Tue, 26 Jun 2012 AOC e2251Fwu monitor review
Travel light and display your work on the move with a USB monitor
- Manufacturer: AOC
- Pros: Only one lead required, runs off the USB port, stripped down, no frills LCD panel, nice, sharp display, good colour, no light leaks and consistent
- Cons: No on/off button or controls, slow data throughput over USB means poor frame rates on fast action games or movies, average contrast ratio, poor viewing angles, limited brightness
- Price: £122.99
- Star rating:
Here’s an interesting concept in lightweight monitors, strip it right down to the basics and make it as light and portable as possible. That means getting rid of the usual separate power supply for a 22” (21.5” viewable) LCD, backlit TN panel and dispensing with configuration controls, an on/off button and surplus interfaces. In fact, the only things on the back of the incredible thin panel, which has a natty finish, are a USB interface and a power input for a 5v supply. However, if you have to use that, then you are completely missing the point of this monitor.
The USB lead runs to your iMac where it splits into two. If the monitor can manage just using one USB port for power then all good and well, if not, then plus it into a second port for additional juice. It draws 10w during standard use. The thinking with this panel is that it’s for people who need to make presentations or have access to another display, while on the move. For that, it runs off USB power and has no configuration setup. In fact, the only thing you have to do is install a monitor driver for it.
So, on that basis, it works marvellously because it’s incredible light and thin. However, actual performance is something else. Firstly, for a display that’s all about sharing the view, it takes very little sideways movement before everything gets a warm yellow cast. The good news is that there is almost no light leak seen on the black screen and no shadowing and virtually no discolouration on a white screen either. So, it’s a consistent display across the surface.
On test images text and graphics are nice and sharp on the full HD (1920x1080) display. On the colour side though, it’s definitely balanced at the warm end and also, there’s not quite as much definition in shadow areas or dark shades as there are in light ones. The typical contrast ratio of 800:1 does indeed hint that there wouldn’t be a big range here. The brightness too is somewhat underwhelming at around half of what other monitors in this price range might offer – just 150cd/m2.
The other aspect to consider is the refresh rate. This is 5ms but it isn’t the limiting factor. Instead, the display driver acknowledges that performance of the monitor may be limited by the hardware. Really, unless you Mac is pretty old, this won’t be the case. However, the data throughput limitations of USB 2.0 are. High speed action games have a distinct drop in frame rate to render them only just about acceptable. Movies as well, become choppy and not as smooth. All of which rather limits the target audience.