IT Pro Verdict
Good image quality
The Acer ET241Y is typical of the budget monitor genre. It sacrifices luxuries such as height and rotational adjustment to hit a low price, but that doesn’t mean it’s a low-quality product. In fact, if you’re simply looking for a compact second screen – and are happy with the combination of a 24in diagonal and Full HD resolution – we’ll save you time and tell you to buy it right now. And that time could be crucial, as low-cost screens are being snapped up at the moment.
The monitor arrives in two parts, with a simple desk stand that you attach to the screen itself when you take it all out of the box. It’s a simple setup that takes a few minutes. This back-to-basics design only allows you to tilt the screen back and forth, but it provides a stable platform – and we like the lip on the front edge of the base where you can store small items. If you need more flexibility, there’s always the option to attach the Acer ET241Y to a 100 x 100mm VESA stand.
Physical connectivity is basic, but you have the essentials with one full-size HDMI input and an old-school, nine-pin VGA input. Acer even throws in both HDMI and VGA cables so you can hook up the screen straight away. You can forget luxuries such as a USB hub or built-in speakers, though.
The display peaks at 263cd/m2, so we wouldn’t exactly buy it for use in a conservatory. This brightness level is fine in most rooms, however, and a high contrast ratio of 1,113:1 means images look bold and vibrant. As it’s 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 such as the BenQ GL2780.
Colour accuracy and sRGB coverage are acceptable, but only after a certain amount of fiddling. 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. 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, we measured an average colour accuracy Delta E of 3.27 (zero is perfect) and an sRGB coverage figure of 89.2%. Both of these numbers are good considering how cheap the monitor is.
This isn’t, however, the best monitor for gamers. With a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz, a 4ms response time and an overdrive setting that, in Extreme mode, generates noticeable inverse ghosting, you’re better off choosing something such as the BenQ, which comes with a faster TN panel and supports higher refresh rates.
The Acer ET241Y isn’t quite as barebones as you might expect once you start diving into the options. While there’s no auto-brightness setting, it’s possible to tweak the colour settings using six-axis saturation and hue settings, and there’s also a blue-light reduction mode for people who are worried about the impact looking at a screen has on their sleep when working late in the evening.
The one irritation we experienced with the Acer ET241Y was with the controls for accessing the onscreen display (OSD). They’re placed just behind the right edge of the screen and are fiddly. Most annoying of all, Acer’s product design team made the mistake of placing the power button in the same area, meaning we frequently pressed it by accident when we were trying to navigate the menus.
Despite these annoyances – and the lack of frills elsewhere – the Acer ET241Y is a superb buy if all you need is a second monitor for your home office or study. Gamers should avoid it – they would be better off with a faster TN panel as found in the BenQ GL2780 – and inputs are severely limited, but as a no-nonsense second screen, we reiterate what we said at the start: snap it up while you can.
Acer ET241Y specifications
|1,920 x 1,080
|IPS panel, 8-bit display (16.7 million colours)
|Screen refresh rate
|60Hz, 4ms response time
|541 x 213 x 424mm (WDH)
|2yr RTB warranty