Acer GD245HQ £280
23rd Nov 2010 | 09:03
Is this 3D monitor worth the extra money?
Acer GD245HQ review: Overview
Whether it's gaming or movies, it seems the whole world is going mad for stereoscopic 3D. With that in mind, the 3D-capable Acer GD245HQ is probably the monitor of the moment.
By most metrics, it's a pretty ordinary panel. It's a 24-incher with a TN panel, a CCFL backlight and the standard-issue 1,920 x 1,080 HD pixel grid. None of that would necessarily be bad if it weren't for the minor matter of pricing. The Acer GD245HQ is knocking on £300.
That makes for a tough sell compared to similarly proportioned panels available for over £100 less. Some, such as the BenQ EW2420, even have VA panels and LED backlight. What they do not have, however, is support for stereoscopic 3D.
Of course, for 3D visuals you need some additional kit, such as Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision. That adds another £125 to the overall figure required to enable 3D visuals. Whatever you think about stereoscopic 3D, it doesn't come cheap.
Watts: maximum and approx 170cd/m2 – lower is better
Acer GD245HQ: 43W / 25W
BenQ EW2420: 32W / 18W
LG E2350: 28W / 19W
Acer GD245HQ review: Verdict
The Acer GD245HQ is a tale of two monitors. At least, it's a tale of two monitor usage models, one as a conventional LCD panel, the other as the purveyor of eye-popping 3D visuals.
As for the latter, the Acer does exactly what it says on the tin. It works flawlessly with Nvidia's 3D kit, producing impressive visuals in both games and movies. Of course, you'll need to be wearing those silly shutter glasses to avail yourself of the 3D capabilities. If you're anything like us, you'll find that becomes increasingly tiresome. You might even work up a headache.
What you might not be expecting, however, is the advantage that comes with a 3D-capable monitor running in 2D mode. If that sounds odd, remember that 3D technology typically requires refresh rates of 120Hz. That's double the refresh of a conventional 2D screen.
With the Acer GD245HQ running at 120Hz everything is smoother and slicker. And we do mean everything. Games, unsurprisingly, feel more responsive. But even juggling windows on the desktop is more satisfying. Once you've experienced a 120Hz monitor, you suddenly realise the shortcomings of the standard 60Hz standard.
But what about the GD245HQ's basic image quality? The answer is slightly above average TN visuals in terms of colours, contrast and viewing angles. Good, but not great, in other words. Unless you are committed to getting in on the stereoscopic 3D game, therefore, there's much better value to be from elsewhere. That said, we would like to see 120Hz become much more widespread.
If you're a fan of stereoscopic 3D, you'll love the Acer GD245HQ. You'll also dig the smoothness of running at 120Hz in 2D mode. It's remarkable how much slicker everything looks and feels compared to conventional 60Hz panels. The future is definitely 120Hz.
We're not convinced 3D technology that requires the user to wear silly goggles is a long-term goer. So the GD245HQ's stereoscopic 3D capabilities probably aren't enough to make up for the premium pricing when you consider that, in most regards, this is a pretty ordinary 24-inch TN monitor.