Acer SB220Q bi Review
The Acer SB220Q bi is a budget monitor that checks all boxes for budding gamers or anyone who needs an affordable 21-inch monitor for watching movies and provides smooth action while at it.
- Sleek design
- AMD FreeSync enabled
- No USB ports
- Middling color and grayscale performance
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The Acer SB220Q bi is one of our favorite budget monitors, and it has remained at the top of our budget monitors lists for three years now. When we first reviewed the SB220Q bi at release, it was retailing for well under $100, and although the price has been wobbling across various sellers, it has never crossed that mark. Instead, we’ve seen it sell for much less and it has proven that cheap doesn’t have to be horrible.
For the sub-$100 price, you’re getting a monitor with a typical, basic feature set with a smaller screen that should satisfy most users. The 21.5-inch screen uses IPS technology, is incredibly thin and delivers very good sRGB color accuracy and coverage.
While it features a few gaming extras like AMD FreeSync support, this isn’t going to be your ultimate gaming monitor to gamer-centric models like the Asus ROG Swift PG27AQN or the Alienware AW2723DF that are specifically designed for gaming. However, if you’re a casual gamer on a budget, the Acer SB220Q offers a 4ms pixel response and a 70Hz refresh rate that should suffice for casual, artifact-free gaming performance.
Otherwise, the SB220Q bi will be an excellent piece of kit if used as a second monitor, especially if you’re limited on space, and it’s reasonably portable. If 22-inches of screen space feel a little tight, a little more money will get you a 24-inch panel like the AOC 24B2XH with a wider range of features.
About the Acer SB220Q bi
The Acer SB220Q bi debuts with a 21.5-inch In Plane Switching (IPS) panel with a maximum resolution of 1,920-by-1,080 (1080p), and it sports an ultra-thin zero frame design. Granted, its grayscale and viewing-angle performance are middling. It is also missing a few key features, such as USB ports, a fully adjustable stand and VESA mount capability, all features that you get with more expensive models like our Editors’ Choice for large-screen gaming monitors, the LG 34UC80-B.
Also, it doesn’t have built-in speakers but those are the few compromises Acer had to make to deliver a functional monitor at such a low price. Since it uses an IPS panels, it means you’re getting viewing angles (178 degrees) that are far wider than TN and VA panels, both horizontally and vertically that, which ensure that you won’t experience color shifting when you view the monitor from extreme angles.
Here are the main specs on the Acer SB220Q bi monitor:
- Screen Size: 21.5-inch
- Resolution: 1920×1080 (Full HD)
- Panel Type: IPS
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
- Refresh Rate: 75Hz
- Response Time: 4ms (GtG)
- Adaptive Sync: AMD FreeSync (48Hz-75Hz)
- Ports: HDMI 1.4, VGA
- Brightness: 250 cd/m2
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (static)
- Colors: 16.7 million (6-bit + FRC)
Its glossy black cabinet and frameless design leave little doubt that the SB220Q is meant to be seen, a good candidate for the office desk or casual gaming at home. The 1.5-inch cabinet sits atop a round stand that offers 20 degrees of tilt (5 forward, 15 backward), but lacks height, swivel, and pivot adjustments. The panel has 72% SRGB coverage, a 16:9 aspect ratio and a non-reflective, antiglare coating.
You don’t get and USB ports with this display, but you get two video inputs: one HDMI and one VGA, all located around the back facing outward. The monitor lacks speakers and a headphone input, so you’ll have to connect the speakers to your source device –laptop or PC. On the cabinet are a couple of buttons used to power up the monitor and navigate the settings menu.
For a sub-$100 monitor, the Acer SB220Q bi’s performance will most definitely exceed your expectations on casual gaming and media consumption. The good performance is thanks to speedy pixel response and refresh rate. There isn’t noticeable blurring or ghosting on games like Crysis 3 (PC) and Grand Theft Auto V (Sony PS4), provided your desktop/laptop pushes fast and fluid action.
However, there is discernible screen tearing with FreeSync disabled, but enabling it restores a noticeably smoother picture. The same effect is seen with the VIOTEK GN27DB and Pixio PX277-N, as well.
The SB220Q’s 26ms input lag (the time it takes for the monitor to react to a controller command) is a little bit on the slower side for a gaming monitor, but this monitor isn’t built for pro-gaming, it just moonlights for budget buyers before upgrading to a real gaming monitor. The Acer Predator XB271HK leads the pack of gaming displays at 10.2ms.
Out-of-the-box color accuracy is acceptable for a budget monitor, but not ideal. The red and blue colors are slightly misaligned from their ideal CIE coordinates, but not as bad as you’d find on TN panels in the same price range. Fortunately, the colors aren’t far apart to cause pictures to appear over saturated and you can easily adjust them accordingly.
Is there a better alternative?
Simply put? No, there isn’t a much better alternative, especially at this price point. The Acer SB220Q bi sits at the top of the budget category, offering decent image quality and great color reproduction at a very reasonable price. There are plenty of budget gaming monitors in the market, but very few support FreeSync or any other graphics accelerator.
- 21.5 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display
- And Radeon free sync technology. No compatibility for VESA Mount
- Refresh rate: 75 hertz - Using HDMI port
However, if you need a higher resolution for complex professional work and gaming, the 32-inch ViewSonic VX3276-2K-MHD offers a better 1440p resolution, and all three connectivity options (HDMI, Displayport and Mini Displayport). If you’re not on a very tight budget and need something future-proof for professional work and gaming, the 32-inch LG 34UC80-B is an equally exciting buy.
The Bottom Line
The Acer SB220Q bi is a budget monitor that checks all boxes for budding gamers or anyone who needs an affordable 21-inch monitor for watching movies and provides smooth action while at it. It uses a 70Hz refresh rate and 4ms pixel response to eliminate motion blur and screen ghosting, and it supports AMD’s FreeSync technology, which keeps screen tearing at bay.
That said, its color accuracy isn’t the best as you’d experience on high-end panels and grayscale performance is less than stellar. If your budget allows, consider the Samsung S80A that sports a sleek design, a crisp 4K screen, fantastic ergonomics and a plethora of connectivity option. If you’re on a tight budget and fancy a slick, bright monitor that works as it should without costing too much, the Acer SB220Q bi remains a fine choice.
Last update on 2023-06-03 at 17:43 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API