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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  • cheinonen - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    There are 120Hz TN displays available now, and we recently reviewed one from Samsung which you can find. With gaming, I found the 120Hz refresh to be really nice and make a noticeable difference in how smooth the image was compared to 60Hz. There are no IPS panels available that do 120Hz that I know of, but since you can get 120Hz HDTVs that use IPS panels (they don't accept 120Hz signals, but can display 720p60 frame packed, which is basically 120Hz by a different name) I'd hope that desktop displays using this aren't far away.

    Do people think that 1 frame of lag is the acceptable cut-off point then? Since there are displays that can do 10ms or less, I tend to think that we should aim for > 0.5 frames of lag as an ideal, but that's also harder to find. I play some games, but I'm not good at FPS games anymore, so my saying that I found 1 frame of lag acceptable is much different than someone who is actually good finding that acceptable.
    Reply
  • vailr - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    What about OLED monitors? I heard that OLED TV's were seen at CES in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, but nothing mentioned about OLED PC monitors. Reply
  • jesh462 - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    If you get a higher quality panel (Dell/NEC) display port lets you reach over 80hz refresh rates with some tweaks. It's not 120hz. It's also not a dirty TN panel.

    As for OLED, I believe it's a lost cause for desktop/laptop monitors. Manufacturers are already switching to Quantom Dot technology for production *this year*.
    Reply
  • annnonymouscoward - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    > Do people think that 1 frame of lag is the acceptable cut-off point then?

    I'm extremely sensitive to lag--so much that I'm turned off from every Droid phone I've ever used. And I've owned a 3007WFP-HC for years, which averages 11.5ms of lag according to digitalversus. I've never perceived lag on it, and I play FPS. I'd never buy a monitor with 30ms lag. The general public can't notice 50ms lag.

    I find 60Hz to be the huge limiting factor in FPS's, since getting an update every 16.7ms isn't enough information when trying to target on the fly.

    I think there's a sizable market for premium new displays, if some company would have the sense to make them. Instead, all we get is crap. They take monitor tech we've had for 6 years, reduce 3", make it 16:9, and maybe even glossy. There has been virtually zero improvement to the 30" IPS models that came out 6 years ago. I want a 36", X-IPS, WUVDIQXGA, with a polarizer filer, 80Hz minimum. No more 16:9 60Hz garbage.
    Reply
  • jaydee - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    If they could have squeezed in a DisplayPort and 1920x1200 res for just 20-30 more, this would be a great deal IMO. It's a good deal as it is, I was hoping for just a little bit more. Reply
  • CZroe - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    Shouldn't the freakin' size be in the title, synopsis, or the first paragraph of the article?! Reply
  • TerdFerguson - Monday, January 30, 2012 - link

    Great review. Thanks for the info. Reply
  • jleach1 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    I've been ogling IPS displays for years, but always walked away with one thing in mind...sticker shock!

    Can you Anandtech staff and the readers recommend an IPS display for the budget-conscious? I understand they're going to be more expensive than their run-of-the-mill partners, but I'm speaking in relative terms.

    It wouldn't be for professional use, but rather gaming and video goodness!

    Preferably something between 23-25 inches.

    Thanks!

    J
    Reply
  • sviola - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    Hey Chris,

    Can you guys get in touch with LG and do a review of their new 120Hz IPS monitors due to market this February. The series are the DM92 (27") and the DM82 (23").

    Many Thanks
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - link

    These aren't 120 Hz IPS displays. They use circular polarization, much like the Viewsonic monitor we recently reviewed, so each eye gets a 1920x540 image when running at 60Hz. If they were 120Hz we would certainly be interested, but it looks to be a passive 3D display, albeit with IPS instead of TN. Reply

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