AOC E2343FI – It Isn’t Just Incredibly Slim

11/3/2012 9:33:04 AM

While there’s no shortage of 23in monitors, the E2343Fi dares to be a little different. This Full HD display isn’t just incredibly slim, it also packs an iOS dock and a pair of speakers into its base, so you can play videos directly from an iPhone or iPod.

There’s obviously an irony to this when Apple has just released the new Lightning dock, but the vast majority of iOS devices in use will still have the 30-pin connector. We weren’t able to test an iPhone5 with Apple’s 30-pin adaptor before going to press.

Description: AOC E2343FI


At around $300, the E2343Fi was never likely to match the quality of, say, Apple’s Thunderbolt Display, and its plasticky body gives away its built-to-a-budget status. The stand lets you tilt the screen forwards and backwards, but its waifish build means it flops around, and it doesn’t take much to set it wobbling. This isn’t really unusual for low-cost monitors, however.

The rounded base is the heftiest part, and conceals a pair of 5 watt speakers, the iOS dock and the VGA and HDMI ports. There’s no DVI, so you’ll need the more unusual Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adaptor (around $45) to connect it to your Mac. One thing the base doesn’t include is a power supply, so the AOC comes with an external power brick.

The ios dock accepts iPhones and iPods (it would be silly to connect an iPad, since it would block the main screen). Pop in your device, select the video you want on its screen and press Play, and the image appears on the monitor. It’s arguably even simpler than AirPlay. Of course, you can play music tracks too.

Description: AOC has announced that it will launch a new monitor with iPhone dock port for widescreen display

AOC has announced that it will launch a new monitor with iPhone dock port for widescreen display

Oddly, videos shot in portrait orientation (as is common with the iPhone camera) aren’t scaled down to fit with in the screen, so the E2343Fi only displays the central portion of the image. With no scaling options other than a 4:3 mode, it’s an annoying over sight. Still, most videos – including all movies – will be in landscape orientation, and we found these scaled correctly and looked remarkably good. Even low-bitrate videos were acceptable as long as we didn’t lean too close to the screen.

Audio quality was underwhelming, though. We had to check that the sound was coming from the AOC’s speakers rather than our iPhone, since the quality was so tinny. The two 5W speakers are admittedly an improvement on those built into your iOS device, and do go considerably louder, but they’re not particularly good in any other respect. There was very little body to the sound, and distortion crept in at higher volume settings. Although conveniently neat, these speakers would be easily bettered by even a cheap stereo or 2.1 set, or a bog-standard iOS speaker dock.

As a Mac display, the AOC failed to impress. Its brightness slightly exceeded the claimed 250cd/m2, but the quoted 1000:1 contrast ratio was rather optimistic; we measured it at nearer 789:1. Our test images looked distinctly iffy, with skin tones dogged by a pallid blue cast and colours lacking in the intensity we’ve seen from cheaper budget panels. X-Rite’s i1Display 2 colorimeter soon revealed why: the preset colour temperature of 7850k was way off the target of 6500k.

Our detailed display analysis also showed colour accuracy to be pretty mediocre, with greens and pastel shades giving particular trouble. While we applaud the idea, theE2343FI is a jack of all trades and master of none. As an iPhone/iPod dock, it’s notable for providing big-screen video, but audio support, so easy to find elsewhere, is lacklustre. As a monitor, it’s bettered by any of the slew of budget IPS panels currently on the market. The likes of Dell’s UltraSharp U2312HM can provide superb image quality for under $300, with a sturdy adjustable stand. If watching from iOS is your first priority, the AOC has to be worth a look – but do look closely.








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