Acer B326HUL Review



Design and Features
The B326HUL isn't particularly flashy, but it's attractive nonetheless. The enormous 25-pound cabinet has thin (0.4-inch) bezels on the top and sides and a slightly wider (0.7-inch) bottom bezel that holds five function buttons and a Power switch. It is supported by a large rectangular base and arm assembly that gives you just under 6 inches of height adjustability, and the monitor can also tilt and swivel. VESA-compliant mounting holes are available should you decide to hang the display on a wall. The panel's matte, non-reflective coating does a good job of reducing glare.

Around back, there are two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort port, a dual-link DVI port, and an audio port. You also get one upstream USB 3.0 port and two downstream USB 3.0 ports. Two additional USB 3.0 downstream ports are mounted on the left side of the display. Many of the latest monitors offer HDMI ports that support MHL connectivity, so you can connect to compatible smartphones and tablets, but the B326HUL does not. The standard-issue 2-watt embedded speakers are moderately loud and predictably tinny.

As with the Acer K272HUL$399.99 at Amazon, the B326HUL uses on-screen labeling to let you know which buttons to press while navigating the On-Screen Display (OSD) menus. Picture presets include Eco, Standard, Graphics, Movie, and User-Defined modes. In addition to Brightness, Contrast, Gamma, and Color Temperature settings, there are 6-Axis Hue and 6-Axis Saturate settings that let you fine-tune color levels, and an Adaptive Contrast Management (ACM) setting that adjusts the monitor's contrast according to what's being displayed on the screen. I'd suggest leaving ACM disabled, as it tends to make the picture much too bright.

The monitor comes with a three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight. Included in the box are DisplayPort, HDMI, USB, audio input, and dual-link DVI cables.

Performance
The B326HUL is a good all-around performer for a professional-grade monitor, but I expect better color accuracy from its almost-$900 list price. As shown on the chromaticity chart below, red, green, and blue colors (represented by the colored dots) were all just outside of their ideal zones (represented by the boxes). None of the colors were so far off as to cause tinting or an oversaturated picture, but if you require very accurate colors, you'll have to use the 6-Axis Hue and Saturate adjustments to bring them in line. Otherwise, in my tests, colors appeared uniform and crisp and showed some added pop from the panel's dark-black level.

Acer B326HUL
The monitor aced the DisplayMate 64-Step Gray-Scale test, displaying every shade of gray cleanly and accurately. Shadow and highlight detail was superb while watching The Bourne Legacy on Blu-ray, and the picture looked great from every angle. Video played smoothly, but this model isn't geared toward gamers; the panel's 6-millisecond (black-to-white) pixel response produced minor fast-action blurring and a trace of ghosting in very dark background scenes. The B326HUL's 27.3-millisecond input lag (the time it takes the monitor to respond to commands from your input device), as measured by the Leo Bodnar Lag Tester, is acceptable but not ideal.

The B326HUL used 48 watts of power during testing while set to the Standard mode. In Eco mode, power consumption dropped to an impressive 29 watts without too much dimming. The Dell UP3214Q$2,149.99 at Dell averaged 88 watts of power in Standard mode, and the Asus PQ321$2,231.00 at Amazon used 72 watts.

Conclusion
The Acer B326HUL is a solid professional-grade monitor for users who require lots of screen real estate, but don't necessarily need, or can afford, a big-screen UHD display like the Dell UltraSharp UP3214Q. Although its color accuracy is a bit skewed, you can use the B326HUL's extensive picture settings to tweak color levels, and its gray-scale performance is outstanding. You get a good selection of ports with this monitor, including two HDMI ports, but neither of them support MHL connectivity. If color accuracy is a deal-breaker, our Editors' Choice for professional-grade, big-screen monitors, the Lenovo LT3053P, is an excellent performer and is loaded with features, but it'll cost you almost twice as much as the B326HUL.

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