When you stare at computer monitors as much as we do, you start to notice the little things. And when you start messing with refresh rates, suddenly you start noticing BIG differences.
Most of us around here have been using high refresh rate gaming monitors for awhile now, but the AOC Agon AG271QG monitor has hit the scene with a big 165 Hz refresh. While not the highest out there, it’s higher than most. Is the AG271QG worth the $800 upgrade? Check it out here.
Display and Design
The design of this display is pretty awesome. The silver, red, and black mesh well together without being overly flashy, and it stands out nicely from a sea of black monitors. No LEDs or crazy angles here, just a nice, slick design with a sturdy metal base that definitely isn’t going anywhere.
It looks like AOC put a lot of thought into allowing numerous viewing angles. It can be smoothly lowered or raised, and can swing all the way around to portrait mode. It also tilts and swivels in just about every configuration you could imagine, and has the perfect amount of resistance. There’s even a handy ruler measurement for those of you who want your monitor positioned exactly the same every time.
There’s also a headphone hook, aka a plastic stick that swivels out awkwardly from the back. It doesn’t detract from the experience, but it does kind of contradict the quality of the build in an odd way.
The Agon is a pretty standard size, with dimensions of 17.10" x 24.50" x 8.60" and a weight of about 15 pounds. Definitely not small, but not prohibitively large either.
Something that I always look for in a monitor is ease of access to the ports. Far too many displays bury the HDMI or DisplayPort inputs underneath the monitor, making it a huge hassle anytime you want to plug or unplug something.
This Agon monitor is certainly not the worst offender in this regard, but the port access is underneath the back of the display, instead of simply on the back. The adjustable stand makes it somewhat easier to access than some, and you don’t have to flip it over to do so, but it still baffles me that companies do this. Once you’re plugged in it’s not a big deal, but I do wish more thought would have gone into that aspect of the design.
Light Up My Life
The IPS display is 27 inches, and maxes out at 2560 x 1440. It can display 16.7 million colors, 350 cd/m2 brightness, and uses a TFT Active Matrix LCD panel.
And then there’s that refresh rate. It really does make a huge difference, especially coming from 60 Hz. The constant refresh of the image adds a smoothness that’s difficult to describe until you see it in action. Be careful though, because it’s real hard to go back once you do.
It also supports Nvidia's G-SYNC, meaning your CPU and GPU can work together to reduce tearing during gameplay. So yeah, basically, it doesn’t get much smoother than this as far as gameplay goes, and that’s exactly what you want from a gaming monitor.
It should be mentioned that the 165 Hz refresh rate is only doable with a DisplayPort cable, not with HDMI. There are no legacy inputs like VGA or DVI on this display, only HDMI and DP, so if you’re worried about that...well, you should probably upgrade your graphics card.
The panel AOC went with for the AG271QG has a response time of 4ms, which is about as low as IPS screens can go. The average user is not going to be able to see any significant differences from 1ms, but it is definitely something to be mentioned.
What’s On The Menu?
AOC has never really prioritized the software interface of their monitors, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with this display. The lettering overlaid on the bottom of the screen allows for adjustment of everything you’d expect, from gamma to blue light reduction. It’s quick, intuitive, responsive, and feature rich.
The one thing I wish were different is the fact that the menu is button-based, meaning pressing a button every time you want to change something. Not ideal. I would expect some sort of stick from a monitor this pricey – some of the cheaper competition has already picked up this method of interface control, and it makes navigating menus significantly easier.
Other than that though, AOC has definitely upped their interface game, and that’s great to see.
There are also some welcome additions, including USB ports for charging your devices and your standard audio outputs. This display also has speakers, though they’re not going to replace any externals you’re currently using, they’re only 3W.
What you’re really getting here is that sweet, sweet refresh rate in a sturdy, nicely designed shell. Between the 165 Hz, G-SYNC, and the resolution, you've got yourself a pretty gaming display with enough bells and whistles to justify the higher price.
If you’re someone who takes high FPS seriously and needs the latest and greatest (minus 4K), the Agon is not a difficult recommendation.
To the average user, the price and the super high refresh rate might not be worth it...but there’s no denying this is a high-quality monitor with an excellent panel and all around good looks.