Aoc Cu34g2x Review 2020

Bottom Line

The AOC CU34G2X offers an incredible image quality with deep blacks, vivid colors, and crisp details while its 144Hz refresh rate and plethora of gaming features ensure an enjoyable gaming experience. What's more, it has an excellent design and extensive connectivity options. Its price is great as well, but there are a few things to keep in mind, mainly regarding its VRR and pixel response time performance.

Design:
(5)
Display:
(4.8)
Performance:
(3)
Price/Value:
(4)
4.2

Introduction

The AOC CU34G2X is one of the most affordable 3440×1440 144Hz ultrawide gaming monitors yet it offers a versatile design, an immersive image quality, and numerous extra features.

Its specifications are all over the place, with different specs being shown even on AOC’s official regional webpages (AOC Europe, US, China, etc). This review will make it all clearer.

Here is everything you need to know about this ultrawide curved gaming monitor.

Image Quality

The AOC CU34G2X is based on Samsung’s curved VA (Vertical Alignment) panel which boasts a static contrast ratio of 3,000:1, a peak brightness of 300-nits, 178° viewing angles, and true 8-bit color depth.

As expected from a VA panel, blacks are deep, whites are bright, and the overall relation between the darkest and the brightest tones is vivid making for an immersive viewing experience, especially in dark rooms.

The monitor is factory-calibrated at Delta E < 2, so colors are accurate and gorgeous as well.

However, they are not as consistent and vibrant as they are on IPS panel monitors, so we don’t recommend this monitor for color-critical work.

For basic content creation, gaming, and other use though, it will do just fine.

Furthermore, the monitor boasts color gamut volume of ~119% sRGB which results in more saturated and lifelike colors.

Some users actually don’t prefer this saturation as it can make certain colors appear ‘neon-like’. For instance, YouTube’s red logo looks neon-pink instead of plain red, etc.

Luckily, an emulated sRGB color mode is provided which limits the gamut to ~99% sRGB for more accurate color representation as the sRGB color space is used for most web content and games.

Although not specified, you can also set the color depth to 10-bit (via dithering) for the AOC CU34G2X monitor in your GPU’s drivers settings for smoother gradients.

Generally, the colors look good considering it’s a VA panel display. Naturally, IPS ultrawides will provide you with punchier and more precise colors, but you won’t get nearly as high contrast nor deep blacks.

The UWQHD screen resolution of 3440×1440 pixels results in a high pixel density of roughly 110 pixels per inch on the 34″ viewable screen of the AOC CU34G2X monitor.

This means that you get plenty of screen space as well as sharp and vivid details without any scaling necessary.

Performance

60hz vs 144hz

Moving on, the input lag of the AOC CU34G2X display is just below 6ms which makes for imperceptible delay at 144Hz.

As always, the pixel response time speed is the weakest point of VA panels, including this one.

The specified 4ms (GtG) response time speed is notably slower when it comes to transition of dark pixels into brighter shades, and so, you will be able to notice black smearing with fast-moving objects.

Unfortunately, AOC’s overdrive implementation isn’t as good as it is on some of their other monitors. Using the highest ‘Strong’ overdrive mode introduces pixel overshoot, so you will have to use the Medium option.

The smearing is mainly noticeable in darker scenes and at high frame rates (assuming FreeSync is enabled), but unless you’re a hardcore FPS gamer or extremely sensitive to motion blur and ghosting, it will be tolerable.

In more graphically oriented games such as RPGs, you won’t notice any issues allowing you to fully enjoy deep blacks, great colors, and crisp details the AOC CU34G2X provides.

If the smearing starts to bother you, you can lower the monitor’s refresh rate to 120Hz or use its MBR (Motion Blur Reduction) technology which via backlight strobing reduces the perceived motion blur.

MBR cannot be used at the same time as FreeSync and it reduces the monitor’s maximum brightness while active. Using the MBR option in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu, you can manually adjust the frequency of backlight strobing (brightness vs motion clarity trade-off).

Note that the monitor uses a flicker-free backlight and features a low-blue light filter which together eliminate eye strain and headaches caused by prolonged use of the display.

FreeSync & G-SYNC Compatibility

freesync and gsync

The AOC CU34G2X supports AMD FreeSync with a 48-144 variable refresh rate (VRR) range. Keep in mind that the range is not 30-144Hz as shown on AOC’s EU website.

FreeSync allows the monitor to change its refresh rate dynamically, according to GPU’s frame rates which in turn eliminates screen tearing and stuttering with minimal input lag penalty (~1ms).

It works as long as you have a compatible GPU and your FPS rate stays within 48-144Hz/FPS range. Below 48FPS, LFC kicks in and maintains a smoother performance by multiplying the frame rate (47FPS = 141Hz, etc).

Now:

The AOC CU34G2X is not certified by NVIDIA as G-SYNC compatible. Even though there are many non-certified monitors that work flawlessly with NVIDIA cards, many units of the CU34G2X do have some issues.

Some units of the monitor will have brightness flickering in certain scenarios when using FreeSync with NVIDIA cards, mainly when your FPS rate fluctuates and in in-game menus and cutscenes.

In fact, some users with AMD cards have reported the same issue as well.

As this is a relatively new monitor, a future driver update by NVIDIA and AMD will hopefully fix this issue.

In the meantime, if you get a unit with this issue, you can use CRU to manually decrease the FreeSync range to ~90-144Hz which should prevent or at least reduce the brightness flickering.

Reducing the monitor’s maximum brightness can also help make the flickering less noticeable.

Alternatively, you can just use the MBR feature instead or disable FreeSync in video games where the brightness flickering occurs too often.

Features

aoc cu34g2x on screen display menu

Besides FreeSync and MBR, you get plenty of additional useful gaming features including Shadow Control (improves visibility in darker games) and Game Color (quick color saturation adjustments).

What’s more, you will find customizable crosshair overlays, a frame counter, and pre-calibrated picture modes (FPS, RTS, Racing, and three fully customizable profiles).

The overdrive option has five modes in total (Off, Weak, Medium, Strong, and Boost). As mentioned, we recommend using the Medium option. The Boost mode is actually the Strong mode used with MBR set to 20 (max) which will make the picture too dim.

For the best MBR performance, we recommend manually setting the MBR option to ~10 and using ‘Medium’ overdrive preset with FPS capped at 100 or 120 via VSync or in-game FPS cap (in this case, set the refresh rate to 100Hz or 120Hz too – depending on your in-game FPS rate).

Other features include Picture in Picture, Picture by Picture, and HDR (High Dynamic Range) support.

Most HDR content will not look any better with HDR enabled because the monitor lacks local dimming and high enough brightness for a noteworthy HDR viewing experience.

This is expected from a monitor with these specs and HDR support at this price range as implementing a good local dimming solution in this monitor would considerably increase its price.

The OSD menu is user-friendly, but navigation through it via the four small hotkeys beneath the bottom bezel is not as pleasant; we’d prefer a joystick. Luckily, you can download the G-Menu desktop application which will allow you to make most of the adjustments using your mouse and keyboard.

For the best image quality out of the box, we recommend setting the color temperature preset to either ‘Normal’ or ‘sRGB’ – or ‘User’ for manual calibration.

You should also head over to this website for calibration and fiddle with different settings until you find the best one. 

Design & Connectivity

Aoc Cu34g2x Back

Considering the monitor’s specifications and price, its design quality and connectivity options are quite impressive. The design is stylish yet not too aggressively gamer-inspired while the stand is sturdy.

Moreover, it offers a wide range of ergonomics including up to 130mm height adjustment, +/- 30° swivel, -5°/23° tilt, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

The screen of the monitor has a steep 1500R curvature which further improves the viewing experience by adding depth to the picture and increasing your field of view.

Connectivity options are abundant and include two HDMI 2.0 ports, two DisplayPort 1.4 inputs, a headphones jack, and one upstream + four downstream USB 3.0 ports (one with quick charging).

Keep in mind that HDMI 2.0 maxes out at 100Hz at 3440×1440. For 144Hz, you will need to use DisplayPort 1.4. If your GPU has DP 1.2, you will be limited to 120Hz at 3440×1440.

FreeSync is supported over all four ports, but the VRR range over HDMI is 48-100Hz.

Price & Similar Monitors

The AOC CU34G2X price is $450 which is incredible value for the money – granted that you get a unit without the FreeSync flickering issue.

The issue seems less common with AMD cards, but you’re still going to need some luck. You can either get a unit that works flawlessly or one that flickers.

In the latter case, you may be able to reduce flickering to a playable level via CRU, but it seems that some units will flicker with FreeSync enabled no matter what.

Hopefully, NVIDIA and AMD will release driver updates to address this.

So, what are the alternatives?

Nixeus offers an ultrawide gaming monitor based on the same panel called the Nixeus NX-EDG34S. However, it costs ~$100 more yet it has a tilt-only stand and not as good/ergonomic design.

Even though Nixeus says their model is G-SYNC compatible, it’s not certified by NVIDIA, and some Nixeus EDG34S units have flickering issues as well (just skim over the Amazon reviews).

In the end, if you don’t want to test your luck with the CU34G2X or wait and see whether a new driver might fix it, you’re left with the older 100Hz models such as the MSI MAG341CQ or the more expensive IPS variants such as the LG 34GK950F and the Dell AW3418DW.

There’s also the MSI MPG341CQR 3440×1440 144Hz ultrawide monitor based on a 1800R curved VA panel which doesn’t have flickering issues associated with FreeSync, but it goes for ~$800 at which point you can get an IPS ultrawide with better colors and faster response time instead.

Another ultrawide monitor at this price range worth considering is the LG 34GL750 with an IPS panel and a 144Hz refresh rate, but lower 2560×1440 screen resolution.

Visit our best ultrawide monitors buyer’s guide for more information and the best deals available.

Conclusion

The AOC CU34G2X is a great gaming monitor for the money with a lot of potential.

It offers an immersive image quality and plenty of features. If you don’t mind a bit of ghosting and screen tearing, the monitor’s performance will satisfy you as well.

Hopefully, a future driver update will address the FreeSync issue in which case we’ll update this review as soon as possible.

AOC CU34G2X Specifications

Screen Size34-inch
Screen Curvature1500R
Resolution3440×1440 (UWQHD)
Panel TypeVA
Aspect Ratio21:9 (UltraWide)
Refresh Rate144Hz
Response Time (GtG)4ms
Response Time (MPRT)1ms
Adaptive SyncFreeSync (48Hz-144Hz)
Ports2x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other Ports4x USB 3.0, Headphone Jack
Brightness300 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio3000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
HDRHDR10
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros

  • Excellent value for the price
  • Immersive image quality with high pixel density, contrast, and wide color gamut
  • Plenty of gaming features including FreeSync and MBR
  • Ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options

The Cons

  • Minor ghosting in fast-paced games, mainly in darker scenes
  • Some units of the monitor have flickering issues with FreeSync enabled

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