Review: AOC E2243FW

Posted March 7, 2011

Back in the summer of 2007, flat-panel screens were fairly expensive. As someone who worked full-time and made some good cash before starting my final year of high school, I decided to upgrade to a flat screen myself. Unfortunately, when it comes to computers, I have this small obsession over aesthetics. I’m not really fond of black colored electronics because they’re already everywhere and it’s boring. I like white because it looks more futuristic and cleaner. Most importantly, it was different. As a result of wanting everything to be white (which I eventually reached), I purchased a $430 HDTV that supported PC input at an unethical resolution of 1360 x 768. I could have purchased an actual monitor that boasted twice the resolution for half of the price, but instead I bought this one because the cabinet color was white. Since then, not much has changed. I’m still obsessed over white and trying to find a good white monitor is like trying to find something that only exists in storybooks. Just within the past few weeks, I discovered the AOC E2243FW on Newegg. A super-slim black and white cabinet color monitor that boasted a full 1920 x 1080 resolution for only about $155. It was the lowest price I had seen for a (partly) white monitor and the customer reviews about the monitor were all positive. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally upgrade my screen but I decided to wait just a bit longer… long enough that I caught TigerDirect selling it for only $120 a pop. Yes, that’s right. $120. I decided to indulge and purchase two of them for only $240. It was a great decision at the moment because the product was sold out the next day. I spent almost half the amount of my HDTV for twice the screen, resolution, and desktop space. I’ve had some time to thoroughly use my newly purchased monitors. Was this really a good investment, or did I just throw money at a cabinet color again?

Unboxing

One claim that many reviewers of this monitor make about this monitor is how incredibly lightweight it is. I’ve acknowledged it, but realized that I underestimated that claim from the moment that I picked up the boxes. They weigh about half the amount that I expected them to. The monitor was even lighter upon taking it out of the box. Inside of the box, you will get the basic accessories that come with most monitors. Quick start poster, install CD, warranty papers, cleaning cloth, power brick, power cord, and a VGA cable. DVI cables are not included, but with the price paid, it’s no surprise.

Physical

The front bezel and bottom half of the stand are black. Everything else is pretty much white. The quality of the plastic is a bit on the flimsy side. The cabinets are not as sturdy as most other monitors and the plastic has that rubbery bend feeling to it. You will be bending the screen if you ever need to adjust it. As fragile as that sounds, it still sturdy enough. As long as you’re gentle to the monitor and don’t adjust it all of the time, then this shouldn’t worry you in the least. The tilting angle is very limited anyways. You can only tilt from the hinge in the stand and not from the hinge in the screen. The white plastic used on the base is noticeably different from the white plastic used for the hinge and back of the screen. It seems like AOC needed to use a different plastic for the base in order for the light from the touch-sensitive buttons to shine through. It’s not bothersome, but can still be easily noticed. Usually with other monitors, you’ll notice a little bit of bulk space in the back that holds the inputs, circuit boards, and power supply. In this case, all of that bulk has been moved to the stand, allowing the screen and bezel to be as thin as possible. The screen and it’s bezel are only about 5/16 inches thick, about the same thickness as someone’s finger. The power supply for the screen is in an external power brick. Seeing how bulky the base is already, I wouldn’t think it would be that difficult to place the power supply in it, but it was probably excluded for the sake of reducing weight and heat. The power brick is similar to a standard laptop adapter and uses the standard PC power cables that are used for other monitors and desktops. The bezel and casing are all glossy, but the screen is matte.

Performance


I wanted to set these displays up with the best possible picture obtainable, which meant using DVI inputs. Upon first viewing the screen, I was really thrown off by the color. I was so used to my older displays, that it didn’t seem right. Perhaps I needed to adjust to it, but that wasn’t the case. I needed to adjust it. Looking through the settings, it seems like AOC had some really funky defaults set for these screens. The color temperature by default is set to warm, which explained why I was so thrown off. I changed the temperature to normal and changed the gamma so that the blacks appeared more rich and not as washed out. Another thing that seemed to throw me off was the brightness of the screen. By default, it was way too bright. I had to lower it down to 40% brightness to have it match my old displays. But this is a good thing though. Not only do these displays shine extremely bright, but they do so while using far less power than conventional LCD screens. Which brings me to the point of the display panel itself. AOC really wants to emphasize and promote that this is an LED screen, but it isn’t entirely. The screen is WLED. What this means is that while the panel is backlit using white LEDs (or technically yellow LEDs with blue coatings), the panel itself is still an LCD. Many will consider an RGBLED screen to be a true LED display because it displays colors more naturally and WLED screns seem to be very comparable to conventional CCFL LCD screens in terms of display quality. This is true in my opinion, but the advantage with WLED over conventional LCD is consuming only a fraction of power for a brighter display and allowing the panel to be thinner and lighter. The design of these monitors shows this because there are absolutely no holes or vents for air flow. These screens produce little to no heat at all, so there’s no reason to place vents anywhere. So while the display isn’t as vibrant and colorful as an RGBLED screen, it’s a great step up from conventional LCD.

Pixel for pixel, the display is pristine and accurate. Because the display is so clear and crisp, some 480p movies viewed from a small distance almost appeared as if they were in HD. Games such as Street Fighter IV and Crysis 2 still look beautiful and clear despite the normal 5ms refresh rate. The horizontal viewing angles are also great. Both of the screens face forward and I sit more directly in front of the primary display while viewing the secondary display at a slight angle. There is no distortion at all when looking at the secondary screen from my angle. The vertical viewing angles aren’t as great though. The monitors are on a raised stand on my desk, so when watching a movie from my bed which is at a far lower level, there is some distortion of blacks and some colors. This won’t be an issue for most users, but is definitely something to think about if you plan to use this from a higher or lower elevation, especially since the changing the tilt is limited.

The power and menu buttons are on the touch sensitive base. The power button is the only button that stays lit while the monitor is on unless you touch any other button, then they all light up. Sometimes all of the lights will light up at random times for no reason, which I can’t explain. I’m not making any specific movements or hand gestures, so it’s hard to pinpoint the cause. The menu has 9 options to choose from. The options that most users will be coming to most often is the Luminance and Color Temperature options. There are also these ‘Color Boost’ and ‘Picture Boost’ menus which attempt to enhance the colors of certain aspects such as skin, skies, and grass. I found it to be unnecessary, but it’s still something good to have.

AOC has two other monitors that are in the same line: the 23′ 1920 x 1080 e2343F for about $170 and the 20″ 1600 x 900 2043F for about $130. Both of them probably perform the same as the e2243FW, but one of them takes up way more space and the other has a much lower resolution. Choosing the e2243FW, I was able to keep the screen size reasonable and maximize desktop space all while paying the least amount. Working with over twice the space that I had before makes a huge difference when researching documents, writing code, editing images, and anything else. Choosing any of the other two AOC monitors probably would not have as good of an effect on the workstation environment.

In conclusion
These monitors are awesome and perfect for my needs, as well as almost anyone else’s. At the time of this writing, these monitors may be getting phased out soon. But if you’re debating about upgrading your screen, this is a really great choice that you cannot go wrong with.

Pros:

  • Super thin bezel
  • Light weight
  • Bright screen
  • Affordable

 

Cons:

  • Screen is easy to bend
  • Casing not as sturdy as other monitors
  • Limited tilting angles


Good to know:

  • Some areas of white plastic have minor differences from others.
  • Menu isn’t bad to navigate, but there are better menus in other monitors.
  • Does not support Dual-Channel DVI.
  • Screen has a 5ms refresh rate.
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution limited to 65Hz refresh rate.

Comments

  • And … it is not show up BIOS Screen if using as main Monitor (Can’t Edit your BIOS Setting like Overclock or Setup Boot)

    • It does. My computer (as well as most other computers) will display the BIOS at a resolution of 640 x 480. These monitors display the BIOS screen just fine. I have no problems.

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