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AOC AGON Pro AG324UX review: A well-equipped 4K gaming monitor that aims too high

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £900
inc VAT

The AOC AGON Pro AG324UX is brimming with features but HDR performance should be better at this price


  • Packed with features
  • Good colour accuracy
  • Great motion handling


  • Expensive
  • Dated design
  • HDR should be better

The AOC AGON Pro AG324UX is AOC’s flagship next-gen gaming monitor. Like many of its rivals, the AG324UX is huge, bold and expensive, with an HDR certification and HDMI 2.1 compatibility for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Unlike its rivals, however, the AG324UX doesn’t skimp on the extras, providing an impressive suite of ports, a top-of-the-range stand and even a small OSD controller for on-the-fly adjustments.

Make no mistake, this is a seriously well-equipped 4K gaming monitor. The question is: has AOC overextended itself by packing an already-expensive monitor with features?

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AOC AGON Pro AG324UX review: What do you get for the money?

The AOC AGON Pro AG324UX costs £870-£900 at the time of writing, depending on where you look. That gets you a 32in IPS monitor with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, a refresh rate of 144Hz, a quoted response time of 1ms G2G, a DisplayHDR 400 certification with 16 local dimming zones and support for AMD FreeSync Premium.

You’ve got two HDMI 2.1 ports on the rear alongside a single DP 1.4 port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There are also four USB-A 3.2 ports (one of which is always on, for delivering power), an upstream USB-B 3.2 port and an upstream USB-C 3.2 port capable of carrying a video signal and supplying up to 90W of power. Finally, there’s a single microUSB port for the puck-shaped OSD controller.

The stand provides 130mm of height adjustment, 20 degrees of swivel left and right, 21 degrees of backwards tilt and pivots around into a portrait orientation. It also has a downward-firing projector that throws the AGON logo onto the surface below. On the rear and skirting the bottom edge of the monitor you’ll find an array of customisable LED lighting. The box, meanwhile, contains HDMI, DP and USB-C cables alongside the usual wedge of documentation.

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AOC AGON Pro AG324UX review: What does it do well?

You can’t argue with the AG324UX’s comprehensive approach to features. By comparison, the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ (£850) lacks the full range of stand movements (omitting pivot) and comes with just two USB-A ports for peripherals. Of course, there’s a reason other monitors omit these things – portrait mode support is hardly a vital feature for gamers, and you could mitigate the lack of ports with a USB hub – but there’s a market for do-it-all displays, and on this front the AG324UX trumps every HDMI 2.1-ready gaming monitor I’ve tested.

Like AOC’s various other gaming monitors, the AG324UX is an imposing-looking thing, and the solid build quality means that it has a reassuring heft to it. The panel case is plastic but the stand is metal, which generates most of the weight and keeps the monitor firmly planted to the desk. Whether you like AOC’s black and red, industrial aesthetic is another matter, but there’s certainly no mistaking this for anything other than a gaming monitor.

The AOC’s OSD continues the garish red theme, but crucially it’s very simple to navigate – and especially so thanks to the USB-powered control puck. I am constantly complaining about OSD controls, so having them sensibly arranged on a remote is an easy way to earn brownie points; this is particularly true where a gaming monitor is concerned, as you may find yourself regularly diving into the OSD to optimise settings on a per-game basis. AOC’s G-Menu desktop application can be used here to create, save and share profiles for your favourite games (as well as adjust LED lighting).

Within the OSD you’ll find the usual sliders for backlight brightness, contrast, R/G/B gain and so forth, various colour and HDR modes, and controls for the LED lighting and projector. You’ve also got the option to enable picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes, which is a welcome addition.

The gaming section, meanwhile, contains options for adjusting important features (Adaptive Sync, Overdrive, Motion Blur Reduction and Low Input Lag) and less important ones (Game Colour, Shadow Control and the remote’s LED lighting). Of the more crucial gaming features, you’ll want to employ all four at one point or another, although Low Input Lag turns on automatically when it’s supported.

The AG324UX’s IPS panel exhibits no ghosting and good motion handling by default, but you can do better – even at its second setting (Medium), Overdrive produces virtually no noticeable ghosting. Switch off Adaptive Sync and you can enable Motion Blur Reduction, which does exactly what the name suggests but introduces ghosting. If you can be bothered, a combination of Medium Overdrive and a very small amount of MBR produces an image with low motion blur and only a small amount of ghosting – this is ideal for shooters.

Even without fiddling in the OSD, this is a good monitor out of the box. The AG324UX covers 114.6% of the sRGB colour gamut (81.2% DCI-P3 and 78.9% Adobe RGB) in its default picture mode. These figures are lower than those stated by AOC but certainly nothing to be concerned about.

Colour accuracy is good: the AG324UX returned an average Delta E of 1.76 when measured against DCI-P3 and 1.61 against sRGB. Locking the monitor into sRGB mode returned an average Delta E of just 0.74. A colour variance score of below 3 indicates that you won’t be able to spot inaccuracies, so all of these results are very good indeed.

I measured a peak luminance of 363cd/m² in SDR mode, which is more than good enough for most lighting conditions, and it managed 447cd/m² in HDR mode, which is enough to earn the AG324UX its DisplayHDR 400 certification. Although I’m not entirely satisfied with this monitor’s HDR performance, as I’ll discuss below, the AOC at least outperforms most of the monitors I’ve reviewed with entry-level DisplayHDR 400 certifications.

The 16-zone local dimming certainly helps to make HDR content look better than it would otherwise. I measured a contrast ratio of 6,329:1 in HDR with local dimming enabled, which is a huge improvement over the panel’s native contrast of 933:1. It’s not a perfect example of local dimming, as I’ll discuss in a moment, but it does help deepen shadows and accentuate brighter hues to make a better fist of HDR content.

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AOC AGON Pro AG324UX review: What could be better?

Although it clearly has its benefits for responsiveness and colour accuracy, the AOC’s IPS panel delivers very underwhelming contrast levels in SDR. A contrast ratio of 933:1 is par for the course for IPS panels, but it literally pales in comparison to rival monitors which employ VA, OLED or QLED technology.

It’s also worth noting that the AOC’s edge-lit local dimming is very crude compared to the full-array dimming found on similarly priced TVs. With only 16 dimming zones to work with, dark scenes with moving bright patches reveal halos and visible vertical strips of backlight, while rapid transitions from dark to bright will produce a sort of oozing effect as the backlight slowly catches up.

One final point: the panel uniformity of my review sample left a lot to be desired, with a lot of variation in the top-right and bottom-left corners of the screen. This will differ from monitor to monitor, but on my sample I could clearly see the backlight bleed in very dark scenes.

As I’ve already mentioned, the AOC’s design will not be everyone’s cup of tea. In my opinion, the bold clash of black, red and metallic, angular accents looks dated – I’m longing for the day that AOC takes the hint and moves onto monochromatic colour palettes and smooth edges – and the RGB lighting is just a bit tacky.

On a more general note, it’s important to point out that although objectively there’s nothing wrong with its panel, the AG324UX underperforms when compared to cheaper rivals. All of the HDMI 2.1-ready monitors I’ve tested thus far have come in at under the £900-ish AOC is charging for the AG324UX, and all of them have delivered better HDR performance, better colour reproduction, or both.

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AOC AGON Pro AG324UX review: Should you buy it?

If it’s sheer performance you’re after, then, I can recommend better – and less expensive – alternatives to the AG324UX. Asus’ ROG Swift PG32UQ, for example, costs over £100 less yet boasts a higher DisplayHDR 600 certification and improved colour reproduction. For the money, we’d expect both of these things from the AG324UX.

Sure, few monitors can match the AG324UX’s exceptional stand, port selection and feature set, but it’s hard to get too excited by those kinds of features when the monitor’s core performance just isn’t as impressive as it should be.

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