AOC AG352UCG Curved G-Sync Gaming Monitor Review

Grayscale, Gamma & Color

For the most part, the AG352UCG comes from the factory with excellent color, gamma, and grayscale accuracy. We suggest a few small tweaks for the very best result, but most users will be satisfied to simply set brightness to taste and play on.

Grayscale Tracking

Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.

We begin in the Agon’s default state with Gaming Mode turned off and the color temp on its Warm preset. Contrast is at 50 and Gamma is on preset 1. This gives us decent grayscale tracking with slightly visible errors at 10 and 80-100%. The darker step looks a little blue but only if you know what you’re looking for. If we hadn’t told you about it, you probably wouldn’t see it. The warmth in the brighter steps is even less obvious.

The anomaly at 10% continues in the sRGB preset. This mode fixes output at a bright 315cd/m2 with an average grayscale error of 2.78dE. If you don’t choose to calibrate, we suggest selecting the User color temp. Without any RGB adjustments, it offers slightly better tracking than Warm. More importantly, it fixes a gamma problem which we’ll show you in the next section.

Reducing the red slider by two clicks tightens up tracking from 30-100%, but slight blue errors remain at 10 and 20. The chart is a bit unusual, but overall tracking is good here. Among gaming monitors, this is average performance.

Comparisons

If you’re satisfied with an average white balance error of 2.75dE, then you need only change the color temp preset to User and set brightness to your preferred level. No other tweaks are needed for excellent contrast and image quality. By reducing the red level slightly, we lowered the average error to 1.82dE. It’s a last place finish in this group but still an average result for the gaming category. The first three screens are quite good in this test and rival many professional displays for grayscale accuracy.

Gamma Response

Gamma tracking is the main reason for choosing the AG352UCG’s User color temp preset. All other modes clip highlight detail, which results in visible harshness in the brighter zones of the picture. In most cases, when we see a chart like this, we lower the contrast slider. And indeed, that technique will work here, but it reduces dynamic range by nearly 50%. The better approach is to simply select the User preset. Tweaking the RGB sliders is optional. Gamma is now as close to perfect as any monitor we’ve tested at any price. This is what ideal looks like, and it has a positive effect on color saturation and luminance.

Comparisons

The AG352UCG posts one of the best gamma scores we’ve recorded. Not only does it track an average value of 2.2, its range of numbers is a super tight .12. Several other screens in the group are close, but their tracking misses the spec just slightly. We’re being extremely picky here, but since the subject is premium monitors, high precision should be expected.

Color Gamut & Luminance

For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, please click here.

Many gaming monitors have over-saturated color, and the AG352UCG is no exception. As long as measured color points track consistently and come close to their targets, we have no problem with a little extra vividness. It doesn’t impact detail rendering and, along with high contrast, makes gaming that much more enjoyable.

AOC has taken a panel part with a slightly enlarged gamut and engineered it perfectly. The first two charts show elevated luminance levels, which jibes with the clipped white level we measured. The first one represents the Warm preset and second is sRGB. Neither is desirable thanks to that gamma issue we told you about.

Once the color temp is set to User, the issue is resolved and the luminance chart looks almost perfect. Calibration extracts that last 1% for an excellent gamut test result. Many professional monitors don’t measure this well.

Comparisons

1.29dE is an extremely low average color error. Remember, that represents the average of 36 measurements. We don’t just check the outer gamut points but also the 20, 40, 60, and 80% saturation levels for all six colors. Obviously, the over-saturation we mentioned is very small. It doesn’t negatively impact our test or the display of real-world content.

Thanks to that bonus volume from all three primaries, the AG352UCG exceeds the sRGB gamut spec by 6.55%. This is fine for gaming and any other application except proofing. For that purpose, we recommend a custom profile be created in your color management software of choice. This monitor is suitable for photo and graphics editing.

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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.