AOC AG352UCG Curved G-Sync Gaming Monitor Review

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.

Specifications

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.

Product 360

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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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
    1
  • 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
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  • cmsvmylo
    This monitor will probably be my christmas present!
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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
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  • rguermas
    Great
    0
  • 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.
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  • dark_lord69
    I don't get it...
    Does it suck your d***?
    0
  • 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. :(
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  • uglyduckling81
    Anonymous 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.
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  • matthew_258
    hopefully 599$ @ Microcenter...i would wait in that line.
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  • 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.
    0
  • cryoburner
    Anonymous 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.
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  • jasonelmore
    Subpar panel with limited refresh rate. Bring on the 600hz Quantum Dot Gsync Samsung!
    1
  • JakeWearingKhakis
    My monitor is also VA

    Viotek 27" 144hz Freesync 1080p Curved

    I paid $249.00
    0
  • Lutfij
    So no award? :) Good write up and review, keep up the good work!
    0
  • 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.
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