Acer SB220Q Review: Budget IPS Gaming Monitor

If you are looking for an IPS panel, 1080p resolution, AMD FreeSync, 75Hz refresh rate, and numerous gaming features, the Acer SB220Q provides all elements with excellent image quality and performance. It also has a contemporary slim design with ultra-thin bezels. Seems interesting?

Let’s find out how it can contribute to our everyday display needs.

Acer SB220Q Detailed Review

Acer SB220Q Review

The SB220Q features a 21.5-inch in-plane switching (IPS) panel with a full HD native resolution and a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. The pixel density is 102 pixels per inch, which is more than sufficient for daily use. At a given key, the smaller the screen size and higher the pixel density should result in a sharper image (in theory, at least). 

With a 1080p monitor, you shouldn’t go any more significant than 27 inches. The SB220Q has a wide viewing angle of 178 degrees in vertical and horizontal directions. I observed little skewing or softening of colors when viewing the screen from extreme off-center angles.

On budget displays, you might see significant color shifts or posterization of portions of the image at these extreme angles, but not here.

  • Inexpensive yet stylish
  • Three years warranty
  • Minimalist in size and weight
  • AMD FreeSync enabled
  • The color vibrancy and image clarity
  • There are no USB ports.
  • Color and grayscale performance are mediocre.
  • There is no VESA mount compatibility.
  • Design that only tilts

Design & Build Quality

Acer SB220Q has adaptive sync but only one HDMI port (alongside VGA). Adaptive sync only works with AMD GPUs since Nvidia’s current-gen products don’t support HDMI. With a 75Hz maximum refresh rate and 48Hz minimum, adaptive sync doesn’t compensate for low framerates. Adaptive sync disengages below 48 FPS, causing tearing or stuttering depending on Vsync settings.

Acer SB220Q Design & Build Quality

Fluctuating in and out of adaptive sync is jarring. A graphics card capable of 1080p 60 fps gameplay is essential. If you have an RX 560, you may struggle with a $90 monitor. Adaptive sync issues are common with sub-100Hz displays, so the SB220Q isn’t alone. The SB220Q is the first monitor we’ve tested with only a VGA cable. Unbundled HDMI cable. 

Since graphics cards abandoned VGA a decade ago, is this cable for old laptops or PCs? The Acer SB220Q’s build quality is essential. The stand is almost entirely plastic and surprisingly solid, but the design and build are cheap. It includes average plastic, bezel size, and adjustability. The rack only tilts, and due to the small display, it sits low on your desk.

 Most people need to raise this 10 to 20cm for ergonomic viewing, but there’s no mount on a VESA arm. Not having a VESA mount is a bummer and limits this monitor’s usability. We’ll control the screen with face buttons since there’s no directional toggle. Acer hasn’t skimped on the OSD, so we get blue light filters and cheat crosshairs. Unlike other budget monitors we’ve reviewed, it also has overdrive settings.

Image Quality

Compared to the typical monitors with TN panels in this price range, the Acer SB220Q monitor is based on an IPS panel that delivers accurate, consistent, and intense colors that will add life to games, movies, and every other work experience.

Acer SB220Q Image Quality

Another feature that distinguishes the IPS panel from TN and VA panels is the 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles, which ensure that the image does not shift in color and contrast when viewed from skewed angles.

Although the Acer SB220Q is a bit smaller compared to popular 24-inch budget variants, there is an advantage. Because the screen is smaller, the screen resolution will have a higher pixel count, making the picture clearer with more details and screen space.

Display Performance

The Acer SB220Q IPS monitor has a response time of 4 milliseconds. Although this is slower than the response time of a display with a TN panel, it is more than adequate to eliminate the majority of ghosting and motion blur when playing fast-paced games.

Acer SB220Q Display Performance

When gaming, response time speed is not an issue because of the top-level performance of 10 milliseconds, and neither is input lag. 

Even though the difference between 60Hz and 75Hz is not quite as noticeable as the difference between 60Hz and 144Hz, it is still there. If you cannot tell the difference between the two, try playing the game at 75Hz/FPS for a while, and then switch back to the regular setting of 60Hz.

AMD FreeSync Compatible

AMD FreeSync Technology

If you have an AMD FreeSync-compatible graphics card, you can sync its frame rate to the Acer SB220Q’s refresh rate. When you enable FreeSync, the monitor’s refresh rate will change dynamically based on the performance of the GPU. This will eliminate all screen tearing and stuttering while not increasing input lag significantly.

The Acer SB220Q FreeSync range is 48-75Hz/FPS (Frames Per Second), which means that if your FPS drops below 48, FreeSync will not work until the frame rate increases again. If you have an NVIDIA card, you can use the monitor up to 75Hz but not at the dynamic refresh rate because there is no DisplayPort input.

Connectivity Options 

The Acer SB220Q has a 0.24-inch thin design with ZeroFrame ultra-thin bezels, which gives the monitor a more expensive appearance. Because of its slim bezels and low price, it’s also an excellent choice for a multi-monitor gaming setup.

Unfortunately, the monitor does not support VESA mounting, and you can only tilt the screen for ergonomic purposes. An HDMI 1.4 port and a VGA port are provided for connectivity.

Enhanced  Features

In addition to the standard picture adjustments found in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu, such as contrast, brightness, gamma, and color settings, there are additional features for gaming. First and foremost, the ‘Aim Point’ feature provides three crosshair overlays for improved precision in FPS games.

Following that, ‘Black Boost’ improves visibility in dark areas of video games, and ‘Over Drive’ improves response time speed further with three settings: Off, Normal, and Extreme.

It’s worth noting that if you enable FreeSync, you won’t be able to select the Extreme overdrive mode, but the ‘Normal’ way will suffice.

Finally, there are three pre-calibrated picture presets for Action, Racing, and Sports games, as well as a gaming profile that can be customized. The Acer SB220Q 75Hz gaming monitor, like most modern displays, is flicker-free and has a built-in low blue light filter, so you won’t get eye fatigue or headaches from staring at the screen for too long.

Price With Similar Choices & Best Alternatives

Acer SB220Q Alternatives

Because of its stunning image quality, smooth performance, and modern design, the Acer SB220Q is one of the best monitors under $100. It’s also available in a 23-inch model, the Acer SB230, for $110, and a 27-inch model, the Acer SB270, for $170.

The Acer SB220Q is also available as the Acer HA220Q, which is the same monitor as the Acer SB220Q but with a different stand. It is also tilt-only and not VESA compatible; it simply has a different appearance. There are two less expensive 21.5′′ 1080p monitors in this price range that use the same IPS panel as the SB220Q and support FreeSync with a 48-75Hz range over HDMI that is worth considering:

AOC 22V2H with a different design and a headphone jack Philips 226E9QDSB with a slightly bulkier design, 75x75mm VESA mount compatibility, a headphone jack, and an additional DVI port. Because all of these 21.5′′ 1080p IPS monitors use the same panel, the performance and image quality are nearly identical. You can choose according to your preferences or go with the cheapest option.

Is the Acer SB220Q Good Option For Gaming?

The SB220Q is not suitable for gaming, as expected. If you were fooled by the 75Hz refresh rate and adaptive sync at such a low price, beware: none of the overdrive modes are good, leaving us with either bad smearing or inverse ghosting. This is a low-end, ultra-affordable IPS panel with slow response times. It’s probably not that different from other 60 to 75 Hz IPS monitors in the same price range.

What Value Does it Add With a Budget-Friendly Tag?

The Acer SB220Q is a budget monitor that can be used for gaming and day-to-day productivity. It includes enough gaming features and bonuses, such as AMD FreeSync support. Only the lack of a USB port and built-in speakers prevent it from being perfect.

It’s one of those value monitors you can use at work, home to read recipes, or even for entertainment. You can pair it with your gaming rig to get a good gaming experience. Surprisingly, it has a reasonable price while providing excellent performance.

The Acer SB220Q bi specs are solid for a monitor at this price, and the monitor’s performance will undoubtedly exceed your expectations in casual gaming and media consumption. 

The fast pixel response time and refresh rate contribute to the impressive performance. It supports AMD Radeon FreeSync, which means you won’t notice any blurring or ghosting in games like Crysis 3 (PC) and Grand Theft Auto V (PS4) as long as your laptop/desktop sends a strong signal.

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