AOC are not normally a brand I would associate with gaming monitors, instead, I would think of ASUS and the often slightly cheaper Acer. However, the AOC gaming monitor line-up is quite extensive and growing. They seem to have a model to cover most requirements including AMD FreSync, 4K and UltraWide monitors.
The AGON AG271QG sits pretty much at the top of their lineup and as the name would suggest it is a 27” monitor that uses an IPS panel and has a resolution of 2560×1440 with an impressive refresh rate of 165Hz. It also uses NVIDIA G-Sync which combined with the high refresh rate should avoid tearing and stuttering for super-smooth action.
Unlike many other gaming monitors, this panel uses an IPS-based screen compared to a TB based screen found on cheaper monitors. Typically a TN panel has much higher response times compared to an IPS making it better for gaming, however, the colour reproduction is notoriously bad as well as the viewing angles. IPS panels have a far superior image and better viewing angles, but they generally suffer from poor response times, so there is a lag between the user input and action on the screen.
The panel AOC uses in this monitor overcomes this weakness with IPS and manages a 4ms response time. It is still not quite as quick as the 1ms you might find on some TN screens, but I doubt any gamer could notice the 3ms difference during gaming.
The first thing you should realise about this screen is that it costs around £620, which while expensive is £140 cheaper than the like for like specced monitor from Asus, the ROG Swift PG279Q. That is nearly a 20% lower cost, so very impressive.
Looking around the internet and the general consensus is that not only are they the same spec but the AOC and ASUS actually use the same panel. This is quite a common among monitor manufacturers, as they don’t produce their own panels but buy-in from companies such as Samsung.
The AOC comes in an impressively large box and you need to assemble the stand and screen. Due to my home setup, I am restricted to using a monitor arm, and getting the AOC to fit on this was quite easy. The panel at the back of the screen for some strange reason has a none standard screw alignment, so AOC have included a metal panel to adapt for VESA. Attaching them all together is a simple process and it only took me a few minutes.
The actual stand for the monitor is solid aluminium with a satin finish and it appears to be very well made with a firm movement, there is a decent level of height adjustment, and you can put the monitor in portrait mode if you wish.
The screen itself is a nice design as far as screens go. The bezel is quite thin, considerably thinner than the 27” 4K Viewsonic I reviewed. Branding on the front of the screen is subtle with AGON written in normal text on the bottom bezel and the model lightly written on the top right.
The rear of the panel is also quite nice with a red brushed aluminium look section and the rest normal black.
As you would expect with any high-end monitor, you get a wide range of inputs which include DP and HDMI2.0, and 2 USB ports. There is also a headphone out and microphone in.
A big selling point for me is the physical buttons running on the lower part of the screen to switch inputs and access the OSD settings. I find touch panel buttons extremely awkward to use and completely unnecessary.
Picture Quality & Performance
If you have been using a TN monitor you will immediately notice the improvement in picture quality provided by the IPS panel in the AOC. Colours look much less washed out and everything looks more natural. However, while the image is good to start it really does need a bit of calibration, I found the screen much too bright and the colours were quite straining for my eyes.
I found a quick solution was to turn the brightness down and switch to the cool colour temperature. However, after a quick look online the following settings are recommended:
- Brightness: 17
- Contrast: 50
- Gamma: 2
- Color Temp User: Red 49, Green 47, Blue 49
Once set up the screen looks fantastic, the screen offers a superior image compared to any monitor I have reviewed in the past. Colour accuracy and image quality is exceptional and it makes my day to day work of web development easier.
The sample I reviewed also suffered from no backlight bleed or dead pixels, but your mileage may vary, and this is a flaw that most monitors are susceptible to.
Where the monitor really shines is during gaming, the all the impressive specifications previously listed really come into their own. During fast paced games, I noticed no screen tearing or jerkiness and all mouse and keyboard inputs were instantaneous as far as I am aware. If you are into FPS or fast moving games a monitor like this will make a huge difference to your gaming.
Overall, while the monitor is very expensive, if you have invested thousands into a gaming PC it would be stupid not to spend a bit extra on the best screen you can afford. In fact, this screen is priced similarity to the GTX 1080, and less than the GTX 1080ti, and it will hopefully last you much longer than either of them graphics cards.
You can buy the AOC 27″ AGON AG271QG today from Amazon for £649.35 and it appears you can also get it from Currys at the moment for £549.99