AOC Q2963PM Led-Lit Ultrawide Monitor Review

AOC is not a newcomer when it comes to computer monitors. Despite having smaller marketing budget compared to other big names in the industry, AOC continues to make quality monitors that appeal to the masses of penny-pinchers. One of their monitors in the ultrawide range is the AOC Q2963PM. Despite its very affordable price tag, it has many redeeming qualities that make it usable in various applications.

aoc q2963pm

What set this monitor apart from the rest of the competition? Read on to find out.

SPECIFICATIONSDESIGNSETUPIMAGE QUALITYDISPLAY MODES

AOC Q2963PM – Specifications

The Q2963PM is an ultrawide monitor from AOC with 21:9 aspect ratio. AOC uses a 29-inch LED-backlit IPS panel with 2560×1080 native resolution which is also dubbed as Wide Full HD. This panel uses matte anti-glare finish and supports 16.7 million colors.

The IPS panel has a refresh rate of 60Hz and response time is as low as 5 ms when using the OverDrive. Measuring 28.1 x 15.3 x 8.4-inches, the display along with the stand weighs 22.9 lbs.

AOC includes several cables in the package. You get an HDMI to micro USB, HDMI to HDMI, and power cable. No DisplayPort cable is included.

This monitor is Energy Star Compliant which means it draws 30% less power than other monitors of similar size.

AOC Q2963PM – Design and Build Quality

When you look at this monitor from the front, you may very well mistake it as having no bezels at all. The top and side bezels are thin, about half an inch. The design is simple, and thankfully, the bezels are not glossy. This means you won’t see any annoying reflections from them when you put the monitor is brightly lit room.

The AOC looks much prettier from the side than from the front. The way the stand is designed makes it stand out from the crowd. The stand is a wide piece of plastic that curved down to form the base. Both the stand and base have metal inserts. They are sturdy and able to support the huge display very well.

However, being pretty is not enough. People also expect a high level of adjustability which this stand severely lacks. There’s only 40 degree of tilt adjustment here without any height or pivot adjustments to go along with it.

With only tilt adjustment, you better be able to raise or lower your chair. Otherwise, you’re going to need a new desk, stack a couple of books under the monitor, or use a monitor arm. At least, the AOC A2963PM has a VESA mount on the stand, hidden behind a removable lid with huge AOC logo. We have to say this is an ingenious design. The lid keeps the stand look sleek when the VESA mount is not in use.

The back portion of the display cabinet is made of plastic in dark gray color. Just like the bezels, the plastic use here is not glossy, so there’s no worry about it being fingerprint or dust magnet. The plastic has that sandblasted look that makes it look expensive.

Unlike many other monitors where the ports are located on the rear portion of the display, the ports here are located on the stand, both on the rear and the side.

On the rear, there’s a DisplayPort out, an MHL-compatible HDMI, an Audio Out, Audio In, and the DC In to plug in the power cable. The VGA, DisplayPort in, and DVI are located on the right-hand side of the stand.

There are five buttons on the right-hand side of the display. They are the Power/Exit, Menu/Up, Volume/Down, Aspect Ratio, and Source/Auto/Enter buttons. The OSD, while looking cheap, is quite user-friendly. It’s a shame AOC doesn’t put much thought on the aesthetics of the OSD like they normally do with their other monitors.

Having volume button implies that this monitor has built-in speakers. Yes, it does have a pair of speakers. They are located on the upper part of the stand facing to the sides, and they suck real bad. What was AOC line of thought when they put those two 3-Watt speakers is anyone’s guess. They might as well ditch them altogether and slash a couple of dollars from the monitor’s already super affordable retail price.

In its entirety, the AOC Q2963PM has okay build quality. The stand and base look solid and feel like they could take a beating. Unfortunately, the bezels are not quite that good. If you try and pinch them, you can feel that they feel rather disconnected with the panel itself. It’s not like the monitor needs to them to be rock solid to be functional, but AOC really could do better despite this being a budget monitor.

AOC Q2963PM – Setup

This monitor comes in a huge box with the stand already attached. The base, however, requires installation first. It’s nothing hard. Snapping the base and stand together takes like 10 seconds top.

Since the Q2963PM doesn’t come with many I/O cables, you need to prepare the ones you need. It’s a minor inconvenience since we can get such cables easily in any electronic store these days.

If you wish to connect through DVI, you should check if the cable is a true Dual-link DVI cable that supports higher bandwidth. Using older DVI cable will produce terrible image and texts so choppy they’re barely recognizable.

Once you plug in the power adapter and the input cables of your choice, you can power up the computer and play with the settings.

Adjusting the settings is quite simple with the Q2963PM. Changing the aspect ratio, for example, only requires a couple push of a button. Pressing the Aspect Ratio button brings up the overlay for available ratios: 21:9, 16:9, 16:10, 4:3, and 1:1. It’s so easy to switch between ratios when you need to.

But before that, you need to adjust the picture quality first since it’s only so-so quality out of the box. Go to the Color Setup to adjust the color temperature to 6500K and then go to Image Setup to set the gamma to 2.2. Such setting is perfect for most applications. Use that as the basis for any further tweaking, and you’ll be happy with the colors.

AOC Q2963PM – Image Quality

Once you calibrate the monitor, the image quality and color reproduction is very good. With 1100:1 static contrast ratio, the IPS panel is able to produce stunning colors with good contrasts and very deep blacks instead of dark gray.

Now, on some monitors with IPS panel, showing a dark background may uncover imperfections called IPS glow. It’s a whitish glow caused by backlight bleed that usually goes along the corners or edges.  It’s a common problem plaguing monitors using IPS panels. Surprisingly, IPS glow is minimal on this monitor. You can try looking for it, but on day-to-day usage, any backlight bleed on the AOC Q2963P will be too faint to see.

As with most monitors using IPS panels, this monitor also has excellent horizontal viewing angles, but kind of flops when it comes to vertical viewing angles. Looking at the screen from the top or bottom, you’ll see that the colors look a bit washed out. It can be a problem in a teamwork scenario where people gather around the monitor.  People who stand and look down on the screen will see that the colors and brightness are a bit off.

Having said that, this is a great monitor when you’re the single user sitting right in front of it with the tilt adjusted. The matte anti-glare finish looks smooth, and it does its job well-preventing glares when you have this in a well-lit room.

The AOC Q2963P is just great for gaming and watching movies. At first, the 21:9 aspect ratio may seem a bit weird when compared to the more “normal” 16:9 monitors you see every day. However, it will only take a short time before you get used to it. Once you do, the super wide aspect ratio is the new normal to you, and you’ll never want to go back.

Gaming is a whole new experience on the AOC Q2963PM. Those extra pixels on the sides feed your peripheral vision and makes gaming feels more immersive. With 5ms response time, you won’t notice any input lag. The vibrant colors and deep blacks this monitor produce is excellent. You’ll be able to see the details in dark scenes without compromising the clarity during the bright scenes. The 60Hz refresh rates still allow for fluid gameplay in fast paced racing games.

For movies, the 21:9 aspect ratio used here comes real close to what the cinemas use. Any movies supporting super wide aspect ratio will look marvelous without any letterboxing effect or black bars taking up valuable screen space. As with gaming, the colors and contrast this monitor delivers is simply excellent.

Ultrawide or super wide aspect ratio is quickly gaining its pace as the new standard for gaming and movies. As more and more content are pushed using the 21:9 aspect ratio, you will soon realize just how invaluable this monitor is when it comes to entertainment.

The stretched out screen also lends itself as an ideal solution for video editing. The extra amount of horizontal space allows you to view all your projects without needing to scroll here and there. The extra timeline area you get with an ultrawide monitor such as this one is highly significant. Those who are accustomed to dual-monitor setup to get their video works done can happily use just this one monitor and get rid of the annoying bezels in between.

For word processing and working on a large spreadsheet, the ultrawide screen helps a lot too. Once again, you can see more columns at once without scrolling horizontally all the time. When you are working on multiple documents and need to cross-check things, having all windows open side by side is a lot more convenient than continuously hitting Alt + Tab. Even when you open three application windows side by side, each one still occupies a large screen space.

“But how does it fare for graphic design and photo editing?”

If you design graphics or edit photos for a living, we suggest you step up your game and get a monitor with higher resolution and overall better color reproduction. Yes, this monitor can produce good colors but not stellar. The 2560×1080 resolution, while good for games, movies, and video editing will leave you wanting more. The pixel density is not suitable for professional photo editing and graphic design works. What you want is an ultrawide monitor with 3440×1440 resolution. Such monitor will satisfy the pixel peeper inside you even when you only sit three feet from it.

AOC Q2963PM – Display Modes and Other Features

The AOC A2963PM doesn’t have any dedicated display modes for movies, games, or anything. For all purposes, you have to play with the display settings. You should set it up in a way that gives the best overall experience regardless of the use or content.

With a breadth of I/O ports, the AOC Q2963PM becomes a very versatile monitor that can connect to various systems, old and new. Do note that connecting two systems simultaneously is possible using the Picture in Picture (PIP) or Picture by Picture (PBP) feature. For instance, you can connect a laptop through the HDMI and a PC using the DisplayPort.

On paper, AOC claims that the Q2963PM supports up to four sources. You can plug in your PC, laptop, Macbook, game console, and more at once. We doubt anyone will use that much different systems together. But for those who actually need it, we just need to put a reminder that this monitor only has one DisplayPort in, one HDMI, one DVI, and one VGA. This means the four sources must use different connections. If you want to connect two systems where each only has HDMI, you’re out of luck.

Having a DisplayPort out, you can daisy chain this monitor to make a multi-monitor setup.  That’s a convenient feature that will be useful in various fun and serious scenarios. Just make sure your system is powerful enough to push such configuration.

A 29-inch ultrawide monitor already has massive screen real estate, but the ability to daisy chain this monitor is a blessing for those needing more.

One example is when you’re at a trade show and need to display promotional content for your company. An array of super wide monitors is just the perfect eye-grabber that will attract many potential customers to check out your booth.

The HDMI available on the AOC Q2963P supports MHL which stands for Mobile High-definition Link. With MHL, you can connect your phone or tablet using the supplied HDMI to micro USB cable. This allows you to view the content from your phone right there on the big screen while simultaneously charge your phone. It’s a cool feature to have when you want to show off some videos and pictures you’ve taken with your gadget. It’s also fun when you want to see how your favorite mobile games look on a huge screen.

Pros

  • Super wide aspect ratio is great or games, movies, and multitasking
  • Good horizontal viewing angles
  • Good connectivity
  • Incredibly affordable price.
  • Supports MHL
  • DisplayPort out allows for multiple monitor setup
  • Almost no IPS glow

Cons

  • Only tilt without height and swivel adjustments.
  • No DisplayPort cable included
  • Mediocre built-in speakers

Conclusion

AOC makes a very compelling case with the Q2963PM. The ultrawide aspect ratio in a 29-inch IPS screen makes gaming and watching movies seem like a totally new experience. It’s also a great monitor to have in any office or home office. The ability to multitask and see more of everything using just one screen is just superb.

Yes, this monitor has its flaws, and the absence of tilt and swivel can be a deal breaker for many.  Still, with the VESA mount on the back, getting a higher level of adjustability is a piece of cake. And frankly, with its super low price tag, at least compared to the competitors, getting a decent wall or desk mount for this monitor won’t eat much of your budget.

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Last update on 2017-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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