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AOC AGON AG271UG review: The 4K monitor for casual gamers

Christopher Minasians
25 Apr 2017
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
536
inc VAT

This impressive monitor is ideal for casual gamers who want 4K

Pros 
4K at 60Hz
Nvidia G-Sync
Build quality and design
Cons 
Inverse ghosting with Strong Overdrive
Washed-out colours
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Gaming at a higher resolution than Full HD is always taxing for a computer’s graphics card, but if you have the horsepower at your disposal, why not use it to its fullest with a 4K gaming monitor? Step forward the AOC AGON AG271UG, a 27in 4K gaming monitor equipped with Nvidia G-Sync and an IPS LCD panel.

AOC AGON AG271UG review: What you need to know

The AOC AG271UG is a jack-of-all-trades monitor, skewed towards those looking to invest in 4K gaming. Despite costing £536, it’s actually very good value for a 4K monitor with Nvidia G-Sync. Its colours are a little washed out, but are accurate enough for gaming.

Input lag and a quick response time ensure that the monitor responds speedily to your mouse movements and can cope with fast-moving games, but its 60Hz panel will limit its appeal for non-professional gamers. If you fall into the latter group then you need to look for a monitor with a 144Hz panel.

AOC AGON AG271UG review: Price and competition

At the time of writing, the AOC AG271UG costs £536 at Amazon, but I’ve seen the price as high as £620. Its direct competitor is the £690 Acer Predator XB271HK, making the AOC far more affordable by comparison. Another one of its competitors, and one that I’ve tested, is the virtually identical £570 ViewSonic XG2700-4K; it has the same resolution, but offers AMD’s FreeSync technology instead of Nvidia G-Sync.

AOC AGON AG271UG review: Features, design and build quality

The AG271UG offers a good range of features, one of which is important for Nvidia-GPU owners looking for tear-free graphics. Of course, it’s Nvidia G-Sync, the technology that lets your Nvidia graphics card cleverly lock its frame rate with your monitor. This results in an image that's free from tearing – a graphical annoyance that occurs when the frame rate of the monitor and the render rate of your graphics card aren't in sync.

The monitor’s design is attractive, with a red-and-black theme, matte-silver stand and thin bezels. Full pivot, height and tilt adjustments are at your disposal through its sturdy stand, offering full control over the position of the screen. For those who want the option of taking the monitor to a LAN party, there’s a useful handle around the back plus a numbered scale to ensure you can set it up precisely as you have it at home.

On the right side of the monitor, there’s a fold-out arm that serves as a headphone stand. Here, you’ll also find two USB 3.0 ports, one of which carries a higher current for fast-charging your smartphone. A 3.5mm headphone jack and microphone input are found on the right-hand side of the monitor. Beneath the monitor are HDMI and DisplayPort video inputs, two extra USB 3.0 ports and an additional 3.5mm headphone output jack.

AOC AGON AG271UG review: Image quality

The AG271UG has a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) IPS panel. You’ll need to ensure you’re feeding it with a DisplayPort 1.2 input to get the full 60Hz 4K glory that the AOC monitor offers, since its HDMI 1.4 port can't achieve its refresh rate or resolution.

I used an X-Rite i1 Display Pro calibrator and DisplayCAL to measure the monitor’s colour gamut and accuracy. With an impressive 99.1% sRGB colour gamut coverage, the AOC monitor is able to display a wide array of colours. It also reproduced colours with an average Delta E of 1.06 out of the box – a highly respectable score that means professional-level photo and video editing isn’t beyond its capabilities.

However, compared with other IPS and PLS panels, I found the colours on the AG271UG a tad washed out. Placed next to the Acer XF270HU 1440p IPS monitor, colours didn’t pop. Furthermore, dark scenes in movies were a shade of dark grey, rather than deep black. In this respect, I found the panel looked very similar to the ViewSonic XG2700-4K, which also looks a little wan.

In terms of brightness, the monitor reaches 383cd/m2 level in sRGB mode, which limits the brightness to 90%, so it can go a bit brighter if you need it to. I measured the contrast ratio at 1,087:1, which is the norm for most IPS panels, but not as good as you’d get if you opted for a monitor using a VA-type panel.  

AOC AGON AG271UG review: Gaming performance

Gaming performance is the most important aspect for the AGON AG271UG, however, since this is what differentiates it from other, general-purpose 4K monitors.

You’ll need a strong graphics card to consistently hit 60fps at 4K in AAA titles. When used with an MSI GTX 960 2G, the GPU struggled to keep up with the huge 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. If you’re looking to buy this monitor, I’d suggest pairing it with an Nvidia GTX 1070 or above.

Input lag was minimal, but not as fast as some of the best gaming monitors available in the market today. And the same holds true for the panel’s response time. Its quoted 4ms isn’t as fast as your regular 1ms TN panel, but it’s fine for an IPS monitor.

To fully benefit from the monitor’s fastest response times you have to enable the monitor’s Strong overdrive setting. However, in this mode the monitor exhibited signs of negative ghosting (overshoot), so I’d suggest toning down overdrive and using it at Medium settings. The flipside is that this negatively affects the response time of the monitor, making it unsuitable for competitive gaming.

The AG271UG’s 60Hz refresh rate also limits the appeal of the monitor to the enthusiast rather than competitive gamers. If you’re serious about your games, you’ll need a fast 144Hz panel running at 1080p instead.

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AOC AGON AG271UG review: Verdict

Despite its limitations for serious gamers, the AOC AG271UG is a fantastic monitor for casual gamers who are looking to play in 4K. To be amazed by the level of detail that 4K has to offer you’ll need an appropriate graphics card, but if you’re after a screen that offers Nvidia’s G-Sync, a relatively fast response time and accurate colours, then the AG271UG should be the first monitor on your list.

If you’re an Nvidia graphics card owner and debating between the ViewSonic XG2700-4K and the AG271UG, I’d suggest you plump for the AOC – it's currently cheaper and will also provide tear-free gaming via Nvidia G-Sync. If prices climb towards the £700 price mark, then the ViewSonic becomes more attractive – but remember, if you have an Nvidia graphics card then you’ll be missing out on the joys of tear-free visuals.