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AOC 2236Vw review: AOC 2236Vw

AOC's 2236Vw is a budget-level model, with severe light bleed, poor greyscale control and an awful OSD. There are simply much better options in this price range, like Acer's G225HQ. As such, we can't recommend it.

Craig Simms Special to CNET News
Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.
Craig Simms
6 min read

AOC may have been selling in Australia since the turn of the century, but it's not one of the big names people typically quote when they think of monitors. Nonetheless, it's managed to punch out a number of models serving the budget end of the market, and is definitely starting to gain traction.

5.5

AOC 2236Vw

The Good

Cheap.

The Bad

Touch buttons aren't sensitive enough and can't be seen in the dark. Extremely prevalent light bleed. Poor greyscale control. Frustratingly bad OSD.

The Bottom Line

AOC's 2236Vw is a budget-level model, with severe light bleed, poor greyscale control and an awful OSD. There are simply much better options in this price range, like Acer's G225HQ. As such, we can't recommend it.

Its 2236Vw follows the trend these days to make everything piano black, and as a consequence is a giant fingerprint magnet. AOC has also, bless them, made the OSD buttons capacitive, meaning you have to leave even more fingerprints all over the shiny surface to configure the monitor. Like glossy screens on laptops, piano black doesn't appear to be going away soon.

Thankfully, gloss screens on dedicated monitors are a lot less common, and AOC follows this guideline, opting for a matte screen.

AOC 2236Vw front

AOC's 2236Vw is all subtle curves and piano black. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Specs at a glance

Size 21.5 inches
Resolution 1920x1080
Aspect ratio 16:9
Pixel pitch 0.248
Panel technology TN
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 170°
V: 160°
Response time 5ms G2G
Max vertical refresh 75Hz
Connections DVI, VGA, USB
Accessories DVI, VGA, USB upstream, power cables

Stand and ergonomics

Apart from the ridges in the 2236Vw's circular base, there's nothing that stands out — it offers tilt adjustability and tilt alone.

AOC 2236Vw stand

If the piano black doesn't collect dust, the ridges certainly will.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Connections

AOC 2236Vw inputs

Power, DVI, VGA and USB upstream. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

AOC 2236Vw USB port

The lone USB port faces the rear on the left-hand side. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

As previously mentioned, AOC has opted for capacitive buttons for the 2236Vw, including the power button, which is thankfully slightly indented to avoid accidental switch-offs.

While each of the three menu buttons are marked by an icon, this is completely invisible in the dark. Usually this is somewhat overcome with physical buttons, but when you can neither see nor feel where the buttons are, there's a bit of a problem.

This could have been solved either by Dell's elegant proximity sensor, which lights up an LED when a hand is near, or by letting any button be the initial menu button and then using the OSD to highlight where the rest of the buttons are. As it stands if you successfully hit one of the touch areas, you'll either open the main menu, or load the image scaling/input switcher quick access menu. Compounding the issue is the fact that the buttons aren't particularly good at realising when you've hit them, resulting often in no response.

AOC 2236Vw buttons

If you're doing any adjustments, you'll have to do it with the light on. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Once you're in the OSD, it's a bugger to actually understand what anything does; it's all symbol based, with not a label to be seen. Some of the functions you'll get straight away, the rest you'll simply have to experiment to find out what it does.

AOC 2236Vw OSD

Yep, it's the colour presets menu. Good luck figuring out what anything does short of reading the manual, or trying each and every one. (Screenshot by Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

But wait, things get more frustrating: whenever you exit the menu section, the selection is immediately set to the exit button down the bottom. This is fine if you're performing a single adjustment, but when you have to do more than one across a few menu sections, suddenly you're pressing the up and down buttons significantly more than you have to, and it gets annoying quickly.

This logic also adheres when setting the R, G and B values for custom colour: select red, modify it, hit OK and you'll be taken to that menu's exit icon. Take the cursor all the way back to G, repeat, then B ... it quickly becomes tiresome. All this contributes to the worst monitor OSD we've seen to date.

Performance

Lagom.nl LCD tests
After calibrating to a target brightness of 140cd/m² with an
X-Rite i1Display 2, Eye-One Match 3 and tweaking with HCFR, the 2236Vw was run through the Lagom.nl LCD tests.

Image tests
Contrast Sharpness Gamma Black level White saturation Gradient
Pass Too sharp N/A, didn't pass sharpness test Pass Pass Slight purple and green discolouration
Inversion pixel walk tests
Test 1 Test 2a Test 2b Test 3 Test 4a Test 4b Test 5 Test 6a Test 6b Test 7a Test 7b
Pass Pass Slight flicker Upward rolling motion Flicker Flicker Slight flicker Pass Pass Pass Pass

AOC does not give us the option to turn the sharpness down, resulting in a failed test. Up until this point the most failed pixel walk tests we've seen has been four — AOC takes this to a not too comfortable five.

Input lag
Measured against a Samsung SyncMaster 975p CRT, and using a Canon 40D set to a shutter speed of 1/320, an average of over 60 photographs were taken using Virtual Stopwatch Pro. The average result over DVI came in as 7.65ms, meaning almost no input lag.

Colour accuracy
ΔE is the measurement of how far a measured colour deviates from its expected value, allowing us to determine the colour accuracy of a monitor. While a ΔE value of 1 is considered perceivable, as long as it's less than 3 the shift shouldn't be too obvious. HCFR was used to determine ΔE for the monitor.

Let's see how the 2236Vw arrives out of the box.

Measured levels
Contrast ratio 869:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.30
White level (cd/m²) 260.73
Gamma 2.43
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
80.8 42.3 38.3 33.1 29.6 32.0 28.6 25.4 21.1 17.3 10.0
Colour ΔE
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
5.3 7.1 14.8 8.0 14.3 10.5

AOC 2236Vw CIE chart

The uncalibrated CIE chart. The white triangle is the colour space of the monitor, the dark is the sRGB gamut it's trying to match. (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

That's the worst uncalibrated greyscale we've seen to date. Hopefully Eye-One Match 3 and HCFR can bring it back into line.

Measured levels
Contrast ratio 730:1
Black level (cd/m²) 0.19
White level (cd/m², target 140cd/m²) 138.70
Gamma (target 2.2) 2.17
Greyscale ΔE
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
85.9 14.8 5.2 3.4 2.1 1.0 0.5 1.7 0.5 1.4 1.6
Colour ΔE
Red Green Blue Yellow Cyan Magenta
6.0 6.1 10.1 10.2 6.7 10.9

AOC 2366Vw CIE chart

The calibrated CIE chart (Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

The greys are now significantly better, but our sub-50% ΔE is off by a significant margin.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles were taken with a Canon 40D in spot metering mode, with only shutter time adjusted to obtain a good exposure.

AOC 2236Vw viewing angles

AOC 2366Vw viewing angles. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Backlight uniformity
Backlight uniformity was measured by placing HCFR into free measure mode, displaying a completely white image and recording the brightness along a 5x3 grid on the screen. This should be considered a guide only, as backlight uniformity is likely to change from unit to unit.

AOC 2236Vw backlight uniformity

Nothing untoward going on here. (Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Light bleed
Light bleed was incredibly obvious from the top and bottom, considerably worse than is usually found at this level.

It's important to note that the effects of light bleed will likely change from monitor to monitor, regardless of make.

Other issues
The panel itself is quite deeply inset, and the bezel is piano black, meaning that during bright scenes you may notice the screen's reflection on the bezel, which will be distracting for some.

Power consumption
We measured power consumption using a Jaycar mains digital power meter. It's important to note here that due to limitations of the meter, measurements are limited to values of 1W and greater, and are reported in 1W increments.

All measurements, screen brightness and contrast were set to 100 per cent, and a test image displayed.

Juice Box
Maximum power draw 34W
Power-saving mode <1W< td="">
Off <1W< td="">

At its maximum, it pulls about average for its class of monitor. The power saving and off draw are excellent though.

Warranty

AOC offers a three-year warranty on the 2236Vw. For dead pixels, AOC honours a 30-day replacement on bright pixels only from the date of purchase. After this point, replacement will need to be done through a warranty claim, and will require the following for swap out:

  • Three bright subpixels
  • Three dark subpixels
  • Five subpixels in total
  • Two dead subpixels less than 10mm from one another

Conclusion

AOC's 2236Vw is a budget-level model, with severe light bleed, poor greyscale control and an awful OSD. There are simply much better options in this price range, like Acer's G225HQ. As such, we can't recommend it.