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AOC is not new to the gaming monitor category, having delivered multiple FreeSync and G-Sync endowed models to our labs in the past two years. Its first effort in the premium product arena looks to be a solid win. Not only are you getting a nicely styled, solidly built monitor with an all-metal stand, it offers gaming performance on par with the best displays we’ve tested.

By setting itself apart with its Agon line, AOC is going up against some pretty serious competition in Acer’s Predator and Asus’ ROG product groups. After crunching the numbers and playing some games, however, it’s clear the AG271QX gives nothing away to other displays that have had greater experience behind their development, and in many cases, cost more.

As the FreeSync variant, it comes in at an attractive price point. At this writing, you can pick one up for around $550 or a bit less. That's about $200 below the price of its G-Sync stablemate, the AG271QG. If you’re curious about that monitor, we’ll be covering it very soon. It’s in our labs right now.

In our grayscale, gamma, and color tests, we saw results that could use some improvement in a few areas. It wasn’t long ago that every monitor that came across our test bench required calibration for optimal image quality. But lately, that hasn’t been the case. Many displays look just fine out of the box and only have a tiny bit more performance to offer with adjustment. The AG271QX does need some attention in a couple of areas.

The main flaw is with gamma tracking, which in turn affects color saturation and accuracy. The trace proved to be too light, and it had a visible effect. By simply starting with a different preset, image quality can be greatly improved. We’d love it if AOC simply incorporated this accuracy into the sRGB mode along with a 200cd/m2 output level. Or better yet, leave the brightness control unlocked. Or better still, simply tweak the Standard mode so you only have to set output to taste and leave the other controls alone.

Luckily, the adjustments are easy to make, and if you follow our guidelines back on page three, you’ll be rewarded with a great picture and a superb gaming experience. Features affecting motion resolution and framerate control are all spot-on and make for truly immersive gameplay. Even at the lower framerates dictated by our modest FreeSync gaming system, there is no cause for complaint.

The single best reason in favor of the AG271QX has to be its 30Hz lower operating rate. This is something you don’t see on too many FreeSync screens. For those who don't want to give up their AMD graphics boards for the more expensive G-Sync option, this is a big deal. And if you’ve already made an investment in a high-end card, the panel delivers adaptive refresh right up to 144Hz.

Aside from its out-of-box accuracy, we can find little else to complain about here. The AG271QX is an excellent inaugural effort by AOC and its new Agon line of displays. For superb gaming performance and decent color accuracy after calibration, we’re giving it our Tom’s Hardware Editor Approved Award.

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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.