AOC Q2963PM Monitor Review: 2560x1080 Is A New Way To Play

AOC's Q2963PM: Usability, Performance, And Our Recommendation

Since 21:9 is a new aspect ratio on the desktop, and every other segment for that matter, I thought that a few comments on usability might be appropriate. After using AOC's Q2963PM for several days, I came to the conclusion that for entertainment, this screen shape is really cool. For productivity, not so much.

When it comes to watching cinemascope movies, the native format of most modern films, eliminating letterboxing is just awesome. We all know that flat panels can never completely black out those bars, so you’re always aware of them. Having a wide-format video completely fill a 21:9 screen greatly increases the sense of immersion, especially at the close viewing distances afforded by a high-pixel density monitor like this.

The same is true for gaming. Modern first-person shooters are a cinematic experience for sure, and the wide field of view means more of your peripheral vision is filled with the image. With the lights down low, you’re pulled into the game’s world completely. We can only speculate what it might be like with three of these things running in tandem! Add in surround sound and you’d be hard-pressed to top that experience.

On the other hand, working in typical computer applications is less satisfying. Most programs are vertically-oriented. Web browsing, email, word processing, and graphics editing are a few examples that really benefit from screen height more so than width. We continue lamenting the rarity of 16:10 monitors. For pure productivity, 21:9 seems to be a step in the wrong direction. Even when using the screen-split features, or arranging windows side-by-side, the amount of extra scrolling to get around in Word, for example, is significant. We did find an advantage in certain horizontally-oriented spreadsheets, where 21:9 allows you to see a lot more of your work. But for the majority of business software, this screen aspect would not be our first choice.

The screen-split feature is extremely cool for running a video feed on your screen while working. It’s a bit like having two small monitors or laptops in front of you. If you like to watch the news as you crunch away at a spreadsheet, the Q2963PM is in the unique position to make that possible. Likewise, let’s say wanted to side-by-side images on two different machines; the Q2963PM’s PMP feature essentially functions as a hardware-based Aero-snap.

As we’ve become accustomed to from AOC, the Q2963PM’s video performance is excellent. Aside from a little too much blue in its out-of-box grayscale measurement, this monitor measures extremely well for contrast, gamma, and especially color. In fact, its numbers are comparable to some much more expensive displays. And its screen uniformity is solid as well, despite the challenge of running a backlight through such a wide form factor.

While the unique aspect ratio might not be for everyone, those who predominantly watch movies or play games on their computer might want to consider this new AOC. At just $450, it presents the greatest bang for your buck in this new product class, which is why we’re giving the AOC Q2963PM the Tom’s Hardware 2013 Smart Buy award.

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60 comments
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  • Simos Kozanidis
    Does it tilt?
    Having 2 in chain of those, tilted on the side, would be very nice for productivity apps, like coding, etc.
    1
  • eddieroolz
    Good to see 21:9 monitors come down in price. I don't ever watch movies so the width is no use for me, though what I'd like to see in the future is a vertical VESA mount to stack 2 of these monitors in the vertical orientation. That would result in a 2560x2160 resolution that would be great for productivity purposes.
    2
  • cobra5000
    If only it was 21:10.
    -2
  • giovanni86
    I'm actually in the market for the LG 21:9 primarily for gaming. Though i was disappointed that the veritcal length is smaller then others. Its still a very nice display. Looking forward to buying it and playing BF4 on it :)
    -1
  • christop
    I would like to try gaming with 3.
    -3
  • ubercake
    Seems like a good choice for an RTS/MMORPGer. The input lag of the IPS panel is still going to keep me away from using something like this for shooters.
    2
  • vertexx
    With the multiple sources, does it force a 50-50 split or is that adjustable?

    I currently run two PCs for my daily work and could probably use something like this. Two 1080p monitors side by side is too much back and forth, so this may be a good solution. But I'd want to be able to adjust the split between the sources if needed.

    Thanks!
    0
  • cknobman
    I know no one wants to hear this and I will be instantly down voted but this resolution seems ideal for Windows 8 Metro/Modern interface.

    Everything in Windows 8 Metro/Modern is designed for horizontal screen orientation vs. vertical.

    Besides that point this monitor seems like a great piece of hardware for the money. Nice review!
    0
  • major-error
    Anonymous said:
    Good to see 21:9 monitors come down in price. I don't ever watch movies so the width is no use for me, though what I'd like to see in the future is a vertical VESA mount to stack 2 of these monitors in the vertical orientation. That would result in a 2560x2160 resolution that would be great for productivity purposes.

    What you're looking for comes from Ergotron: http://www.ergotron.com/ProductsDetails/tabid/65/PRDID/15/language/en-US/Default.aspx
    I have this stand holding up a pair of Dell U2412M displays. My only real concern when hanging displays on this stand is the panel weight, although I bet the bottom-mounted of a pair of 27" 16:9 displays would end up touching the desk...
    -1
  • nekromobo
    You totally forgot to compare it to Dell U2913WM for little more there's 3years NBD warranty etc.. not to mention how does it compare picture-wise? Probably same panel used on both.
    -1
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    what I'd like to see in the future is a vertical VESA mount to stack 2 of these monitors in the vertical orientation. That would result in a 2560x2160 resolution that would be great for productivity purposes.

    1080 lines is too little for (advanced) productivity IMO.

    For things like programming and browsing, I would be much happier with 2560x1600 on a 24" screen in portrait mode + 1920x1200 on a 20-24" landscape secondary display than 2x 2560x1080 29" in landscape.
    5
  • clonazepam
    The only thing we're missing here is some youtube video goodness of someone "cam-ing" this thing in use. Like switching modes between single source and 2. How quickly does it switch between modes?

    As far as gaming goes, I'd never opt for this. As has been mentioned, the input lag may be irritating for some. Also, would you have to tweak a game's field of view setting, if it has one, to make the most of it?
    0
  • Charles Cox
    Any idea how this compares to the Dell UltraSharp U2913WM? I'm actually finding it quite difficult to find accurate comparisons between them, especially with regards to input lag.
    1
  • dennisburke
    This is a great aspect ratio for watching movies or gaming, but the vertical height is about 2 inches less than my current 27" 1080p monitor, which is a no go for productivity. To get the vertical height back up to my current 13.25 inches, the 21:9 monitor needs to be a minimum of 34 inches...I think that would be a sweet monitor.
    0
  • blackdragonx1186
    I own and use Dell's variant of the 21:9 monitor. For gaming, it is amazing. Although, there are a lot of games that don't fully support the resolution, so in certain menus things can be chopped or cropped wrong. Skyrim doesn't work at this res, but Oblivion does, which is interesting. Great aspect for what most of us will use them for; games, and movies.
    0
  • ubercake
    Anonymous said:
    This is a great aspect ratio for watching movies or gaming, but the vertical height is about 2 inches less than my current 27" 1080p monitor, which is a no go for productivity. To get the vertical height back up to my current 13.25 inches, the 21:9 monitor needs to be a minimum of 34 inches...I think that would be a sweet monitor.


    Anonymous said:
    I own and use Dell's variant of the 21:9 monitor. For gaming, it is amazing. Although, there are a lot of games that don't fully support the resolution, so in certain menus things can be chopped or cropped wrong. Skyrim doesn't work at this res, but Oblivion does, which is interesting. Great aspect for what most of us will use them for; games, and movies.


    Skyrim menus were messed up for me across 3 screens too.
    0
  • g-unit1111
    21:9? Ultra HD? Less than $500??? Count me in! :ouch:
    0
  • tpbutch
    This review was so timely for me. I had been eyeing this thing on Amazon for the past week. Today, the price is down to $400. No-brainer for my needs.
    0
  • none12345
    The 1080 is a bit too small, 1200 would be better(1440 seems too large but ive never used that screen height, so duno). Black bars on movies dont bug me, id rather have the extra space for everything else i do on a pc. Seems to make a lot more sense to turn off part of the screen because you dont need it, then not have it there at all when you do need it.

    What id really like tho is 200 dpi ~24"/~12" viewable area(27" viewable diagonal), with a slight curvature. ~4800x2400, ~120 hz. And the graphics card to drive it in next gen games at 120fps. Let me know when we have that.
    3
  • bee144
    This really isn't any better for playing games than my 2560x1440 monitor is it?
    1