AOC’s Aire Pro LED monitor provides a good entry point to screens that are nice to look at whether they are powered on or off. The extremely thin screen (less than ten millimeters thick) is quickly noticed for taking up only a small amount of depth while still offering a picture that is clear and comfortable. The 23” display keeps pace with larger, more expensive monitors, outputting a bright, clear, high-resolution picture that won’t set you back more than a couple hundred dollars.
With 2 HDMI ports, a VGA out, a 3.5 mm jack for audio, and just five buttons located on the monitor’s base, the Aire Pro’s angle is clearly minimalism, and it pulls that off very well. The lighting is subtle, the monitor is light-weight, easily transportable and a snap to reposition to fit your needs on your own desk surface. One aspect where I think this design betrays the overall aim of the monitor is that because all of the power, volume, and menu buttons are located on the monitor’s base, which is a silvery near-circle about six inches in diameter and an inch thick, the monitor can’t detach from the base. You have to have enough room for the base and mounting the screen is not an option whatsoever.
Other than that, the AOC Aire Pro LED performs as sharply as it looks. With a 50,000,000:1 contrast ratio, native 1920×1080 widescreen resolution, and backlit screen, one of the biggest perks about this monitor is how sharp it looks from all but the most extreme viewing angles. I was able to move all about my room and the picture quality stayed consistent no matter where I went, making this an ideal display for presentations or family or party viewing. Even when dealing with careful timing during precise gaming, the 5 ms refresh rate didn’t leave me disappointed – a sticking point I have whenever I’m looking into displays.
I was disappointed but not surprised by the quality of the monitor’s on-board speakers, in that they leave a great deal to be desired. Without hooking up any additional equipment, the sound is fuzzy, with highs too high and almost no bass to speak of. The second HDMI port can be put to use with high-end sound systems, but anything else is going to have to sacrifice at least a little audio quality using the 3.5 mm jack instead.
One of the features advertised on the box that may give some consumers, particularly gamers, cause for alarm is that the Aire Pro LED uses in-plane switching. However, the Aire Pro has no ghosting issues, almost no motion blur whatsoever, and really I can’t say anything bad about its use for any application you might put it to. Purists may protest, and sure there is room for improvement in the overall display, but for the price and the size, it’s pretty hard to argue against this display.
Bottom Line: The AOC Aire Pro LED is competitively priced for somebody looking for a quality display that’s not too big or too flashy. As such, it’s not really going to compare to larger, high-end monitors, and it’s easy to see where the extra cost goes sometimes. Still, this is a great monitor for your average desktop user, and I found it very handy to carry around and set up at parties or gatherings for gaming thanks to its slim build and low weight. The Aire Pro isn’t perfect, but finds a comfortable balance between affordability, portability, and usability.
- Backlit LED makes the picture pop out and look sharp regardless of most viewing angles
- Ultra slim design fits nicely onto desks or dressers without taking up a good deal of space
- 2 HDMI ports make this unit good as a multimedia center for both computers and personal media devices
- Since controls are attached to base, mounting the screen is not an option
- Onboard speakers are tinny and aren’t really worth the addition
- HDMI ports and 3.5 mm jacks only exclude any optical-based audio solutions
The AOC Aire Pro 23” LED Monitor is available from Amazon for $197.57.
Born in the Midwest, living in the Southwest, Michael Radon grew up wanting to make video games for a living before finding his calling as a writer. Though he often heads out on spur-of-the-moment adventures with little to no preparation, he's just as sure to remember his toothbrush as he is at least two portable consoles, a laptop and five to ten games on his person at all times just for those lulls in the action where he can squeeze in a few levels of gaming.