AOC is not a new name if you are into computer monitors and multimedia display solutions. But if you are a regular television and flat panel geek, you might not know much about this display solutions giant as this is their first TV to land on Indian shores. Here is a hands-on report on the AOC LE42K09D.

Slim side profile

Slim side profile

Out of the box
With manufacturers coming up with new flat panel televisions almost every fortnight, it has now become difficult for designers to make something that is truly eye grabbing. But it is not so with AOC's new LED TV – it boasts of a slim design with a thin, lustrous bezel neatly parked on a rectangular stand. One thing to note here is that the TV is a tad heavy given its shape and size, which a implies very strong and sturdy build.

Technology
The 42-inch TV incorporates a full HD panel with the well-tested RealColor Engine for picture enhancement. The essential function of the RealColor engine is to enhance the reproduction of colours on the TV screen so that users get the most life-like experience in terms of skin tone and texture. The engine works in tandem with the 120 Hz panel and the 10-bit grey panel to provide a more complete viewing experience. Furthermore, the TV boasts of a highly efficient USB port that claims it can play photos, music and movies in almost all digital formats. Considering the slim form factor of the TV, you wonder whether AOC has forgotten to put a pair of speakers in the TV, but the designers have not only managed to fit in a pair of speakers, but have wedged in a subwoofer too.

Few buttons found on the remote

Few buttons found on the remote

Remote Control
Since the TV does not have many features to be taken care of, we were not surprised to see the bare minimum of buttons on the remote. It houses all the essential buttons to operate the television and, more importantly, has a very simple layout. The slightly bigger size of the remote makes it easy to operate.

Performance
Our experience with TV models by new manufacturers hasn’t been great in recent times, especially with the picture performance they offer. So when we moved ahead with the review of the AOC LE42K09D, we hoped that the TV did not turn out to be just an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of this segment. However, the TV came as a pleasant surprise. We started off with the Blu-ray of ‘Digital Video Essentials’ to perform some of the text book tests for television panels. For all the major tests of brightness, contrast, colour and black levels, the TV fared extremely well, giving us no chance to complain. Even with the limited picture tweaking options, the TV managed to provide a clean, crisp and detailed image.

The rear connectors

The rear connectors

We watched some action-packed movies on the LE42K09D to see if it could cope with the fast-moving objects and high dynamic range pictures. The DVD of ‘Drive’ has some fast-paced car chases set during at night and the black levels pose a great challenge for any flat panel to reproduce; motion blurring is also a concern. But the AOC LE42K09D reproduced all the details even in the darkest of areas. The Blu-ray of ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’, yet another action packed movie, is filled with a gamut of colours with varied temperatures—cool (sky, street scenes), warm (Autobots, the general tone), and, finally, hot (explosions, Decepticons, heavily action packed scenes).

The TV struggled slightly to cope with the very fast camera movements as the 120Hz panel did not really work at its best, resulting in a bit of judder. But it impressed us with its colour reproduction and detail. It was able to render the real texture of the machines on the screen very effectively. And the best part is that the TV did it effortlessly, without adding any noise artefacts in order to enhance the detail on the screen. In terms of audio, the two hidden speakers and the subwoofer are good enough to reproduce the audio of news content and daily soaps, as they only manage to keep the sound intelligible. If you are looking at watching long hours of movies on the TV, then you'd better go for an independent 5.1 speaker set.

The front of the AOC LED TV

The front of the AOC LED TV

Verdict and Price in India
Prima facie, and even after that, the AOC TV looks promising. It does not have all the jazz of a Smart TV and can't do ten thousand different things. Instead, it's a simple flat panel that can give you satisfactory picture quality without making you want to take a crash course in engineering. It is one of those products that deliver from the moment they are taken out of the box. If you are looking for just a plug-n-play TV, the AOC LE42K09D can be a good choice. What closes the deal is its humble price of Rs 64,990. Where do you get a 42-inch LED TV at this price these days?

AV MAX  is a special interest audiophile magazine that focuses on reviewing high-end AV equipment like amplifiers, stereos, floorstanding speakers and related news

AV MAX is a special interest audiophile magazine that focuses on reviewing high-end AV equipment like amplifiers, stereos, floorstanding speakers and related news

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