To be classified as a gaming monitor, a display must meet two minimum criteria: adaptive sync and a high refresh rate. These days, G-Sync or FreeSync is a must for anyone who cares about motion quality. Putting the video card in the driver’s seat means the panel only draws a frame when ordered to. It isn’t locked into a fixed refresh cycle. So then the choice comes down to Nvidia or AMD.
It seems that most premium screens choose G-Sync, with its more consistent low framerate support. If you can’t support high speeds with your current video card, it’s nice to know there won’t be tearing when the action drops below 40 FPS. To get that consistency with FreeSync, you have to check the specs carefully, because not all monitors work the same. On the other hand, G-Sync also adds a $200 tariff to the price of entry compared to FreeSync generally speaking.
Today, we’re checking out the AG352UCG, an ultra-wide member of AOC’s Agon gaming display line. It sports an 1800mm curve radius with a high-contrast AMVA panel running at 3440x1440 pixels. G-Sync is there too over a range of 24-100Hz. It’s all wrapped in a stylish chassis with colorful LED effects and a solid-aluminum stand. Let’s take a look.
Once you’ve satisfied with the refresh rate equation, the choices in gaming displays are vast. Ultra-wide curved screens are popular for their immersive wraparound effect and greater use of the player’s peripheral vision. Many people use multiple 16:9 monitors to achieve the same thing, but now you can have a more seamless, single-screen experience. The AG352UCG’s 1800mm radius curve is about as tight as it gets. And a generous 35” size means you won’t have to sit super close to lose yourself in the game world.
Users who place resolution high on the priority list will be attracted to the Agon’s 3440x1440 specification. That means a pixel density of 106ppi, which is close to a 27” QHD monitor’s 109. We’ve long considered that good balance between clarity and speed. Speaking of the latter, 100Hz is the max refresh here, which may look a little weak next to the latest 240Hz screamers coming from Asus, Acer, and AOC. But the AG352UCG has something else to recommend it: an AMVA panel. It offers double the contrast of the best IPS or TN screens, and that’s something anyone can readily see. It might just be worth a little framerate sacrifice.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
The AG352UCG is a substantial display and it comes in a carton to match. The panel, upright, and base are separately packed and well protected by large foam blocks. Assembly requires the use of a Phillips-head screwdriver to attach the upright, while the base bolts on without tools.
Bundled cables include DisplayPort, HDMI, and analog audio. The latter is intended to complete a mic interface between the monitor and your PC. Although there is a built-in USB 3.0 hub, no cable is included. To use it, you’ll need a cable with a micro-B plug, which is somewhat unusual. The power supply is external like most ultra-wide displays, and occupies a large brick. Documentation and drivers can be downloaded from AOC’s website.
AOC typically puts a lot of effort into its product’s styling, but the Agon line is a cut above the norm. The AG352UCG has generous amounts of silver trim and a unique LED array that not only lights up the panel’s bottom edge but adds four large accents across the back. You can choose a red, green, or blue effect in the OSD. We only wish the color would change to indicate G-Sync operation like with some other displays.
The anti-glare layer is 3H hardness like most others but has a little more shine than is typical. This increases the clarity factor noticeably, but you’ll need to take a bit more care when setting it up to avoid reflections. Luckily, curved screens are easier to deal with in this regard. The bezel is finished in a gloss black and is relatively wide with a 15mm top and sides, and 25mm at the bottom. Underneath is the aforementioned LED bar, which emits a soft glow, almost like a bias light.
The stand is one of the most substantial we’ve seen. It’s made from solid aluminum finished in a premium satin sheen. Both the base and upright are made from the same material, and the latter is capped by a useful handle. Movements are solid and sure, as good as any premium monitor we’ve laid our hands on. In addition to a 4.3” height adjustment, there’s 30° swivel in each direction and 29° back tilt with 5.5° forward. A small hook flips out from behind the upper-right to hang a pair of headphones. The stand can be removed if you wish to use the 100mm VESA mount holes.
Video inputs include one each of HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2. The former can be used at the monitor’s native resolution up to 60Hz. For G-Sync and 100Hz, DisplayPort is the only choice. You also get one upstream and two downstream USB 3.0 ports along with headphone, mic in, and mic out. Two small speakers can be seen behind the up-facing grill, just above the large silver trim piece on back. They play louder than you might expect, but there is some distortion at higher volumes.
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