Features & Specifications
This is not our first review of a monitor that makes style its top priority. But we haven’t had the opportunity to examine a display that comes from one of the world’s most-noted design houses, Studio F.A. Porsche. Yes, we’re talking about that Porsche, although the firm produces many products that have nothing to do with automobiles. Founded in 1972, it has provided sleek and modern styling for a wide variety of items ranging from eyeglasses to furniture.
Often a step ahead of the competition in the physical design of its displays anyway, AOC has enlisted the services of Studio F.A. Porsche to create a new interpretation of the computer monitor. The PDS271 is a 27” IPS panel with FHD resolution, a super thin form factor, and a unique power brick feature that combines power and video into a single cable that emanates from the elegantly curved strip of metal that forms the base and upright. It is unquestionably beautiful, but how does it perform? Let’s take a look.
Yes, the resolution is indeed 1920x1080 pixels and the color depth is 6-bits with FRC. And that is unfortunate, because the PDS271 has several other positives that place it ahead of the competition. The panel comes from LG Display and is an AH-IPS part with a white LED arrayed at the bottom edge. But its native color gamut sets it apart from most business-class screens. Sporting DCI-P3, it delivers vibrant and saturated color that exceeds the sRGB volume by almost 20%.
It completely eliminates cable clutter by combining the power and video feeds into a single wire that runs from a stylish power brick to a jack hidden under the all-metal base. It’s a unique approach that offers an ideal solution to those seeking a completely uncluttered desktop. In fact, most aspects of the PDS271 are uncluttered. There’s only a single button to control the OSD, which has few options outside brightness and contrast.
It’s an interesting package that will appeal greatly to some users, especially those who enjoy the cachet of designer products. But on paper, it falls short in a couple of key areas.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
The carton shows a photo of the monitor on a black background with the proclamation “The Splendour of Luxury.” It’s certainly enticing, but the word “Porsche” appears nowhere. That’s a bit of a head-scratcher since it’s the primary selling point of the PDS271.
Internal protection is more than adequate for the completely assembled monitor. You’ll be amazed at its light weight and supreme thinness. It almost reminds us of an OLED panel as we remove it from the box. The special power brick and required cable are included of course, along with an HDMI connector. Drivers and documentation are provided on an enclosed CD.
The PDS271 exudes high style from its simple and elegant design. There are no extraneous angles or curves, only what’s necessary for each piece to flow into the next. Form follows function in a clear expression of the German Bauhaus school. The panel is super thin for two-thirds of its height, culminating in a small bulge at the bottom for the internal components. The all-metal upright and base are a single piece interrupted only by a cylindrical hinge that offers 21.5° back tilt and 3.5° front. There are no height or swivel adjustments. Nor do you get any mounting options. The pieces are permanently attached with hidden hardware.
The front layer appears frameless, but when an image is present, you can see a 7mm bezel around the top and sides. Across the bottom is a metal strip, 20mm in width, and it has a polished edge and an AOC logo as its only feature. Control is facilitated by a single button. Press it once to power up. Another click brings up a small OSD.
While many of us dream of a wireless world, reality means we still need cables to carry power and video signals reliably. AOC has managed to cut this requirement to a single proprietary wire and a nicely styled brick that accepts both AC and a single HDMI input. It is then connected to a hidden jack in the PDS271’s base. You can see how it works in the third photo above. Next to the panel’s single button is a 3.5mm headphone jack. There are no built-in speakers, nor are there USB ports.
OSD & Setup
The OSD is about as minimal as it gets. In addition to brightness and contrast, you get three-level controls for low blue light and overdrive. The feature list is rounded out by a volume control and language choices.
When you press the button, the menu appears at the bottom center of the screen. Another press cycles through the icons. When you’ve selected the desired function, wait a moment and a small box appears at the center of the screen. Press the button to raise the value until it hits its max and cycles back to the bottom. It’s a little clunky, but if you’re going to have a display controlled by one key, we can’t think of a better way to do it.
Setup is pretty much limited to choosing the desired output level. There are no picture modes, color temps, or gamma presets. Maxing the brightness slider yields around 275cd/m2 while a setting of 56 corresponds to 200cd/m2. Contrast is set correctly so it should not need adjustment. The only other option worth visiting is the overdrive. A medium setting provides good blur reduction without excessive ghosting.
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Or at least, not for the amount of extra money they're likely to ask for it.
Think I'll stick with my 5K 27" from 2014 for now.
My first thought on seeing the rear view was 'that will sag eventually due to the off centre mounting point.' I like the single cable design, though if you turn the power brick sideways in the natural 'behind-the-stand' orientation the AOC logo will be upside down to the user. It will, however be the right way around to the user's client in a sales room, and all of the rear is clean enough for that environment. I still won't tell my clients that it exists though.