Acer HN274H review
3D monitors use either active or passive glasses, and the active camp is currently dominated by Nvidia's 3D Vision technology. Acer's new HN274H comes with a pair of Nvidia's official shutter glasses and has a transmitter built into the monitor itself, so you don't need to plug in an extra USB box. It has a 27in screen with a Full HD resolution and LED backlighting, as well as VGA, DVI and HDMI inputs, and a 120Hz refresh rate.
The HN274H uses glossy black plastic for most of its design, and as soon as you've peeled off the protective plastic wrap it inevitably attracts dust. It isn’t ugly, but you certainly wouldn't want it as the centrepiece of your living room's entertainment system. Given its three HDMI inputs, Acer seems to want exactly that. The two extra ports are mounted on the side too, and while this allows for easy access it also means cables will stick out.
Setting up 3D for games was fairly straightforward. Nvidia lists supported games on its site, and the choice is quite varied. Games are graded according to how well they support the standard, but even fully supported games had problems during our tests. In Aion, for example, we found that certain objects in the game didn't appear on the same plane as other objects, causing a painful double-image each time we tried to look at them.
One of the major problems is how to handle the crosshair, because most crosshairs appear at the level of the monitor's screen rather than the place it should appear in the game. To overcome this, you can set a 3D cursor in the 3D Vision options (available via the Nvidia Control Panel) and turn off the in-game cursor. In games such as Aion, however, there's no way to turn off the in-game cursor, which moves independently of the direction you're facing, so we found it hard to select objects.
Happily, watching a Blu-ray film was simplicity itself. You're prompted to don your 3D glasses and it works. We found the 3D Vision effect more convincing than passive glasses because of its smoother frame rates, but there's still some evidence of ghosting.
General image quality is good, but the HN274H is only a TN panel so the image appeared washed-out compared to the rich IPS panels we've seen recently. The backlight was a bit uneven and had a slightly cold cast, even though the colour temperature is set to Warm by default. The menu is pretty bare, considering the HN274H's price, and you only get brightness and contrast controls, as well as a choice of Warm, Cool or User colour temperatures.
Even the preset image modes are limited, having a choice of Standard, Graphics, Movie, User and Eco. Thankfully, the colour accuracy is reasonably good and contrast is quite impressive for a TN panel. In the night-time airport scene in Casino Royale, we could just about see the seams in the black leather boots worn by Bond's adversary. Viewing angles are also quite forgiving.
Our main problem with the HN274H is its price, which reflects the inclusion of Nvidia's shutter specs. The space-age Samsung S27A950D has a brighter, more vibrant screen, its 3D glasses work with both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards, and it's also a bit cheaper.
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