When it comes to gaming, what you play on is almost as important as what’s under the hood. Graphics Cards, CPUs, SSDs, etc. These are the components that run our games, but no matter how good some of them may be, if one is lacking then it will obviously affect over all performance. Over the years I’ve built numerous PC builds of varying levels with one common limitation. That being that I’ve always cut costs on the monitors I’ve used. I’ll have a £1000 PC with a £70 display, and I’ve always been happy with the result. So has using the AOC AG273QCG changed my perspective on such things?
Well the answer is a bit tricky. In some ways yes, and in some ways no.
So as usual let’s start with the manufacturer specs:
- Screen size: 27 inches
- Panel type: AU Optronics M270DTR01.0 TN (Twisted Nematic) LCD
- Native resolution: 2560 x 1440
- Typical maximum brightness: 400 cd/m²
- Colour support: 16.7 million (8-bits per subpixel without dithering)
- Response time (G2G): 1ms
- Refresh rate: 165Hz (variable, with G-SYNC)
- Weight: 8.5kg (including stand)
- Contrast ratio: 1000:1
- Viewing angle: 170º horizontal, 160º vertical
- Connections: USB 3.0 x 4, HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2, Mic & Headphone input.
- Speakers: Stereo
- Power consumption: 55W
- Backlight: WLED (White Light Emitting Diode)
For full transparency, the model I used for the review was a review sample sent over to us by AOC. Upon opening the packaging it seemed to have already been opened in the past, so we assumed it was a circulation unit. That being said, there was no noticeable damage, defects or missing components from what we’d assume would come with a new unit one would purchase from a retailer.
In the box we got the display, the stand, HDMI cable, Display cable, USB cable, Power cable, installation CD, Cable management Clips, and some bolts for what I assume is a wall mount. All in all a pretty robust assortment of accessories for a single display. Connecting the screen to the stand is a simple process thanks to the easy clip system on the back of the display. I recommend doing this with the display upside down while still on the styrotex packaging. Keep in mind the entire screen with the stand connected weighs quite a lot and should be handled with two hands to avoid any accidents.
Since the display has both an Hdmi and Display port, you can connect your PC to either, though it’s advisable to use the display port if you’re planning on using G-Sync since it doesn’t work via HDMI. The best configuration I came up with was to use the HDMI for my consoles and the Display port for PC with G-Sync enabled.
For those not familiar with G-Sync, allow me to explain. G-Sync is a proprietary adaptive sync technology developed by Nvidia aimed primarily at eliminating screen tearing and the need for software alternatives such as Vsync. This means that it’s only going to work if you have a G-Sync capable Nvidia GPU. For our tests we used an Nvidia GTX 1060 3GB with a Ryzen 3 2200G, and 16GB of DDR4 Memory. This configuration is what one would consider the entry level to G-sync. Partnered with the AOC AG273QCG you’ll be able to get roughly between 30 and 60 frames in most modern games. There may be some where you’ll achieve 144fps, but those aren’t games that would stress most configurations.
The AOC AG273QCG also has tons of settings which will allow you to get the best out of your rig. These settings can be accessed via a joystick under the unit. Thanks to this you won’t need to install any software to get going other than your graphics card drivers. There are multiple game modes from FPS to Racing, Shadow control, game colour, a dial pointer, frame counter and an overdrive feature. The display is also capable of being overclocked from it’s standard 144hz to 165Hz. I personally saw no reason to use this feature, however there may be those who will find use out of such things. What I was more intrigued with were the assortment of visual settings built into the display which afforded me the ability to protect my eyes using different presets depending on what I was doing. I was also impressed by the break reminder, a feature which I think should come standard in all modern displays.
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Outside of the visual configurations, I was surprised by just how many input/output options and quality of life features this display has. These even include two headset holders neatly hidden into the frame of the display. After using them for months I’m not sure I can entertain the idea of going back to a life without them. The unit also has 4 USB 3.0 ports, 2 3.5mm headphone out ports, speakers, and even a 3.5mm microphone in port. It’s so packed that you’ll likely never need to reach behind your system to access the ports you need. All the ports are situated under the unit, and there’s no need to worry about how you’ll reach them because the screen can tilt, 3.5/21.5 ° up and down as well as swivel -2-/30 °, and slides up and down the base.
Aesthetically it’s also a very attractive device, having small bezels, along with visually premium construction of black plastic for the display with red and black metal for the base. As mentioned before it has a noticeable amount of weight when fully assembled with the stand, coming in at 8.16 Kg. It also has a circular LED array on the back and one under the unit around the joystick. Even the headphone holders look neat in their arrangement on the device.
During use all these technical and flash stuff go out the door, and what truly matters is how it performs, and it performs. I tried using the display in numerous settings and configurations from morning to night, as well as side, below, and above viewing angles with an assortment of media, and games spanning almost every genres. With all that experience over a 3 month period, I found the screen exceeded my expectations, and even to date I feel like I’m still finding more things about it that I like. It’s so nice that I’ve also started using it for my console game reviews instead of a tele.
Frame rates in some game have vastly improved, while others seem unchanged, but overall I think it’s more than improved my gaming experience on my PC. When I first saw what AOC showed us during their Gamescom 2019 presentation, I was impressed, but no more than I was with other brands interviewed at the event. After using the AOC AG273QCG as my primary driver for month, it’s difficult to view it as anything less than ahead of curve.
This is easily the best display I’ve used to date and I can see it being my primary driver for quite some time. From it’s quality build construction to it’s assortment of quality of life features I can’t find much to fault it on. It has so many features that during this review process I’ve been fearing I’d miss some of them, and know what? I’m sure I have. Now all that being said, nothing is perfect and that includes this impressive screen. It’s one and only flaw is it’s price. G-Sync displays are always more expensive due to the licensing with Nvidia. This one is £629.99 (£566.60 at the time of writing) in the UK or $379.99 for the US. So depending on where you are located this may either be a reasonable deal or an expensive investment.
The AOC AGON AG273QCG used for this review was provided to us by it’s manufacturer, AOC.