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.

Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • cobra5000
    If only it was 21:10.
  • 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 :)
  • christop
    I would like to try gaming with 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.
  • 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.

  • 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!
  • major-error
    11424113 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:
    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...
  • 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.