First Impressions, Design, and Specifications

For most people seeking accurate color reproduction and wide viewing angles, IPS has been the screen technology of choice for years now. The main issues against IPS have typically been response time for gamers, a higher black level than VA technologies, and more prominently cost. More and more vendors have been introducing e-IPS displays, which is a more transparent version of IPS that allows for the use of lower powered backlights, lowering the cost to consumers. The tradeoff is that this does have a negative effect on contrast shifts in the panel when viewed at an angle, though color shifts still are not present.

The other change is that many of these e-IPS panels have actually been 6-bit panels with Advanced Frame Rate Control. Much like a TN panel, it can’t produce a full 8-bits of dynamic range for each color and instead for shades that it cannot produce it will cycle between two different shades that would result in the desired shade. For some people this effect isn’t visible and they will gladly take the benefits of IPS for this side effect, but for graphics professionals the lack of true color resolution makes it a side effect they can’t live with.

There was a bit of chatter this past fall when AOC introduced the i2353 display, which is an LED backlit IPS panel with an MSRP under $200. Had the prices of IPS panels and components finally fallen to the point where they would be able to start forcing companies to transition to them away from TN for their affordable monitor lines? To find out if the AOC monitor was still able to offer a good level of performance at this price point we requested a review sample, which they quickly provided.

Once the AOC was unpacked from its box and upright on its integrated stand, I have to say I thought it looked pretty good. They’ve used the LED backlighting to create a very nice, thin display with a plastic trim that looks like brushed aluminum. The integrated stand contains a Dsub input, dual HDMI inputs, and a headphone output. At first I couldn’t even see the buttons for power and the OSD, which are barely labeled on top of the base, but I eventually located them. The feeling of the buttons is not really one of high quality, as you seem to need to press in on the entire base to trigger them, but they were responsive overall.

The downside to this setup is the lack of flexibility in ergonomic adjustments, as well as mounting options. The integrated base offers only a tilt control for the display, and that itself is very tight and hard to adjust. This integrated base also means that there are no VESA mounting holes on the display itself. There are your standard 100mm VEGA holes on the bottom of the base, and as you can fold it to lay perfectly flat with the monitor, this would allow you to still mount it to the wall; however, it would still make an aftermarket stand with height and other adjustments an impossibility.

A welcome touch is that both the bezel and screen are a matte finish so I had no real issues with glare from the lights in my room. The very edge of the bezel does reflect a bit of light, but overall it was much better than many other monitors. On the whole, I really liked the design of the AOC as it looked very nice on my desk, and the level of adjustment was in line with other models in the price range. From a purely superficial perspective, the AOC looks like a good choice for a mainstream LCD.

AOC i2353Ph
Video Inputs 1x Dsub, 2X HDMI
Panel Type eIPS, 6-bit + AFRC
Pixel Pitch 0.265mm
Colors 16.7 million
Brightness 250 nits
Contrast Ratio 1000:1
Response Time 5ms GTG
Viewable Size 23"
Resolution 1920x1080
Viewing Angle 178 H/178 V
Backlight LED
Power Consumption (operation) 45 Watts Maximum
Power Consumption (standby) 0.1 Watt
Screen Treatment Matte
Height-Adjustable No
Tilt Yes (-4 to 14 degrees)
Pivot No
Swivel No
VESA Wall Mounting Yes
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 21.6" x 15.3" x 7.3"
Weight 5.5 lbs.
Additional Features Headphone Jack, 2 x 2W speakers
Limited Warranty 3 Years
Accessories VGA cable, PSU and power cable, CD with drivers and software
Price Online for $190 (as of 1/24/2012)

Viewing angles were also good on the AOC as you can see in the gallery below. At the very edges you start to lose some contrast, but colors remain very good and no one is likely to work at the angles where those shifts start to appear anyway.

OSD and Initial Readings
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  • imaheadcase - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    NOPE Reply
  • kmmatney - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    Seriously. I would happily pay $100 more for this same display as a 24" monitor, with 1920 x 1200 resolution. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    So, you want a Dell U2412M then? Reply
  • Alexo - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    Hi Chris,

    You wrote:
    > I’ve been using a Dell FPW2005 IPS display for years now

    How does this monitor compare to your FPW2005 (or to the larger 2209WA)?
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    The Dell has more input lag, lower resolution, and no HDMI inputs or speakers, but has a very nice, adjustable stand which I like on my desktop (I can put it high enough to get over my speakers), as well as the ability to rotate to portrait mode for document editing. I didn't do a head-to-head as I'm finding the resolution on the Dell to be very limiting at this point, and would much prefer a 27" or 30" display for my desktop. I would have been fine with replacing the Dell with the AOC for a general purpose display, as for photo editing I have a different display I use, and I have a 24" Sony CRT sitting here for hard core gaming if I need no lag. Reply
  • anactoraaron - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    I would love to see you guys review this eIPS panel. I know you are limited to what you are given to review, but I have been checking this one out for awhile now. Reply
  • mr2kat - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    My mainstay monitor is the Dell 2408 although I have a couple of IPS monitors (U2310) which are calibrated for photo-edit work. The AOC i2353 is a great buy at the price-point. The base can be wall mounted (there are locating holes in the base) however the base contains the controls and power supply connector, so you can't omit the base altogether.

    The lack of vertical adjustment means that for most usages you will need a shelf or a couple of phone directories to elevate the monitors to an ergonomic height. I also note the front bezel on the monitors is flimsy and has rippled slightly so there is a gap between bezel and the display.

    When I'm working on documents I like to rotate the Dell monitors. Of course the AOC has no rotate function but with the narrower monitor a rotate isn't as effective as with the Dell. I also note the AOC does not have a DVI-D to HDMI cable included in the box (when will people stop shipping stupid SVGA cables?).

    Gaming? I play Portal 2 and Serious Sam III and I don't have a problem with lag - but I'm old, so younger people might see this as a problem.

    This monitor needed calibration because out of the box it was blue biased. Once calibrated the results were excellent - I use the monitors for web design and video. I also found that some computers (about 30%) really needed the profile loaded from the AOC disk in order to properly setup the display.

    I had never heard of AOC before this monitor, however I am suitably impressed. The power brick runs, at most, just mildly warm to the touch regardless of usage. So I will be buying more of these.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    Thanks so much for reviewing an AOC product, especially this one.

    You see AOC products listed often by etailers, and their price is attractive but I'm guessing most people are like me and shy away from them because, well, "cheap is cheap". Sometimes, though, it's not cheap, it's inexpensive, and that appears to be the case here.

    A very nice find!

    ;)
    Reply
  • jaydee - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    If I recall correctly, AOC had a pretty well regarded CRT business back 10-15 years ago, so I've always associated them with quality, though up until now their LCD's were a bit of an unknown to me. Reply
  • annnonymouscoward - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    "IPS has never been the first choice for people when it comes to gaming due to slower reponse times than a TN display" - I think the 60Hz limitation, which applies for IPS and TN, is the primary limiting factor. GTG is 8ms vs 2ms, while new frames come every 16.7ms.

    "The lag is a little bit too high for hard core gamers" - 1 frame is arguably tolerable even for the hardcore. And if it's not acceptable for someone, then I'd say the only thing acceptable for that person is a CRT at >80Hz.

    -1 for 16:9. :P

    btw I had to register a new account with "annnonymouscoward" instead of "annonymouscoward", since anandtech spontaneously decided I'm a spammer.
    Reply

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