AOC D2357Ph review
AOC's d2357Ph is an incredibly thin monitor with LED backlighting, a Full HD resolution and the ability to display passive 3D images. It also comes with a set of glasses and clip-ons in the box. The d2357Ph is about 9mm thick for the most part, but it has a wider section that contains the power and video input ports. It also has another trick up its sleeve: you can remove the bottom part of the stand and rest the monitor on your desk using its bottom edge, just like a picture frame.
Unlike most passive 3D monitors, the d2357Ph doesn't require extra PC software such as TriDef to view things in 3D. In 2D-3D mode, it'll convert images, films and games into 3D. It seems to work on the principle that if it adds a bit of depth to everything your clever human brain will fill in the gaps. In 2D-3D mode, you can also control three parameters to adjust the effect, but these aren't explained in any detail in the CD manual and it's a hassle to adjust them using the touch-sensitive controls.
In Crysis, we found it added little to gameplay and introduced ghosting. In movies, we found it improved some scenes but ruined others, depending on the scene's composition. It's most effective in photos, and landscape photos specifically, because it seems to work by putting objects at the bottom of the image in the foreground and objects at the top in the background. Material intended for viewing as 3D is much better, though. Sadly, the effect backfires somewhat because you often find yourself seeing depth where there shouldn't be depth.
You need dedicated software such as TriDef to get the best from 3D in games, but it isn't on the accompanying CD. You can download a 14-day trial from the TriDef site, but we would have liked a bundled copy. There's also no profile set up specifically for the d2357Ph. You have to use the generic Side-by-Side (Parallel) mode to view 3D in games, photos or movies.
To play Crysis using TriDef, we had to select the side-by-side mode manually, using the fiddly touch-sensitive control. We noticed many of the game menus looked out of focus with 3D enabled, and while the depth effect in-game was convincing, there was a lot of ghosting. It also didn't handle our crosshair well. Like a drunk, we saw two of them and couldn't decide the one on which to concentrate.
You can also connect a Blu-ray player to watch 3D Blu-ray films, as long as your Blu-ray player supports the latest HDMI 1.4 standard. Unlike previous AOC 3D screens we've tried, the d2357Ph actually recognises the 3D film and switches the mode automatically. However, we didn't find the depth effect as convincing as the side-by-side mode of previous models.
Its 2D image quality wasn't too bad. The d2357Ph's LED backlight is bright and even, having a slightly blue cast that washed out colours at the monitor's default setting. A quick way to cure this is to change the Gamma setting from 1 to 3, which seems to improve contrast and add warmth. Viewing angles were good for a TN panel, but you need to adjust the tilt of the stand to get the best contrast.
The d2357Ph's svelte design is certainly impressive, but on closer inspection we noticed that the bezel isn't quite as thin as it looks. Our Windows desktop stopped 12mm from the edge, even though the bezel is only 5mm thick. It's also a bit wobbly on its stand, and it's certainly not a monitor we'd want to use with young kids around.
The d2357Ph's thin design might turn some heads, but its 3D capabilities, while more versatile than those made for Nvidia's 3D Vision technology, aren't quite as impressive. A 120Hz refresh rate is sorely missed. If you want to dabble in 3D, it's certainly one of the better value options, but its image quality isn't that impressive when compared with cheaper IPS panels such as the £120 Viewsonic VX2336S-LED.
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