AOC CQ27G3Z QHD Review: High Contrast and Fast Response For a Low Price

27-inch QHD VA curved gaming monitor with 240 Hz, Adaptive-Sync, HDR and wide gamut color.

(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

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Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

The CQ27G3Z falls into the “not super bright, but bright enough” category. It’s rated for 300 nits and easily surpasses that with 323. In a super bright environment, it might not excel but for a typical office or media room, there is more than enough light.

In the black level test, it is far darker than any of the IPS screens. Only OLED has more contrast than a VA monitor. Within that category, the CQ27G3Z renders higher than average contrast with nearly 3,900:1 out of the box. That is measured in the Standard mode at default settings.

After Calibration to 200 nits

Calibration manages to increase the CQ27G3Z’s dynamic range by a nice amount. The contrast ratio rises to 4,129.2:1 after adjustments to the RGB sliders. That’s exceptional performance, even among VA panels which rarely crack 4,000:1 in my tests. Good quality control is also demonstrated in the ANSI test with a solid 3,496.2:1 score. Compared to any IPS display, the CQ27G3Z’s image has truer blacks, greater depth and realism. It also has more perceptual clarity. In other words, it looks sharper than an IPS screen of the same size and resolution.

Test Takeaway: The CQ27G3Z delivers a ton of contrast, even compared to other VA monitors. This all-important metric is the key to superior image depth and color saturation, and AOC excels for the price. 

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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.