AOC Agon AG322QC4 Curved FreeSync 2 Gaming Monitor Review: HDR Accuracy On a Budget

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Brightness and Contrast

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

Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

HDR monitors play to multiple standards, so we pulled together a varied group to compare the AG322QC4. At the premium end is the Asus ROG Swift PG27U. Then we have the Philips 436M6VBPAB Momentum (436M6), BenQ EX3501R, ViewSonic VP3881 and LG 34WK650.

SDR mode’s brightness maxed out just shy of 360 nits. This is plenty of output for gaming or anything else. Despite its billing as a gaming display, the AG322QC4 is a great general-use product. Its size and form factor make it versatile and flexible.

At maximum brightness settings, the VA panel delivered black levels commensurate with the other VA screens here. In SDR mode, a monitor with an IPS panel can’t compete in that department.

Contrast is a respectable 2,277:1. While some VA monitors can do better, there is potential for improvement after calibration.

After Calibration to 200 nits

With calibration to 200 nits, the AG322QC4 maintained its second place position in the black level test, but contrast increased to 2,552.2:1. Not many monitors gain contrast after calibration, but having RGB sliders that start center-range likely gave the AG322QC4 an advantage. This makes it easier to achieve balance because you can both increase and decrease the RGB levels; most monitors only allow you to reduce them.

ANSI contrast stayed strong after calibration at 2,295:1, which is only a bit lower than the sequential number and means AOC is using a quality panel. That’s impressive performance at this price point. Our sample had excellent field uniformity, which contributed to this result. Even without HDR, the AG322QC4 delivered a punchy image with great depth, detail and color saturation.

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors

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Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • Mopar63
    Compared to the Samsung CHG70 32" I am curious which has the better image quality. Spec wise they seem very similar.
  • William_X89
    I wish more HDR monitors came with Gsync. So far the only ones I've seen are the nearly $2000 ones. Nobody seems to make a 2k HDR monitor with Gsync that I've seen. 4K seems unnecessary on a 27" screen.
  • cryoburner
    21639762 said:
    Compared to the Samsung CHG70 32" I am curious which has the better image quality. Spec wise they seem very similar.
    I haven't looked much into that monitor, but I believe it has an SRGB mode, which could be important if you need colors to match how they appear on a regular monitor, rather than having everything appear oversaturated.
  • vmylo81
    What's the freesync range?
  • florian.mitowski
    Thanks for the test, i just dont understand one thing :

    "DisplayPort or HDMI, but, as noted above, HDR only works with the latter"


    displayport 1.2 and hdmi 2.0 both support QHD at 144Hz and HDR
  • quique_quiles
    Wait, you CAN'T use HDR on DisplayPort? I just bought this monitor last week and i'm using on DisplayPort.
  • ShredTheGnarr
    quique_quiles said:
    Wait, you CAN'T use HDR on DisplayPort? I just bought this monitor last week and i'm using on DisplayPort.
    You can. I am using HDR on Display Port.
    However when Windows is set to auto detect for HDR and the monitors HDR auto detect feature also on, these 2 features dont play well with each other and its caused some crashes