Review of the AOC 173P LCD Computer Monitor
Solid Value for Home and Office
You may have never heard of AOC. It's not a household name like Dell or HP. This may be partly due to the fact that AOC makes only computer monitors and TV's. AOC, based in San Francisco, is owned by Top Victory Electronics, commonly called TPV. TPV is also the largest manufacturer of computer monitors in the world, according to their website. (HomeGear factoid)
Petit Product Packaging
We were amazed at the small size of the shipping box when we received it. Look at the photo below of the monitor folded down onto its stand. That is the first reason why it fits into such a small box. Second, the bezel (the silver "border" surrounding the monitor) is very thin at about one-half inch (13mm). Third, the monitor is really thin, at only about 1.88" (48mm). For full specifications of this monitor, click here for AOC's spec page
So, if you need to transport the 173P to a meeting, trade show, or some other location, its folding stand feature makes this quite an easy task. As well, the monitor's overall weight helps at 11 lbs (5.0 kgs) and 14.3 lbs (6.5 kgs) without and with the stand and cables, respectively.
The stand can be removed if you wish to attach an articulating arm to the 173P's VESA mounts. VESA is an industry standard for the positioning of the holes in the back of monitors for compatibility with many mounting possibilities.
After spending quite a few hours working on the 173P, we came away quite impressed. The display is bright and has excellent contrast, owing to its 300 cd/m2 brightness level and head-of-the-pack 700:1 contrast ratio. Most other 17" monitors—even ones much more expensive—have a contrast ratio of 500:1.
The 173P's high contrast ratio means that blacks look blacker and whites look whiter, rather than both being some shades of gray.
Two other measures of image quality are response time and dot pitch. At just 8ms, the response time of the 173P is really one of the best of its peers. There are a few 4ms LCD monitors that have just begun shipping, but most 17" LCD's sold today are 12ms. Such a fast response time of 8ms is ideal for gamers who are always pushing the limits of computer PC technology. The 173P has a respectable dot pitch (also called pixel pitch) of 0.264mm x 0.264mm.
Color representation is notoriously subjective. Compared to other monitors we looked at alongside the 173P, its color was well-balanced and seemed accurate.
No More Shakin' and Jigglin' Going On, But You'll Be Happy
Most of the guts inside a computer are digital, of course, sending and receiving information in the form of bits and bytes. But not monitors, until just recently. Monitors received their information in analog format, which exposed them to interference from electrical currents. Such interference, or noise, would manifest as the entire displayed image on the screen shaking.
Monitors with digital inputs are immune to this problem. The 173P is both analog and
digital. We tested the 173P with both inputs, and were pleased with both. To be compatible with such screens, your computer must have a video card that outputs a digital signal.
AOC's installer of the driver for the display from this page
did not work on our test PC with an otherwise smoothly running Windows XP. Since the test machine had various other software, including specific software for its Matrox Millennium graphics card, it is possible there was some software conflict. However, the monitor installed transparently and perfectly without AOC's custom driver for the 173P. We will update this space if we become aware of new information regarding this issue.
Since we believe that the 173P is a high-quality display, how is it priced? A review of the four online stores below plus the Shopzilla search box show that it is priced around $200. That is very competitive.
You might pay more for such a high-quality display, but fortunately you do not have to. We found the 173P to be an exceptionally well-engineered product with a crisp, bright, accurate color display.
MPN: 173P. UPC: 00685417005680