Author Topic: Acer EB321HQ Awi Review: Glossy* 1920x1080 IPS  (Read 646 times)

NCX

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Acer EB321HQ Awi Review: Glossy* 1920x1080 IPS
« on: March 26, 2019, 03:35:12 am »

The EB321HQ Awi uses the same almost-glossy or low haze coating as the 25 & 27" HP 25 CW/er/es/f/XW and 4K HP 32 Spectre monitors, and the Qnix UHD32R I reviewed.  Asus (VA325H), LG (32MP68) and Philips (323E7QDAB) all sell EB321HQ Awi equivalents, but there are no reviews. 

*I'm not sure if it has an AHVA, IPS (Innolux or LG), or PLS panel, but suspect it has an AHVA panel since it suffers from vastly less glow than everything else aside from the 32" 4K AUO AHVA panels in monitors like the BenQ BL3201PH/PT, PD3200U and multiple 4K Qnix monitors (I reviewed the matte UHD3216R & almost-glossy/low haze coated UHD32R).  The 32" 4K AUO AHVA panels glow more than the Acer, but less than IPS panels ,smaller AHVA panels and PLS panels aside from the LTM270DL06 mentioned above.

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« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 12:44:08 pm by NCX »

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NCX

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Re: Acer EB321HQ Awi Review: Glossy* 1920x1080 IPS
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2019, 07:20:27 pm »
Features & Stand

Acer EB321HQ Awi Front 20s by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The Acer only has 1x HDMI and 1x VGA inputs, but it is VESA compliant.  The case is made of sturdy white plastic, and the stand is made of metal, and only allows for slight tilting.  I tested a returned unit without the original accessories or box; the official Acer website states that the Acer comes with a power cable and VGA cable.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 05:19:35 pm by NCX »

NCX

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Monitor Set-Up
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2019, 07:20:47 pm »
Menu & Set-Up

DSC_0873 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

There's no need to change any settings aside from the Black Level setting since the preset gamma is slightly too low.  Change the Black Level setting from 5 to 3 to increase the gamma, accuracy and vibrancy.

Correct Way To View AHVA/IPS/PLS & VA

Correct Monitor Viewing Height by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The top left image shows the correct way to view IPS type (AHVA, IPS, PLS) and VA panels, but most importantly IPS LCD panels.  Doing so vastly reduces white glow when viewing black and dark content, especially if the display brightness is not cranked in a dimly lit room.  IPS vs TN: Right & Wrong Ways To Use Or View; How To Vastly Reduce AHVA/IPS/PLS Glow & Vastly Increase The Perceived Black Depth
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 10:03:10 pm by NCX »

NCX

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No Flicker In Subway Town
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2019, 07:50:50 pm »
Flicker/PWM Dimming

DSC_0888 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The Acer is advertised as Flicker Safe, which means it does not use back-light flicker or LED PWM Dimming (read about the side effects), regardless of high or low the brightness is set.  I checked for and did not see LED PWM Dimming with the Blur Busters Test UFO Blur Trail/PWM Test with 0-100% brightness settings in the Acer's menu. The lack of PWM is a good since PWM or Flicker ruins motion clarity (example), and makes some people suffer from health issues such as headaches, and/or eyestrain.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 12:48:44 am by NCX »

NCX

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Almost-Glossy/Low Haze Coating
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2019, 07:51:23 pm »
Almost-Glossy/Low Haze Coating

DSC_0764 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The EB321HQ Awi uses the same almost-glossy or low haze coating as the 25 & 27" HP 25 CW/er/es/f/XW, HP 32 Spectre monitors, and the Qnix UHD32R I reviewed.

The almost-glossy or low haze coating is equally as free from grain and sparkle, as equally as clear as a glossy coating, and is less reflective. The almost-glossy coating is also free from obvious white haze which semi-glossy coatings suffer from when displaying dark content in brightly lit rooms.  Reflections are not as transparent and clear as glossy coating reflections, but the reflections are slightly less pronounced.  The coating the Acer uses also does not look grainy when viewed off angle like the coating the Qnix UHD32R I tested used.

In brightly lit rooms the coating the Acer uses is less reflective and looks better than the semi-glossy coating almost all non-high end TV's use.  Compare the Acer to the Qnix UHD32R, Samsung 43NU7100 and Samsung 43X750F:

Qnix UHD32R: Almost-Glossy or Low Haze Coating
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Samsung 43NU7100: Semi-Glossy Coating
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Sony 43X750F: Semi-Glossy Coating
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Fully Glossy HP 25VX versus Almost-Glossy HP 27XW
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The HP 27XW uses the same coating as the Acer.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 12:43:54 am by NCX »

NCX

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Ghosting/Overdrive Performance
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2019, 07:51:40 pm »
Ghosting/Overdrive Performance

DSC_0884 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

Acer EB321HQ Overdrive Setting Comparisons

Acer EB321HQ Awi OD Normal VS Extreme by Dr NCX, on Flickr

^The above compilations are of photos of the Test UFO Ghosting Test on the monitors featured in the compilations.  The photos are slightly out of focus.  The transparent bright after image trailing the UFO in the OD Extreme photos is overshoot ghosting which appears in the form of transparent bright colored, black or white glow on color and shade transitions moving across the screen.  The OD Extreme setting is useless since it suffers from obvious overshoot ghosting.

The Acer is marginally slower than the fastest 60hz AHVA, IPS and PLS panels like the Acer XB321HK (>900$ 4K AHVA panel) and HP 25f (AH-IPS), but it is still fast enough for 60hz gaming and watching movies and TV shows.  The overdrive setting named OD is correctly preset to the Normal setting which provides a completely overshoot ghosting free gaming experience.  The slightly slower pixel response times cause some obvious color streaking, especially with yellows and white when quickly panning the camera in games, especially while viewing the white clouds in the Overwatch map Illios's light blue sky. 

Multi-Monitor Test UFO Ghost Test Comparison

Acer EB321HQ vs BenQ RL2460 vs HP 25f vs Samsung 43NU7100 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The BenQ Zowie RL2460 is one of the fastest 60hz TN panels while the HP 25f is one of the fastest IPS type panels.  The Samsung uses a VA panel with very slow pixel response times, and uses a low frequency LED PWM Dimming frequency which increases motion blur significantly.  The trailing, faint, secondary UFO after image is a bit more pronounced since the Acer has slightly slower pixel response times than the HP which is slightly slower than the BenQ.  I call the type of ghosting the Acer, BenQ and HP suffer from streaking, and call the far more pronounced and darker trailing or after image the Samsung VA panel suffers from smearing.

The overdrive flaws are minor and will not negatively impact casual 60hz gaming, or people who do not want, or can't afford equally sized 75-144hz monitors.  The Acer has faster pixel response times and less motion blur than most low-mid range TV's which use slower VA panels with low frequency LED PWM Dimming or flickering back-lights which increase motion blur. 

« Last Edit: May 31, 2019, 03:47:59 am by NCX »

NCX

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Speed Through The Wasteland
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2019, 07:51:54 pm »
Input Lag

DSC_0887 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The Acer can be considered delay free or to have negligible input lag since it has a 2.5ms (top screen Leo Bodnar measurement) delay.  Most non-professionally oriented monitors have equally as low input lag while very few TV's have less than 10ms when tested with the Leo Bodnar device.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 12:30:38 am by NCX »

NCX

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Lighting
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2019, 07:52:58 pm »
Brightness & Contrast

DSC_0781 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

Acer EB321HQ awi B & C by Dr NCX, on Flickr


The Acer has a 64.7-292.7cdm/2 brightness range, and a 980:1 contrast ratio which is typical for AHVA, IPS, PLS and TN panels.  The Acer is dim (64.7cdm/2) enough for use in light-less rooms at 0% brightness (0/100 in the menu), and bright (292.7cdm/2) enough for use in open and brightly lit rooms as long as the monitor is not being hit by direct sunlight on a bright day.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 10:07:49 pm by NCX »

NCX

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Re: Acer EB321HQ Awi Review: Glossy* 1920x1080 IPS
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2019, 07:53:22 pm »
Preset Color Accuracy

DSC_0814 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

Acer EB321HQ awi Color Preset Chart by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The second set of colorimeter measurements in my preset color accuracy chart were taken once I improved the gamma by changing the black level setting from 5 to 3, and reduced the menu brightness to 40/100 to output 140cdm/2 which pairs well with my 2200 lumen 6500K LED ceiling light.


The Acer has excellent preset color accuracy and beautiful image rendering, but it is not perfect since the preset gamma is slightly too now and non-linear, and because the Acer fails to completely cover the SDR (HDTV/REC 709 and sRGB) color spaces, however, these flaws are forgive-able when considering the size and price of the monitor, and fact that they're minor.  The gamma is non-linear and averages around 2.0, and the preset RGB levels are not perfectly linear, but they're extremely accurate to the point that the Acer does not suffer from an obvious preset color dominance unlike most displays, as well as is more accurate than many far more expensive monitors.  On paper an average gamma of 2.0 is mediocre, but the 0-30% white, or the gamma of dark greys average around 2.1 which prevents the monitor from looking obviously washed out.

Acer EB321HK vs Viewsonic VP2780-4K Color Gamut Comparison

Acer vs Viewsonic 5 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

As shown above, the Acer's color gamut (white triangle) is a bit miss-matched versus the sRGB gamut (dark triangle) since the Acer over-extends on the right side angle resulting in over-saturation, and undercuts slightly on the left side and bottom right resulting in under-saturation.  The Acer does not suffer from obvious flaws, even though it over-saturates greens, oranges and yellows and minor under-saturation of reds and pinks by around 10%.  Some colors can not be displayed properly, but these flaws are minor, forgive-able when considering the price, and only noticeable to trained eyes comparing the Acer to a very accurate and calibrated monitor like my ViewSonic VP2780-4K used for comparison.

Acer EB321HK Default Gamma: Black Level 5 vs Level 3

Acer EB321HQ Black Level 5 Default vs Black Level 3 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The preset gamma is not low enough to make the Acer look washed out, and the image quality can be improved by changing the Black Level setting from 5 to 3, though it is not possible to achieve linear 2.2 gamma without calibration.  Once the Black Level is changed the Acer looks beautiful and comparable to vastly more expensive monitors like my calibrated 4K Qnix UHD32R which uses the same coating, and my calibrated 4K ViewSonic VP2780-4K which uses a matte coating.  The Acer is accurate enough out of the box for non-professional work which requires accuracy, and its preset image quality is far above average for multi-media use due to its perceived black depth increasing white bezel, accuracy and low glow panel.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 06:18:52 pm by NCX »

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Un-Calibrated VS Calibrated
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2019, 07:53:39 pm »
Un-Calibrated VS Calibrated

There's a measure-able, but barely perceptible difference between the Acer out of the box and after calibration since it is so accurate.

Acer EB321HQ Un-Calibrated vs Calibrated 1

Acer EB32 UC vs C1 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

Acer EB321HQ Un-Calibrated vs Calibrated 2

Acer EB32 UC vs C2 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

Acer EB321HQ Un-Calibrated vs Calibrated 3

Acer EB32 UC vs C3 by Dr NCX, on Flickr
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 10:35:36 pm by NCX »

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Killer Style
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2019, 07:53:59 pm »
Calibrated Image Quality

DSC_0871 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

Acer EB321HQ awi Calibrated Chart by Dr NCX, on Flickr

It is only possible to slightly improve the Acer with calibration since it's so accurate out-of-the-box aside from the low preset gamma.  The main improvement occurs once the Black Level setting is changed from 5 to 3 which increases the accuracy and overall vibrancy.  Since the Acer does not have a native sRGB gamma curve it requires calibration with a colorimeter to be suitable for professional use, however given the size and resolution I doubt a professional with a colorimeter would buy this type of monitor, and I did not calibrate it to find out if DispCalGui, the software calibration program I use can achieve accurate sRGB gamma tracking.   

The Acer suffers from the least amount of glow I've seen from AHVA/IPS/PLS aside from the extremely rare and glow free Samsung LTM270DL06 2560x1440 PLS panel in my Qnix QX2710.  One has to spend vastly more on a 32" 4K AHVA panel like the matte BenQ PD3200U (review links) to upgrade color accuracy wise without sacrificing the low glow panel.  The Acer is one of the best all around monitors image quality wise under 1000$ US, and is one of my favorites since it has a low glow, is free from gamma shift, and has an almost-glossy coating and a perceived black depth increasing white bezel. 


DSC_0819 by Dr NCX, on Flickr
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 06:31:03 pm by NCX »

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Perceived Black Depth
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2019, 07:54:14 pm »
Perceived Black Depth

DSC_0823 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

Refer to the Glossy Coating section of the review to see the Acer compared to other glossy-type monitors with my bright 2200 6500k LED ceiling light on.  The Acer's white bezel increases the perceived black depth enough that I was able to set my three LIFX BR30 lights to dark red and output less than 1500 lumens total and still perceive black as pure, dark and inky rather than greyish, and not see any obvious back-light uniformity issues.  Normally I need to use over 3000 lumens (maximum LIFX BR30 brightness is 1100 lumens at 3500k) with monitors with 1,000:1 contrast and fake bezel or frame-less inner black bezels and glossy black bezels.  The brighter the bias lighting the harder it is to see details on screen which is why being able to use significantly less, as well as more atmospheric lighting while also retaining inky perceived black depth a fantastic and viewing enhancing feature to have.

My Qnix UHD32R uses the same coating and has a silver bezel which increases the perceived black depth, but not as much as a white bezel since its silver bezel is darker, and because the Qnix has 30% lower contrast and obvious back-light bleed which can be seen in the Back-Light Bleed section of the review.

The Acer suffers from a bit of back-light bleed in the bottom left corner, but other wise offers above average perceived black depth thanks the the low glow panel and white bezel.  These perceptual benefits are hard to capture on camera, especially the low glow panel when photographing and viewing the monitor from a stationary position.  The BenQ Zowie RL2460 uses one of the highest quality TN panels around which is superior to the majority of TN panels on the market, including vastly more expensive 27" 1440p TN panels.

Acer EB321HQ IPS Panel with 1,000:1 Contrast

Acer EB321HQ The Order 1886 LO 15s by Dr NCX, on Flickr


Acer XB321HK AHVA Panel with 800:1 Contrast
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BenQ Zowie RL2460 TN Panel with 900:1 Contrast
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HP Spectre 32 AHVA Panel with 800:1 Contrast
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The HP Spectre 32 has low gamma averaging under 2.1 which results in colors and shades appear lighter or washed out compared to the other monitors.


Qnix UHD32R AHVA panel with 700:1 Contrast
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Qnix UHD32R Review: 4K Glossy* AUO AHVA Panel with AMD Free-Sync


Samsung 43NU7100 VA Panel with 3,700:1 Contrast
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Samsung UN43NU7100FXZC & Sony 43X750F Review x2: Semi-Glossy 4K VA & IPS

The Samsung reduces the brightness when displaying very dark content including this screen shot from the PS4 exclusive The Order 1886.  The sides of the Samsung look blue-ish, lighter and washed out since VA panels suffer from horizontal gamma shift which causes their gamma to decrease the further away from the center the image is.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2019, 09:59:58 pm by NCX »

NCX

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Re: Acer EB321HQ Awi Review: Glossy* 1920x1080 IPS
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2019, 08:29:50 pm »
Back-Light Bleed
Acer EB321HQ IPS Panel with 1,000:1 Contrast

Acer EB321HQ Awi Back-Light 20s by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The Acer suffers from a bit of back-light bleed in the bottom left and top left corner, but otherwise has good screen uniformity, especially for a budget panel of this size and when account for the low glow panel.  The photos are from my Back Light 25s Exposure album which contains photos of many more monitors.


Acer XB321HK AHVA Panel: 800:1 Contrast
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HP Spectre 32 AHVA Panel: 800:1 Contrast
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Qnix UHD32R AHVA Panel: 700:1 Contrast
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« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 09:49:41 pm by NCX »

NCX

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Re: Acer EB321HQ Awi Review: Glossy* 1920x1080 IPS
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2019, 05:42:03 pm »
Viewing Angles

Acer EB32 V3 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

Acer EB32 V1 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

When viewed off angle vertically, especially from above the Acer's colors lose contrast or vibrancy at a narrower angles, or sooner than most AHVA, IPS and PLS panels, but black does not lose contrast, look obviously grey or white, washed out or glow remotely as much.  The horizontal viewing angles are also narrower; the panel looses contrast or vibrancy of color when viewed off angle faster than many 1440-4K resolution AHVA, IPS and PLS panels, but they cost more and suffer from more glow.

IPS vs TN: Right & Wrong Ways To Use Or View; How To Vastly Reduce AHVA/IPS/PLS Glow & Vastly Increase The Perceived Black Depth


Glow

DSC_0787 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

Acer EB32 V2 by Dr NCX, on Flickr


The Acer suffers from the least white glow  when viewing dark content and black out of all the LCD monitors I've tested aside from the extremely rare and glow free Samsung LTM270DL06 2560x1440 PLS panel in my Qnix QX2710.  The only comparable and widely avaliable panels with low glow are 32" 4K AHVA panels found in monitors like the Acer XB321HK, BenQ PD3200U, Qnix UHD3216R and Qnix UHD32R which use vastly more expensive 32" 4K AUO AHVA panels.  Best Reviewed Flicker Free 32" 4K 3840x2160 AHVA/IPS/PLS Monitors buying guide.

The Acer's narrower viewing angle for colors, or faster loss of color contrast and vibrancy when viewed off angle is not a problem for leaning back or reclining, or normal use.  The vastly reduced glow combined with the perceived black depth increasing white bezel allows the Acer to stand out and serve as a top tier display for the viewing of 1080p media and casual gaming.

IPS vs TN: Right & Wrong Ways To Use Or View; How To Vastly Reduce AHVA/IPS/PLS Glow & Vastly Increase The Perceived Black Depth
« Last Edit: May 19, 2019, 12:37:41 am by NCX »