AOC CU34G2X Curved Gaming Monitor Review: Speed, Immersion and HDR

The speed you need, but HDR’s lacking.

AOC CU34G2X Curved Gaming Monitor
(Image: © Shutterstock, AOC)

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There is no question that ultra-wide displays have become a de facto standard for gaming enthusiasts. What began a few years ago as a novelty--an answer to an unasked question--has evolved into a desirable piece of hardware for gamers seeking full immersion. While the best VR headsets still provide a greater sense of sensory deprivation, a curved 21:9 screen manages to capture much of that feeling without a bulky apparatus on your head.

The AOC CU34G2X is a great example of the genre and the evolution of gaming monitors in general. It takes the staple features of fast refresh and Adaptive-Sync and adds image-enhancing elements: extended color, HDR and QHD resolution, which still represents the sweet spot between pixel density and frame rate performance. To that, it adds blur-reduction that works up to 144 Hz, a rare thing since most backlight strobes only go up to 120 Hz and some top out at 100 Hz.

(Image credit: AOC)

However, the monitor misses its claimed 300 nits brightness and doesn’t provide any extra light in HDR mode. Though the VA panel delivers around 2,400:1 contrast, it doesn’t offer any extra dynamic range for HDR material. We saw good black levels, but there are a few HDR monitors that do more with their HDR modes.

If you’re looking for solid video processing, the CU34G2X has it. FreeSync and G-Sync (unofficially) both worked with HDR, and overall input lag kept with other 144 Hz screens we’ve tested. Panel response was fast enough to keep motion blur low, and blur reduction wasn’t necessary as long as frame rates stayed over 80 fps. At QHD resolution, that won’t require an expensive graphics card to achieve.

The CU34G2X sells at a near-premium price point but doesn’t cost much more than other 34-inch ultra-wide displays. Better HDR performance, more brightness and a larger color gamut can be had but at a higher price. However, this monitor delivers excellent performance for the money. 

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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.

  • DookieDraws
    I thought for sure I had already read a review on Tom's for this monitor, not long ago. Hmmmmmmmmm. I've also been looking at this monitor very hard lately. But there are others I'm looking at as well. This seems to be a well like monitor, from what I have read around the web.
  • colson79
    Some of the quotes make me laugh. Such as

    "While the best VR headsets still provide a greater sense of sensory deprivation, a curved 21:9 screen manages to capture much of that feeling without a bulky apparatus on your head"

    I have a widescreen monitor and a VR headset. While I love widescreen monitors they don't even come close to the impressiveness of VR. Not even a little bit.
  • MaCk0y
    It seems all the stock for this monitor went to reviewers. I bought this monitor in February and I think I won't get it before next year.
  • cchant00
    did I miss it or were the recommended settings not listed?
  • MaCk0y
    Monitor arrived. :)
  • Meerov84
    Admin said:
    The AOC CU34G2X combines a 34-inch 21:9 curved VA panel with 144Hz, Adaptive-Sync and HDR. It promises high performance for gamers seeking the immersion of an ultra-wide display.

    AOC CU34G2X Curved Gaming Monitor Review: Speed, Immersion and HDR : Read more
    I got this monitor and it is good, however I notice the slower pixel response and some ghosting, do you recommend I get the VIOTEK GNV34DBE instead? If the Viotek has a better and faste r panel I can live with the nonadjustable stand until I get a monitor arm. Thank you