A bargain basement IPS monitor with impressive image quality
- Robust build
- Great image quality
- Auto brightness
- Viewing angles not the best
- Prosaic design
The Acer ET241Y is a bargain-basement monitor that, in many ways, is typical of the genre. It sacrifices luxuries such as height and rotational adjustment to hit a low price point. But that doesn’t mean it’s a low-quality product. Indeed, with solid all-round image quality, it’s well worth considering at a price that comes in below £100.
Key specifications and price:
- 24in, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS display
- 60Hz refresh rate
- HDMI and VGA inputs
- Auto brightness and blue-light reduction modes
- Built-in speakers
- Price: £98
What do you get for your money?
Considering that low price, what comes in the box isn’t particularly surprising. If anything, it’s more generous than you might expect. There’s the monitor itself, of course, and a kettle-type power cable – the bare minimum – but Acer also supplies the monitor with both HDMI and VGA cables so you can get hooked up straight away.
The monitor arrives in two parts, with a simple desk stand that you have to attach to the screen itself when you take it all out of the box. That isn’t difficult – simply slot it into place and screw together with a simple thumbscrew – and the stand itself does the job. It’s a touch wobbly and basic: it only allows you to tilt the screen back and forth and there’s no height adjustment. However, it provides a stable platform and I like the fact there’s a little lip on the front edge of the base so you can store small items on it without them slipping out of sight under your keyboard.
Plus, if you really need more flexibility, there’s always the option to attach it to a 100 x 100mm VESA stand via the four mount points at the rear.
What type of connections does it have?
Again, physical connectivity is basic but you have the essentials here with one full-size HDMI input and an old-school, nine-pin VGA input. There are no additional luxuries here, either: no USB hub and not even a headphone jack since the monitor has no built-in speakers.
If your laptop or PC doesn’t have an HDMI output, don’t worry; HDMI is flexible enough that you’re likely to be able to buy a converter cable for your particular need. Converter cables are available for all sorts of outputs to HDMI inputs, including DVI and USB-C connections and for very little outlay.
How good is the image quality?
Image quality isn’t pro-level quality but, again, Acer makes cuts in the right places. The display isn’t particularly bright – it peaks at 263cd/m2 – so don’t plan on using it in your conservatory on a sunny day. This is absolutely fine in most rooms, however, and a high contrast ratio of 1113:1 means images look bold and vibrant.
This being an IPS monitor, viewing angles are great; you’ll see no colour shifting as you view from the side or above as you would with a TN monitor. Likewise, colour accuracy and sRGB coverage are perfectly acceptable.
You will need to make sure you use the monitor’s settings to select the Standard picture preset and then set the colour temperature to “User” if you want to make the most of it, though. The monitor’s default settings have a warm colour temperature preset enabled and contrast and colour accuracy both suffer hugely.
With the correct options set, I measured an average colour accuracy Delta E of 3.27 (0 is perfect) and an sRGB coverage figure of 89.2%. Both of these numbers are pretty good considering how cheap the monitor is.
This isn’t, however, the best monitor for gamers. With a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz, a relatively slow response time of 4ms and an overdrive mode that, in Extreme mode, generates quite a bit of inverse ghosting, you’re better off choosing something like the BenQ GL2780, which comes with a faster TN panel and support for higher refresh rates.
Are there any other things I should know about?
The Acer ET241Y isn’t quite as bare-bones as you might expect it to be once you start diving into the options, either.
While there’s no auto-brightness setting it is possible to tweak the colour settings using six-axis saturation and hue settings and there’s also a blue-light reduction mode for those worried about the impact looking at a screen has on their sleep when working late in the evening.
The one irritation I experienced with the Acer ET241Y was with the controls for accessing the on-screen display. They’re placed just behind the right edge of the screen and are fiddly to use. The power button could have done with being placed somewhere else as I frequently pressed it by accident when I was trying to navigate the menus.
Should I buy it?
Despite this, at less than £100, the Acer ET241Y is a very good buy if all you need is a second monitor for your home office or study. It isn’t quite as good for gamers, who would be better off with a faster TN panel like that found in the BenQ GL2780 and inputs are severely limited but as a no-frills second screen, there’s not much else here to complain about.