Acer B296CL; An In-Depth Review

Though dual monitor and multiple monitor setup is a great way to have bigger screen real estate, not all computer users have the luxury of big desk space or and big budget to purchase another monitor for their workstation. Some simply don’t like the idea of having two or three monitors on their desk. If you’re like these people, but still need or want the idea of wide and big screen real estate, then your best option is ultra-widescreen monitor, such as the Acer B296CL. It’s a 29-inch display with 21:9 aspect ratio, and packed with hardware features great for multimedia and convenient use. Is it a good investment, check out this in-depth review from Dual Monitors Guide now!

(image from Amazon)

Who is it for?

If dual monitor or multiple monitor setup is not working for you, or if you’re just tired of dealing with the cable clutters of multiple displays in your workstation everyday, then it might be time for you to move up to ultra-wide monitor, such as Acer B296CLThis monitor sports a 29-inch IPS panel, which delivers rich color quality and good grayscale accuracy. Also, it has all the video ports and connectivity options you can ask for a modern display.

 

Benefits

The 29-inch IPS panel of Acer B296CL is well-engineered to deliver rich color accuracy and quality and good grayscale performance. It displays 2560 x 1080 resolution, with an aspect ratio of 21:9. It has all the video ports for whatever computer setup you will need. It also comes equipped with a USB 3.0 port for faster file transfer and charging of your devices. Acer is also generous enough to package the product with a fully adjustable stand, offering comfortable and flexible adjustment and setup solutions.

Good Color Accuracy and Solid Grayscale Performance

The color accuracy of Acer B296CL is quite impressive. Based on CIE chromaticity test, colors Red and Blue are in their ideal coordinates, while Green is just a hairline off, quite a common issue among IPS panels today that doesn’t really affect the overall color performance of the display. Also, like most IPS panels, this too displays colors in deeper fashion; colors from dark to light are well-saturated and well-transitioned.

In terms of grayscale performance, this Acer monitor performs admirably. Based on DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test, the B296CL is able to reproduce every shade of gray, and provides good details and highlights in test photos.

 

Decent Viewing Angle Performance

The viewing angle performance of this display is quite a mix of bag; horizontal plane angles work well, with no signs of shifting or luminance loss. However, viewing the screen from the top or bottom (vertical plane), shows slight dimming. It’s quite a common issue among ultra-wide monitors though, as we have seen AOC Q2963PM and the Dell UltraSharp U2913WM having this problem, which are also both 29-inch big. This issue doesn’t cause anything to worry about though, as the vertical angles are just as sharp as they should be. Brightness level stays even over the whole display as well, with an average variation of just 8%. There are no patches of unwanted leaking of light through the monitor’s backlight either.

 

 

Decent Out-Of-The-Box Image Quality

As a display made for regular daily use, office computing, movies and multimedia, we expect this monitor to have good out-of-the-box image quality, and it certainly delivers. The average Delta E runs at 2.6, with default settings, a little low for colors to be considered ‘accurate’. Closer inspection of this display shows red, yellow and green are all nearer 4, which is just fine for general office computing work. It may not be the ideal quality for graphic designers, photographers who do a lot of photo editing and processing, but it is sure good enough for general use.

The average gamma performance is at 2.4, which is fine, though a little off-kilter in lighter greys. The contrast performance on the other hand, is excellent, which is at 1316:1, which is considered high for an IPS panel monitor.

 

Respectable Response Time

Obviously, this IPS panel is no match compared to TN panels in terms of responsiveness. However, Acer made sure that this product has respectable responsiveness. In ghosting tests, this model has an average response time of 12ms (TN panels can run at 10ms), good enough for basic computer use, watching movies, and even playing some games. Of course, it’s not the ideal when it comes to hardcore games.

The Input lag is at 33ms, a bit high but still respectable, as it is the most responsive of all 29-inch displays with 21:9 aspect ratio.

 

 

Decent Power Saver with Eco Modes

At Standard mode, the B296CL consumes 45 watts of power, it is at the common range of most 29- inch displays, though a little high. It also comes equipped with Eco mode though, which can drag the monitor’s power consumption down to 32 watts, display however looks a little too dim. To compare, AOC Q2963PM consumes 33 watts at Standard mode, while Dell U2913WM uses 36 watts.


Design and Features

(image from Amazon)

Design wise, the Acer B296CL is a well-finished product, and truly an eye-catcher wherever you put. The side of the cabinet sports slim bezel, giving the scree slim and almost borderless look. However, there’s a black border on the screen the runs between the bezel and the image of the screen, which is very easy to see when the monitor is switched on. The display uses matte screen, which helps keep reflections out and keep the display viewable at any lighting conditions. The all-black casing and minimalist design of this cabinet gives it a nice modern look.

 

Buttons and Functions

Acer is known for making user-friendly products, and the B296CL is no different, as it comes with Acer empowering Technology key which brings up the picture mode menu with five (5) choices, namely User, Standard, Eco, Movie and Graphics. Also, there are hotkeys for PIP (picture in picture) that cycle through the five PIP position options. Picture setting adjustment includes Brightness, Contrast, Color Temperature, a 6-axis hue and Saturation adjustments.

 

Tons of I/O Ports for All Your Workstation Needs

(image from Amazon)

The Acer B296CL is packed with I/O ports; the back of the cabinet houses two (2) HDMI ports, a DVI input, a DisplayPort input, audio input, an two (2) downstream USB 3.0 ports and  an upstream USB 3.0 port. The DisplayPort output also supports daisy chaining of multiple monitors, allowing you to connect and configure multiple monitors with the same display settings easily and conveniently. There are two (2) more USB 3.0 downstream ports on the left side of the cabinet, making it convenient for you to plug in your smartphone or gadget and recharge. They ports can even recharge your devices without having to power up the monitor.

 

Fully Adjustable Stand for Full Ergonomics

(image from Amazon)

The 29-inch cabinet stands on a fully ergonomic stand, which offers multiple ergonomic adjustments, giving you the best setup possible for your workstation. The mounting arm supports 5.9 inches height adjustability, 40° up and down tilt, pivot 90° to switch between landscape and portrait orientation modes, and 120° swivel range. 

(image from Amazon)

The stand also leaves a lot of room on your desk for you to stash your gadgets. However, some parts are magnetized, so be careful with your flash drive and other USB devices.

(image from Amazon)

With A Pair of Decent Speakers

The B296CL comes with a pair of speakers; they are moderately loud but sound a bit tinny, and should not be relied upon for serious listening. Obviously, they’re included in the monitor for convenience, not for optimum performance.

 

Tech Specs

Package includes HDMI cable, DisplayPort cable, DVI cable, upstream USB cable, and an audio input cable.


Bottom Line

(image from Amazon)

The 29-inch ultra-wide and 21:9 aspect ratio of Acer B296CL is ought to be the single-display alternative to dual monitor setups. The screen is able to display accurate colors with good grayscale performance and color fidelity and respectable responsiveness. It comes equipped with good set of hardware features, making it a very versatile display for variety of use.

If there’s anything we can complain about this monitor, it would be its lack of Upscaling mode, which could have helped in taking full advantage of the screen’s full native resolution, particularly for waching movies. Also, the vertical viewing angle is quite mediocre, and despite the pivot adjustment option, the display doesn’t have auto-rotate feature, which can be a hassle if you often switch between orientation modes.

All in all, the Acer B296CL offers a great space-saving alternative for anyone looking for a bigger screen real estate. Dual monitor or triple monitor setups are always good, but not all of us have the luxury of space and budget to have two or more displays on our desk. This Acer ultra-wide monitor is fairly priced, flexible and offers more room for more versatile setup, thanks to generous set of connectivity options.

If you’re looking for more in-depth monitor reviews like this, check out Dual Monitors Guide now!



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