The AOC Graphic Pro monitors compete with EIZO and BenQ – in a special way

With three competitively priced models for the graphic professional, AOC wants to tap into a new market segment for the brand. The Graphic Pro U32U3CV is its top model.
With three competitively priced models for the graphic professional, AOC wants to tap into a new market segment for the brand. The Graphic Pro U32U3CV is its top model.

AOC Graphic Pro monitors seduce with very high color fastness and a very competitive price. If that sounds too good to be true, it is. Unless you already have a graphic production company of some size. Then it sounds like a godsend.

As is known, AOC is the house brand of the Chinese manufacturer TPV Technology, which also supplies the world with Philips monitors through its subsidiary MMD. So it had the choice of two brands to tap into a new market segment with high-quality monitors for the creative sector. The choice ultimately fell on AOC, especially because it already competes with BenQ and ViewSonic , especially in Asia . They are also active with screens for graphic professionals. The name for the new line will be AOC Graphic Pro (although actually without capital letters), the first three models can be recognized by ‘U3’ in the name.

AOC Graphic Pro: Calman Ready – what does that mean

The three new AOC monitors all come from the factory with calibration of some level (in jargon: a DeltaE or color deviation smaller than 2). Their main claim to fame, however, is that a much more accurate result is possible. They can be calibrated for as many as 11 different combinations of color spaces and white points. As usual in this ranking, that calibration takes place on the monitor side, not on the video card side. For that reason we speak of hardware calibration.

All three models (AOC Q27U3CV, AOC U27U3CV and AOC U32U3CV) are Calman Ready. For this purpose, the company has collaborated with Portrait Displays, owner of Calman since the acquisition of SpectraCal in 2016. Portait Displays is a gigantic company in the creative sector and has its fingers in everything that has to do with color. From the palette of Hollywood films to adjustment after purchasing your luxury television, Portrait has a service for it. Calman Ready is a program that simplifies the calibration of suitable monitors (and televisions).

By participating in this, calibrating the AOC Graphic Pro monitors is as simple as selecting the relevant profile in Calman, clicking on the desired calibration result and sitting back. It is an ease of use that immediately makes the new monitors interesting, because depending on the method, calibration can be a time-consuming and complex process. This must be done again every few weeks, mind you. Of course you can go for a monitor with a built-in colorimeter and calibration function , but they are considerably more expensive.

The catch

The cheapest AOC U3 monitor should only cost 349 euros. Even apart from the calibration options, this is not very expensive for the specifications. If you do take it with you, it is dirt cheap. The two Ultra HD models are also relatively affordable. Especially compared to the competition’s options. It is clear that AOC attacks this market segment in the same way as any other: by being very competitive on price.

Unfortunately, you are in for a rude awakening if you, as a hobby photographer, think you can buy a highly calibrated screen for next to nothing. Calman Ready requires a license for the Calman software for these screens and one of the two most expensive versions: Calman Ultimate (about 3300 euros per year) or Calman Studio (about 2300 euros per year). This is the only way you can calibrate the screens.

This actually only makes the new monitors interesting for graphic production houses that already have such a license. The screens are very interesting for those companies. The prices are for business applications of the ‘impulse purchase to try out’ level. This certainly doesn’t seem like a bad strategy to get your foot in the door in the sector. It is only a bit of a shame for the enthusiastic end user.

Three AOC Graphic Pro models: Q27U3CV, U27U3CV, U32U3CV

As mentioned, there will be three AOC Graphic Pro monitors. Two are 27 inches (68.6 cm), one is 31.5 inches (80 cm). Two have a 4k UHD resolution, the entry-level model is QHD. A striking shared feature is USB-C with 96 watt power supply, in combination with an extensive USB hub and network connection. This makes them complete docking monitors that can provide a connected laptop with image, data and power with a single cable. The question is whether the graphics sector is one of the few that makes more use of desktop workstations, but of course there are also connections on board for this.

AOC emphasizes that the Graphic Pro models use LG Display NanoIPS panels, equipped with a quantum dot layer for a larger color range. All must be able to display 98% of the DCI-P3 color space. The supported color spaces are: Display P3, DCI-P3 D65 and D50, sRGB, AdobeRGB D65 and D50, BT.2020, BT.709, custom mode, BT.2020/HDR (PQ), DCI-P3 D65 HDR (PQ) .

Finally, we can point out that the Graphic Pro monitors have a ‘different than usual’ design in terms of base. AOC has received a Red Dot design award for it. Fortunately, the design doesn’t get in the way of excellent ergonomic adjustability – on the base the screens can move, swivel, tilt and rotate up to 15 cm in height.

Prices and availability

The AOC Graphic Pro Q27U3CV has a suggested retail price of 349 euros; the AOC Graphic PRo U27U3CV should cost 469 euros and the AOC Graphic PRo U32U3CV will cost 599 euros. All should be available from June 2024.