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When comparing LCD monitors, HDR quality is often determined by peak brightness. The more light you have, the more highlights will pop against darker content. The AG274QG is rated for 600 nits, giving it a little more juice than other screens at this price point.
HDR Brightness and Contrast
The AG274QG just crests the 600-nit mark with a 603.1987-nit result. I’m more interested in the black level, which is lower than the VA-based PD27 and within striking distance of the PG279QM. This is thanks to the very effective 32-zone edge dimming backlight, which AOC uses properly here. With a measured static contrast of 33,142.8:1, you can see a clear difference in quality over the remaining four screens. If you want good HDR, this is the way to go. Only a full-array backlight or OLED panel can deliver more dynamic range than this. The difference is easy to see in actual content with deeper blacks, brighter highlights and more saturated color.
Grayscale, EOTF and Color
In HDR mode, the AG274QG inherits the RGB settings from SDR mode, which managed to keep grayscale tracking on-point until the tone-mapping range above 70% brightness. I could not reduce the extra blue without affecting the lower levels, which is where most content lies. Real-world picture quality is excellent, with just a hint of blue in the brightest areas but neutral grays everywhere else. The EOTF follows the spec almost perfectly when you select the Gaming option for the HDR Variable Backlight. Shadows are deep, dark and detailed while the brightest bits pop as they should.
The DCI-P3 saturation chart shows slight over-saturation in general but excellent tracking with no points too far off their targets. This means there will be no obscured detail in any kind of content, bright, dark or mid-toned. The Rec.2020 chart is similar. The AG274QG tracks the inner targets correctly until color runs out around 95%. This is how it should be since a lot of HDR content is mastered to the full Rec.2020 gamut. This is excellent performance.
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Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.
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