AOC’s AGON range is the brand’s dedicated gaming division and if you buy into marketing you should know that AGON is a classical Greek term for “competition”, So, naturally we are expecting something rather responsive here. AOC offers some interesting gaming monitor options at a much lower cost than the likes of popular brands such as Asus, so we wanted to see how their AG322QC4 31.5” curved gaming monitor stacked up.
This model is designed to offer an immersive and responsive experience simultaneously, with the main features being a 1440p resolution, VA panel, Freesync 2, and 144Hz refresh rate. The gaming features don’t quite stop there and the overall build quality looks and feels superior. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the color accuracy, responsiveness, panel uniformity, and gaming potential from this panel.
- Screen size – 31.5”
- Aspect ratio – 16:9
- Panel type – VA
- Panel – Samsung VA
- Resolution – 2560 x 1440
- Brightness – 400cd/m2
- Contrast ratio – 3000:1 (80,000,000:1)
- Response Time – 4ms GTG
- Refresh Rate – 144Hz
- Viewing angle – 178°/178°
- Color Depth – 8-bit
- Color Gamut – 122% sRGB and 90% DCI-P3
- Backlight technology – W-LED
- Dynamic Range – HDR
- Panel Coating – Anti-Glare with 3H Hardness (Matte)
- Inputs – 2x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x HDMI 1.4, VGA
- Other Interfaces – DisplayPort out, 3.5mm out, 3.5mm in, 2x USB 3.0 ports (Downstream), 1x USB 3.0 port (upstream), and 1x D-sub
- Dimensions (WxHxD) –
712 x 426 x 45mm (without stand)
712 x 635 x 275.8mm (with stand at maximum height)
712 x 525 x 275.8mm (with stand at minimum height)
- Curvature – 1800mm
- VESA – 100 x 100mm
The AOC AGON AG322QC4 arrived nicely packaged and like most modern monitors, in two parts. Unlike many modern monitors, this isn’t quite a toolless design but it is still straightforward to put together, you’ll just need a Phillips screwdriver handy to attach the panel to the upright section of the stand. The product arrives with an accessory bundle, which is mostly your cables such as; DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.0, and analog audio cables. You also get your power station and an external OSD controller, which in all honesty looks and feels cheap, and probably won’t make it to your desk.
Before jumping into the technical aspects with the panel, let’s first take a closer look at the overall design, the build quality, and the main features this monitor has to offer.
While the overall design of the AOC AG322QC4 is black, there are obvious “gamer” touches that could be a deal-breaker for a few of you out there. The large “AGON” branding sits front and center and is sandwiched between two changeable LED lighting strips that illuminate the desk slightly when in a darkened room. Aside from these rather garish design features, the monitor’s large VA panel and thin bezels do it a lot of justice in the style department. Furthermore, the stand isn’t over complicated or cheap in appearance, giving this an edge over most AOC monitors I have had the pleasure of using in the past.
As mentioned, the panel’s main design points come from the 31.5” 1800R curvature, giving it a prominent look that certainly captures your eye. The rear features a large grey panel with a further two lighting strips that will match the color you set in the OSD and illuminate the wall in a darkened room.
I have to say while giving this a once over and trying my hardest to find a fault, I was generally quite impressed with this monitor’s build quality. The panel is encased in plastic but there is no flex in it at all, it’s solid, making the monitor not only look high-quality but feel it too.
The build quality of the stand is on another level and is made almost entirely from metal. While the stand isn’t my favorite, it is extremely sturdy thanks to its three-pronged design and heavyweight. The adjustable functionality, which I’ll go through in more detail shortly, is smooth and feels premium, meaning I can easily adjust the monitor into my desired position with ease.
The panel on the AG322QC4 features the same anti-glare coating as the AOC CQ32G1, with 3H hardness in matte. This coating really handles excessive lighting well from either the outside world or internal light sources. I have been testing the monitor down at our new office nearest the window and I have to say I’ve been impressed with how well I can still work/ game during the day.
As previously mentioned, the thin bezels on the AG322QC4 really add a nice aesthetic to an already attractive monitor. This would be considered almost frameless, with the plastic frame measuring at around 3mm and the black border around the panel measuring at 6mm, for a total of 9mm bezels. The top follows suit, while the bottom features a bezel between 25-27mm, with the thickest part featuring the logo.
This design makes the AOC AGON AG322QC4 a solid option for dual and triple monitor setups for gaming and general work stations.
The stands design has an aesthetic I prefer and it doesn’t take up too much desk space compared to some but it’s far less compact than the standard Asus ROG stands.
This stand features all the adjustments you need to get the monitor in the perfect position. The height adjustment gives you a range of 110mm, with the maximum height reaching 635mm (stand included). The monitor also features a generous tilt adjustment that works well with the height when trying to achieve the perfect position. The forward tilt has a max adjustment of 5.5 degrees and the back features an impressive 29 degrees.
The stand also allows left and right swivel, which is a fairly standard max swivel 30 degrees in either direction, and rounds off the overall adjustment options well.
It’s worth noting that there is no landscape/portrait swivel with the AG322QC4.
The inputs are all fairly easy to get to but it is worth noting that the DisplayPort cable that came with the monitor was a slight struggle as there is pretty much just enough room to get that in straight without any risky forces.
The AOC AGON AG322QC4 features 2x DisplayPort 1.2 connections, a single HDMI 2.0 and 1.4 port, and a single VGA port. Of course, you need to utilize the DisplayPort or HDMI 2.0 to really get the most out of the panel’s high resolution and fast refresh rate. That being said, you can achieve 144Hz with HDMI 1.4 but that would be at a resolution of 1080p and that would be sacrilege.
Other inputs include a 3.5mm in and out port, 2x USB 3.0 ports (downstream), and 1x USB 3.0 port (upstream), which can be handy for users that have shorter cables or utilize the monitor without a PC from time to time.
I wasn’t overly excited by the OSD as I feel it could have been better but once you get used to it, it is a very useful feature for adjusting panel color and general settings. The joystick to control the OSD sits in the middle just underneath the logo and is a single button. Moving in one of four directions you get quick access to a mixture of useful and useless features such as crosshairs, changing the LED color, changing the monitor’s mode, and changing the input.
To access the OSD menu you press the button upwards opening the six options: Game Setting, Luminance, Image Setup, Color Setup, Extra, and OSD Setup.
In Game Setting you can change the game mode which has presets for various game genres like FPS, Racing, and a few others. You can also add a frame counter or adjust the volume here.
HDR will be on auto out of the box but you can navigate to Image Setup if you wanted to turn that off. Luminance will let you adjust the contrast, brightness, gamma, and a few other useful presets.
To change the LowBlue Mode or adjust the color temperature, you need to head to Color Setup. We tested three out of the five available color temp presets, which consist of Normal, Cool, Warm, sRGB, and User, with the latter three being the ones we tested in-depth.
Now we come to picture quality and color accuracy, two of the more important factors behind what makes a gaming monitor a great one.
Initial tests with the AG322QC4 were a little underwhelming and surprising in the wrong sort of way. Don’t get me wrong, to the eye this wasn’t particularly noticeable but first impressions were that this monitor appeared extra vibrant.
Initial testing showed the white point to be lacking and somewhat off what we were expecting. Blacks weren’t terrible but at 0.0647 cd/m² they weren’t as deep as we hoped from a VA panel. The gamma was also off the mark sitting at 2.05. sRGB offered slightly better results in some areas with the contrast remaining quite close to the out of the box Warm setting. The white point was slightly better but way off what we expected, however, blacks were more than twice as bad at 0.1385 cd/m². One thing to note was that while in sRGB mode, you were restricted with your luminance customization.
While in User we saw the best results out of the three tested, with a contrast closer to what was advertised and a higher white point but the results were still underwhelming. Because these were the better of the three, the User profile was utilized for the calibration process. While in the User profile you have full control over the customization of red, blue, green, and luminance, making it ideal. For the calibration of this monitor, we tweaked the RGB settings until they were as close to true as we could get. Below shows the calibrated results alongside an in-depth sRGB test.
|Preset||White Point||Black Depth||Contrast Ratio||Average ΔE*00||Maximum ΔE*00||Gamma|
While properly calibrating the monitor, we set the RGB to 18/39/54 and achieved the results we were after. The white point was near spot on at 6519K, as was the gamma, just shy of a perfect score at 2.18. The average delta was drastically different once calibrated coming down from a score of 4.98 to 0.36 while the contrast ratio became slightly worse.
After calibration, we perform a panel uniformity test to check the luminance and color uniformity across the entire panel. The center square is used as the reference, with every other square then being tested to see any differences.
Ideally, we would like to see every square come through with a green box, as this would indicate near perfect uniformity.
Our results above show the 5 x 5 grid test we carried out in the AG322QC4’s panel. As you can see, the monitor performed quite well during this test, with the bottom left area showing the most differences. Aside from the two squares that exceeded the nominal tolerance, we were quite happy with how uniform this panel actually was, displaying accurate colors and luminance throughout.
With the AOC AGON AG322QC4 featuring a VA panel, it came of no surprise that the viewing angles were all quite good. You would start to notice some color/ contrast discrepancies when viewing at the absolute extremities but this would rarely be viewed in such a way in the real world, so overall, very good.
For the calibration of the monitor, we use DisplayCal software and were presented with the color gamut coverage and volume figures for sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI P3. The results were as follows:
|Preset||White Point||Black Depth||Contrast Ratio||Average ΔE*00||Gamma|
The specifications of the AG322QC4 advertised a gamut volume of 120% yet our calibrated tests showed 128.3%, covering 99.8% of the sRGB color space, exceeding the advertised value. Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 were as impressive, with 82.1% and 88.2% respectively.
The calibrated figures shown above mean that for potential users where color accuracy is highly important, this gaming monitor could easily be recommended.
With the monitor calibrated and the tests under the belt, it was time to put it through its paces with various gaming titles. The monitor doesn’t feature the lowest response time but 4ms in my book has always been imperceptible to my eye at least. Furthermore, the 144Hz refresh rate, FreeSync, and 1440p resolution are really appealing to me as a gamer.
I tested the monitor before and after the panel had been calibrated and to my personal tastes, I was happy either way. The 2,560 x 1440p resolution is much more than I’m used to and it felt more immersive straight off the bat. The colors felt vibrant no matter what game I was playing and I have to say the curved panel is something I could get used to for certain games. I tested this across a few FPS titles and it excelled for me in the more immersive shooters like Squad, Hell Let Loose, and Rising Storm 2. I also loaded up CS:GO to see how responsive it could be and it did very well but the 31.5-inch panel is far too big for an esports title in my opinion unless you resort to black bars.
To get the most out of your games on this panel you are going to need a decent mid-range GPU, after all, you want to make use of the FreeSync technology and high refresh rate. I was using a GTX 1080 Ti, so naturally had no issues but you should aim for an RTX 2060 Super/ RX 5700 XT unless you don’t mind tweaking extra settings.
Overall, I can’t say I experienced any ghosting across all game titles and I’d happily game on this, with counter-strike being the only exception.
The initial tests were worrying when I began with this monitor but the potential was clearly there as after calibrated, the monitor was superb. As mentioned, I actually didn’t mind the excessive vibrancy on the AG322QC4 out the box and while the changes were a visible improvement, it isn’t that perceptible.
The AOC AGON AG322QC4 is clearly aimed at the gaming market but with the silly LED lights turned off, you wouldn’t really be able to tell. Smooth gameplay was ensured by the responsive nature of the monitor and its high refresh rate. The high resolution is another superb feature to the monitor and I would always recommend 1440p to the majority of gamers, with the AG322QC4 displaying excellent clarity. The VA panel performed well and features excellent viewing angles, plus when calibrated in User mode, we saw its full potential and excellent gamut coverage and volume.
This monitor is packed with gaming features and even features HDR 400, making it a fantastic choice for anyone looking at buying a new curved gaming display.