Everyone loves some 3D it would seem but the race to find the dominant way of displaying it has still to be finished. In the meantime, here’s a passive 3D LCD panel from AOC where the you can switch from 2D to 3D at the press of a button. And a couple of more presses as you trawl through on screen menu. Quite why there wasn’t a one button press option when it’s the reason for buying the monitor is baffling. See also Group test: What's the best 19 to 24-inch LCD monitor?
This then, is a TN panel, which is a cheaper technology than IPS, but with the passive 3D built in, it bumps the price up to that of an IPS panel. So, you’re definitely buying this for the 3D aspect. It has to be said, demonstrating technical drawings, 3D models, photos and designs with a 3D aspect gives them much more impact than a flat 2D display. Take a look at the ViewSonic VP2365-LED.
The clever thing about the AOC panel is that it will work quite happily in 2D until you need to see the 3D display. Then it’s an adventure into the on-screen menu to switch it over to 3D. This renders all your 2D display content as 3D, so done your 3D glasses that come with the monitor and admire the view. There’s also a clip on pair for anyone wearing glasses.
The monitor itself is incredibly thin, though the outer framework is a little flimsy. The PSU is a separate box, plugging into the back where the rest of the interfaces are located. This makes them easy to access and you get a D-Sub analogue, two HDMI and a jack plug for the built-in speakers. No DVI port though which is an oversight.
The front of the panel has a brushed metal bottom strip, in an iMac style, with touch-sensitive menu controls. The stand and base are similarly attired and it all looks very swish. The stand though has issues. It’s not the sturdiest but worst of all, it doesn’t elevate up very far and because of the limited viewing angles in 3D, if you have a low-sitting desk it won’t be far enough. Viewing angles are okay in 2D but when the 3D display is on you really have to sit right in front of it.
The tech spec says 250cd/m2 brightness and 1000:1 static contrast ratio which are fairly average specs and certainly caused no problems here. The stand out feature is a blazing fast 2ms refresh rate, which is probably a good job for the on-the-fly rendition into 3D.
Now, in terms of quality, there’s quite a lot of light leak all around the edge of the monitor, but it isn’t glaring so you’re only going to see it when the screen is dark, or the room itself is in subdued lighting. The all-white test shows darkening in one corner only, the rest are clear throughout so it’s a good display there. Mind you, the actual display doesn’t fit to the edge of the 23” diameter frame anyway.
Colours are pretty good, though the default sRGB display is a little on the green-red side. Calibrating it or running it in cool colour mode, or just tweaking it manually will give better results. Certainly there’s good tonal range from shadows right through the highlights, it’s well balanced.
Switching back over to the 3D display, the text rendition which is perfectly fine in 2D is a bit grim in 3D. It’s spidery and flickery, though graphics, film and action all look perfectly fine. It really does make a difference to things like 3D visualisation. Do note though that the 3D effect starts at the monitor surface and goes backwards, it doesn’t extend out at all like a more expensive 3D solution would give you. In fact the 3D effect is also fairly subtle at times.