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AOC e2243Fw review: AOC e2243Fw

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MSRP: $169.99

The Good The AOC e2243Fw has a unique aesthetic, very good entertainment performance, and an appealing low price.

The Bad The AOC e2243Fw's OSD is obtrusively designed, and the monitor lacks HDMI. Also, its movie performance takes some detailed calibrating to get just right.

The Bottom Line The AOC e2243Fw is a low-priced 22-incher with performance that rivals some of the more-expensive offerings.

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7.1 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Support 6

It is not a pejorative to state that AOC knows how to make cheap monitors. In particular, the 22-inch AOC e2243Fw can be found for as low as $150, includes a fairly robust onscreen display (OSD), and performs well in movies and games. Sure, there's no HDMI and navigating the OSD can be a particularly apoplectic experience at times, but for $150, AOC offers a more than decent package. Also, we wish the warranty covered the backlight for more than a year, but that's not a major quibble. For half the price of the Samsung PX2370, the e2243Fw delivers a monitor that, though a step or two down in quality, is well worth its asking price.

Design and features
The 22-inch AOC e2243Fw looks like something out of "2001: A Space Odyssey," with its pale, white chassis, contrasted by a glossy black bezel, delivering a clean, sterile look. Continuing with that futuristic (or at least what was to be the future in 1968) motif, the foot stand is slightly dome-shaped, looking somewhat like a flying saucer and measures 9 inches wide with a depth of 7.5 inches. The bezel measures 0.75 inch wide on the right and left sides, and the full depth of the panel is an incredibly thin 0.5 inch. The monitor's full width measures 20.3 inches. The distance from the bottom of the bezel to the desktop is a short 3.2 inches, and the panel tilts back a full 90 degrees to face directly up. On the bottom of the footstand are four VESA-style holes, to mount the monitor on a wall or stand. No other ergonomic options are included.

When knocked from any side, the display wobbles and slides quite a bit because of its slight nature, including a 5.8-pound weight. The connection options are located on the back of the foot stand and face outward, making them easier than most to access. The connections include only a DVI port and VGA port, however, with AOC deciding that one of the most coveted and ubiquitous digital connections (waves at HDMI) was not worth including.

On the top front of the foot stand are five sensors that make up the onscreen display (OSD) array and power button. When touched, the OSD sensors glow white and disappear when idle. The buttons consist of a right and left button, a source button, and a menu button. Pressing the menu button brings up the icon-based OSD, with the icons aligned in a three-by-three formation. The OSD includes typical controls for brightness, contrast, sharpness, color temperature, and red, green, and blue customization. There's also a set of presets that change the brightness to be appropriate to the task at hand, including Sports, Standard, Text, Internet, Game, and Movie. The OSD also includes five additional "color boost" presets: Full Enhance, Nature Skin, Green Field, Sky-blue, and Auto Detect. The presets attempt to enhance the vibrancy and color of the onscreen image.

Navigating the OSD is a clunky process. With only right and left movement options available, maneuvering up or down in the menu takes longer than we'd like. Also, while within the menu array, the source and menu buttons are used for "back" and "enter," respectively, making an already clunky experience even more so.

Design and feature highlights
Connectivity DVI, VGA
Ergonomic options 90-degree back tilt
Resolution 1,920x1,080 pixels
Aspect ratio 16:9
Audio n/a
VESA support Yes
Included video cables VGA
Backlight LED
Panel type TN
Screen film Matte
Number of presets 11
Overdrive No
Picture options Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness
Color controls Color temperature, RGB controls
Gamma control Yes
Additional features n/a

DisplayMate performance: We tested the 22-inch AOC e2243Fw through its DVI input, connected to a Windows Vista PC. The display posted a composite score of 91 on CNET Labs' DisplayMate-based performance tests--a few points lower than the Samsung PX2370's 96. Its black level was visible down to the optimal level of 2, but the Dark Screen test displayed very noticeable amounts of backlight bleed-through at the top and bottom edges of the screen.

Text: In text, we saw no color problems with black text on a white background. Fonts were visible down to a 6.8-point size.

Movies: We tested the AOC e2243Fw in its Movie brightness preset, using the Blu-ray version of "Avatar.. The AOC displayed dark detail just as well as the PX2370, missing none of the Na'vi's braids during the bonfire scene. We only noticed a slight green push that was alleviated by a little massaging of the red, green, and blue values

Check out the "Recommended settings and use" section below for more details.

Games: Because of our intimate familiarity with World of Warcraft (WoW), it remains the best tool for judging color quality and vibrancy in games. We looked at WoW in the AOC e2243Fw's Game preset with the Auto Detect color boost preset and found that it delivered a very vibrant image, with somewhat washed-out color. Still, we saw no hint of color tint problems.

Viewing angle: The optimal viewing angle for a monitor is usually directly in front, about a quarter of the way down from the top of the screen. At this angle, you're viewing the colors and gamma as the manufacturer intended. Most monitors are not made to be viewed at any other angle. Depending on the panel type, picture quality at nonoptimal angles varies. Most monitors use TN panels, which get overly bright or overly dark in parts of the screen when viewed from nonoptimal angles, making for inaccurate color representation. The AOC e2243Fw uses a TN panel, and when it is viewed from the sides or bottom, we perceived the screen to darken about 6 inches off from center; this is typical for a TN.

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