We have some updates from AU Optronics about their panel development plans which is always interesting to see. Our last update was Oct 2020. This is AUO as a panel manufacturer, as opposed to any specific monitor/display manufacturer, but it gives an indication of where monitors are likely to go in the future by looking ahead at the panel production plans. AUO make a large portion of the IPS-type panels (their ‘AHVA’ technology) in the market which is always of interest along with a range of interesting TN Film options. Please keep in mind that the production dates are not set in stone and may change, and there is then also a lag of several months before a panel is produced, then used in a display and launched to market. We will update our panel parts database with all the new information we have as well as best we can.
Pushing Refresh Rates Even Higher at all Resolutions
One of the most exciting plans for the gaming market is the intention to drive refresh rates even higher than their current capabilities. Right now we have 1080p screens than can do 360Hz, 1440p screens that can do 240Hz and 4K screens that can do 144Hz.
AU Optronics plan to push this in the coming years, with listings now of 1080p @ 480Hz, 1440p @ 360Hz and UHD (4K) @ 240Hz! The 1440p 360Hz option looks like it will be the first to go in to production sometime in 2021, with the others planned for 2022 sometime. No details on panel sized or other specs at the moment, only that these are the plans to drive refresh rates.
31.5″ Curved VA Panel with 4K and 144Hz update
An interesting new addition in our last update was the M315QVR02.0. This is 31.5″ in size and is a VA technology panel with a steep 1000R curvature. It offers a 3840 x 2160 (“4K”) resolution along with a 144Hz refresh rate. Production was not planned until Q2 2021 at the time although this seems to have been brought forward slightly and should now be in production and expected to be available around Q3 2021.
While not listed last time for some reason, an alternative panel had the same specs but a less steep 1500R curvature instead. This has now re-appeared and again should be in production and expected to be available around Q3 2021.
High Refresh Rate 240Hz Curved VA Panels in Various Sizes – updated timelines
There are also a quite a few other high refresh rate Curved VA panels of note. The focus from AUO here seems to be with a range of curvature options, including a steep 1000R to match recent Samsung VA panel developments. New planned 240Hz VA panels look particularly interesting, if response times are sufficient to keep up. Samsung have done a great job enhancing their response times on recently tested 240Hz VA panels from their range, finally clearing up the dreaded black smearing and making panels that can actually keep up with the frame rate (e.g. Samsung Odyssey G7 screens). Let’s hope AUO can do the same with their new 240Hz options.
The first batch are 31.5″ in size with a 2560 x 1440 resolution and steep 1000R curvature:
- M315DVR02.7 – 31.5″ in size with a 1000R curvature, 2560 x 1440 resolution, 240Hz refresh rate this time. Now expected to be in production since May 2021 by the look of thing.
There are also some 31.5″ curved VA panels but with a lower 1920 x 1080 resolution:
- M315HVR01.3 – 31.5″ in size with a 1500R curvature, 1920 x 1080 resolution and 240Hz refresh rate. This was originally supposed to be in production already since the end of 2019 then appeared to have slipped to Oct 2020, and is now listed as June 2021.
- M315HVR01.7 – 31.5″ in size also with a steeper 1000R curvature, 1920 x 1080 resolution and 240Hz refresh rate. Originally planned for Dec 2020, but now slipped to around Sept 2021.
There are also some smaller 27″ panels planned, all with a 2560 x 1440 resolution:
- M270DVR01.2 – 1500R with 240Hz which should now be in production as of April 2021
- M270DVR01.7 – 1000R with 240Hz which should now be in production as of April 2021
Then some other 27″ panels planned but with a lower 1920 x 1080 resolution:
- M270HVR01.7 – 1500R with 240Hz, originally planned Q1 2021 now looking like late Q3 2021 although still in planning phase (as opposed to developing)
- M270HVR01.9 – 1000R with 240Hz, originally planned Q1 2021 now looking like late Q3 2021 although still in planning phase (as opposed to developing)
32″ 4K IPS Panel with Increased 160Hz Refresh Rate Planned
The first 32″ 4K 144Hz displays are finally starting to appear on the market now, we’ve recently reviewed the eagerly anticipated Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX for instance. Others are listed in this news piece too.
No sooner have these screens started to finally appear, do we have news from AUO that they are looking to boost that refresh rate a little up to 160Hz in the next generation of these 4K panels. These are still in planning phase with a tentative Q3/Q4 2021 date listed for now, but we’d expect this to slip a bit.
There is a regular edge-lit backlight version expected with a 99% Adobe RGB coverage for wide colour gamut support along with HDR 600 capabilities.
Interestingly there are also several Mini LED options with 32″ 4K panels and 160Hz refresh rate as covered in the next section in more detail.
FALD and Mini LED backlit panels update including new high refresh rate options
AUO have various panels planned with FALD backlights and Mini LED backlights (even more zones) for excellent HDR performance on an LCD panel. Some also have high refresh rates included:
32″ FALD and Mini LED options
M320QAN02.7 – 32″ in size with a 576 zone LED backlight (AUO refer to this as Mini LED, although it’s a bit more like FALD options we’ve seen to date given the more limited number of zones). This panel has a 3840 x 2160 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate only, wide gamut with 99% Adobe RGB coverage, 8-bit colour depth, 600 cd/m2 brightness, 1000 cd/m2 peak brightness for HDR 1000. Originally expected to go in to production in Dec 2020 which slipped a bit but should be in production now since May 2021.
An additional 32″ sized panel with a 576 zone LED backlight is also now listed (M320QAN02.8) but this time with an expected 160Hz refresh rate. Again with 99% Adobe RGB gamut and HDR 1000 support. This one is in planning phase only, but listed for now at Q3 2021.
Another similar panel (M320QAN02.9) is listed with the same 4K at 160Hz specs but an HDR 600 capability only (but still with a 576 zone Mini LED backlight). This one is again in planning phase and penciled in for Q3 2021 at the moment.
Most exciting perhaps is a new 32″ panel (M320QAN02.A) that is currently in development with a 2304 zone Mini LED backlight and high 160Hz refresh rate. This is listed with 99% Adobe RGB gamut and HDR 1000 support again, and expected to be in production around August 2021.
27″ Mini LED options
M270QAN02.6 – 27″ in size with a 576 zone LED backlight. This panel has a 3840 x 2160 resolution, high 144Hz refresh rate, wide gamut with 99% Adobe RGB coverage, 8-bit colour depth, 600 cd/m2 brightness, 1000 cd/m2 peak brightness for HDR. Originally expected to go in to production in Dec 2020 but now listed for Q3 2021.
360Hz Refresh Rate TN Film Panel
There’s not very much information listed for this at the moment, but AUO are also developing now a 24.5″ sized TN Film panel with a 360Hz native refresh rate. So far the only 360Hz panels released to market have been by AUO with their IPS-type technology, as featured in screens like the Asus ROG Swift PG259QN we tested last Sept 2020. Some gamers still prefer TN Film panels for additional snappiness and for competitive gaming so it will be interesting to see what AUO can manage in this sector too.
31.5″ Flat VA Panel with 4K and 144Hz
Another newly announced panel that looks interesting is the M315QVN02.0. This is flat format 31.5″ sized panel, and offers a 3840 x 2160 “4K” resolution combined with a 144Hz refresh rate. This is a VA technology panel though, unlike the wide range of IPS technology panels already announced from various manufacturers in this kind of size range (31.5 – 32″). So this is one of the first ~32″ sized panels with 4K @144Hz but with VA technology being used. Other specs listed include HDR 600 support and a 90% DCI-P3 colour gamut. It’s expected to be available quite soon actually with production supposedly under way since July 2021.
Entering the 34″ Ultrawide Space with Curved VA Panels – updated timelines
The 34″ size is not one that AUO has previously invested in, having concentrated their efforts in the 35″ space, and leaving 34″ to Samsung (VA) and LG.Display (IPS) until now. AUO now have several new panels in production which are 34″ in size, offering a 21:9 ultrawide aspect ratio and a 3440 x 1440 resolution. There are 4 panel variants planned:
Two have a 1500R curvature, one offering a 100Hz refresh rate (M340QVR01.1) and the other offering a higher 165Hz refresh rate (M340QVR01.0). Both slipped back from Dec 2020 to March 2021 but should now be in production.
The other two have a steeper 1000R curvature to rival what Samsung are doing at the moment with their VA panels. Again there is a 100Hz version (M340QVR01.5) and a 165Hz version (M340QVR01.6). Both slipped back from Jan/Feb 2021 slightly to March 2021 but should now be in production.
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