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AOC Q2781PQ review: Bezels begone

Our Rating :
£357.01 from
Price when reviewed : £300
inc VAT

A lovely design and great desktop image quality at a good price

It might seem like a small thing, but it’s amazing how much more pleasant your monitor is to use when it’s got narrow bezels. It makes your screen feel much larger than it is, and when they sit flush against the panel like they do on the AOC Q2781PQ, it makes it feel like you’re computing in the future, as it creates the illusion that your desktop’s floating in the air. 

The AOC Q2781PQ is a particularly gorgeous example, as its skinny bezels measure just 8mm across, allowing your PC’s desktop to take up 93% of the entire front of the monitor. It’s not particularly expensive, but it feels like something special.  

I like the screen’s slim, silver edges and unobtrusive logo, and the metal stand adds a touch of class; it not only has a sculpted, machined look, but it also doesn’t take up much space on your desk. There’s room within the stand’s U-shaped foot for your phone or notebook, too, and a keyboard will slide over the top of it so can be placed further back on the desk – a bonus for those of us with long arms who like to type with our elbows on the table.

The screen is also just 15mm thick in most areas, and it’s not until you get down to where the stand attaches to the monitor that it starts bulking out slightly. It’s here where the ports sit, too, and you’ll find two HDMI inputs, DisplayPort and VGA, and a headphone output for sound transmitted over HDMI or DP. There’s no USB hub, but that’s a reasonable omission considering the price of the screen. There aren’t any speakers either, but monitor speakers almost always sound rubbish and aren’t something I tend to use. There’s also no VESA mount, so you won’t be able to use a custom stand or mount it to a wall.

I would have liked to have seen some adjustment beyond a simple screen tilt. Chiefly, the ability to adjust the screen rotation to compensate for a slightly wonky desk would have been appreciated, as the slim stand makes it trickier to level the Q2781PQ using folded-up business cards or bits of cardboard tube; on monitors with bigger bases, it’s easy to hide your improvised levelling devices away.

The monitor’s interface pops up from the bottom of the screen, and is divided into clear categories such as Color Setup and Luminance. The only difficulty I had with the interface was that the button icons on the front aren’t backlit and are hard to see under normal lighting.

This is one of those rare monitors, however, where you’re better off just leaving the settings alone, as I was impressed with the screen’s out of box image quality. Solid colours are saturated and vibrant, and there wasn’t any trace of the grainy texture I often see. This makes large blocks of white, such as the background to a Word document, particularly pleasing to behold.

The screen’s 2,560×1,440 resolution leaves plenty of room for multitasking without you having to worry about scaling problems, as on a 4K monitor this size. Text isn’t quite as sharp as on a 4K screen, but it’s still extremely easy to read.

Tests with our colour calibrator showed that the monitor could display 97% of the sRGB colour gamut at its default settings, with a Delta E colour accuracy figure of 1.38. These are both impressive figures for a monitor at this price. Calibration improved the colour temperature from 6856K to 6664K – closer to the ideal 6500K – and sRGB coverage to 98%, but at the expense of a slightly worse 1.56 Delta E. Unless you need the most accurate colour temperature possible, you won’t gain much by calibrating this monitor.

The chief problem I found with the screen was an area of backlight leakage at the top left of the panel, a couple of inches in from the left-hand bezel. When I filled the screen with a black test image, this manifested itself as a semicircle of whitish-grey. I found it hard to notice in static test images, but in games the backlight bleed added an unintentional lens flare effect in darker scenes.

The Q2781PQ isn’t ideal for games in any case, as it doesn’t have a particularly fast pixel response time. The specification lists a 4ms pixel response, but I saw noticeable blurring during fast panning motions, both in the Ghosting test at and in Dirt Rally. There is a pixel overdrive function, which runs from Weak to Medium to Strong. At Medium and Strong settings, this introduced enough halo-like corona artefacts to ruin the look of Dirt Rally. The Weak setting brought some mild reduction in ghosting, without bringing any noticeable artefacts with it.

That said, I’m still very impressed with the AOC Q2781PQ. It’s a great value monitor with impressive image quality and a lovely design, and it doesn’t cost the earth, either. You may find the backlight bleed and relatively slow pixel response time distracting in games, but if you’re after a 2,560×1,440 monitor for work more than play, this is the screen to buy. For other options see our top picks in best monitors.

Screen size27
Screen technologyIPS
Claimed contrast ratio1,000:1
Claimed brightness350cd/m2
Refresh rate60Hz
Claimed response time4ms
Response time typegrey-to-grey
Horizontal viewing angle178 degrees
Vertical viewing angle178 degrees
Screen depth15mm
Base (WxD)330x180mm
Screen elevation100mm
Portrait modeNo
Internal speaker (power)None
Detachable cablesYes
USB hubNone
Integrated power supplyYes
Video inputsVGA, HDMI, DisplayPort
Audio inputsNone
Buying information
Price including VAT£279
WarrantyThree years collect and return

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