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Computerized Investing > June 4, 2014
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by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

$199.99

Energy-efficient, 24-inch wide-screen display for home or office.

These days, you have literally hundreds of choices when looking for a new computer monitor. Wide-screen displays have become the norm and even touch-screen displays are gaining in popularity as operating systems such as Windows 8 are being optimized for touch. For everyday computer users, however, you may not need a display with all the bells and whistles that high-end models offer. One such display I’ve been testing for the last several weeks is the AOC E2460SD. This 24-inch, LED backlit monitor delivers a crisp, clear picture without breaking your bank.

Out of the Box

The E2460Sd, measured diagonally, is 24 inches. It’s not as large as the AOC 29-inch ultrawide or HP 27-inch displays I’ve reviewed previously, nor is it as big as the Dell 27-inch I normally use. Having the extra real estate is nice, but these monitors carry with them a price premium that I’m not sure the “typical” computer user is willing to pay. Furthermore, this 24-inch display is still plenty big enough to have multiple windows open at once; the overall viewing area is 246.2 square inches. The monitor also weighs 9.7 pounds.

The E2460Sd’s bezel is made of black plastic with a brushed surface texture and measures 0.5 inches around the sides and top and one inch along the bottom. I found it interesting that a lot of consumer reviews of this monitor complained about the size of the bezel, since this is one of the smallest bezels I’ve seen on a monitor of this size.

The monitor comes with a stand and is also wall-mountable. Compared to the stands I have come across with other monitors, this one is on the flimsy side but is solid enough to keep the monitor from shaking whenever I bump my desk. Like the AOC UltraWide I reviewed previously, the stand doesn’t rotate for portrait viewing, nor does it adjust vertically. While I do like being able to adjust the height on my Dell monitor, I didn’t find the E2604Sd difficult to view at its default stand height. However, you can tilt the screen forward and backward from -5 degrees to +20 degrees.

On the bottom-right of the monitor are five buttons—source/auto/exit, Eco (DCR), 4:3 or Wide/+, menu/enter and power. Clicking the menu/enter button brings up the display controls. They only occupy a strip of screen space along the bottom instead of the whole screen. You then use the left and right arrow keys (Eco and 4:3 buttons, respectively) to scroll through the menu options. I found the navigation to be relatively easy, but there is an even easier way to navigate via AOC’s i-Menu software. This software, which is installed along with the AOC drivers, lets you adjust the monitor’s settings using on-screen menus instead of the buttons on the monitor.

On the back of the monitor is the power plug port and two video input ports—VGA (analog) and DVI-D. Since AOC seems to be targeting enterprise, government and educational users with this line of displays, it isn’t too surprising that there is not an HDMI port.

Setup

Setting up the AOC E2640Sd was extremely easy. After attaching the foot stand and plugging in the power cord, I connected the display to my HP Folio 13. The only hiccup was that I needed a VGA adapter, which I already had, since my Ultrabook doesn’t have a VGA plug and the monitor does not have a native HDMI port. So if you do buy this monitor, make sure the computer you plan to connect supports VGA or DVI-D, or make sure you have an adapter.

After connecting the monitor to my laptop and powering it up, Windows 7 immediately recognized it and configured it to the default recommended 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution. The monitor supports 11 different resolutions in total.

The E2460Sd is Energy-Star certified, with Eco-mode that gives you five display settings (text, internet, game, movie and sport) for different viewing conditions. In addition, its e-Saver software enables you to set a low power configuration for the monitor’s on/off, sleep or screen saver modes. You can choose the time to turn the monitor off in order to reduce power consumption.

Lastly, AOC’s Screen+ software is, in theory, a desktop-splitting tool. It splits the desktop into different panes, each displaying a different window. You can drag program windows into different panes, where you can access them. However, like other display management software I have tried to use, I believe my use of a VGA adapter hinders its operation.

Performance

Having “downgraded” from a 27-inch display to test the E2460Sd, I had to keep reminding myself not to be biased in my review. After using it for several weeks, I have come to appreciate the monitor and what it has to offer. For its incredibly low price (less than $150 through various online outlets) you are going to sacrifice some features found on higher-end displays. This includes an adjustable stand, TN-Film (TN-F) technology instead of In-Plane (IPS) and lower viewer angles (170 degrees horizontal and 160 degrees vertical). However, only the keenest eyes would probably pick up any discernable difference. The display is clear and colors are bright, given its 16.7 million color depth and 20,000,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio, which, according to AOC, reveals darker image areas in greater depth. As a result, I found it more than capable of handling everyday computing tasks such as word processing and web browsing as well as video via Netflix and YouTube.

The 24-inch display also provides plenty of real estate for viewing multiple windows at once. This is a necessity for me since I usually am working on multiple applications at once, such as a Web browser, a word processing program and a spreadsheet. It would have been interesting to see the Screen+ software at work so see whether it added to the multi-window viewing experience. However, you can easily adjust the window sizes manually to achieve the same effect.

Overall

The AOC 2460Sd isn’t the most advanced wide-screen monitor I’ve tested, but it does offer the best combination of functionality, performance and value. While I was a bit put off by the inability to run some of AOC’s proprietary software, I was more than impressed with the picture quality and ease of setup. Even though I have become accustomed to a 27-inch display, anyone using a smaller 19- to 22-inch display will definitely appreciate the increased image area. Therefore, for anyone looking to upgrade their display for all but the most image- and video-intensive projects, the AOC E2460Sd is definitely worth considering.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Easy setup
  • Ability to view multiple full-sized program windows simultaneously

Cons

  • No HDMI input
  • No vertical height adjustment

AOC E2460Sd LED Backlit Monitor

$199.99 (Currently $142.95 from Amazon.com)

Wayne A. Thorp, CFA is a vice president and senior financial analyst at AAII and editor of Computerized Investing. Follow him on Twitter at @WayneTAAII.


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