The AOC Q27G3XMN is the best HDR gaming monitor you can get in this price range.
The AOC Q27G3XMN is the most affordable mini LED gaming monitor currently available, so if you want proper HDR support on a budget, it might be just for you!
The AOC Q27G3XMN is based on a VA panel (SG2701G02-2 by CSOT) with a high 4,000:1 static contrast ratio and uses a quantum dot enhanced backlight for an exceptional 96% DCI-P3 and 90% Adobe RGB color gamut coverage.
With a wide color gamut relative to ~145% sRGB volume, you get vibrant colors, but this also means that sRGB SDR content will be over-saturated. Luckily, the monitor has dedicated sRGB, DCI-P3 and Native color gamut modes that will clamp the gamut to the respectable color space.
The sRGB mode also has excellent Delta E < 2 factory calibration, whereas for other uses (gaming, watching videos, etc.), we recommend the Native mode for the extra color saturation.
Now, the AOC Q27G3XMN monitor has a 336-zone mini LED FALD (full-array local dimming) backlight. These zones will dim parts of the screen that are supposed to be dark without affecting the areas that need to remain bright, thus greatly increasing the contrast ratio.
However, if a small object needs to get really bright and is surrounded by dimmed zones (for instance, scenes with fireworks or stars in a night sky), some light will bleed into those zones and create blooming (also called the halo effect).
This is an expected drawback of full-array local dimming solutions. OLED displays don’t have this issue as they have per-pixel dimming, but they have other disadvantages, such as lower brightness and the risk of burn-in, among others.
While there are FALD displays with 1152 and more dimming zones available, they are more expensive. The Innocn 27M2V can be found for ~$800 with a 27″ 4K IPS panel, while the Cooler Master Tempest GP27Q with 576 zones goes for ~$500.
336 zones (1344 LEDs in total) is still plenty for an immersive HDR viewing experience. Remember that just a few years ago, the ASUS PG27UQ was released as the first FALD display with 384 dimming zones and went for $2,000!
One big advantage of the AOC Q27G3XMN is that it has a VA panel with a high native contrast ratio, which results in less blooming than what you’d get on an IPS display with a higher zone count, such as the GP27Q.
Further, it has a strong peak brightness of 450-nits in SDR and up to 1200-nits in HDR for punchy highlights and bright full-screen flashes.
There are four HDR modes: DisplayHDR, Picture, Movie and Game, as well as three local dimming settings: Off, Medium and Strong. For the best viewing experience, we recommend using the Game HDR mode and local dimming set to Strong.
Keep in mind that local dimming is not intended for regular desktop use since you’ll often run into significant blooming (white cursor on a dark background, for instance). So, when writing/reading documents, working with spreadsheets, etc, it’s best to disable local dimming and only use it in games and videos.
Also note that blooming is more noticeable when watching the screen at an angle, and less so from a normal viewing position.
The AOC Q27G3XMN has a native refresh rate of 165Hz, but it’s factory overclockable to 180Hz for smooth gameplay and imperceptible input lag below 5ms.
It uses a fast VA (HVA) panel with 1ms GtG quoted, and while it’s faster than the traditional VA panels, some ghosting is still noticeable.
There are four response time overdrive modes: Off, Weak, Medium and Strong. We recommend sticking with the Strong mode for optimal performance.
Overall, we find that the amount of ghosting is tolerable and even negligible for some users. If you’re a competitive FPS player, you’ll want a 1080p 240Hz display at this price range anyway.
For everyday gaming, the Q27G3XMN will do just fine even in fast-paced games.
Next, the AOC Q27G3XMN has FreeSync Premium Pro support for variable refresh rate within the 48-180Hz range. While it doesn’t have official G-SYNC Compatible certification by NVIDIA, VRR works on compatible GeForce GPUs as well, providing you with tear-free gameplay up to 180FPS.
Moving on, 1440p is significantly less demanding on your GPU than 4K UHD, allowing you to more easily maintain high frame rates with a decent mid-range graphics card, while still providing you with sharp text and details due to the respectable pixel density of 108.79 PPI (pixels per inch).
Although VA monitors have the same 178° viewing angles specification as IPS panels, some gamma and saturation shifts will be noticeable at certain viewing angles. However, unless you plan on doing professional color-critical work, this won’t be an issue.
Finally, the monitor has a low-blue light filter and its backlight is flicker-free (unless local dimming is enabled).
On the bottom bezel of the screen, there are four buttons for navigation through the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu next to the power button. We’d have preferred a directional joystick as the navigation can be a bit clunky using the hotkeys.
Luckily, you can download AOC’s G-Menu software to adjust OSD settings in a desktop application.
The menu itself is well-organized and has plenty of useful features. Besides the standard settings (brightness, contrast, color temperature, etc.), you’ll find three gamma modes, but there’s no sharpness setting. Auto input detection is supported.
Interesting gaming features include various picture presets (including three customizable Gamer profiles), Shadow Boost (improves visibility in dark scenes), Game Color (increases color saturation), a refresh rate tracker, a crosshair overlay and display scaling (4:3, 1:1, 5:4, 16:10, 16:9).
Design & Connectivity
The stand of the monitor is sturdy and offers full ergonomic support with up to 130mm height adjustment, +/- 30° swivel, -5°/23° tilt, 90° pivot and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.
The screen has a light matte anti-glare coating (low-haze 25%) that prevents reflections without making the image too grainy.
Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports (limited to 144Hz), DisplayPort 1.4 and a headphone jack.
Price & Similar Monitors
The AOC Q27G3XMN price ranges from $280 to $310, which is exceptional value for the price.
Check out our best HDR monitors buyer’s guide for more information.
The AOC Q27G3XMN is hands-down the best HDR gaming monitor you can get in this price range thanks to its high peak brightness, high native contrast ratio that helps with FALD blooming, wide color gamut and decent pixel response times for a VA panel.
|Aspect Ratio||16:9 (Widescreen)|
|Refresh Rate||165Hz (180Hz OC)|
|Response Time||1ms (GtG)|
|Ports||DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0|
|Other Ports||Headphone Jack|
|Brightness (HDR)||1000 cd/m²|
|Contrast Ratio||4000:1 (static)|
|Colors||1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)|
|HDR||VESA DisplayHDR 1000|
|Local Dimming||336-zone mini LED FALD|
- High peak brightness, decent pixel density, wide color gamut
- 336-zone mini LED FALD
- Plenty of features, including VRR up to 180FPS
- Fully ergonomic stand
- Minor blooming/haloing noticeable in certain scenes
- Minor ghosting