In the world of desktop monitors, it’s pretty difficult to compete with the clarity and beauty of something with In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology. Typically speaking, however, IPS monitors run on the higher end of the price scale. So when US-based display maker AOC came to me with the sub-$200 i2367Fh I had to give it a shot. The  i2367 is a 23-inch LED IPS display, running at a native resolution of 1920×1080 with a 5 ms response time. It’s also incredibly thin, measuring in at only 11 mm. With street prices as low as $169, can it live up to the competition? Read on.

The first thing that you need to know about the i2367 is that the box is misleading. Box art shows a truly borderless monitor. While that’s close to true, and appears to be the case when powered off, as soon as an image hits the screen you’ll see the real story. There’s a thin border to the monitor, but it’s in fact much less intrusive than what we’ve seen on many other, more expensive competitors.

IMG 0464 730x547 AOC i2367fh review: A near borderless IPS monitor that will fit even the most frugal of budgets

Colors on the i2367 are fantastic. A reported 50,000,000:1 contrast ratio is perhaps overstating things, but blacks do indeed look incredibly black, and whitest whites have the potential to be shockingly bright at higher settings. Though the on-screen display navigation is somewhat terrible, I didn’t have to fiddle with it much to reach a comfortable setting where the display is quite stunning without being either too dark or overly bright.

AOC has done a few things very right with the display. There is a standard port for VGA, but you’ll also find two included HDMI inputs. Unfortunately there is not a DVI input, so you’ll need to use an adapter if that’s the output that your computer uses. There are included speakers, though you probably don’t want to use them. But at this price point it’s a nice touch. The entire unit is also impossibly light, but there’s little adjustment to be had with the base, You simply slide the monitor into the bracket and then you are offered a tilt option. No height option exists.

Screen Shot 2013 03 01 at 9.27.53 AM AOC i2367fh review: A near borderless IPS monitor that will fit even the most frugal of budgets

At the end of the day, however, what really matters is how it looks. When it comes to this, I have absolutely zero complaints. The i2367’s matte display has incredible off-axis viewing angles, and its colors are bold, without being overstated. It’s very easy to look at this monitor’s performance and think that it’s going to cost you twice what you paid. In a world that is somewhat dominated by Samsung and LG displays, it’s refreshing to see a competitor come out with a great product that works with tighter budgets.

IMG 0465 730x547 AOC i2367fh review: A near borderless IPS monitor that will fit even the most frugal of budgetsFacing facts, the i2367 isn’t the best IPS display on the market. Others, included Apple’s lauded Cinema Display, offer much better customization, easier menus and even greater accuracy with colors. But almost every one of them will cost you two to three times as much as AOC’s offering. At a price that’s (considerably) under $200, I was pleasantly surprised to find no screen tearing, no dead pixels and a monitor that’s incredibly comfortable to use for long periods of time. This one is going back in the box to be sent back to AOC, but we’re ordering a couple more because when value exceeds price to this extent, there’s simply no question.