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By Tom Manners 10 June 2010

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It wasn’t too long ago that the word ‘monitor’ conjured up images of bulky, cathode ray tube behemoths which took up more office desk real estate than any other PC component. Fortunately, technology came to the rescue a few years ago and delivered the LCD display, which is now the accepted norm for any regular desktop or notebook user.

 
There are however, a select few monitors which push the boundaries further than simply displaying a desktop, Acer’s D241H is one of these.
 
More than just a monitor
 
The D241H is much more than an LCD panel designed to display your desktop. In addition to its HDMI and VGA enabled display capabilities, which we will elaborate on later in this review, it also functions as a personal organiser, digital photo frame, media player and online content aggregator.
 
Integrated into the monitor’s menu functionality are several widget-based options which broaden the definition of what a typical LCD monitor should be capable of. Users have a choice to access functionality such as calendar, poster, weather, new clock and digital photo frame and can also import feeds via an RSS reader which is integrated into the menu system.
 
The monitor also integrates with Google and Yahoo! email accounts via a wired connection or wireless LAN capability. Picasa and Flickr functionality is also featured and works hand-in-hand with the gallery and photo frame applications should the user choose to set this up.
 
Interface navigation is achieved with a remote which also features a slide out QWERTY keyboard and built-in voice recorder.
 
We must admit however, that the set up wizard and overall integration was lacking and at times felt counter intuitive. Overall it took longer than it should have perhaps to activate simple functions such as wireless connectivity and mail.
 
Specifications
 
In terms of specifications the D241H sports a number of high end features which allow it to compete well within the LCD market.
 
The screen itself measures in at 24 inches and has a contrast ratio of 80 000:1 and features an impressive response time of 2 ms. It also supports a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 at a respectable 60 Hz.
 
In addition to this it also features a multi card reader, dual USB ports, HDMI and VGA interfaces, dual speakers and an integrated WiFi module.
 
Conclusion
 
Although the D241H certainly pushes the envelope in terms of what a monitor is capable of achieving we can’t help but wonder if it’s too much. Although the features demonstrated by the unit are impressive Acer could have spent more time bringing the onboard operating system and menu integration up to speed.
 
Overall the D241H is a highly competitive monitor in the plus 23” range, but also tries too hard to be a PC. Perhaps Acer should have integrated the additional external features such as dual USB and multi card reader into PC functionality and not attempted to offer this functionality on the monitor itself. 
 
PROS
Impressive display features, integrated USB and multicard reader.
CONS
Menu system and onboard OS is lacking.
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