Android-powered monitors / all-in-ones aren't exactly a novel concept, but it's definitely a new frontier for Acer. The company is just dipping its toes into the space with the Smart Display DA220HQL, which it's showing off here at Mobile World Congress. If you've never heard of such a thing, Acer is hoping you'll use as a kitchen PC, or as an external monitor for keeping an eye on things like email.
The 21.5-inch, 250-nit, 1080p panel makes use of VA technology (like some other Acer monitors, actually), which provides viewing angles on par with IPS. Which is to say, they're wide, and colors stay vibrant regardless of whether you're standing off to the side or you've got the screen pushed down at a near-flat angle. As far as connectivity goes, you've got three USB ports, as well as micro-HDMI for hooking this up to your PC. There's also an Ethernet jack, a microSD slot supporting 32GB cards and a 1.2MP front-facing camera if you want to use Skype or some other app for video calls.
As you can see in the gallery and in that main shot up there, this is mostly clean Android, which isn't a surprise since Acer isn't known for saddling its tablets and phones with heavy skins. Still, like recent Iconia Tabs we've tested, it has the Acer Ring UI for quickly launching apps. Even then, it's easy enough to ignore if you're not into it. On the inside, you've got a dual-core 1GHz TI OMAP 4428 CPU and
8GB 1GB of RAM to keep performance hopping, which is plenty -- this is, after all, a mobile OS we're talking about, even if it does live inside what appears to be an all-in-one PC.
Other design notes: that speaker grille up front has a funky circular pattern, which we're not really digging. But hey, to each his own. We do appreciate the relatively narrow bezel, though the backside and front face have a few too many glossy bits. Even so, it's a nicer design than what ViewSonic had to show at CES. (Besides, how many people are going to see your monitor's rear end anyway?) As far as availability goes, we so far know this will hit Europe in March for 399 euro. It's said to be US-bound, too, though no word on pricing. For now, we've got some hands-on shots below for your viewing pleasure.
Update: That's 1GB of RAM and 8GB of ROM. Sorry for the confusion, folks!
Acer Smart Display DA220HQL