ACER EB321HQU Best Budget 2K IPS Monitor
When I decided to replace my 24 inch LG MP77HM FHD IPS Cinema display monitor, I had 2 considerations in mind. The new monitor should have a better resolution than Full HD 1080p, should be an IPS for its good viewing angles, should have a decent G2G response time at least less than 5ms and should be at least a 27 incher. There were lot of LED TVs that fit most of the requirements. But I ruled against TVs for one reason – the TVs that are 32 inch or lesser did not have 2k or 4k resolution and the TVs that did have 4k resolution are 42 inch and higher which is not suitable for my use as monitor because I will sit close to it in my desk. Also, other reasons such as RGB coverage, response time, ergonomics owing to most of my usage as a monitor, all made me stop looking for a TV as a replacement for a monitor. I already have a pair of desk speakers handling the audio so don’t need the built in speakers of a TV to handle audio either.
The hunt for a monitor that would meet my above requirements quickly zeroed in on an Acer EB321HQU. With me even viewing this monitor in person and just by looking at the specs of this monitor, I am convinced that a 2K resolution at 2560x1440p is decent enough for a monitor at 32 inches, that too for this price. The pictures in Amazon also suggested that it will have killer looks due to its slim profile and minimal bezels. I am aware that this model is not the best Acer monitor, but a rather outdated one (I’m guessing), whose review you will not find online. I also saw other monitors that had better resolution, response time, color accuracy, etc but they were mostly TN panels and those that were IPS were approximately 2x costlier than the Acer EB321HQU. Once I had the screen installed in front of me, below are observations, using with Win10 and a secondary monitor for a Mac running High Sierra. I connected the mac over DisplayPort and the Windows over HDMI from a GTX1080.
The monitor needed no drivers both in Windows and Mac and was immediately usable. The screen I received had zero dead pixels. The build quality is good and the monitor is tiltable from -5 till + 15 degrees vertically. No rotation whatsoever. The screen is absolutely sharp at my viewing distance of 2 feet from the monitor running at native 2K resolution at 60 Hz. I also discovered that this monitor is capable of doing 3K resolution at 2880x1620p when driven at 60Hz. This capability of the monitor was never mentioned int he specifications. Native 2K and 4K videos had very good sharpness. i did some tweaking with the color and sRGB profile, Gamma values etc and got a sweet spot for color accuracy. The monitor has 99 percent sRGB coverage. This refers to the number of colours that a monitor can show in any given colour space. Most decent normal monitors will cover approx 100 percent of the sRGB colour space, which translates to about 70% of the Adobe RGB. Also, resolution wise, it is a logical solution to put 2K at 32 inches as 4K would be an overkill. Even when I set the monitor at 3K, text looked very small and I had to adjust the scaling to 150 percent to see text clearly.
Coming to the build itself, the monitor has solid metal stand with an anti slip rubber coating on the bottom. The monitor is solidly supported on this stand with no unintentional movement even when pushed. The weight balance is fine. It also has a VESA mounting option for wall mounting the monitor but the package did not come with a VESA wall mount.
There was a little backlight bleed on the monitor I received, mostly concentrated on the lower edges of the panel. This was not a huge backlight bleed that needed a return / replacement. I was able to fix it by adjusting the brightness of the monitor to somewhere around 50 percent (at 100 percent it is too bright). This made the experience of viewing black scenes or pictures with deep black manageable. In few days of usage, I saw that most of the backlight bleed disappeared. I guess this might be due to some unintentional flexing / massaging along the edges of the panel when I moved it to different locations within the house.
The menu is little difficult to use but not something that you can’t get used to especially considering you wont fiddle with it once you got the settings right. It can automatically detect a new input being connected and can switch to it. It also has a convenient PIP feature using which you can view 2 sources simultaneously either side by side ow within a window. Overall, this is a best budget 2K monitor you can buy less than 350 USD or 25000 INR.