And it’s not with cheese and crisps.
As much as I like my new laptop, I have to admit that the monitor was a little bit of a disappointment. Compared with the old laptop (1280 x 800), the new one seemed a little small (1366 x 768). Admittedly, it’s proper 16:9 widescreen, but it seems a little squat. After thinking about mouse pens, external HDs and the like, I realised when I got home that I needed a bigger monitor. [Thus complementing that inflated ego. –ed.] Although the TV might be all right for gaming, I wanted a monitor which would be good for all the tasks for which I use a computer.
I set out for Gome this morning, but was diverted because I actually looked at the rim of the front wheel of my bike and found that not only was the dent worse, but the rim itself was splitting. A trip to the bike shop round the corner took care of that and I continued on my original quest. I wasn’t really expecting Gome to have much and it didn’t. A 19″ monitor clearly wasn’t going to be adequate. Such a monitor looks larger, but not that much larger and the resolution is only 1440 x 900. The shop also had a 22″ monitor which seemed to be the sort of thing I was looking for. They were both HP, the latter being ¥2350 (c. £192; the exchange rate has improved in China’s favour which means that the monitor is about £20 more expensive than it would’ve been a few months ago). I made notes and thought the computer centre was a better bet for a range of choices.
Went out there after lunch and wandered into the Acer booth. They had one model (AL2216W; 22″; 1680 x 1050) with a starting price of ¥1650, but I showed unfeigned reluctance because I didn’t want to buy the first monitor I saw, preferring to see what else there was. That brought the price down a bit and eventually they asked for ¥1500 (c. £122), which I thought was reasonable. It’s basically just a monitor and, as I suspected, is an older model. (I’ve just found a review dating from about a year and a half ago.) Nonetheless, my initial impression is good and I did just want a monitor rather than a second TV screen.
Since my laptop is also an Acer, I wasn’t surprised that it made friends with the monitor as soon as they met. None of the “Sorry, am I meant to know you?” routine. Once I’d updated the drivers, I gave ETQW a spin. It looks good; runs smoothly; but I note that certain vehicles were getting lodded out of existence, which means I probably need to look at the in-game resolution. It went through an auto-detect routine when the game started.
Overall, this does represent a major step up for me in spite of the age of the model and an it’s-all-right-but… review. I think I’ll be satisfied for the moment.
[23.09.13. And the monitor is still going strong even although I have occasionally thought about replacing it with something a little more up-to-date. It was certainly never the best monitor, but it’ll do. Doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of ageing.
21.09.14. I replaced that monitor with an Acer H236HL (res. 1920×1080). It cost ¥100 less than the old model. The current laptop doesn’t quite have the oomph to run games on it at full resolution, but copes with most tasks without too much bother.
The old monitor is about to get resurrected for use with the old laptop – assuming that that can still cope with it after the major HD problem it suffered from in 2013.]