The next big investments today's PC gamers will be looking to make is taking the leap from 1080p or 1440p up to 4K. It's a massive undertaking for any PC, displaying essentially four 1080p displays worth of content every single frame. While 4K currently has downsides of being rather expensive to put together a machine capable of handling demanding gaming, there are some screens available that don't wreck the remaining budget but offer a great experience.
The AOC AG271UG is one such display. It's not the best monitor available that supports 4K, but at $799 one simply cannot overlook included features like Nvidia G-Sync, the design and build quality.
Sync all the Gs
The AG271UG is a 27-inch monitor with a resolution of 3840 x 2160, with an IPS panel for great viewing angles and image quality. It comes with a stand that can be adjusted to suit personal viewing preferences and setups. G-Sync is Nvidia's technology that allows for the enhanced connection between the display and a supported GTX graphics card. Most modern cards from the company should work with this panel and unlock synchronized frames.
What synchronized framing brings to gaming (and media consumption in general) is a far better viewing experience without screen tearing or limiting frame rates. You can use a non-supported Nvidia or AMD Radeon GPU with the display, of course, but you will be missing out on one of the main reasons for purchasing this screen. Should you own a new AMD RX GPU, it may be worth looking at FreeSync monitors, which use AMD's own technology to achieve the same result as G-Sync.
Specifications of the AG271UG include:
- Brightness: 300 cd/m2
- Contrast ratio: 1000:1 dynamic contrast ratio
- Viewing angle: 178/178
- Response time: 4ms
- Maximum resolution: 3840x2160 (60Hz)
- Ports: HDMI, DisplayPort
- Power draw: 50W
There is a total of four USB 3.0 ports on this monitor (two underneath, two on the side), as well as a single HDMI and DisplayPort for input. The latter port is required for 4K content at 60Hz, so be sure to use this option when setting everything up.
The AG271UG is a stunning screen. Much like other Agon displays offered by AOC, I'm a massive fan of the use of colors and how aggressive the displays look without looking cheap. The thin bezels make it easy to hook up two or more of these displays (in the distant future, of course) and give the impression of the on-screen image "floating" in mid-air.
It's easy to spot some sort of arm on the right-hand side of the display, which one could mistake for some kind of Wi-Fi antenna, but it's actually an incredibly useful headphone stand. This can be folded back into the monitor unit when you don't need it to keep everything looking clean, and there's also a handy scale on the rear to ensure you have the display configured the exact same way no matter where you transport it — ideal for LAN events.
Lastly, we have full VESA support for removing the bundled stand and hooking up your own arm or wall mount. As one who prefers to use aftermarket mounting options, I feel it necessary to point VESA support as a must-have addition to each and every monitor. Kudos, AOC. When it comes to turning the display on and enjoying the fruits of your own labor, there are far more positives than drawbacks here.
For colors specifically, they're good. They don't "pop," but are more than adequate for gaming and working with media. Some may find the view slightly washed out, but honestly, at under $800 there are certainly going to be some barriers in the way.
But how does it fare in gaming? We hooked up the AG271UG to a Zotac GTX 1070 AMP! Extreme Edition. While it's a powerful GPU, it has struggled at points to output high-quality frames in some AAA PC games.
As this is an IPS panel, we have a response time of around 4ms, which is fairly commonplace. Input lag was also difficult to spot, being on par with other screens within the same price bracket and using similar display technology. The main drawback here is the 60Hz, which makes it an automatic "pass" for many PC gamers.
Should you buy the AG271UG? If you're hunting down a good overall 4K monitor that doesn't cost an absolute fortune, then yes. The build quality, support for Nvidia G-Sync and awesome image quality with IPS technology to boot make it well worth the asking price.
That said, should you be someone who requires only the best in color reproduction and have images that really pop out the display, or happen to need a higher refresh rate than 60Hz, then you'll need to look elsewhere.
For $799, This Agon panel is a solid investment for anyone looking to make the jump to 4K.
- Nvidia G-Sync.
- Solid build quality.
- Somewhat affordable.
- Sharp images.
- Colors aren't great.
- Locked to 60Hz.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.