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

Results: Brightness And Contrast

Uncalibrated

Before calibrating any panel, we measure zero and 100 percent signals at both ends of the brightness control range. This shows us how contrast is affected at the extremes of a monitor's luminance capability. We do not increase the contrast control past the clipping point. While doing this would increase a monitor’s light output, detail would be clipped at the upper end of the brightness scale. Our numbers show the maximum light level possible with no clipping of the signal.

We chose a mix of QHD and FHD monitors from recent reviews to create our comparison charts for the Q2963PM. It’s evident from the results that neither resolution nor price is a factor in any performance metric.

AOC claims 300 cd/m2 for the Q2963PM, but we were unable to measure more than 237.8049 cd/m2. This is still plenty of output unless you have a lot of sunlight shining into your workspace.

The upside to a dimmer screen can sometimes be excellent black levels. Let’s see if this is the case:

AOC runs mid-pack turning in a very respectable .2729 cd/m2. Aside from the Samsung’s low measurement, our cross-section of monitors is all within a whisker of each other for maximum black level.

Turning up the brightness usually results in a lower contrast ratio than you would see at 200 cd/m2.

While the Q2963PM is second from the bottom in this group, a contrast ratio of 871.3:1 is still quite good. If you are forced to peg the brightness slider, you still get a very good picture from this AOC display.

For the next group of measurements, we turn down the brightness control to its minimum setting, and leave the contrast unchanged. The Q2963PM measures 80.9444 cd/m2, which is comfortably above our standard of 50 cd/m2. We recommend staying above this level to avoid eyestrain. At this low brightness setting, we often see amazing black level numbers.

AOC’s ultra-wide monitor comes within striking distance of our current champ, the Samsung S27B970D. And it embarrasses some more-expensive screens in the process. With a max white number of over 80 cd/m2, this makes for great contrast if you use your computer in a darkened room.

Here’s the contrast round-up at minimum brightness.

Again, we see excellent performance at this price point. In fact, the Q2963PM takes second place for Minimum Contrast among all the monitors we’ve tested this year.

After Calibration

Since we consider 200 cd/m2 to be an ideal average for peak output, we calibrate all of our test monitors to that value. In a room with some ambient light (like an office), this brightness level provides a sharp, punchy image with maximum detail and minimum eye fatigue. It's also the sweet spot for gamma and grayscale tracking, which we'll look at on the next page.

We start with the calibrated black level. This can sometimes rise a bit from the monitor’s default state. We consider the tradeoff in contrast well worth the gain in color accuracy.

The Q2963PM actually improves on its black level measurement from default. This demonstrates solid engineering and attention to detail on AOC’s part. Remember that the white level only went down 37 cd/m2 from its maximum.

We consider any calibrated contrast ratio over 1000:1 to be excellent performance.

The Q2963PM handily tops our standard of excellence for contrast. Its measurement of 1220.2:1 puts it in second place for this comparison, and overall third place for 2013. This monitor provides a punchy image with plenty of depth and pop, regardless of content. High contrast like this makes any picture look good, whether you're talking about photos, business graphics, or gaming.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

Another important measure of contrast is ANSI. To perform this test, a checkerboard pattern of sixteen zero and 100 percent squares is measured. This is somewhat more real-world than on/off measurements because it tests a display’s ability to simultaneously maintain both low black and full white levels, and factors in screen uniformity. The average of the eight full-white measurements is divided by the average of the eight full-black measurements to arrive at the ANSI result.

A high ANSI measurement like this is related to the quality and design of an LCD screen’s grid polarizer. One that is well-made allows little to no light bleed between the brightest and darkest parts of the image. A checkerboard pattern is the most extreme test of this. Maintaining a low black level while half the screen is covered with 100 percent white squares is a challenge for any monitor. You can see AOC does well, though. Achieving an ANSI contrast ratio over 1000:1 is actually quite rare.

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60 comments
    Your comment
  • 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