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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Achieving high frame rates at a low price requires some sacrifices. But leaving out the right options means you can get a great gaming monitor for little money. Do you need USB ports or speakers? Do you need perfectly accurate color? Do you need super high brightness or a ginormous color gamut? If the answer to these questions is no, AOC provides a great solution for just $375 at this writing.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The CQ27G3Z doesn’t have any of those things, but it does have a reliable 240 Hz refresh rate, perfect FreeSync and G-Sync operation, decent HDR, color accuracy with calibration, a superb backlight strobe and solid build quality. And its curved screen enhances gameplay. I noted a weak overdrive feature during testing, but in practice, it turned out to be only a minor distraction. Many hours later, after many frags, I was impressed by the performance AOC offers for less than $400.

I noted some visible grayscale errors out of the box. But with calibration, they were eliminated with an improvement in contrast, gamut accuracy and gamma tracking. If you pick up a CQ27G3Z, I recommend using the settings I posted back on page one.

Pixel density is certainly a high point with the ideal 109ppi that every 27-inch QHD panel delivers. That’s a sweet spot for both clarity and frame rates. You can hit 240fps without an expensive video card and the picture is razor-sharp with strong detail and a true three-dimensional look in HDR mode. Though you won’t get the 1000-nit highlights of a Mini LED panel, the CQ27G3Z still makes the image pop.

If you’re in the market for a solid gaming monitor that’s kind to the wallet, the AOC CQ27G3Z is hard to beat for less than $400. Fans of high frame rates and sharp pictures 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.