Review: AOC F22 (22 inch widescreen monitor)

A month ago, I finally decided to switch to an LCD display, having been using CRT all this while. After looking around for a good but not too expensive monitor, I finally bought AOC's recently released F22.

The F22 is a 21.5 inch widescreen monitor with a native resolution of 1920x1080, which means you can watch 1080p high definition video at 16:9 aspect ratio rather than the 16:10 available in most widescreen monitors.

So far I've been mostly satisfied with the monitor, and it is especially useful when I'm coding. Being able to use NetBeans with all that screen real estate feels great. This screenshot should give you an idea.

Apart from NetBeans, Photoshop is perhaps the only application I run in a maximized window. I'm not much of a designer, and I've only used it for minor tasks like slicing and resizing images, so I'm not really qualified to say whether or not it's good for Photoshop work, but it's definitely a huge step up from the two LCD monitors I've used at work (LG L1742S and Acer x153w) or my old CRT monitor.

Has it changed the way I use my desktop for browsing? I think so. I no longer run Firefox in a maximized window. Most websites out there aren't really meant to look good at this resolution (including this blog) and some of them look outright hideous.

The only feature I can really use in a maximized window is the side-by-side multiple inboxes in gmail, but I stopped using that because I had to constantly switch it back because it looks terrible in the 1280x768 monitor I use at work. Now I'm resigned to using a window around 1280px wide so that the browser window looks the same as the one I have at work.

One category in which AOC definitely beats all competition is when it comes to the design and looks. The F22 monitor doesn't have a conventional base like other monitors and instead has a base inspired by a photo frame with an adjustable single post stand that allows adjustment of the tilt angle. (see image below) This definitely has to be one of the best looking monitors I've seen.

When it comes to watching videos on this one, I'm happy with the colors and contrast. I played a high definition video to check what it would look like, and it exceeded my expectations in that regard. The clarity and the level of detail was stunning.

However, the brightness dips drastically at wider angles, and videos are almost unwatchable if I'm lying on my bed which is right next to my desk. I don't really take the manufacturer's viewing angle specs of 170/160 at face value, but unless I've really messed up the trigonometry calculations here, the viewing angle wouldn't be more that 120-130 degrees at a 6ft distance from the desk. That for me is the major disappointment with this monitor. But then, I'm used to the CRT monitor's viewing angle and that's probably why I'm so harsh on this point.

Another drawback is that the pixels per inch is on the higher side at 102 PPI, (24" displays have 91) which means fonts look smaller, but then that's a trade off you have to make when you choose a 22" monitor with 1080p resolution. This doesn't normally bother me much, but when I visit websites that use smaller font sizes, I have to zoom in to be able to read comfortably.

AOC claims a dynamic contrast ratio (DCR) of 30,000:1 for this monitor, but in case of these specs, seeing is believing. (There are monitors claiming DCR of 1,000,000:1) There is a DCR mode in the luminance options of the OSD, but I would recommend wearing sunglasses to avoid being blinded by the extremely high brightness levels. I might be wrong here, but isn't DCR all about reducing the illumination for the dark pixels rather than increasing it for the brighter pixels?

There are VGA and DVI inputs for the dislpay. Strangely enough, there is no HDMI port, which is fairly standard these days on monitors with this resolution. However, I don't have any complaints ther as I only use it with my desktop. Also, it does not feature any USB ports, which are also standard on monitors these days.

Despite all that grumbling in the previous 2-3 paragraphs, I'm kind of happy with my choice of monitor. The viewing angle is the only thing that irks me about the display. The large screen area obviously helps a lot when I'm working, and it's nice watching videos on it, even though I have to stay within a narrow viewing angle to enjoy it fully.

My rating: 8/10
[Read more...]