AOC AG352UCG Curved G-Sync Gaming Monitor Review

Brightness & Contrast

To read about our monitor tests in depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. Brightness and Contrast testing are covered on page two.

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Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

Ultra-wide monitors represent the top end of the gaming display pricing spectrum, but the new 25” 16:9 high-speed panels are also commanding a premium. We’ve included Acer’s XB252Q along with the Z301C 30” and XB382CQK 38” screens. We're also adding the Asus PG348Q and LG’s 34UC79G to the mix.

ULMB requires some extra horsepower in the brightness department, and the only monitor here that has enough is the XB252Q. That’s not an issue for the AG352UCG since it doesn’t have blur-reduction. Its claimed output is 300cd/m2, and our sample beats that comfortably with over 343. You’ll never have trouble seeing a nicely saturated picture even in brightly lit rooms.

With an AMVA panel, the black level is exemplary and only bested by the Z301C, and only by a small margin. This is the key to VA technology’s superior contrast. Some monitors we’ve tested can top 5000:1, but our curved ultra-wide examples are closer to 2500:1. It’s still more than double the best offered by TN or IPS.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

AOC has chosen to take minimum brightness down past the useful point at a dim 28.8939cd/m2. To set output at 50nits, click the slider up to 10. This isn’t a big deal for most users, but if you want to achieve a precise white level, the control is a bit too coarse. Each notch represents around 4cd/m2. The black level is where it should be, meaning that contrast stays consistent at 2243.7:1.

After Calibration to 200cd/m2

After making a few changes to the image controls, we found that contrast had been set too high by default. This showed up in our gamma tests, and we could see some detail clipping in bright areas of the picture. Selecting the User color temp fixes this issue, but it exacts a cost in contrast—26% to be exact. It sounds like a lot, but remember that we’re still well above what’s possible from a TN or IPS panel. And now we can see all the detail present in the source content.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

ANSI contrast is a more real-world indication of a monitor’s true image depth, and the AG352UCG puts up a superb number. Only a few monitors we’ve tested can boast a better result in this test. And it has now edged out the Predator Z301C. If you value contrast in a gaming display as much as we do, you won’t find much better.

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  • ledhead11
    Thanks for the review.

    Not in the market for an monitor but if I was I'd probably get this one. Good size, resolution, and the 100hz is actually a reasonable mark for people with single gpu solutions. At ultra many games can pull down even a 1080ti into the 60-100fps range at a resolution like this.
  • AgentLozen
    Quote:
    If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to add one of these screens to your system, the price/performance ratio has never been more attractive.


    Sounds like this monitor is deserving of an award but it's definitely not there. I suspect that it will pop up in a few hours after a ninja edit.
  • mihen
    I think the issue this monitor faces is quite simple. The price premium on a gsync monitor. I looked at them recently and there is a $200 markup over the FreeSync version. It's just really hard to suggest these monitors when a person is on a $2000 budget for the whole machine when that difference is an entire graphics card tier.
  • jrocksmooth
    As of 11/6/17, Microcenter has this monitor for $799. Fantastic deal for a 35" curved ultrawide 1440p.

    http://www.microcenter.com/product/476971/AG352UCG_35_Agon_LED_Gaming_Monitor_w-_NVIDIA_G-Sync
  • cmsvmylo
    This monitor will probably be my christmas present!
  • simfreak101
    still waiting for the next version of the Samsung CHG90 with DP 1.4; If they can get it to 7680x1440@100hz /w gsync then i would buy that and replace my 3 monitor setup i have right now.
  • Colin_10
    It still baffles me that these things are so expensive, there have been monitors at this resolution/frame rate for a few years now and still we are seeing 800 price points. I obviously don't know anything about the difficulty of manufacturing these things but it sure surprises me that price has remained this high for this long. Monitors seem to be one of those things that just doesn't drop in price. Graphics cards get replaced so fast due to advancements in tech that if you don't want to buy a 1080ti for 700 now, wait 2-3 years and you can get the 1260ti for 200 dollars and it has the same performance.
  • aberkae
    Dell Alienware 34 inch ips gsync display 3440*1440p on sale for $999 plus $75 gift card oc-able from 100hz to 120hz. Fyi
  • rguermas
    Great
  • gaborbarla
    What a great monitor, for a new setup this is great. Sadly it is hard sell for most serious gamers to justify going back from 144Hz to 100Hz. Sure, this is a spectacular looking monitor, it is huge, resolution is decent, curved for immersion and has higher than 60Hz. But 144Hz is a bare minimum for me, and I will only seriously consider it only once it satisfies that target.
  • dark_lord69
    I don't get it...
    Does it suck your d***?
  • Tanquen
    Curved, why distort the picture more and in a way your brain down like? The games are isometric so you’re just squishing the screen in the middle a bit. ??? :(
    1440 and like a foot tall. :(
    21:9 :(
    Wanting a flat 16:10 display in a 32:1 curved world. :(
  • uglyduckling81
    194916 said:
    Curved, why distort the picture more and in a way your brain down like? The games are isometric so you’re just squishing the screen in the middle a bit. ??? :( 1440 and like a foot tall. :( 21:9 :( Wanting a flat 16:10 display in a 32:1 curved world. :(

    Actually it's the opposite to your understanding. If the curve is right and your in the right spot the picture will be true. Same distance to your eyes at all points. With a large flat panel you get a distorted view at any point other than directly in front. Becoming more distorted the further out you go. It's why curved panels are a thing, otherwise the ultra wide format would be quite crappy to look at and use. I'm not sure what the squishing is your referring to but it's not a thing. It's essentially just a flat panel picture but adjusted so you get a truer view of the picture.
  • matthew_258
    hopefully 599$ @ Microcenter...i would wait in that line.
  • hixbot
    I want a high refresh rate, gsync, VA panel for gaming with good contrast. Unfortunately the only manufacturer making gaming VA panels, AUO, (who made the panel inside this AOC display) are only making curved displays. Curved is a dealbreaker for me.
  • cryoburner
    2185404 said:
    It still baffles me that these things are so expensive, there have been monitors at this resolution/frame rate for a few years now and still we are seeing 800 price points. I obviously don't know anything about the difficulty of manufacturing these things but it sure surprises me that price has remained this high for this long. Monitors seem to be one of those things that just doesn't drop in price. Graphics cards get replaced so fast due to advancements in tech that if you don't want to buy a 1080ti for 700 now, wait 2-3 years and you can get the 1260ti for 200 dollars and it has the same performance.

    Except these screens are getting better. A few years ago, gaming-focused VA screens with high refresh rates weren't a thing. If you wanted high refresh rates, you were stuck with TN panels. Since then, high refresh rate IPS screens came out to offer better color accuracy and viewing angles, and now high refresh rate VA screens are bringing up to three times the contrast ratios of TN or IPS panels. Other technologies are being incorporated into these screens to improve image quality as well. Resolution and refresh rate are not the only things that affect the quality of a monitor.

    And of course, prices can only drop so far. Compared to something like a graphics card, significantly more materials go into a monitor, and the cost to manufacture a panel of a particular size and resolution generally isn't going to massively drop from one year to the next.

    Also, graphics cards are not really a very good comparison right now, due to the shortages and price spikes that occurred this year. The cards we have now are more or less the same ones that were released last year, only most of them cost more now than they did then.
  • jasonelmore
    Subpar panel with limited refresh rate. Bring on the 600hz Quantum Dot Gsync Samsung!
  • JakeWearingKhakis
    My monitor is also VA

    Viotek 27" 144hz Freesync 1080p Curved

    I paid $249.00
  • Lutfij
    So no award? :) Good write up and review, keep up the good work!
  • dryslot
    @LUTFIJ That is my question too! I read this entire review and watched it trade punches with the Acer Predator Z301C, yet the Acer received Editor's Choice (isn't that Tom's highest?) while the AOC here received nothing.

    Maybe Acer's Tobii Eye tracking put it over the top? Sure, it has higher refresh at 200hz but it's "only" a 30" monitor at 1080p vs this 35" beast at 1440p.

    I understand that a 30" ultrawide is certainly in a sweet spot for many folks with video cards in the sub 1080 range, I'm one of them with a GTX 1070. And that is why I'm still considering the Acer. But I'm still leaning toward the AOC here which is no more expensive and feels more future-proof with the higher resolution. If I have to upgrade my video card, I'll accept my fate.