If you’ve budgeted around $750 for the best gaming monitor for you, you have several categories to choose from. For maximum resolution, there are plenty of 4K 144 Hz screens available. However, that option will give you the lowest motion resolution. Why? Frame rates, pure and simple. You can put a lot of pixels on the screen, but if the best you can do is 120 fps, that fine detail will be lost when you move the mouse in a first-person game.
To satisfy the need for speed, you can go with an FHD 360 Hz screen, as this option will deliver the smoothest performance of all. However, sitting in the middle is QHD at 240 Hz. It’s a great option because it puts 109 pixels per inch onto a 27-inch panel and, with a fast enough video card, delivers frame rates over 200 fps. That’s a performance sweet spot and one I’ll be exploring in this review of AOC’s Agon Pro AG274QG. It’s a 27-inch IPS panel with 240 Hz, Adaptive-Sync, HDR 600 and a wide color gamut. It also includes Nvidia’s Reflex Latency Analyzer and a whole raft of gaming features.
AOC Agon Pro AG274QG Specs
|Panel Type / Backlight||IPS / W-LED, edge array|
|Row 1 – Cell 0||32 dimming zones|
|Screen Size / Aspect Ratio||27 inches / 16:9|
|Max Resolution and Refresh Rate||2560×1440 @ 240 Hz|
|Row 4 – Cell 0||G-Sync Ultimate|
|Row 5 – Cell 0||FreeSync Compatible|
|Native Color Depth and Gamut||10-bit / DCI-P3|
|Response Time (GTG)||1ms|
|Brightness (mfr)||450 nits SDR|
|Row 9 – Cell 0||600 nits HDR|
|Row 12 – Cell 0||DTS Sound|
|Video Inputs||1x DisplayPort 1.4|
|Row 14 – Cell 0||2x HDMI 2.0|
|Audio||3.5mm headphone output|
|Row 16 – Cell 0||3.5mm mic input|
|USB 3.2||1x up, 4x down|
|Row 18 – Cell 0||1x USB-C (65w charging)|
|Power Consumption||37w, brightness @ 200 nits|
|Panel Dimensions WxHxD w/base||23.9 x 16.6-21.3 x 13.9 inches (607 x 422-542 x 353mm)|
|Panel Thickness||2.9 inches (74mm)|
|Bezel Width||Top/sides: 0.2 inch (5mm)|
|Row 23 – Cell 0||Bottom: 0.4 inch (10mm)|
|Weight||18.3 pounds (8.3kg)|
The AG274QG starts with a fast IPS panel that has a claimed response time of 1 ms. In my test, the draw time from full black to full white was 4 ms which is only 1ms slower than a 360 Hz monitor. I also measured very low input lag, which puts this display in contention with the professional competition. While a 360 Hz screen will be the ultimate gaming tool, this Agon Pro is only slightly behind in speed. Adaptive-Sync comes in G-Sync Ultimate form with an Nvidia certification. You can also run AMD FreeSync, 48-144 Hz over HDMI, and 48-240 Hz through DisplayPort. Consoles are supported up to 120 Hz over HDMI with Adaptive-Sync.
AOC also didn’t skimp on image quality. The AG274QG is rated for 600 nits in HDR mode and met this spec while testing. It’ll also get close to 450 nits for SDR content, so it works in the brightest environments with plenty of punch and clarity. The color gamut is larger than most, with a measured 95% coverage of DCI-P3. A near-perfect sRGB mode can automatically engage for SDR if you want even more precision.
Amping up the contrast quotient is an edge-dimming backlight with 32 zones. This action increases contrast to 5,000:1 in SDR mode and over 33,000:1 for HDR, putting the AG274QG ahead of many HDR monitors I’ve tested. You can improve the image further with the included rigid light hood that snaps in place. It provides a real advantage in all but the darkest rooms by preventing any light from hitting the screen from the sides or above.
Other features include a very nice LED lighting system that has effects on the back of the panel and a projector built into the stand that displays two different Agon logos on the desktop. There are many choices for color and effect available in the extensive OSD. Premium build quality abounds with a rock-solid stand, full ergonomics and a decent pair of built-in speakers. All your peripherals are supported by USB 3.2 with four downstream ports, one of which is colored green for the Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer feature.
Assembly and Accessories
The light hood comes in its own carton, which sits at the top of the AG174QG’s box. Another small box contains the external power brick and a nice collection of cables. You get USB, HDMI and DisplayPort, along with a pair of stand clips to keep your wiring tidy. Also in the box is the Quick Switch control puck that provides fast access to the OSD. It plugs into its own dedicated port underneath.
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With the light hood installed, the AG274QG has an impressive presence. The hood is lined with light-absorbing material and once snapped on becomes part of a very solid unit. The stand is super solid with a very wide and deep base. You won’t be tipping one of these over, no matter how intense the gameplay gets. Styling is very angular, with nary a curve in sight. Corners are just rounded enough to keep them from being sharp, but flat surfaces are the order of the day. The front bezel is thin at just 5 mm around the top and sides and 10 mm at the bottom. There’s just enough room for a tiny Agon logo in the center.
If you doubt the AG274QG’s origin, a projector built into the stand puts either a graphic or the word “AGON” on the desktop. A little slider on the barrel switches between images. You can change the color and intensity or turn it off in the OSD. Additional lighting is located in the back on six geometric shapes arrayed to the sides. They can be any color and be left static, flashing or breathing. A slick metal headphone hook that slides out is also found on the back. An Agon logo tops the panel, and you can see red trim on the stand.
Ergonomics include -3/21 degrees tilt, 20 degrees swivel and 120 mm height. The upright has soft click stops to make it easier to repeat an adjustment, and there’s a 90-degree portrait mode. The OSD can be controlled by a tiny joystick around the back right or by a large puck called Quick Switch, which plugs into its own dedicated port. The puck adds some quick access buttons configured by the user. If you prefer using an aftermarket arm or bracket, a 100 mm VESA mount is provided with included fasteners.
The input panel features a single DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0 ports. DisplayPort supports G-Sync Ultimate from 1 to 240 Hz, while the HDMI ports work from 48 to 144 Hz with either G-Sync or FreeSync. USB comes in version 3.2 with one upstream and four downstream ports. The photo doesn’t show it, but one of the ports is meant for Nvidia’s Reflex Latency Analyzer and is color-coded green. To use this feature, you’ll need a supported mouse. Read more about it in our overview here.
The AG274QG uses the same style menu as other Agon Pro displays, with eight sections arranged in a grid that appears at the lower right when you press the joystick or the center button on the Quick Switch puck.
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Game Setting is where you’ll find the picture modes, called Game Mode. There are seven presets, but the default and best option is Off. You can still adjust all image and video processing parameters so there’s no real need for the other modes except the three user memories, which the numbered buttons can call up on the Quick Switch puck. Dial Point is an aiming reticle that appears as a tiny red cross at the center of the screen. You get a three-level overdrive which I found unnecessary. The AG274QG has superb video processing without it. Even the Weak setting caused ghosting artifacts. Surprisingly, there is no backlight strobe option, but this monitor doesn’t need it. When frame rates are high, motion resolution is nearly perfect.
In the Luminance menu, you can adjust brightness in nit values. They measure relatively close to the mark. There are five gamma presets, with the default one being slightly light in tone. Adding +.2 fixed that issue neatly. The SDR Colors sRGB option, when turned on, automatically selects the sRGB gamut for SDR content which is the correct way to do it. If you prefer the larger gamut for everything, just turn it off. You can also engage the zone dimming feature for SDR, and it does increase contrast visibly. The Auto Brightness and Auto Black Level options use a sensor to adjust those parameters according to your room’s lighting conditions.
The Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer has several options for monitoring sensitivity (how often the timing is sampled) plus the size and position of the measuring rectangle. The numbers appear in small font in the upper right corner of the screen. You can monitor your input lag in real-time while playing.
Color Setup has a 6-axis color adjustment plus three color temp presets. The user mode has precise RGB sliders that help achieve pro-level grayscale accuracy for both SDR and HDR. The Audio menu includes a toggle for DTS sound processing. Turning this on improves the audio by expanding the soundstage. It also sounds a little less tinny though you won’t hear any serious bass from the internal speakers.
The Light FX menu has lots of options for the color and effect of the LEDs in back. You can create any color you wish with RGB values and choose from multiple patterns and effects like breathing or flashing. The Logo Projector refers to the light built into the stand. It can be any color and there are three intensity levels, or you can turn it off.
AOC AG274QG Calibration Settings
If you leave Game Mode off, there are no picture modes to contend with, which is a good thing. The brightness slider is ticked in nit values fairly close to the actual light level. To improve gamma, I set the option at +.2 and adjusted the RGB sliders in the user color temp. The result was pro-level accuracy for color, grayscale and gamma. My instrument-derived settings are below.
In HDR mode, you can use the same RGB settings which worked well for me. There are three modes for the backlight dimming feature. Gaming is the default and best choice. It follows the correct luminance curve and keeps color from becoming over-saturated. With little effort, the AG274QG can be a very accurate monitor with premium image quality and fidelity.
|Picture Mode||Game Mode Off|
|Brightness 200 nits||213|
|Brightness 120 nits||127|
|Brightness 100 nits||104|
|Brightness 80 nits||83|
|Brightness 50 nits||53 (min. 39 nits)|
|Color Temp User||Red 54, Green 57, Blue 42|
Gaming and Hands-on
27-inch QHD monitors are very versatile in that they will fit on nearly any desk while providing enough screen area for just about any task or form of entertainment. Resolution is fine enough to sit at a comfortable distance, around three feet, and experience sharp detail and clarity. Though other form factors are more suitable for gaming, like 21:9 ultra-wides or 43-inch jumbo panels, the 27-inch QHD display is a staple.
The AG274QG is a premium example in this category. It delivers a bright picture with saturated color and best of all, quick response and some of the smoothest video processing I’ve seen. It’s one of the few monitors that doesn’t need overdrive or any kind of blur reduction to maintain high resolution during fast camera pans and movements. The picture remains razor sharp no matter what kind of game you’re engaged in, and that comes down to the frame rate. Granted, I’m testing with a GeForce RTX 3090, which keeps the action around 200 fps in full detail. But this is the key to the best gaming experience, and this monitor provides that.
It also delivers superb HDR. With a 32-zone edge dimming backlight, it is well above screens that only offer full-field dimming or no dimming. I would put the AG274QG against a full-array local-dimming FALD monitor and defy most users to tell the difference. Its HDR is that good. Doom Eternal played with a very bright and colorful image that revealed every texture and nuance. There was no apparent hit to performance either, as I saw around 200fps playing the same scenes in SDR and HDR. The AG274QG is a great choice if you want to upgrade to an HDR-capable display.
Call of Duty WWII was a similar experience. Its natural color was the star of the show, with bright sunlight during daytime battles and deep shadows at night. Detail was always visible, and I never needed the shadow enhancer option.
For workday tasks, the AG274QG is a great tool. Its 109 ppi pixel density is well suited for text or graphical documents. Whether running Photoshop or Word, you’ll see your work clearly with excellent contrast and vivid color where appropriate.
I also noted the built-in speakers with DTS mode. They put out decent volume without distortion and the DTS option expands the sound field a bit beyond the edges of the screen. There isn’t much bass, but the midrange and high frequencies are well-balanced.
Ergonomically, the AG274QG is a solidly built piece that easily earns its place in the premium category. My only nitpick is the extra-large base. While it provides a lot of stability, its nearly 14-inch depth is a bit intrusive. The wide legs are skinny enough to allow objects to live below the screen, but a smaller base would likely work just as well.
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