AOC CQ27G3S 165 Hz Review: Responsive Gaming, High Contrast and Terrific Value

27-inch QHD VA curved gaming monitor with 165 Hz, Adaptive-Sync, HDR and wide gamut color

(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

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It is truly a great time for bargain hunters who are seeking a high-performance gaming monitor. 27-inch QHD displays with HDR, wide gamut color, Adaptive-Sync and 165 Hz are becoming common and that means great deals are out there.

In AOC’s case, it offers two such monitors, the 240 Hz CQ27G3Z at $400 and the 165 Hz CQ27G3S at $250. Both offer similar image quality with high contrast VA panels and wide gamut color. But that extra $150 will only buy you smoother motion resolution. That makes the AOC CQ27G3S an astounding value with one of the highest price/performance ratios I’ve seen.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Contrast is over 4,200:1 which puts the CQ27G3S ahead of most LCD monitors of any type. Only a Mini LED or OLED will be better. The color gamut covers an average 87% of DCI-P3 so if you’re seeking the most colorful monitor, there are a few better examples available at a higher cost. HDR quality is the most impressive aspect of the image in my observation. Though the CQ27G3S does not do dynamic contrast or zone dimming, that honest 4,200:1 means deep blacks, bright highlights and saturated color.

(Image credit: AOC)

Gaming performance is better than the price suggests. Though the CQ27G3S’s overdrive is a bit weak with undershoot artifacts, it works well in practice thanks to very low input lag. It is one of the more responsive 165 Hz monitors I’ve played on. Adaptive-Sync support is without issue and the MBR backlight strobe is one of the better implementations of that technology with minimal artifacts and solid light output.

There is little that the AOC CQ27G3S does not do well. For $250, you’ll have a hard time finding a better 27-inch gaming monitor. Budget conscious shoppers should definitely check it out.

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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.

  • tennis2
    1000R curve = nope.
  • javiindo
    Which is it better? CQ27G3S or CQ27G2S?
  • javiindo
    Is this monitor not from 2020? What's best value on September 2023?
  • Friesiansam
    tennis2 said:
    1000R curve = nope.
    Not only is that too tight for a curve radius, who needs a curve anyway, on a 27" monitor?