Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Good black level, brightness and contrast; built-in webcam; USB ports
- Pink colouring was noticeable in the greyscale, as was noise; built-in microphone is inadequate for anything
This AOC showed us good contrast and brightness during our tests, but its greyscale did suffer from noticeable pink colouring and noise. Nevertheless, it was comfortable to view pictures and movies on this screen, and the webcam is a neat addition.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The benefits of upgrading to this monitor are two-fold: firstly, you'll get a comfortable 22in of real estate over which to spread your desktop, and secondly, you'll get a built-in webcam that you can use for video-chatting over the Internet. It's a reasonably well performing monitor with a swivel stand and it's suitable if you don't want too many separate devices cluttering your desk space.
Its picture quality is very good overall, especially its contrast and brightness, but its colour is slightly off. Grey tones suffered from tinges of pink colour all throughout the scale – even dark grey was not immune. However, reds, blues and greens fared much better and the monitor rendered photos with rich colours and plenty of warmth.
Contrast and brightness tests in DisplayMate showed that the monitor is very capable of reproducing subtle tones. All dark-grey colours were visible on a black background and all light-grey tones were visible on a white background. This was reinforced in our photo tests where images with shadows and gradients were displayed perfectly. The monitor's black level was also soothingly dark to look at, even in a brightly-lit room. However, we did notice noise, particularly in the grey tones, which also manifested itself during DVD tests.
The monitor's ability to scale DVDs up to its native 1680x1050 resolution was good; there was noise in the picture, but movies were rendered relatively smoothly, and with plenty of definition. There was some slight tearing noticeable, but this can be fixed if your graphics card's scaling feature is enabled.
Blurring wasn't a problem for motion video or games and the screen's viewing angles are adequate. There was only slight loss of contrast when viewing from the sides.
AOC boasts about the monitor's dynamic contrast feature, which works by adjusting the light that is used to illuminate the pixels, depending on the content of the screen, while it also has a dynamic colour boost feature. But both of these features caused images to lose subtle details and to look overly bright. We found it best to simply use the monitor's standard setting and turned off all its special features. Using its on-screen display is a little annoying, too, as the power button is located in the centre of the arrow keys for navigating the system – we pressed the power button a few times, mistaking it for an 'enter' button.
The integration of the webcam is well executed by AOC, as you can sit comfortably in your chair with the monitor positioned in front of you and be sure that you will be in the frame (the stand swivels and tilts, so you can make adjustments to it, and to the monitor's, position, as well). Its quality is acceptable for transmitting moving pictures over the Internet and we had no problems using it with Windows Live Messenger. The unlucky recipient of our video feed complained about some pixelation, but the overall image was acceptable compared to other webcams.
What's unacceptable is the sensitivity of the built-in microphone that sits next to the webcam. It barely pics up any sounds, even from close range and with the gain all the way up. So you'll still have to plug in an external microphone if you want words to accompany your video.
For casual, close-up listening, the speakers in the monitor are suitable, but you'll miss out on low frequencies. Luckily, a headphone jack is present on the underside of the monitor, so you can listen discreetly on a pair of full-range headphones, too.
Only DVI and D-Sub inputs are present on the monitor, so it can't easily be used to plug in any stand-alone players in addition to a PC. It does have three USB ports on its left-hand side though. These ports, coupled with the built-in webcam and the very good contrast and brightness, make this AOC model a good choice for anyone who wants a fairly well performing multifunction monitor.
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