Low cost, high performance.
The market for 27-inch gaming monitors is pretty massive, and sorting through all the different brands and features is a real chore. But if you’re looking for an affordable monitor that pretty much checks every box the typical PC gamer could want—including a 2560 x 1440 resolution, Nvidia’s G-Sync, and a super-fast 165Hz IPS panel —the AOC Agon AG271QC (See it on Amazon) / (See it on Amazon UK) looks like a solid choice on paper. I put it through its paces to find out if it delivers on the promise of its spec sheet:
Design and Features
Out of the box, the AG271QG won’t exactly turn any heads with crazy aesthetics. If you’re obsessed with RGB lighting and ornate trim like that on the Asus ROG Swift PG348Q, for example, this monitor seems fairly plain. But of course you might find this understated design to be an asset. While the AG271QG may lack flair, it’s still a nicely appointed monitor with some pleasingly subtle accents. The simple metal stand offers a nice range of motion for height, tilt, and swivel adjustments. The top and side bezels are relatively slim, coated in a matte black finish, while the lower bezel has an attractive, brushed metal appearance.
The back of the monitor features the monitor’s only real design flourish of color; a swath of broad, red plastic. On the side of the monitor, AOC has included a plastic hook on a swivel for for storing your headset. While it feels a bit flimsy, it gets the job done and is easily hidden when not in service.
Under the hood, the AG271QG features a relatively unique Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle (AHVA) panel, which performs very similarly to an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel. As you might imagine by the name, AVHA panels have excellent viewing angles. As I’ll discuss further in my testing below, this panel looks fantastic and the 165Hz refresh rate is excellent for twitchy gaming.
AOC has opted to include both Nvidia’s G-Sync variable frame rate tech and Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) on the AG271QG.
While these “IPS-style” displays sometimes offer lower response times, the AG271QG has a 4ms grey-to-grey response which is more than acceptable for this type of monitor where 5ms to 6ms times are fairly common. Less acceptable are the downright bad speakers packed into the AG271QG. Admittedly, most monitor speakers are terrible, but smartphone speakers sound better than the two 2w speakers in this monitor, so you’ll be using that headset stand, after all.
AOC has opted to include both Nvidia’s G-Sync variable frame rate tech and Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) on the AG271QG. While they’re both welcome features, it’s impossible to use both at the same time, and if you want to use the full overclock functionality of the monitor—up to 165Hz—G-Sync is the only thing that matters. ULMB only works at 120Hz and below, and frankly, the total lack of tearing or need for motion blur correction with G-Sync running on this monitor kind of makes it a moot point. Still, it’s nice to have the option if you can’t run a certain game at a super high frame-rate.
Under the monitor there’s a range of ports, including one HDMI 1.4, one DisplayPort 1.2, and two USB 3.0. Of note, you’ll need the DisplayPort to use G-Sync. While there’s only two USB ports underneath the monitor, there’s two more USB 3.0 ports conveniently located on the side of the monitor and one of them (color coded with a yellow tab) can be used to fast-charge your smartphone. There’s also 3.5mm jacks for both headphones and a mic on the same side.
The on-screen display is controlled by four physical buttons on the lower right edge of the display. Navigating the menus is fairly straightforward, although there is the usual frustration with confusing button presses from time to time.
As usual, I ran the AOC Agon AG271QG through its paces with the Lagom LCD testing pages. This series of tests let me take a closer look at things like gamma, viewing angles, contrast, and response time. Overall, this monitor displays very accurate colors which is to be expected from an IPS-type display. There was no visible banding, or lines present in color shifts, whatsoever. Color tones were easily identifiable across the spectrum, and black tones were easily seen even against the darkest backgrounds.
Similarly, white tones stood out well with only the very lightest tone blending somewhat into the white background. Gamma readings were unfortunately somewhat off in the out-the-box picture presets, particularly at the brightest levels. Tweaking the gamma a bit in the OSD did correct the brightness somewhat, and given the excellent color accuracy, this slight deviation from the Windows-standard 2.2 gamma setting doesn’t really translate into much with regard to the naked eye.
As mentioned above, AOC lists the AG271QG as having a 4ms grey-to-grey response time, and according to my testing this holds true. Only in the darkest tone transitions, from black to near-black, does this monitor show any recognizable increase in response. And given the AVHA panel, and the 165Hz refresh rate, this is a very speedy monitor, indeed. Viewing angles, as expected, are extremely impressive with no discernible shift in color even when looking at images practically from the side of the monitor.
I also used the tests at Blur Busters to check for ghosting issues, or blur perceived by the eye when objects move quickly across the screen. As is the case with some of the best IPS panels, the AG271QG showed absolutely no discernible ghosting. Moreover, I detected no “IPS glow,” or light leaking from the display’s edges and corners, on this monitor.
The AOC Agon AG271QG boasts just about every feature possible for a PC gamer, despite its somewhat bland chassis design. The 165Hz refresh rate, coupled with G-Sync functionality and a sharp QHD display, make for excellent gaming. I spent numerous hours playing Overwatch on the AG271QG and thoroughly enjoyed the vibrant colors and a frame rate that rested in the 130 to 145 range on Ultra settings using my rig with a GTX 1080. In Destiny 2, my PC had no problem running the game at around a 120 frames per second on the highest settings, and again, it looked great. With some tweaking with video settings, it was easy to get most games pushing 165 frames per second to take maximum advantage of this high refresh rate display.
As mentioned, the inclusion of Nvidia’s G-Sync worked flawlessly and I noticed zero tearing during many hours of gaming with the AG271QG. Moreover, even the fastest games looked flawless with no symptoms of ghosting. The 2560 x 1440 resolution is still the sweet spot for gaming at this point in my opinion, blending crisp visuals and high frame rates while still allowing both to be attainable on most modern PC setups.
Of course, there are some gamers—myself included—who are being wooed by the pure expansiveness of an ultra-wide monitor like the Samsung CHG90, but at this price point and for the feature set, the AG217QG drives a pretty hard bargain.
The AOC Agon AG271QG is an in-demand monitor, and as a result it is subject to some pretty big swings in its online price. Around $700 is pretty typical, but it often fluctuates a up for down $100 or more. Take a look at Amazon: