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AOC AG322QCX review: The best gaming monitor money can buy?

Christopher Minasians
25 Jul 2017
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
500
inc VAT

With its 1,800mm-radius curvature, 1440p resolution and 144Hz refresh rate this gaming monitor is one of a kind

Pros 
144Hz refresh rate at 1440p
1,800mm-radius curvature
Incredible contrast ratio
Cons 
Noticeable inverse ghosting with Overdrive
Not the most responsive
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In a market where most displays aimed at gamers are either 27in in size with a 16:9 aspect ratio, or larger and ultra-wide, the AOC AG322QCX sits on its own. No other manufacturer makes a monitor quite like it, with its 16:9 aspect ratio, 31.5in diagonal and dramatic 1,800mm radius curvature.

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AOC AG322QCX review: What you need to know

Is it any good, though? It certainly has the requisite specifications. It’s huge, runs a native resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 at a refresh rate of up to 144Hz, and has a curved MVA panel that makes games (and everything else, for that matter) look simply fantastic.

Add Adaptive-Sync technology (a derivative of AMD FreeSync) and excellent build quality, and you have one of the best big-screen gaming monitors on the market.

AOC AG322QCX review: Price and competition

The AOC AG322QCX costs between £450 and £500 on Amazon. Given its specifications, it doesn’t really have a direct competitor; the £338 Acer XZ321Q and £413 BenQ EX3200R are the closest you can get. These are curved 16:9, 31.5in monitors, but they only offer Full HD resolution.

The 27in Acer XF270HUA is another alternative worth considering: it runs the same resolution and refresh rate, but it’s smaller than the AOC and has a flat panel.

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AOC AG322QCX review: Design, features and build quality

AOC has a consistent design throughout its AGON gaming line, and the AG322QCX follows suit. Its stand is sturdy, attractive and practical, providing the big 31.5in panel with a massive 110mm of height adjustment, a generous amount of tilt (-5.5 to 28 degrees) and the ability to pivot to and fro so you can get the angle just right.

I’m particularly fond of the monitor’s low-profile bezels, which surround the screen along the top edge and the sides. They’re a rare sight on a monitor of this size and significantly reduce the visual impact the monitor has on your desk environment. Even so, you’ll want to ensure you have enough space: at 713 x 635 x 276mm (at its highest point), the monitor is extremely large.

At that size, the monitor’s 1,800mm-radius curvature is pretty dramatic and, if you’re sitting close enough, this does boost the sense of immersion you get when playing games. The flip side, however, is that it’s not as good when viewed at an angle.

Around the back of the monitor is an arm for hanging your headphones on, a carrying handle and four LED strips (red, green and blue), all of which add to the appeal of the monitor. As for connectivity, there’s VGA, two HDMI 1.4 and two DisplayPort 1.2 inputs. Two USB 3 ports, a 3.5mm headphone output and microphone input jacks are also present.

Meanwhile, to access the onscreen display you can use the five-way joystick selector, which sits underneath the monitor, or the included QuickSwitch remote control, which connects to the monitor via mini USB.

Finally, the AG322QCX offers “Adaptive-Sync” support, which is what AMD’s FreeSync tech is based on. If you own a compatible AMD graphics card, this delivers tear-free gaming while keeping input lag to a minimum. Nvidia card owners will still be able to use the monitor in 1440p at 144Hz but will have to rely on V-Sync for tear-free visuals, which adds significantly more input lag.

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AOC AG322QCX review: Image quality

AOC has opted for an MVA panel on the 31.5in AG322QCX, which runs at a native resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 at 144Hz and has an aspect ratio of 16:9.

With the monitor’s sRGB mode enabled, the monitor achieved some impressive results in my technical tests, achieving 93.8% sRGB gamut coverage and superb colour accuracy. It locks brightness in this mode to 215cd/m2, which might be a bit dim if you’re using the monitor next to a window. If you set the monitor to User mode, you can bump it up a bit to 293cd/m2.

The monitor’s most impressive attribute, however, is its 2,002:1 contrast ratio and super-low 0.1cd/m2 black level, which contributes to a superbly strong and vibrant image onscreen. It’s also good to see that brightness uniformity is good.

The only slight weakness I’d highlight is in the red part of the colour spectrum, which is a touch oversaturated, but to criticise it for this would be harsh in the extreme when the rest of the monitor’s performance is so good.

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AOC AG322QCX review: Gaming performance

The AOC AG322QCX’s 1440p resolution and 144Hz refresh rate is a fantastic combination for gaming. As long as you own a sufficiently powerful graphics card to push those pixels at a high frame rate, the smoother gameplay and extra detail this monitor delivers over a 1080p screen is a considerable plus.

However, its real-world response time won’t suit eSports competitors. Although you can use Medium to Strong Overdrive to force the monitor to respond faster, this creates a lot of unwanted purple haze (known as inverse ghosting) and, while its input lag is acceptable, it's not the most responsive screen I’ve come across.

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AOC AG322QCX review: Verdict

Aside from these (small) quibbles, at around £500 there’s very little to dislike about this huge 31.5in curved monitor. If you’re not looking for an ultra-responsive competitive gaming weapon, and you’re in the market for a big screen for general gaming at home, then the AG322QCX should be your first pick.

In fact, I’d choose this monitor over any 21:9, 1080p ultra-wide monitor at the same price point. Its 1440p panel, smooth 144Hz refresh rate and 16:9 aspect ratio offer much more than its competitors.