I’ll be honest, I didn’t know a lot about AOC before I saw this monitor. I’d heard of the brand, and thought it was just one of the many at the cheap end of the market. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – there is clearly a big market for cheap, nondescript monitors.
The only thing is, the iF23 is neither particularly cheap nor nondescript.
I’ve been using it as my primary monitor for a week now, and it’s been great. The Full HD 16:9 (1920 x 1080) display is crisp and bright and the IPS (in-plane switching) panel offers wide viewing angles without impacting clarity or colour.
As you can see from the images, it’s blue from the front, and white from behind. I must admit, I don’t mind the look of it. The white goes with my Mac hardware, and the blue is something a bit different. But it’s unclear who AOC is trying to target with this one: the IPS panel makes it a target for techie-types, but the design is more akin to a family PC.
The ergonomics of the display are also somewhat questionable. The monitor sits flat on your desk with the screen only about 9cm above the surface. It leans against a single-post stand that can be turned to alter the angle of the display, but this varies from almost vertical to completely vertical – not necessarily the best viewing angles.
Now onto cheap. The RRP is $399, which is pretty good for an IPS display of this size, but the monitor’s build quality isn’t that great. The plastic easily flexes, and the finish is rough in parts. The monitor just feels a bit flimsy (and its single supporting stump at the back doesn’t help matters much). But then again, how often do you move your monitor around?
In the end, the decision will come down to price and looks. As with all these peripherals, you’re likely to find it for less than the RRP (I’d guess about $300-$350), so it won’t break the bank, but there are a lot of monitors around at that price. Adding the boost in screen quality you get over many budget models, this looks to be a good-value-for-money monitor. But given that you’ll be looking at it all the time, you need to decide whether you like its design. I’m a fan – though I’d definitely prefer it in black – but you might not be.
• 23in viewable
• Microsoft Windows 7 compatible (works with a Mac, but bundled software doesn’t)
• 16:9 widescreen
• 100,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio
• Analogue & DVI-D Input (no HDMI)
• 6 ms response time