Excessive Dynamic Vary or HDR is unquestionably the most popular factor in show know-how proper now. However not all HDR know-how is equal. In actual fact, there are competing requirements, even competing notions, of what it means to be an HDR PC monitor or TV.
Enter the brand new AOC Agon AG322QC4. It’s completely jam-packed filled with options. It helps refresh charges at its native decision as much as 144Hz, for example, has a 32-inch curved panel and adaptive sync functionality. In some ways, it’s a dream monitor for avid gamers and efficiency PC fans.
Regardless of all that, it’s the AG322QC4’s assist for HDR that each units it aside and arguably defines this monitor. Particularly, it presents VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification and is likely one of the first screens to take action. So, what precisely does that imply, does it make a tangible distinction to the show expertise and is value a worth premium?
In fact, this new AOC isn’t distinctive. On paper, it’s a useless ringer for the BenQ EX3203R, which we reviewed lately. That units expectations by way of what to anticipate from this show usually and in addition by way of its HDR functionality.
Value and availability
At £400 within the UK and $549 Stateside (Australian pricing presently isn’t accessible), you’ll be able to take two views on the AOC Agon AG322QC4’s worth.
On the one hand, it’s not precisely a cut price given its middling 1440p native decision and 32-inch panel dimension. AOC itself will promote you the CQ32G1, which matches this monitor for dimension, decision and refresh charges for simply $399 (round £300, AU$560).
On the opposite, the brand new HDR-capable AG322QC4 undercuts the very comparable BenQ EX3203R by triple digits.
As a member of AOC’s Agon vary of screens, the AG322QC4 is focused squarely at avid gamers. That’s mirrored in each the look and the characteristic set. Design-wise, you get good, slim bezels on three sides of the panel, glossy all-round styling and a few funky pink backlit LEDs alongside the underside bezel.
AOC has additionally included its signature plug-in controller. It seems a bit like a multi-button mouse and makes entry to the display screen’s on-screen menu fast and straightforward.
That’s helpful given AOC is beneficiant with the gamer-friendly choices, together with the flexibility to toggle a number of each ranges of pixel overdrive and a low-lag mode, which avid gamers will welcome.
The panel’s HDR performance can be accessible by means of the controller. Talking of the panel, it sports activities a 1800R curvature, which many will discover provides to gaming immersion, and VA know-how. The latter tends to enhance distinction and colours, however sometimes isn’t the quickest of LCD applied sciences.
Elsewhere, the core characteristic set is likewise proper up most avid gamers’ alley. There’s the two,560 by 1,440 pixel native decision, 144Hz refresh and assist for the most recent second-generation iteration of AMD’s Freesync adaptive sync know-how.
In actual fact, the one notable omission is assist for USB-C connectivity. For many avid gamers, more often than not, that’s not a serious challenge. Nevertheless, USB-C is quickly turning into probably the most handy and efficient show connection for the PC, so it’s a little bit of a pity to not have it included right here.
Simply as with the BenQ EX3203R, the important thing level to notice is that this AOC monitor’s compliance with the VESA DisplayHDR 400 customary wants some qualification.
Because the identify suggests, DisplayHDR 400 solely requires peak brightness of 400cd/m2. Different HDR requirements require not solely a lot greater brightness as much as 1,000cd/m2, but additionally native dimming, which isn’t supported by this monitor.
Likewise, DisplayHDR 400 comes with much less stringent calls for by way of colour replica than different HDR requirements. As we concluded with the BenQ EX3203R, DisplayHDR 400 is greatest considered as one thing akin to HDR lite, fairly than being full blown HDR.
HDR-related caveats duly famous, we are able to take the AOC Agon AG322QC4 on its deserves which, for probably the most half, are quite a few. The 32-inch VA panel is quoted at three,000:1 for static distinction and that interprets into very nice, inky black tones and wonderful distinction. You gained’t, likewise, be left wanting for vibrancy and colour saturation with this display screen. It’s punchy.
The manufacturing unit calibration is first rate, too, so that you get all that vibrancy and distinction together with loads of element at each ends of the brightness scale. Compression isn’t a difficulty. The user-defined overdrive perform works properly, too.
Some inverse ghosting is seen in its quickest setting. However set to medium, the tempo of the panel is first rate (although not as nippy as the most effective TN gaming screens) and there’s little to no seen ghosting.
The mixture of 144Hz refresh and adaptive sync is as welcome as ever. When you’ve skilled the smoothness of a excessive refresh monitor, it’s painful going again to a regular 60Hz monitor.
As for that DisplayHDR 400 functionality, it controversial whether or not this monitor delivers a real HDR expertise. It feels extra like a very punchy SDR monitor than a real HDR show. But it surely’s inevitable that the road between SDR and HDR is a bit blurred on the margins.
It’s additionally value noting the influence of the AG322QC4’s 2,560 by 1,440 native decision. It’s a plus for gaming as a result of it permits for decrease masses in your graphics subsystem than, say, a 4K monitor.
Which means greater body charges, smoother gaming and a extra responsive really feel. On the draw back, it’s not a very excessive decision for such a big monitor, so the pixels are fairly huge and ugly in a desktop and font-rendering context and you’ve got loads much less room to work with than a 4K panel.
AOC has delivered on the Agon AG322QC4’s gaming remit fairly properly. It’s fast sufficient, it’s tremendous clean and it produces some fairly incredible visuals.
Arguably, it doesn’t actually ship a full HDR expertise. However its assist for what you may name the entry-level VESA DisplayHDR 400 customary does be sure that you get a really punchy total picture in comparison with standard SDR screens and also you get all that for an inexpensive total worth.
Even allowing for that this isn’t a monitor designed for productiveness, its gaming-centric remit does come at a price by way of pixel density and desktop real-estate. If you happen to’re in search of an all-rounder, due to this fact, you might desire one thing with a full 4K pixel grid.