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AOC U32E2N review: Great 32-inch 4K experience at a reasonable price

This AOC 32-inch 4K E2 series display is a beast.

AOC U32E2N
(Image: © Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

UHD or 4K still remains a pipe dream (or nightmare) for many in the PC world, especially for gaming. Still, more 4K monitors are coming out and they're being sold to those who have the hardware capable of running such displays at high resolutions. AOC is looking to bolster its collection of 4K screens with the E2 series, including the U32E2N.

There's no argument that 4K isn't a substantial step up from 1080p and 1440p, but the price of the best computer monitors and required hardware (namely the best graphics card) to get the most out of them can prevent many from taking the plunge. That's precisely where AOC wants the U32E2N to come into play.

It's somewhat affordable, comes rocking AMD FreeSync support, a gorgeous design with minimal bezels, and a 32-inch panel to cram as many open windows as possible while remaining productive. It's also pretty good at gaming too, but is it worth the consideration compared to other 4K monitors out there?

AOC U32E2N at a glance

AOC U32E2N

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)
CategorySpec
Size31.5 inches
Resolution4K (3840 x 2160)
Refresh rate60 Hz
Response time4 ms (grey to grey)
PPI140
Brightness350 nits
PanelVA
WLED backlight
Viewing angles (H/V)178°/178°
Aspect ratio16:9
Native contrast2500:1
Dynamic contrast20,000,000:1
Colors16.7 million
Color depth10 bit
Connectivity2x HDMI (2.0), 1x DisplayPort 1.2
Speakers2x 3W

AOC U32E2N design and features

AOC is better known for its AGON range of gaming monitors that cover the budget-friendly end, as well as the high-end and everywhere in between. Take the AOC C27G2ZU with its crazy 240Hz refresh rate, 1080p resolution, and impressive 1ms response time. AOC knows how to make good screens.

I'm generally a big fan of the line-up of monitors from AOC (and Philips since both are under the MMD umbrella, the latter in license only), but sometimes the company can miss the mark with its designs. Thankfully, AOC restrained itself from implementing any aggressive styling on the U32E2N, resulting in quite a sleek monitor.

AOC made a 4K display that fits right at home in most professional office setups.

The focus with any 4K monitor is the screen and that's no different with the U32E2N. The massive 32-inch panel demands your immediate attention and the view is unobtrusive thanks to the very thin bezels that flank either side and up top. Down below you'll find the usual AOC metallic effect plastic bar with centralized branding.

For ports, AOC included two HDMI 2.0 and a single DisplayPort 1.2 for input, alongside a headphone jack for audio. The power supply is located within the monitor, negating the need for an external brick. For the OSD (on-screen display) controls, physical buttons are located on the front. This system is identical to that found in other AOC displays and works well.

The stand is sturdy enough to keep the panel still even if you're a more forceful typist. You won't find any cable management capabilities on the rear, which is a shame since this is a professional-focused product. The 100x100 VESA mount and the down-firing speakers are both great additions for the office, however.

AOC U32E2N visual performance

Once you've turned on the display, this is where the magic happens. There's simply nothing better than 4K right now for productivity and general PC usage unless you move to 8K or some form of an ultrawide. 1080p and 1440p can both be considered downgrades, aside from gaming, but even then you can lower the in-game resolution if your hardware can't quite keep up.

For productivity, it's easy to get more done at once with the AOC U32E2N.

Being able to have multiple windows open at any given time without having content squished or cut off is something you can only do at 4K or above, or an ultrawide display. It truly takes productivity to the next level. Throw in a second AOC U32E2N and you've got one expansive virtual workspace.

Colors are actually pretty good for a VA panel, which is likely down to the Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment (MVA) tech used, which AOC claims "displays deeper blacks and a -high contrast for extra vivid and bright images." I don't disagree here. The blacks are fairly deep and colors certainly pop more compared to other displays of this caliber.

Is it anywhere close to a creator-focused display from a vendor like BenQ? Not at all, but this is also priced at a fraction of the cost of those more premium screens. Color accuracy scores come in at 93% sRGB, 69% AdobeRGB, and 73% DCI P3. For getting work done and maybe enjoying a movie and game or two, this monitor is more than good enough.

Gaming performance is mediocre. The 4K resolution is great to have, but the 60Hz refresh rate can really hamper the experience if you're used to 144Hz and above. The 4ms response time isn't terrible for gaming, but I'd choose another 4K (or 1440p) display over this if you primarily use your PC for games.

The AOC U32E2N will look good and perform well in any office setting. It would also be handy for multi-monitor setups thanks to the extremely thin bezels and borderless design. As a bonus, everything is covered by a three-year limited warranty from AOC for peace of mind.

Should you buy the AOC U32E2N?

AOC U32E2N

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

Who it's for

  • Those who want an affordable 4K monitor
  • Those who have an AMD GPU installed
  • Those who need a large display for work and play

Who it isn't for

  • Those who don't have an AMD GPU installed
  • Those who want the very best 4K monitor
  • Those who will primarily be gaming on their PC

It's difficult for me to recall an AOC display that didn't impress for the price and the U32E2N is another home run. For what you're paying for, this 4K display gets most of the important parts right. The screen quality is really good, the colors are decent enough, and it seems to be calibrated well.

This isn't an outstanding display in that it won't win any awards for color accuracy, nor will it top the charts for gaming monitors. It's not meant to. You could easily find a 1440p display with better features (HDR) and capabilities for the same price (or even less), but you're losing the all-important 4K resolution.

If you're coming from a 1080p or 1440p display, the AOC U32E2N is a solid upgrade and one you'll appreciate using.

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

3 Comments
  • Wait, says no HDR, but 10-bit color depth. Isn't 10-bit color depth, or 30 bit total per pixel (10 each for R, G, and B) the definition of HDR (where 8-bit per RGB, or 24-bit total, is non-HDR)?
  • Most monitors that markets with 10 Bit are just 8 Bit with FRC, making it 10 bit-like, but not true 10 bit. Even then, 8 Bit + FRC still produce less color banding than just traditional 8 Bit panel only. So there is still a benefit here. Considering the price, this is pretty good.
  • HDR also requires minimum brightness and contrast.