Unlike some of the more boring monitors that make their way through our Labs the Acer has a very distinct and eye-catching style. Even better it backs it up with excellent build quality and a strong set of features. The 27-inch Acer features an LED backlit panel with a very low 2ms response time. It runs a 1920 x 1080 resolution and has a dynamic contrast ratio of 12 million to one. It uses a TN panel rather than the better but more expensive IPS panels though only eagle eye users will really notice the difference.
The screen itself offers acceptable performance with deep blacks and no visible light bleed. Colour reproduction is about average so really fastidious owners will want to adjust the profile manually to get the very best results. Despite reports of problems with reverse ghosting we didn’t find any evidence with our test model. The S273HL offers a nice wide 178-degree viewing angle although we found colours quickly varied off centre. The screen has a matte surface making it ideal for bright environments.
Unlike most monitors the Acer mounts all its inputs and electronics in the stand rather than the screen itself. This lets Acer squeeze the panel down to only 2cm thick but it also means you can’t easily wall mount it. Sadly the stand only offers basic tilt functionality though all the controls and inputs are much more accessible than usual. Connectivity options include dual HDMI ports and a legacy VGA connector. While you can connect up from a DVI output via a converter it’s an annoying extra little step.
The Acer also includes a pair of speakers driven from a 3.5mm audio socket. Disappointingly there doesn’t seem to be a link from the HDMI inputs though the speakers themselves are usable enough for basic things like watching YouTube videos or VoIP. The Acer is also quite energy efficient and only draws 22W in normal use.
If you compare prices online you can buy the Acer for as little as $450. The S273HL also has a little 24-inch brother for those with smaller desks or lower budgets.
Available from Acer retailing for $799.
APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)