a test drive. I bought both monitors, tried them out for a couple days each and made my decision. I’m happy to have the chance to use that experience to write a review of both monitors.

    The Criteria:
    First off, I had a set of features the new 24” monitor had to have. It needed to have a 2ms response time. My old Samsung 2253BW monitors had a 2ms response time and I didn’t want to take a step backwards in that regard. I also wanted a monitor with more than the 8000:1 contrast ratio of my old Samsung monitors. While I enjoyed their color and crispness, I did notice a lot of progress in the contrast ratio department over the last year or two and I wanted to take advantage of it. Last, they had to fit under my $250 price point.

    The Candidates:
    I came up with two monitors that fit the criteria (as long as the store you were buying from would match Newegg or you bought directly from Newegg). The first was the Acer S243HL, a new 24” offering from Acer and the first I had seen with the LED Backlight technology. The other monitor was the Samsung P2570, a 24.6” monitor. Both were on sale at Newegg for under the $250 pricepoint but I should point out that both retail normally for $299. I don’t have a problem buying a $300 monitor for $250 so these were the finalists in my search.

    Acer S243HL:
    The first thing I will say about this monitor is, “Wow, that’s pretty cool looking!”. Pretty much the first thing you notice about the S243HL is it’s modern, sleek look and custom stand. It’s not your vanilla monitor stand, being much wider and made of metal, with the buttons built into the stand but all from one piece of metal. The other thing you notice right away is that this monitor is by far the thinnest monitor out there right now. It is only 15mm thick. Get out your rulers, don’t worry, I’ll wait, and take a look at 15mm, and realize how small that is. The monitor is very light between the thin metal base and the 15mm profile.

    So it’s pretty, how does it stack up on features you ask? Well right away I noticed a HUGE shortcoming in this monitor. Unlike other monitors the S243HL has all of it’s plugs at the bottom of the monitor stand, not on the back of the monitor itself. This helps preserve the 15mm profile. When I looked at the base I saw and audio in jack, and audio out jack, 1 VGA and 2 HDMI ports. There was no DVI port. My initial thought was, “Who doesn’t put a DVI port on a monitor in this day and age!?” or in lieu of that a Display Port. This was the most disappointing thing about this monitor as I haven’t used normal VGA ports since the DVI port came out. Luckily I had a DVI to VGA adapter laying around and I was ready to test out the monitor.

    When it powered on I got the normal Acer logo screen, and I booted up my system. Windows 7 detected the monitor right away, set the desktop to it’s native 1920x1080 and my jaw dropped. This has to be the absolute brightest screen on Earth right now. It lit my whole office up (it was 8pm) and when I switched my desktop to a white screen I was blinded for a good 5 seconds. Now the brightness of the LED Backlit screen is both a positive and negative. It makes for an extremely vibrant display, but I really found myself not able to look at stuff on that monitor for any extended period of time. Even playing CoD:MW2 there were times my eyes seemed overwhelmed by the sheer brightness of the screen.

    This monitor has a contrast ratio of 8,000,000:1 which is mostly due to the LED Backlight. It allows for blacker blacks and brighter brights. Overall I was surprised to find the colors on the screen to be muted, and almost dull. Yes the blacks were very black, and the bright white and yellow were almost blinding, but the rest of the spectrum was almost washed out by all the brightness. I tried playing with the contrast and brightness settings via the OSD but could never quite get them right.

    The color dullness mixed with the lack of a DVI port were just too much to overcome for this monitor. I loved how it looked and how little space on my cluttered desk it took up, but performance, color and a DVI port and very important to me. The other drawback was with the custom monitor stand meant this monitor was not VESA compliant, and could not be mounted on a wall or 3rd party ergonomic mount (like the DS100 Ergotron dual monitor stand I have laying in a corner of my office). I guess if you are buying for the aesthetics you wouldn’t care about that though.

    Samsung P2570:
    The Samsung monitor was everything the S243HL was and more. The box was not as fancy as the Acer, but it was thinner and lighter. When I opened up the box I was happy to find VESA mounts on the back of the monitor, and a standard style monitor stand. The P2570 is also a very thin profile monitor. It is not 15mm thin, but its pretty close.

    The P2570 comes with 1 Optical Audio Port, 1 Analog Audio In, 1 HDMI and 1 DVI port. The lack of a VGA port makes a whole lot more sense to me than the lack of a DVI port as on the Acer S243HL. I had it hooked up and powered on in no time. The power button, and other controls are actually hidden inside the bezel of the monitor. You just touch the surface of the bezel where the power logo is and the controls all light up and the monitor turns on. On the one hand I like the lack of any mechanical buttons. I do get tired of reaching under my monitor’s edge to push a button I can’t read the label on. The P2570 buttons light up on the surface of the bezel, and it makes it much easier to use in the dark. The flip side of this is the possibility it will cost more to fix once it is out of warranty, but I think I’d take that chance for the upgrade in technology here.

    Once again Windows 7 detected the display with no problems and set the desktop to 1920x1080. Now this monitor only has a 70,000:1 contrast ratio. That’s a far cry from the eight million to one of the Acer, but I noticed two things right away. The P2570 was very bright, not as bright as the Acer, but far brighter than any of my previous monitors. It was very bright but I think it manages to be bright enough without overpowering my eyes like the Acer did. The other thing I noticed is the vibrant colors. This monitor easily exceeded the color quality of the S243HL.

    The blacks were very black, the brights very bright, but the colors were crisp and bold. There was none of the washout of the Acer, so I concluded that the same LED Backlighting that gave the S243HL its amazing whites and blacks might be responsible for the muted and washed out colors. The Samsung P2570 is not an LED Backlit monitor, and after hours of using both monitors I will say I don’t like the LED Backlight. I will take vibrant color over extra bright eye straining whites.

    Conclusion:
    I’m going to say that while at first I was very taken by the look of the Acer 243HL, in the end the cutting edge form and technology of the Acer does not always make for the best monitor. I much preferred Samsung’s traditional LCD display and would always sacrifice the cool looking monitor for a better experience on-screen. Acer does have the beginning of something very special here. They certainly have a very modern sleek look and an incredibly bright monitor. What Acer needs to do is slap a DVI port on this bad boy, fine tune the controls so you can scale back the brights, and fix their colors and this monitor would be slam dunk buy. Unfortunately for Acer that’s not what they’ve done, so Samsung’s P2570 is clearly a better all around monitor. It matched Acer on the blacks, but by being slightly less bright it was able to deliver better color and a better all around user experience. Between the two the Samsung is the clear victor. I ended up keeping the Samsung P2570 and returning the Acer S243HL. I really hope Acer takes what they did well on the S243HL and builds on it because it shows great promise.

    Scores:

    Form/Design:

    Samsung P2570: 9
    While the design was very generic the profile was thin and the innovative Samsung “Starlight Touch Buttons” and an Optical Audio port were a nice little enhancement of the vanilla design of monitors these days.

    Acer S243HL: 8
    This could have easily been a 10 if Acer had put a DVI port or a Display Port on this monitor. In this day and age how many monitors come without a DVI port?

    Display Performance:

    Samsung P2570: 9
    They got it right at Samsung with a nice median between blacks, whites and color. You have rich color but you don’t sacrifice the brights and blacks. I think 70,000:1 is plenty for a contrast ratio.

    Acer S243HL: 6
    Once again Acer could have slam dunked this score if they had given better control over the display so you could dial back the brights and add some robustness to the colors. It was also so bright I felt like I needed to wear sun glasses.

    Gaming/Real World Applications:

    Samsung P2570: 10
    I couldn’t say a bad thing about this monitor and gaming. It performed like a champ. The display made my games look so vastly superior to my old 22” monitors I have found myself playing games like Half-Life 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV all over again.

    Acer S243HL: 7
    Acer suffers a 3 point deduction for being too bright. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 I noticed many times the map being too bright. I also felt the overall detail of maps and objects suffered because of the washed out muted color. It still performed well though.

    Totals:
    Samsung P2570: 9.33
    Excellent performance wrapped in a good design.

    Acer S243HL: 7.33
    A good start but Acer can do better.

    Specs:

    Samsung P2570
    Retail Price $299 (found on sale $249)
    Cabinet Color Glossy Black
    Screen Size 24.6"Admin Assistance-400_p2570_front-jpg
    Widescreen Yes
    Recommended Resolution 1920 x 1080
    Viewing Angle 170°(H) / 160°(V)
    Display Colors 16.7 Million
    Brightness 300 cd/m2
    Contrast Ratio DC 70000:1(1000:1)
    Response Time 2ms(GTG) Connectivity
    Input Video Compatibility Digital
    Connectors DVI, HDMI
    DVI 1
    HDMI 1 Power
    Power Consumption 45 W Convenience
    Stand Adjustments Tilt
    Built-in TV Tuner No
    Built-in Speakers No
    HDCP Support Yes
    Features Plug & Play: DDC 2B
    MagicBright, Off timer, Image Size, Color Effect, Customized key, MagicWizard & MagicTune with AssetManagement, Safe Mode(DownScaling in UXGA) Packaging
    Package Contents LCD Monitor
    User Manual
    DVI Cable
    Power Cable
    Power Adapter
    Dust cloth
    Support Disk Dimensions
    Dimensions 23.8" x 17.3" x 9.4"
    Weight 13 lbs. Manufacturer Warranty
    Parts 3 years limited
    Labor 3 years limited

    Acer S243HL
    Retail Price $299 (found on sale $239)Cabinet Color Black
    Screen Size 24"
    LED Backlight YesAdmin Assistance-s243hl-07-jpg
    Widescreen Yes
    Maximum Resolution 1920 x 1080
    Recommended Resolution 1920 x 1080
    Viewing Angle 170°(H) / 160°(V)
    Pixel Pitch 0.276mm
    Display Colors 16.7 Million
    Brightness 250 cd/m2
    Contrast Ratio DC 8,000,000:1
    Response Time 2ms(GTG)
    Horizontal Refresh Rate 30 - 80KHz
    Vertical Refresh Rate 55 - 75Hz
    Panel TN Connectivity
    Input Video Compatibility Analog RGB, Digital
    Connectors D-Sub, HDMI
    D-Sub 1
    DVI No
    HDMI 2 Power
    Complies with Energy Star
    Power Supply 100V-240V
    Power Consumption Energy Star on: 17.15 W
    Energy Star sleep: 0.55 W
    Energy Star off: 0.45 W Convenience
    Stand Adjustments Tilt
    Built-in TV Tuner No
    Built-in Speakers 1 x 2W
    HDCP Support Yes
    Features Release Button
    White LED Backlight Dimensions
    Dimensions 22.40" x 16.73" x 7.56"
    Weight 9.5 lbs. Manufacturer Warranty
    Parts 3 years limited
    Labor 3 years limited

    Reviewers System Specs:
    • CPU: Core 2 Quad Q6600
    • GPU: XFX Radeon 5770 Black Edition
    • Ram: 4.GB
    • Hard Drive: Dual 500GB Seagate Barracuda's in Raid0
    • OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
    • DirectX: 11
    • Sound: X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty
    • Optical drive: DVD/RW
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Gunny's Avatar
      Gunny -
      Nice articles, I wish i had been posted a few weeks back when I both 2 new monitors. I ended up with 2 LG LED's. A 22" Flatron E2250V and a 23" Flatron E2350V.
      Coming from CRT's to LED is AMAZING. I can actually see people before I die.

      Again VERY good article.
    1. Bane's Avatar
      Bane -
      A DVI to HDMI cable can be had for very cheap these days
      What I find to be very sad is this push for 1920x1080 monitors over 1920x1200 monitors. Wasted real estate imho
    1. flame's Avatar
      flame -
      I just bought the E2350 I am loving it so far.
    1. flame's Avatar
      flame -
      yeah and bane is right dvi to hdmi is very common, I am looking for my dvi to hdmi adapter right now...

      I was just disappointed that the only cable that came with my new monitor was a vga. Now I need to pull my 20" samsung apart and try wile's suggested fix for it.
    1. (2)manno's Avatar
      (2)manno -
      i'd like to see a 24" led monitor with a 100hz+ refresh rate and sub 5ms response time. can't seem to find one.
    1. Rumble's Avatar
      Rumble -
      I found like 12 on Newegg.com that are LED backlit 24" monitors.
    1. (2)manno's Avatar
      (2)manno -
      yes, i can find 100's of 24" leds on the internet too.

      but do they have a 100hz+ refresh rate? that's what i cannot find.
    1. [CoFR]SirMoo's Avatar
      [CoFR]SirMoo -
      have you looked at the tried and true asus VW246H? it's served me well for the past couple of years. I'm not sure what 100+Hz gets you if the refresh is faster than response time? Fixes the overdrive issue?