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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  • Sabresiberian - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    Yah one of my screens is a 27" 16:9, and I'd say from that experience I'd hate to have a smaller screen with that format. I bought the screen in part to see if 16:9 would bug me, and it does. Unfortunately, 16:10 in that size screen would mean going to 30", and the pixel pitch is significantly larger in current 2560x1600 displays than screens like mine that are 2560x1440.

    There are still 16:10 screens around (of course all 30" screens, that I'm aware of, are 16:10), and even new ones have come out; the format is far from dead. Generally though they are more expensive. I think the price increase is well worth it, and if people would stop buying cheaper 16:9 screens, then maybe the manufacturers would pay more attention to 16:10.

    Laptop screens are the worst, these days. 16:9 is in my opinion, atrocious on them, and part of the reason I want 17" on a laptop is because of that format.

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

    This comes up every review, but I feel the need to comment regardless. 16:10 panels will still exist, but they're going to continue to be a niche market. With 16:9 LCD panels, that enables manufacturers to use them for computers, laptops, and TVs. This leads to larger yields, lower prices, and cheaper panels for everyone. I also prefer 16:10 instead of 16:9, but that 16:10 panel can often cost twice as much as the 16:9 and makes the value proposition of it much lower for most people. For my laptop (Macbook Air, 16x9 ratio) I've wound up moving the dock to the side of the screen to save vertical space, and if I had a Windows machine with a 16x9 ratio I would probably do the same.

    I like 16:10 but I also realize that most people I know would rather pay half as much for a 16:9 screen, or buy two, than have that extra bit of screen at the bottom, and due to the manufacturing economics, I don't expect this to change soon.
    Reply
  • Firebat5 - Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - link

    I agree with cheinonen....
    I've ended moving the dock to the left side on my Windows 7 machine. It just makes better sense for me with the 16:9 screens.
    Reply
  • poohbear - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    I saw a samsung LED TN panel the other week, and the color reproduction looked phenomenal! is IPS irrelevent these days with OLED just around the corner? If they have'nt picked up by now, i imagine OLED will completely make them obsolete. Reply
  • cheinonen - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    OLED is likely coming out later this year for home theater displays, but since that will be around $8,000 for a 55" display, affordable desktop displays are not going to be coming anytime soon. Perhaps in half a decade we will see them, but for the moment it's a technology with low yields, but very high performance, that will mostly be sold as a high margin home theater device I imagine. There is a lot that can still be done to improve desktop LCDs before OLED comes (such as backlit LEDs instead of edge lit, and RGB LEDs like the HP DreamColor display to provide true 30-bit color displays instead of 24-bit), and OLED might start to put pressure on vendors that can't produce it (only Samsung and LG at the moment can make OLED sets) that will need to keep up.

    IPS certainly isn't dead just because of TN with LED backlights. You still have the issues of TN (worse color fidelity, poor viewing angles), though the new 120Hz TN displays are very nice for gaming. With eIPS closing the price gap, it wouldn't surprise me if eIPS takes over the budget, general purpose display area and 120Hz TN takes over for gaming.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    Tomshardware did a test of several TN panels in this price range (under $200) and the conclusion was - yuck.

    I doubt there's any under-$200 TN screen that comes anywhere near close to the quality of this thing.

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

    Your Input Lag numbers looks funny.

    check out the Dell U2312HM 0.6ms average lag..
    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/content/dell_u...

    I rather get my Monitor reviews from there. no offense. For most things your the best!
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    Is there another aspect besides the lag numbers that you would like to see improved? We haven't reviewed the Dell U2312HM that you linked to, so comparing any of our lag numbers to those would be an invalid comparison. We did review the Dell U2311H, and our lag was 8ms, compared to their finding of 10ms, so very close results. I'm working on finding a better way to measure lag, as it's one of the harder things to test I find.

    Thanks for reading.
    Reply
  • holotech - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    @cheinonen
    Oh thanks for noticing my comment. I only linked the Dell U2312HM to show that some e-IPS can be fine for "hard core" gaming since there was some general complaining going on about lag on e-IPS being no good for gaming.

    As far as monitor review improvements, Maybe Pixel responsiveness, ghosting and motion blur comparisons. How do Movies look ? how about really dark scenes? That is all i can think of .
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    I'm working on something for motion blur, but that might still be a bit further away. Pixel responsiveness will come into play there as well, as the more responsive the pixels, the less blur will be visible. Of course lag can still exist even with improved pixel response time, but that's why I'd like to be able to measure all of them.

    I will look into finding some good shadow detail material for movie testing going forward, but those are also very subjective as well. I'd prefer to be able to produce a test chart that measures gray swatches from 0-32 or so, which we can then chart compared to the 2.2 gamma we are targeting. Calibrating the grayscale at levels that low can be troublesome, as meters have more and more trouble reading values that low, but we can measure the gamma reasonably well with the i1Display Pro, which has more impact on shadow detail anyway.
    Reply

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