Great price point; super thin.
Awkward OSD menu; trouble with digital noise, grays, and compression.
AOC’s e2243Fw made a strong first impression on us: A glossy, piano-black frame houses this remarkably thin, 21.5-inch LCD monitor. In addition to being only 1/2-inch from front to back, it’s also extremely lightweight and flexible—and has a budget price, too. The entry-level price of $150 gets you TN technology and a WLED-backlit screen with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920x1080 resolution. It doesn’t, however, get you HDMI or DisplayPort.
The six‑pound display has a round base holding sensors that, when touched, activate an onscreen display—a neat trick if it weren’t so clunky. Attempting to navigate the menu was an unwieldy experience, as the buttons on the base are unintuitive and lack the ability to move up and down through the menu. Even worse, the OSD menu consists of large, confusing icons, and it’s frustratingly easy to press the wrong button or to accidentally take a step back to the previous submenu.
One of the notable things about the display is its ability to tilt back to a 90-degree angle for easy wall mounting via VESA mounts. However, the e2243Fw requires a power brick—something that’s unlikely to look good dangling down your wall. Also, despite the 90-degree tilt, there is no ability to move the display from left to right, which comes in handy for desktop use. And frankly, we’d be much more likely to use a 21.5-inch panel on our desktop than our wall.
When moving the display on its base, not only did we find ourselves accidentally pressing the base (and therefore the menu buttons), we also noticed that the neck of the stand put pressure on the display, causing strange pressure-point patterns to warble across the screen. Moving the display also often caused it to flicker off for a moment before springing back to life.
Chassis attributes aside, the display produced clear details and colors that were comparable to our zero-point display, a Dell U2410, albeit a shade darker. Adjusting the brightness and settings in the menu helped some, but the reds and greens didn’t quite pop like we wanted: The e2243Fw was still a few shades cooler than our zero-point. During our DisplayMate testing, the e2243Fw suffered in the Pixel Tracking screens, where it produced some digital noise in images, as well as in the White-Level Saturation tests, where it produced some compression artifacts. It also struggled to produce accurate colors, and to render those colors smoothly and consistently—as well as to produce the full spectrum of grays seamlessly. It also experienced difficulty with the Video Bandwidth Index and Gamma Correction tests, where there was evidence of over-peaking and inaccuracy in the gray-scale and color mixtures, respectively.
However, during our Blu-ray watching/gameplay testing, the e2243Fw did a solid job. In our viewing of V for Vendetta, it matched the zero-point monitor nicely. The only discrepancy was the level of detail in shaded or dark backgrounds, where the e2243Fw was a little weak, although adjusting the brightness did alleviate the issue some. Similarly, while playing Arkham Asylum, the e2243Fw consistently displayed clear images and solid colors. We didn’t experience any lags, artifacts, or ghosting and were pleased overall with the display’s real-world performance. Despite its awful menu and budget feel, the e2243Fw does a decent job where it really counts.