More Monitor for the Money
Tired of tiny 15- or 17-inch low resolution screens that make teachers and students squint to see their work? AOC’s E2343FK 23-inch screen is bright, uses less power and at $170, is about as cheap as it gets.
The all-black display comes in a deceptively small box that will require only one person to unpack and set up. It weighs less than 7 pounds, has a small round base and thin bezel. At only one-half an inch thick, it has an admirably thin profile and takes up a minimum amount of desk space.
It’s easy to adjust the angle of the screen, which can be set from 5 degrees forward to 12 degrees back. The base has screw holes 100-millimeters apart so that the whole thing can be mounted on a wall.
On the downside, be careful because it’s a little too easy to get a finger caught in the monitor’s supporting pedestal while setting it up. More to the point, the monitor annoyingly wobbles when touched or bumped into and swings back and forth for a few seconds.
Its display is lit with LEDs behind the screen and can show 1,920 by 1,080 resolution, good enough for displaying full high-definition programming. It’s rated at 5 millisecond response time and there are ports for VGA and DVI cables, but it lacks connectors for the newer HDMI and Display Port as well as built-in speakers.
When playing HD videos or viewing online instructional material, its action is smooth with no jumpiness. The display has brightness to spare and includes i-menu software for adjusting brightness, positioning and color balance. You can also rotate the image on the display but the monitor does not physically rotate.
There are several convenient controls built into the display’s base that light up when you touch them. On top of turning the monitor on and off you can adjust its main settings with a set of easy-to-follow on-screen icons.
The display also includes AOC’s Screen+ software for splitting the screen into a variety of squares and rectangles, each with a different image. It comes with e-saver software for setting when the screen goes blank to save power or starts a screen saver.
AOC ships the monitor with its color balance set to Warm, which makes whites look too red with blues that are washed out. After changing that to Normal, everything looked better, but whites have a bluish tint and greens are too yellowy. If you don’t like the settings, you can create your own and even set an area of the display to be brighter with AOC’s unique Bright Frame feature.
The E2343FK is about as frugal as it gets, using just 32 watts when it’s in use, but that’s just the start. That’s one-third the power use of a recent 19-inch Dell monitor. Over the course of a school year of use for 6 hours a day it will cost an estimated $4.60 in electrical bills, potentially saving $10 or $15 a year compared to older monitors. There are also five eco modes that use between 22- and 29-watts.
A big bonus for schools is that the monitor comes with a three-year warranty, although the display panel itself is covered for only a year. If you have a problem in the first three months, AOC will send you a new one.
Still, at $170, the E2343EK is priced more like a 19- or 21-inch monitor, delivering more monitor for the money. This makes it perfect for a school looking to save some cash without sacrificing a big window on class work.
+ Excellent price
+ 3-year warranty
+ Low power use
- Screen wobbles
- No HDMI or Display Port