That’s where WQHD resolution comes in – it’s the perfect choice for a sub-32 inch display, but until recently, you could only get the standard TFT panels at an affordable price, and those don’t have the best colors or viewing angles. And unless you want to play the roulette on one of those South Korean displays (with rejected Apple panels), there really isn’t that much choice.
Thankfully, Acer saw the opportunity and released a pair of nice 27” and 29” IPS monitors with a WQHD resolution at an unprecedented price. We’re talking about the B276HUL and B296CL specifically, as there’s another model, T272HUL, which has a touch screen, is aimed at home users and costs way too much for what it offers.
The B276HUL and B296CL (doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it?) look pretty much the same – the only difference is in their size and aspect ratio – the former is a standard 16:9 27” monitor with a 2560×1440 resolution, while the latter is an ultra-wide 21:9 format 29” display with a 2560×1080 pixels resolution.
Both monitors offer a great range of adjustments that easily rivals that of the more expensive Dell UltraSharp displays, with the panels sitting nicely on a large sturdy stand and being capable of 90 degree pivoting for portrait mode, adjustable vertical and horizontal tilt, as well as adjustable height – no matter what desk you have, you’ll definitely be able to set them up in the perfect position.
Some would say the monitors are not pretty – the straight edges, matte black color and 90 degree angles don’t make much of an impression – but I think they look very classy, like real work monitors should. The “borderless” design pioneered by AOC means that you only get a ~1cm bezel (it’s actually the LCD panel itself) around the screen, so the whole monitor is quite small, although not as thin as it could be because of the internal power supply. That does keep the whole housing sturdy, though.
Hardware features and performance
The hardware features on Acer’s new B276HUL and B296CL are quite extensive and rather impressive considering the price. The monitors use LG’s latest AH-IPS panels, which provide great viewing angles, excellent contrast and accurate color reproduction (you’ll definitely want to calibrate them with a hardware calibrator for the best results, though). Their only drawback is the yellow/blue glow that is visible on a black background when looking at an angle – that’s what sets them apart from the much more expensive S-IPS and P-IPS panels.
The monitors have a light 3H antiglare coating that makes them useable in any light conditions and scratch resistive – but at the same time the picture can appear somewhat grainy if you look at it from a close distance or have very sensitive eyes.
The monitors are rated for 38 Watts of power usage, and although that’s most likely in Eco mode, they should not use more than 45-50 Watts even at the highest brightness, which is quite impressive considering their size.
|Specifications||Acer B276HUL – 27”||Acer B296CL – 29”|
|Panel specifications||27 inches, 16:9 wide aspect ratio, IPS LCD, 178-degrees viewing angles, 6ms response time, 350 nit brightness||29 inches, 21:9 ultra-wide aspect ratio, IPS LCD, 178-degrees viewing angles, 8ms response time, 300 nit brightness|
|Resolution||2560 x 1440 pixels||2560 x 1080 pixels|
|Ergonomics||Adjustable height, vertical tilt, 120 degrees horizontal swivel, 90 degrees pivot||Adjustable height, vertical tilt, 120 degrees horizontal swivel, 90 degrees pivot|
|Connectivity Options||2x HDMI ports, 1x DVI port, 1x DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio in jack||2x HDMI ports, 1x DVI port, 1x DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio in jack|
|Special features||Integrated stereo speakers, output DisplayPort for daisy chaining, USB hub (2x USB ports)||Integrated stereo speakers, output DisplayPort for daisy chaining, USB hub (2x USB ports)|
|Power usage rating||38 Watt||38 Watt|
|Dimensions and weight||114.2 x 50.9 x 12.8 mm, 91.3 grams||114.2 x 50.9 x 12.8 mm, 89.6 grams|
Price and Availability
Both the 27” B276HUL and 29” B296CL have the same $599 price tag, which is very low compared to the current competition – pretty much the only similar competitor is the AOC Q2963PM, which is a 29” monitor that has the same panel as Acer’s B296CL but lacks the adjustability of the stand.
The touch-enabled T272HUL mentioned in the beginning will be selling for $999, which is not worth it considering it’s got no adjustability whatsoever (it has a portrait-like design) and has a touch glass covering the front, which makes the colors and viewing angles worse.
The monitors are coming to stores this month, so if you wanted to get something with accurate color reproduction, great viewing angles, a wide range of adjustability and an affordable price, they are worth a look (just don’t forget to calibrate them before testing, at least by eye).