The Acer KG221Q is one of the cheapest monitors in the market that offers an extended refresh rate and FreeSync. This entry-level display comes with reasonable limitations, but a spec package at this price makes this model ideal for several setups. If budget and space are limited, the Acer KG221Q might be the answer for your competitive gaming needs.
Acer KG221Q Specifications
- Screen Size: 22 Inches
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080 FHD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Panel Technology: Twisted Nematic (TN)
- Refresh Rate: 75Hz
- Response Time:1ms
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
- Brightness: 250 cd/m²
- Built-in Speakers: Yes (2 x 1 Watts)
- Stand: Height – No
- Stand: Tilt – Yes
- Stand: Swivel – No
- Stand: Pivot – No
- VESA Compatibility: Yes
- Connectivity: HDMI 1.4 x 1, VGA x 1, 3.5mm Jack
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 20” x 15.99” x 7.43”
- Weight: 7.5lbs
Design and Features
The Acer KG221Q sports a fairly simple aesthetic comprising a glossy black finish with reasonable proportions. The smaller size makes the Acer KG221Q a suitable choice for limited spaces such as apartments or dorms, plus it’s lightweight enough to carry around. The bezels on the face are too thick for our tastes since this is only a 22-inch display.
The OSD buttons are located on the bottom bezel, making them easier to access than most designs. Key presses weren’t as snappy or tight, but each button was responsive enough to not require a second click.
You will also see the Y-shaped stand we’ve seen on recent budget models like the Acer KG251QF which provides sufficient stability to the display. This gives the Acer KG221Q a slight hint of its gaming-oriented nature but betrayed by the tilt-only adjustment. At least, you can remove this part in favor of VESA mounting which is readily visible on the bulge of the housing.
The overall package of the Acer KG221Q makes it a cheap option for dual or triple monitor arrays, but it is severely limited in the connectivity department. The I/O panel only includes HDMI 1.4 and VGA, eliminating adapter-free setups on a single GPU. Most of the higher-end cards offer two or three DisplayPorts instead of HDMI so that the choices will feel neutered.
The Acer KG221Q stays true to its money-saving promise since it already includes a pair of built-in speakers. But even so, we still recommend headsets since each of the drivers only have 1 Watt of power which disables them from providing reasonable quality audio.
Display and Performance
The Acer KG221Q includes a 22-inch TN panel with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, 75Hz refresh rate, and 1ms response time. The first thing you will notice is that images seem like they are crisper on this monitor thanks to the tighter pixel pitch when compared to 24-inchers. The display is also complemented with a 250cd/m2 backlight which is plenty for this size, although a higher limit would be desirable for finer tuning.
The Acer KG221Q gave us mixed results when it comes to image qualities which make it more suitable for gaming than office applications. The TN panel is only able to put out 93% sRGB with a Delta E result of 1.91. This score is decent for budget TNs, but we recommend IPS panels or other models if color pop matters more to you than what this baby can offer.
On the other hand, contrast is surprisingly fantastic since the Acer KG221Q can reach a ratio of 1100:1. High-end TN panels with more comprehensive gamut coverage even struggle to break 900:1, putting a model like this that costs a fraction ahead in some situations. Blacks appear rich and satisfying, while grayscale performance is well beyond what we expected.
However, there is a noticeable flaw in the Acer KG221Q’s formula for image quality which is more related to its Gamma curve. We noticed that the screen appears a bit bluish even if you activate its warm setting. Calibrating the monitor did little to correct this, but those who like a cooler appearance with slightly darker tones will like the output.
Panel uniformity for our test model is pretty decent since no color or brightness deviations exceeded 5%. This is represented by the extra brightness noticeable on the bottom of the screen, although it wasn’t enough to disturb our enjoyment.
Despite its wallet-friendly orientation, the Acer KG221Q still comes with a few tricks in its sleeve. The monitor is FreeSync compatible, making it ideal for APU-based budget rigs or those who own low to midrange Polaris cards. There are a few gaming filters available in the OSD, but we advise against using them since they skew the contrasts and color accuracy too far from our ideal settings.
Lastly, the Acer KG221Q is as responsive as any typical gaming monitor can get in both pixel transition and latency. Input lag stayed well under 10ms, eliminating any suspect for delays in control input to screen changes. We also did not notice any image retention or blurring, save for those born out of the limited refresh rate.
Thoughts on the Acer KG221Q
The Acer KG221Q lacks a few points in the features department, but it’s gaming performance more than makes up for it. Color quality is a bit underwhelming, but contrast and responsiveness make this an ideal pair for budget rigs such as those who rely on AMD APUs. The added refresh rate and FreeSync help quite well with smoothening out flaws in the graphics, adding extra value to the modest price tag.
By all means, the Acer KG221Q isn’t perfect, but it is an ideal candidate for those with space and budget constraints. This monitor is suitable for a $500 or $600 build meant to play E-Sports titles such as Dota 2 or League of Legends which are still on the rise thanks to newer and more powerful AMD APUs.