When curved screens first appeared we wondered if they would simply be a fad, soon to be relegated to the island of misfit toys. They seemed to answer an unasked question and their price premium was substantial.
It seems that gamers have since embraced curved ultra-wide monitors, and price tags over $1000 have not dampened enthusiasm. Still, there are many who are waiting for that price to come down before jumping on board.
We weren’t sure we’d ever see a value leader in this category, but AOC has finally stepped up to offer a VA-based version for only $600. The C3583FQ weighs in at 35-inches diagonal with a 21:9 aspect ratio, 2560x1080 resolution, 160Hz and AMD FreeSync. We’re going in depth with it today.
If the panel seems familiar, that’s because we’ve covered it twice before. It’s the same AU Optronics part found in BenQ’s XR3501 and Acer’s Predator Z35. The technology is AMVA, which currently offers the highest contrast available in an LCD monitor. We’ve seen several examples that more than triple the dynamic range found in most TN and IPS screens. This particular part checks in between 2000 and 2300:1, and that is a palpable difference that anyone can see even without a side-by-side comparison.
It is unfortunate that this panel doesn’t match the 3440x1440 resolution of its IPS competition, but it has several other attributes that, in our minds, more than make up for a lack of pixels. Besides its greater contrast, it can run comfortably at 144Hz and even 160Hz. The former value represents the part’s native refresh rate but we’ve been able to run it at 160Hz without issue. And in the case of the C3583FQ, that rate is supported in Windows and, more importantly, by its warranty.
Of course the real story here is AOC’s significant price breakthrough. For $600, it undercuts the competition by at least $200 at this writing. Could this be the curved screen you’ve been waiting for? Let’s take a look.
Packaging, Physical Layout And Accessories
Curved screens require a little extra shipping protection and AOC has not skimped on the C3583FQ’s packaging. In addition to lots of rigid foam blocks, there’s a softer piece preventing any pressure from affecting the delicate panel. The monitor is fully assembled so all you have to do is lift it out and plug it in. To that end, a power brick is provided along with cables for DisplayPort, HDMI, and analog stereo.
The C3583FQ takes up a fair amount of desktop space with both prodigious width and a large base. The bezel is a relatively-thin 13mm at the sides and top so if you plan to install multiple screens, the separations will be small. The curve radius is a tight 2000mm which means three of them will wrap nicely around the user if you have room. And at this price, that scenario is much more realistic.
The anti-glare layer is aggressive in function and doesn’t interfere with image quality in the slightest. The air gap is quite small which contributes to better clarity. If you sit close enough you will see the pixel structure, because the density is only 79ppi.
The touch-sensitive controls are found on the front edge of the large base unit which also doubles as an input panel. A small LED indicates power-on or standby functions. The finish is a nice brushed-metal texture though it and the main chassis are made from hard plastic. The chrome-plated upright is real steel, however, and lends a high-end appearance.
The side profile doesn’t look particularly slim but it measures less than many like-sized screens at only 48mm. The screen’s curve is obviously a contributing factor, but overall the package is not bulky in any way.
The C3583FQ’s back is completely smooth and only features a large AOC logo and two small speaker grills. No VESA mount is provided. Since sound will be reflecting from whatever is in back of the monitor, you should consider placement for the best audio quality. Relative to other monitors, these built-in transducers are above average with decent volume and a clear midrange. Bass and treble frequencies are a little more reticent however. Your best bet will be to use an external audio system or a good pair of headphones.
At the base’s rear is a very complete input panel. Not only does this arrangement eliminate cable clutter, it’s super easy to make your connections. While the permanently-attached base limits movement and mounting options, it is convenient in other ways. The two HDMI inputs are version 1.4 and include MHL functionality. You also get two DisplayPorts which both support adaptive sync. DVI is included as well as analog support through a legacy VGA connector. Analog audio is covered by a 3.5mm input and a headphone output.