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AOC AGON AG352QCX review: A curved monitor made for competitive gamers

Christopher Minasians
17 Feb 2017
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
600
inc VAT

With its 200Hz refresh rate and accurate colours, the AOC AG352QCX is a fantastic curved gaming monitor

Pros 
200Hz refresh rate
Accurate colours
Low perceived input lag
Cons 
Brightness uniformity
Backlight bleed
1080p resolution
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In early 2016, AOC released the AOC C3583FQ, a curved 165Hz (natively 144Hz) monitor running at 2,560 x 1080. It had quite a few issues, including frame skipping at 165Hz when used with Nvidia graphics cards and washed out colours.

Towards the end of 2016, AOC announced the AGON AG352QCX, a similar 35in curved monitor that comes equipped with an MVA panel, 200Hz refresh rate and support for AMD’s FreeSync technology built-in, making it ideal for gamers. But, does the new model fix the problems suffered by its predecessor?

AOC AGON AG352QCX review: Price and competition

The AG352QCX can be found for around £600 on Amazon and Ebuyer. Its main competitors are the 144Hz G-Sync Acer Predator Z35 (£800) and LG 34UC79G (£410), while the Samsung CF791 (3,440 x 1,440) and the non-curved 1440p ultra-wide LG 34UM88C (£550) and AOC U3477PQU (£556) monitors are also viable options.

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AOC AGON AG352QCX review: Design, features and build quality

The monitor is extremely well built and looks striking with its silver and black colour scheme. Around the back and underneath the monitor, you’ll find six LED strips that can be used to bathe your desk in red, green or blue hues. They’re a bit silly and can be disabled if you find them distracting, but I rather like the option of having mood lighting, especially when the lights are dimmed.

The stand allows -3 to 15 degree of tilt and height adjustments of 15cm, while a handle at the top of the metal stand allows you to carry the monitor around, although with a monitor this big, I’m not convinced you’re going to want to do this all that much.

If you’re looking to wallmount the monitor you can do so via the 100 x 100mm VESA mounts found at the back. Furthermore, in the top left-hand corner, you’ll find a retractable headphone arm, which lets you keep your headphones or headset close to hand without cluttering up your desk.

Also see: Best gaming headset - our pick of the best

For connectivity, AOC provides DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA and DVI video inputs, two sets of 3.5mm input and output audio jacks, and two USB 3.0 ports, one of which supports quick charge. There’s also a surprisingly good 5W speaker housed within the chassis that provides a loud output, with a great sound quality for a monitor’s speaker.

As for as controlling things, that’s also great, especially the “QuickSwitch Controller” – a separate dongle with a series of buttons on it – which allows you to flick between colour profiles and navigate around the OSD menu. Even if you don’t use that, though, you should find the on-monitor joystick controller easy to use. It provides a far more effective way of accessing settings than the touch-sensitive buttons that many other manufacturers favour.

Finally, the AOC AG352QCX has support for AMD FreeSync, meaning if you have an AMD graphics card you get tear-free gaming. Nvidia G-sync is not supported.

READ NEXT: Nvidia G-Sync vs AMD FreeSync - know the difference between the two

AOC AGON AG352QCX review: Image quality

The monitor uses a 2,560 x 1,080 resolution MVA panel with a native refresh rate of 144Hz, and through your graphics card’s settings you’ll be able to run the monitor at a factory “overclocked” 200Hz.

Unlike its older sibling, the AOC C3583FQ, the AG352QCX doesn’t suffer from any frame skipping at 200Hz, but I did notice a gamma shift at this refresh rate, which results in washed out colours. If you’re looking to use the monitor at 200Hz, you’ll have to put up with this, or calibrate it to compensate. I conducted my image quality tests at 144Hz, which in any case should be enough for most users.

The AOC performed extremely well in sRGB mode. Colour accuracy was good, with an average Delta E of 0.59. Its 2,467:1 contrast ratio was also very impressive, providing excellent detail in even the darkest scenes. However, the monitor’s colour gamut coverage is rather disappointing in sRGB mode. Despite 95.4% sRGB coverage, which is good, it has a below-par 67.4% Adobe RGB and 70% DCI P3 coverage.

Maximum brightness reaches 260cd/m2, which is absolutely fine for use in most environments, but I found brightness uniformity to be disappointing. I found a dramatic variations of 27.29%, between the top corners of the panel and the bottom, which is where the monitor’s backlight is situated. That means if you’re looking at a dark scene in a film or game, you might find it looking brighter in the top corners than the bottom. Backlight bleed isn’t a deal breaker but is noticeable in very dark scenes at the top corners.

AOC AGON AG352QCX review: Gaming performance

The AG352QCX has a maximum refresh rate of 200Hz, making it buttery smooth for fast-paced gaming, although the advantage this provides over 144Hz is hardly noticeable.

Nevertheless, you have 200Hz at your disposal here, which for some gamers – especially competitive types – is a must. And with a low perceived response time and low input lag, the monitor flew through our tests. Better still, when adjusting its response time settings through the OSD, ghosting overshoot (which typically takes the form of shadows around objects), was barely visible.

The curvature of the screen isn’t as deep as the Samsung CF791, which does take away from the immersion a touch, but nevertheless when compared with flat-panel ultrawide monitor, the AG352QCX still provides a better gaming experience.

My only real complaint is that its 2,560 x 1,080 resolution, results in games not looking as crisp as they did on the 3,440 x 1,440 Samsung CF791, but then that screen is much more expensive.

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AOC AGON AG352QCX review: Verdict

Despite the low resolution and brightness uniformity flaws, there’s still plenty to like about the AOC AG352QCX. In fact the high maximum refresh rate, fast response, low input lag, good colour accuracy and lovely overall design make this monitor tough not to recommend.

The price might look high but there aren’t many ultrawide monitors on the market that can provide as good an all-round performance for much less. It comes warmly recommended.