The AOC C27G1 monitor will cater for most gamers’ needs, but the panel’s poor brightness is hard to overlook
- Impressive colour accuracy and contrast ratio
- Competitively priced
- A fast-paced 144Hz panel
- Extremely dim display with overdrive set to Boost mode
- Slightly washed out colours
The C27G1 is AOC’s latest 144Hz gaming monitor that’s aimed at gamers who want a responsive panel without compromising too much on picture quality. Much like the Samsung CFG70 I reviewed in early 2017, AOC’s panel of choice is also based on vertical alignment (VA) technology.
In practice, VA is supposed to merge the best of both worlds by offering an incredible contrast ratio, good picture quality and a fast response time – but there are some limitations.
AOC C27G1 review: What you need to know
The C27G1 is a 27in curved Full HD gaming monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate and, on paper, a 1ms response time. Its specs are near-identical to those of the Samsung CFG70 (or CFG73), which is identically priced.
The AOC panel has AMD FreeSync built-in, a borderless frame on three sides, and a striking black and red design that suits its gaming credentials. So, the C27G1 ticks all the right boxes, but if you’re a competitive gamer, you’ll find its brightness far too dim when overdrive is set to ‘Boost’.
AOC C27G1 review: Price and competition
Its closest competitor is the Samsung CFG70, costing £250, which has more recently been joined by the £300 CFG73, with its slightly redesigned stand. The CFG70 has identical specs to the C27G1, and it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that Samsung also produces the panel inside this AOC display.
AOC C27G1 review: Features, design and build quality
The monitor has a 1800R curvature with a three-sided borderless design. Of course, borderless shouldn’t be taken entirely literally, but the monitor’s thin bezels don’t take up much room on your desk. Its 27in panel takes up the same amount of space as a chunkier 24in monitor.
Its triangular stand raises the display by 130mm and provides -4° to 21.5° of tilt and 34° of swivel adjustments. If this doesn’t suffice, the monitor can also be mounted on a 100 x 100mm VESA compatible stand.
The case is black and red, which gives it a somewhat aggressive gamer look – not necessarily a bad thing, given the target audience.
Its OSD is accessed via the buttons on its lower-right edge. The menus let you adjust the panel’s response time, select a colour profile and enable AOC’s Bright Frame feature, which allows you to manually adjust the brightness and contrast ratio of a set portion of the screen.
Where connectivity’s concerned, there’s a VGA port, DisplayPort 1.2 and two HDMI 1.4 ports. There’s no USB hub and no speakers, although if you do want to channel sound through it, you can plug your headphones into its 3.5mm jack.
AOC C27G1 review: Image quality
The AOC C27G1 uses a curved Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) VA panel, which achieves an incredible contrast ratio of 3,848:1. It has near-perfect colour accuracy in sRGB mode, with an average Delta E of 1.03. Its sRGB gamut coverage of 95.8% is rather impressive, too.
Here, the AOC is again reminiscent of the Samsung CFG70, which achieves 0.45 and 99.6%. Both panels are a touch washed out when compared to a class-leading IPS panel, such as the one found in Acer XF270HUA, but at this price point it’s nothing to be concerned about.
However, there are differences between the AOC and Samsung panels. Where the AOC achieves an incredible contrast ratio, the Samsung gets to around 2,501:1. That said, this is still a very impressive figure, especially when compared to an IPS panel, which will struggle to achieve half that figure.
Where the AOC crumbles is in its peak brightness figures. At around 265cd/m², the monitor is dim and, in sRGB mode, this figure is further reduced to 228cd/m². This makes the display a little hard to see in rooms that have bright ambient light and, worse still, it drops to 68cd/m² when the response time is set to “Boost” mode using the OSD.
At 68cd/m² you’ll struggle to see enemies in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or even make out dark corners in movies. By comparison, the Samsung is a lot brighter at 379cd/m² and limited to 250cd/m²2 when set to its fastest response time.
AOC C27G1 review: Gaming performance
Its gaming performance is a mixed bag. If you’re a competitive gamer, you’ll want to set the monitor’s response time to Boost mode but, as outlined above, doing so has implications. Realistically, you’ll not want to be squinting while playing, so we’d advise instead setting the response time to Strong, although the monitor will be a tad sluggish for competitive gaming.
Throw Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at it and you’ll find yourself wanting the monitor to respond faster. Much like the Samsung CFG70, it’s not suited to competitive gaming outside of the fastest setting, and with the AOC being super dim, that’s not a feasible option for most.
On the plus side, no matter which overdrive setting I chose, there weren’t any signs of inverse ghosting or significant impact on the input lag.
Its 144Hz refresh rate makes for buttery smooth gaming, and with AMD FreeSync technology built-in, you’ll be able to enjoy tear-free gaming with a compatible AMD graphics card.
If you’ve got an Nvidia graphics card, you’ll have to resort to using V-Sync to eliminate tearing. However, I’d not sacrifice the responsiveness of the panel for the visual experience, as V-sync adds a lot of unwanted input lag. You’ll still be able to run the monitor in Full HD at 144Hz.
AOC C27G1 review: Verdict
The AOC C27G1 is certainly a good gaming monitor and ticks almost every box: it features a fast 144Hz panel, excellent colour reproduction and is appropriately designed.
However, its peak brightness is a letdown, especially when compared to the Samsung CFG70, which outshines it in every response time mode. At the time of writing, both monitors can be found for the same price, and if I was asked to give a recommendation for a 144Hz 1080p gaming monitor, I’d pick the CFG70 over the C27G1.