We Review Amazon’s Best Selling Monitor: the Acer SB220Q 21.5″ is just $90

We went out searching for Amazon’s most popular monitor and what we found was Acer’s SB220Q 1080p 75Hz IPS show. This monitor tops each the very best promoting and probably the most wished for screens listing, in order that’d appear to point not solely are prospects shopping for this monitor, however they really need it in vital numbers.

One other key indicator that caught our consideration have been user reviews. There are over four,000 of them, giving it a four.6 star common which is stable, so we’ll must see the way it holds up in our testing.

Clearly one of many the reason why the SB220Q is so common comes right down to that price ticket. $90 could be very low-cost for a monitor and it’s onerous to seek out many cheaper than this. When you begin hitting $70 and even $80 you begin limiting your self to sub-1080p choices and loads of outdated garbage. So in the event you’ve simply constructed a PC and you don’t have anything left in your price range, grabbing one of many least expensive 1080p shows Now looks like one thing lots of people are doing.

On paper, the specs additionally make this an attractive purchase beneath $100. We’re a 22-inch 1080p IPS panel with a 75 Hz refresh fee. Now in the event you’ve been following our monitor opinions, this isn’t in the identical realm as the standard 1080p and 1440p 144Hz stuff we have a look at. However we expect what Acer is providing continues to be spectacular for the value.

That is an IPS panel, not TN, and TNs are normally probably the most inexpensive monitor class. On high of that, we do get a slight bump up in refresh fee from baseline 60 Hz to 75Hz. A couple of little extras right here and there can go an extended approach to making an entry-level monitor stand out from the pack.

That stated, 22-inches, or extra precisely 21.5 inches, is small for a monitor. Even 24 or 25-inch shows really feel like a considerable improve in panel dimension. One thing 24.5-inches finally ends up almost 30% bigger, so this is among the extra vital trade-offs to deliver the value down. We seemed round simply in case and you may’t discover a 24-inch IPS show for lower than $100.

With that stated, the Acer SB220Q does characteristic adaptive sync assist, but it surely solely comes with a single HDMI port (alongside VGA). Meaning adaptive sync is barely usable with AMD GPUs since Nvidia’s current-gen merchandise don’t assist adaptive sync over HDMI. The adaptive sync implementation isn’t nice both: with only a 75 Hz most refresh and 48 Hz minimal, there’s no low framerate compensation. This implies as quickly as your body fee drops beneath 48 FPS, adaptive sync disengages and also you’ll begin seeing tearing or stuttering relying in your Vsync settings.

It’s not a terrific expertise to fluctuate out and in of the adaptive sync window, it may be fairly jarring. So having a graphics card able to constant 1080p 60 fps gameplay goes to be key. Not everybody shopping for a $90 monitor goes to fall into that class, if in case you have an RX 560, for instance, you may wrestle. However, these kinds of adaptive sync points are current with nearly all sub-100Hz shows, so it’s not a novel drawback to the SB220Q.

Oh, and the SB220Q is the primary monitor we’ve examined in a very long time that solely comes with a VGA cable within the field. HDMI cable bought individually. Given graphics playing cards ditched VGA round a decade in the past, is the goal for this cable selection these with historical laptops or PCs?

When it comes to construct high quality, the Acer SB220Q is fundamental as anticipated. The stand is nearly solely plastic, it’s surprisingly stable and total the show could be very skinny, however it is a low-cost design and construct. Unspectacular plastic, common bezel dimension, and really restricted adjustability. The stand solely helps tilt adjustment, and due to the small show dimension, with out top adjustability it sits very low in your desk. Most individuals might want to increase this up 10 to 20 centimeters for ergonomic viewing, and you may’t try this with a VESA arm, as there’s no mount. We don’t anticipate price range screens to characteristic a top adjustable stand, however not having a VESA mount is a little bit of a stinger and actually limits this monitor’s usability.

There’s no directional toggle for controlling the on-screen show, however we’ll do with with face buttons. On a optimistic observe, Acer hasn’t skimped on the OSD, there’s loads of settings in keeping with most of their different price range screens, so we nonetheless get stuff like blue gentle filters and cheat crosshairs. There are additionally a number of overdrive settings, not like another price range screens we’ve reviewed that fully neglect the characteristic.

Show Efficiency

Response Instances / Overdrive Modes

Talking of overdrive modes… let’s check out response time efficiency. Ther are three avialable modes: Regular is the default, there’s additionally Off and Excessive. Off could be very gradual, we’re dealing with a 16.24ms gray to gray common which is typical of entry-level 1080p IPS panels with out overdrive. Ghosting is important utilizing this mode, with lengthy smear trails following transferring objects. Solely 27% of transitions come near assembly the prolonged 13.33ms refresh window, so this mode merely isn’t quick sufficient and wouldn’t be nice at 60Hz both.

Regular takes issues the opposite manner, now we have now a 6.40ms gray to gray common which is respectable for an IPS monitor, and permits the SB220Q to attain 100% refresh fee compliance. Nonetheless, this has come on the expense of overshoot, and fairly a big quantity of overshoot. A mean error fee of 14.6% is excessive, and round half of all transitions expertise inverse ghosting. Loads of transitions are above 25% overshoot, which is noticeable.

The acute mode is worse. It does push the gray to gray common as much as three.77ms, however overshoot turns into overwhelming, main to large vibrant halos round transferring objects. This mode is unusable.

Sadly, if you look throughout these three modes neither is especially good. In reality, we’d name Off and Regular ‘dangerous’ overdrive modes, and Excessive is horrible. So we’re left with a predicament: is it higher to have 16ms transitions with no overshoot, or 6ms transitions with substantial overshoot? Neither is right, however that is what Acer presents us right here.

Once we have a look at pursuit digital camera footage utilizing Blur Buster’s UFO Test, which simulates how the human eye sees movement on this show, you possibly can see this in motion and the way neither Off nor Regular ship a terrific expertise. Off could be very gradual with large quantities of ghosting and smearing, with trails behind the transferring UFO. However then with Regular, these ghost trails are changed with inverse ghosting, a vibrant path that in some circumstances is extra noticeable than the blur path.

We’d in all probability barely desire the Regular mode with inverse ghosting, we expect movement readability is considerably higher however we’re selecting between two dangerous choices.

The monitor isn’t any higher at 60 Hz — relatively efficiency is worse at 60 Hz than it’s at 75 Hz with even better ranges of overshoot. It’s a price range monitor, so we guess we will’t anticipate extra, however movement dealing with is unquestionably not considered one of this monitor’s robust factors.

How does the SB220Q evaluate to different 1080p screens we’ve examined? Properly, when it comes to gray to gray common utilizing the Regular overdrive mode, 6.40ms shouldn’t be too dangerous for an IPS monitor. We get respectable darkish stage efficiency, beating another low-cost VA choices just like the Pixio PCX243, for instance. Response time compliance utilizing this mode can also be effective, as you’d hope with a 75Hz refresh fee.

Nevertheless it’s with error charges that every part falls aside for the SB220Q. A mean error of 14.6% is the very best we’ve examined amongst 1080p screens, most of which sit extra within the zero to four% vary utilizing their optimum overdrive modes. This will get even worse when inverse ghosting: 46% of transitions affected by the problem is manner greater than most 1080p screens, to the purpose the place inverse ghosting is extra apparent than with another monitor on this listing.

Let’s run by some choices right here. The Viotek GN24C is a VA panel we’ve very often really helpful within the price range class, being 1080p 144Hz, and it places up a 5ms gray to gray common with 5% inverse ghosting and related darkish stage efficiency. That’s considerably higher movement dealing with than you get with the Acer SB220Q.

One other newer addition is the Pixio PXC243, which has nearly no inverse ghosting however suffers from a slower gray to gray common round 7.5ms. In different phrases, it’s about 1ms slower than the SB220Q, however fully eliminates the inverse ghosting trails, all with a VA panel. It too has considerably higher movement dealing with, and naturally we will see different choices right here too from AOC, LG and others.

Most of those different screens are costlier, across the $150 mark, so it is sensible they’d carry out higher. However we’re simply unsure the SB220Q is delivering a terrific bang for buck expertise with this form of efficiency.

60 Hz efficiency is okay when it comes to response occasions, however does undergo from extreme inverse ghosting.

Enter lag is typical of a price range monitor, we’re seeing a processing delay round three.5ms, a gradual refresh fee and modest response occasions, so this isn’t delivering a low lag expertise. Getting a 144Hz panel as an alternative would go an extended approach to decreasing enter lag however once more, they’re costlier.

Energy consumption is low at round 16W, though not that a lot decrease than some 24” screens we’ve examined. Nonetheless, if warmth output is a priority, the SB220Q is golden on this space.

At this level we’ve established the Acer SB220Q isn’t excellent as a gaming monitor, how about as a basic workplace kind monitor or simply one thing for internet shopping? That is the place shade efficiency is way more vital, so let’s dive proper in…

Colour Efficiency

Out of the field calibration is respectable, which is welcome information for consumers after a terrific shade expertise. Our unit had near-perfect white ranges, and whereas this did fall off barely when transferring by the remainder of the greyscale with a minor yellow tint, it wasn’t that noticeable and much exceeded my expectations from a mud low-cost monitor. A greyscale deltaE of two.45 isn’t completely correct, however excellent on this worth class.

Default Colour Efficiency

Saturation efficiency is analogous with a deltaE common of two.48, largely restricted by some oddities with reds and greens. The panel used right here can’t fairly hit 100% sRGB protection, we’re extra at 93% so there’s a little bit of clipping with greens, however total efficiency is stable although we find yourself with a three.39 deltaE common in ColorChecker.

Calibrated Colour Efficiency

There isn’t a lot that may be completed to enhance issues utilizing the OSD controls given the white level is already fairly good, so the subsequent step is a full calibration. As common, this resolves most of our points with this show’s manufacturing facility efficiency, tightening us as much as a beneath 1.zero deltaE common throughout the board. It’s not good, once more we run into clipping points with inexperienced and cyan, so we wouldn’t suggest this show for shade essential work, however for a sub-$100 show this may ship nice shade efficiency.

Brightness from the SB220Q is mediocre at 240 nits after calibration, though not too far-off from most price range screens. That is nonetheless vibrant sufficient for many use instances however if in case you have a extremely vibrant viewing atmosphere like a sunny room, this won’t be sufficient.

Distinction ratio is mediocre. Not stunning given it’s an affordable IPS panel however 882:1 places it within the backside rungs of our charts and usually that is low for an IPS. If you would like higher black ranges and distinction ratio, you’ll must fork out for a VA show. It’s additionally price stating it is a native 6-bit panel that achieves Eight-bit by FRC, so shade banding with gradients is a bit more noticeable right here than with a real 6-bit show.

Viewing angles are glorious and the coating handles reflections properly, so regardless of not having probably the most punchy blacks, the viewing expertise right here for colours we expect is kind of good. When you’re performing some workplace work, watching a couple of YouTube movies and so forth, it’s onerous to complain about what the SB220Q delivers.

Uniformity is nice as properly. Not the very best we’ve seen however the central space is properly beneath management. There was a little bit of fall off within the high left and backside proper of my retail unit, and there was additionally a small quantity of IPS glow noticeable in darker viewing environments, however nothing too horrible.

Wrap Up

By now you need to have a fairly good concept of how the Acer SB220Q performs as a sub-$100 monitor. We haven’t reviewed a ton of screens on this worth class regardless of how common they’re, however listed below are some last ideas and comparisons primarily based on what we’d anticipate from an entry-level product.

To succeed in this sort of worth level, clearly numerous compromises needed to be made. Outdoors of panel efficiency, the small 21.5-inch dimension and lack of VESA mount instantly leap out as trade-offs, together with the uninteresting design all-round. However these are frequent areas the place we’d anticipate prices to be minimize and actually, for lots of use instances it’s not an enormous deal.

When it comes to precise panel efficiency, we expect the Acer SB220Q is completely effective for fundamental viewing, workplace duties, productiveness, video playback and people sort of duties. We’re getting good manufacturing facility calibration with a really stable white level. There’s no apparent tint and that makes it nice for doc modifying and internet shopping, which continues to be dominated by expansive white areas. Mix that with glorious viewing angles and acceptable uniformity, and sure, for a $90 monitor we’re impressed with the colours.

As was to be anticipated, the SB220Q shouldn’t be good for gaming. When you have been fooled by the 75Hz refresh fee and adaptive sync on the grime low-cost worth level, sadly not one of the overdrive modes are good, leaving us with both dangerous ranges of smearing or dangerous ranges of inverse ghosting. That is an ultra-affordable low-end IPS panel with gradual response occasions. And to its credit score, it’s in all probability not that totally different to different 60 to 75 Hz IPS screens across the identical worth.

With at this time’s low costs for 144Hz 1080p screens, we don’t assume the SB220Q delivers a number of bang for buck as a gaming show. The Viotek GN24C, PXC243 and AOC C24G1 are all $140 to $160. That is ~60% costlier than the SB220Q, however what you get is no less than twice as quick and twice nearly as good at movement dealing with.

However in fact, $90 vs $150 for lots of consumers is evaluating apple to oranges. For round $90 we will’t see many higher choices than the SB220Q.

We really feel this case is considerably much like low-end graphics playing cards. The worth isn’t fairly there with absolutely the least expensive GPUs, and also you’re higher off transferring one tier up the place you get vital enhancements. These 144Hz screens are such nice worth proper now that our suggestion for entry-level gaming screens goes to stick with them, however for easier internet shopping, workplace productiveness, YouTube, watching films, possibly you need it as a second monitor, it’s actually not dangerous for $90.

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