Very good gaming performance. Speedy refresh rate. AMD FreeSync enabled.
Slightly skewed greens. Narrow viewing angles. Tinny speakers.
- Bottom Line
AOC's 27-inch Agon AG271QX monitor supports AMD's FreeSync technology and has a speedy 144Hz refresh rate. Despite skewed greens and narrow viewing angles, it delivers solid gaming performance.
Designed for extreme gaming, AOC's Agon AG271QX ($599) is chock-full of gamer-friendly features, including numerous video inputs, AMD FreeSync adaptive sync technology, multiple gaming modes, and a speedy 144Hz refresh rate. This gaming monitor's 27-inch Twisted Nematic (TN) panel provides smooth, artifact-free gaming performance, but its green color accuracy is skewed, and viewing angles are relatively narrow. For around $20 more, the ViewSonic XG2700-4K, our top pick for large-screen gaming monitors, is a better deal.
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Design and Features
The AG271QX looks identical to the AOC Agon AG271QG we reviewed last December. Both feature a cool-looking red-and-black cabinet, a silvery metal V-shaped stand, and a folding hook that you can hang your headphones on. The stand offers height, swivel, pivot, and tilt adjustments, and you can remove it and use the VESA mounting holes to hang the 14-pound cabinet on a wall with an optional mounting kit.
The screen has a 2,560-by-1,440 resolution, a peak brightness of 350 cd/m2, a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 1,000:1 native contrast ratio, a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, and a 1-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response. Whereas the AOC AG271QG uses a 27-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel with support for Nvidia's G-Sync anti-tearing technology, the AG271QX uses a 27-inch Twisted Nematic (TN) panel with support for AMD's FreeSync adaptive sync technology. It also offers more video input choices; around back, facing downward, are two HDMI inputs, one of which supports Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL), a DisplayPort input, a VGA input, and a DVI input. In comparison, the AOC AG271QG only has one DisplayPort input and one HDMI input.
Also around back are three USB 3.0 ports (one upstream, two downstream), an audio line-in port, a microphone line-out port, and a small port for connecting an eight-button desktop keypad (pictured below) that allows you to access the settings menus, change settings, and switch between gaming modes without having to use the four function buttons embedded in the bottom bezel. On the right side of the cabinet, facing outward, are two additional USB 3.0 ports (one of which is a fast-charging port), a headphone jack, and a microphone jack. The embedded 3-watt speakers are moderately loud, but they lack bass and sound tinny when you crank up the volume.
There's a nice selection of game settings, including six game modes (FPS, RPS, Racing, and three user-programmable modes), a Shadow Control setting that lets you adjust black levels, a Low Blue Light Setting to help reduce eyestrain, and a Game Color setting that adjusts gray levels to enhance picture detail. You also get the usual Brightness, Contrast, Color Temperature, and Gamma adjustments, and there are six picture presets, including Standard, Text, Internet, Game, Movie, and Sports. However, you don't get the advanced 6-axis color settings that you do with the Acer Predator Z1 (Z271) and the LG 27UD88-W.
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AOC provides a three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight with the AG271QX. Included in the box are HDMI and DisplayPort video cables, a USB upstream cable, and two audio cables (line-in and line-out). Also included is a metal VESA mounting plate.
The AG271QX performed wonderfully in our Crysis 3 (PC) and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Sony PlayStation 4) gaming tests. Screen tearing was not an issue, and there was no noticeable motion blur or ghosting in either test. Gameplay was fluid, with good color quality and sharp image detail. As was the case with the ViewSonic XG2700-4K, enabling FreeSync made gameplay appear a bit smoother. Input lag (the time it takes for the monitor to react to a controller command) came in at a reasonably short 11.5 milliseconds, as measured with a Leo Bodnar Video Signal Lag Tester. The BenQ SW2700PT remains our leader, with a measured lag time of 9.5 milliseconds.
Out-of-the-box color accuracy was decent, but not ideal. As illustrated on the chromaticity chart below, red and blue colors (represented by the colored dots) are relatively close to their ideal CIE coordinates (represented by the boxes), while green is completely outside of its zone. This is not uncommon with TN panels, and the flaw did not result in tinting or oversaturated colors in testing. Grayscale performance was good, as the panel correctly displayed every shade of gray from the DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test and provided good shadow and highlight detail in my test images. Viewing-angle performance was typical for a TN panel; there was noticeable color shifting and loss of luminance when viewed from an extreme top, bottom, or side angle.
The AG271QX consumed 35 watts of power while set to the Standard preset (it does not offer a power-saving ECO mode). That's right in line with the AOC AG271QG (37 watts) and the ViewSonic XG2700-4K (35 watts), but not as energy efficient as the LG 27UD88-W (27 watts).
Gamers will appreciate the AOC Agon AG271QX's smooth motion-handling capabilities, strong gaming performance, and numerous features, which include a 144Hz refresh rate, a speedy pixel response, a fully adjustable stand, and numerous video inputs and USB ports. It offers several game modes and comes with a neat little desktop controller for changing modes and settings, but it lacks advanced 6-axis color adjustments. Moreover, its green color accuracy is a bit skewed, and the TN panel doesn't offer the wide viewing angles that you get with a good IPS panel. For only $20 more, the ViewSonic XG2700-4K, our Editors' Choice for large-screen gaming monitors, offers a highly detailed Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) picture, FreeSync and IPS technology, a robust feature set, and advanced color settings.
By John R. Delaney Contributing Editor
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, John spent six years in retail operations for… More »
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