Review: AOC Razor E943FWS Monitor PDF Print E-mail

Joel Kopping reviews the AOC Razor E943FWS LED monitor.

AOC make quite a few claims about its Razor E943FWS monitor. It claims that at 12.9 mm, it's the worlds thinnest monitor, and that it has, at 50 million to one, the world's highest dynamic contrast ratio.

These are bold claims, and ones that I'm not at liberty to dispute, as I haven't taken a micrometer and measured all the opposition, and when I test for contrast on monitors or projectors, I don't do dynamic measurements.
To me dynamic measurements are a little like taking all the seats, carpets and panels out of a family sedan (to make it lighter), fitting in slick tyres, filling the tank up with racing fuel and then doing a zero to 100km/h test on a specially prepared track. Sure the results would look good, and be achievable on pretty much any production model. But, you're not allowed to drive on the road with slick tyres, and no one I know would dream of ripping the interior out of their daily driver.
While I appreciate the slimness of the Razor, I would rate its overall looks and functionality as more important. For example I used its soft touch control buttons (located in the models base) quite often to make adjustments to brightness, colour, etc, but I didn't turned the Razor through 90 degrees so that I could appreciate how thin it was.
I also appreciate the fact that by simply adjusting the Razor's base, I had the ability to wall mount it or place it on my desk. This feature added a little bit of flexibility to the monitor.
Once you've decided where you want to mount the Razor, you have to connect it and to do this, there is one option: its analogue RGB input on a DB15 cable. 
Having only one input option could create an issue for those that have high-end graphics cards. The reason for this is that for the best image quality, you want to use a digital connection, which is either DVI or HDMI. You cannot connect a Blu-ray player up to the Razor and expect high-definition video as this typically requires a digital connection and HDCP.
My graphics card has both an analogue and a digital output, so I had no issues connecting the Razor and once connected, it was quick and easy to get it calibrated to display the white balance and colour I wanted. There are two ways of doing this, either through your graphics card, using a loaded look up table, or via the monitors control. The former is more accurate, but the Razor was a loan unit so I set it up using its own controls.
With set up done, the Razor displayed pretty good colour balance and when viewing images, people's skin tone looked natural. Colours were accurate; grass, as an example, looked natural and not overly green; and red hues, which are sometimes over-saturated, looked neutral and life-like, too.
However, this was only true as long as you looked directly at the Razor. Despite its viewing angle rotating at 170 and 160 degrees (for horizontal and vertical viewing angles), moving even a few degrees away from the centre axis meant I saw a shift in colour and contrast.
On the plus side, the Razor's response was pretty good and I saw no real lag or image ghosting in the video I watched, and its good resolution (1366x768 pixels) meant that resolution was good.
Overall the AOC Razor E943FWS proved to be a competitive 18.5-inch monitor. It looked good, offered enhanced mounting options, and it's low power consumption (less than 0.5 of a watt in standby) make it a green monitor to boot.
Good: It's good looking; slim; offers wall or desktop mounting options; soft touch buttons on the base work well; and it's price competitive. 
Bad: As with the AOC USB monitor I looked at a short while ago colour and contrast drift when you move away from the best viewing angle; analogue only RGB input means that you're not going to be able to get the best out of some graphics cards that deliver digital images.
Rating: 7.5/10
Price: R 899-00 
Contact: Platinum Micro -

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