We review a lot of gaming displays, but many users simply want a basic screen at a good price. When you strip away things like fast refresh, adaptive sync, and enthusiast-oriented styling, you're left with just a fundamental display. For most of us, 60Hz is just fine, and the only real nod to luxury is an IPS panel.
To that end, today we’re looking at a member of AOC’s style line, the Q2781PQ. It offers a 27” IPS panel with a thin bezel, minimalist stand, a modern aesthetic, and most importantly, QHD resolution. And it sells for a decent, if not rock-bottom price.
Back in 2012, we reviewed AOC’s I2757Fh. It was one of the first 27” IPS monitors to sell at a reasonable price. IPS has always come with a cost premium and that still holds true today. Even though the technology has penetrated every display category, it still commands higher prices than comparable TN monitors. The I2757Fh offered slick, minimalist styling and excellent viewing angles, but in order to maintain value, it employed the more common (at the time) FHD (1920x1080) resolution. Today’s users are less likely to accept anything less than QHD (2560x1440) in a new screen, so to that end, we have the Q2781PQ.
There are no amazing features to report here. What you get for around $350 is a high-quality IPS panel part made by LG Display with a white LED backlight, 8-bit native color, and a nicely styled chassis that easily blends in with the modern home office. A few things like speakers and USB ports have been omitted, but you do get flexible connectivity, reasonable out-of-box accuracy, and easy setup. If you need a basic display that can function well in a corporate or family environment, the Q2781PQ might be just the ticket. Let’s take a closer look.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
The carton and protective foam are more than up to the challenges of shipping. Those mail-ordering their new AOC should have little cause for concern. The monitor comes completely assembled with an integrated stand/upright that connects to the back of the panel. To keep the chassis thin, the power supply is external, housed in a small brick. Bundled cables include DisplayPort and HDMI. There's a printed quick-start guide, and the user manual and supporting software can be downloaded from AOC’s website.
The Q2781PQ is billed by AOC as “frameless,” but it makes no attempt to hide the fact that there is in fact an 8mm flush bezel around the image, which you can clearly see in the photos. We have yet to see a truly zero-frame LCD panel, even in commercial applications, but AOC has one of the thinnest designs we’ve seen so far. The front layer is the same 3H-hardness plastic found in nearly every panel today and boasts excellent clarity coupled with effective reflection control.
Control buttons are in an unconventional position between the center and left side of the bezel. The down-facing buttons, which click solidly, are marked by tiny icons that are nearly impossible to see. Luckily, they’re just like every other AOC monitor we’ve worked with and therefore easy to figure out.
The panel is permanently attached to a solid aluminum base upright that reminds us of a paperclip. It looks spindly in the photos but is actually quite solid. The pivot point offers 16° backward tilt and 2° forward but no swivel, height, or portrait adjustment. Fortunately, the screen’s height is ideal for the typical desktop, and we had no trouble positioning it for optimal image quality. Once adjusted, there is no wobble or play. The whole package feels very solid and of high quality.
The panel is extremely thin at only 15mm for most of its height, but a bulge at the bottom increases the total depth to 38mm. If you’re concerned about wall-mounting, don’t be, because it can’t be done. There is no VESA mount nor any provision to remove the stand, so those who favor monitor arms will have to look elsewhere.
The back is completely smooth and featureless, and is finished in high-gloss black. Rather than hiding the inputs on a down-facing panel, they are easily accessible in the lower-right quadrant. Connections include a single DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 1.4, and a VGA port. You also get a headphone output. There are no built-in speakers or USB ports.
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