AOC 27G2 monitor review: a no-frills monitor that's a real bargain

The AOC 27G2 is a 27-inch 1080p gaming monitor that gives you all you need for a great price

AOC 27G2 monitor review
(Image credit: AOC)
T3 Verdict

The AOC 27G2 proves that you don’t need all the bells and whistles or spend a whole lot on a gaming monitor to get quality performance. It may be lacking in frills, but it also has most of what you’ll need, for a whole lot less.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Great performance

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    Affordable

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    Comes with AMD FreeSync Premium and AdaptiveSync

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    Designed for a multiple monitor set-up

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Flat-panel feels dated

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    Poor viewing angles

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    No USB-C or USB hub

The AOC 27G2 seems to be the lone fish swimming against the current in a sea of high price gaming monitors. There are a lot of budget monitors out there, don’t get us wrong, but very few deliver the level of performance you’ll see in more premium displays. That’s what makes this offering from AOC a rare gem.

As is typical with budget peripherals that punch above their weight, there are a couple of sacrifices that have to be made. The AOC 27G2 lacks any ostentation or extra frills that many gamers think they need. That viewing angle is also a little disappointing.

However, what the AOC 27G2 does have are the fundamentals, ticking off things like a high enough resolution, short response time, fast refresh rate, thin bezels, AdaptiveSync and a decently wide color gamut. This IPS gaming monitor, therefore, has most of what you’ll need, if not a lot of what you want. And, it joins the roster of the best budget monitors out there.

AOC 27G2 monitor

(Image credit: AOC)

AOC 27G2 monitor review: design and setup

While not customizable, the AOC 27G2 lets you toggle Low Blue Mode off or set it to one of the four presets (Multimedia, Internet, Office, and Reading) to make viewing easier on the eyes. There are six different Eco Mode presets for energy-saving and there’s also a tab for the general display settings as well, so you can select things like resolution, orientation, input source and assign hotkeys for different settings.

The AOC 27G2 rather gets right down to business even in its design. It still has that signature AOC red-on-black look, touting red trimmings at the bottom of the screen, around the base of stand, and on the back – perhaps in an effort to please gamers who love that gaming look. But, its overall design leans towards the no-nonsense approach.

This is understandable, of course. Much like its short features list, extra design frills like RGB lighting had to go in order to keep the cost down without sacrificing what’s most important.

That includes ergonomics. The AOC 27G2 has a decent tilt on it, up to 21.5 degrees (if only 4 degrees up). It also swivels 30 degrees to the left and 30 degrees to the right, making it versatile enough for many types of setups. A nice little addition to this is its ability to pivot to a portrait orientation or vertical format. This might not be useful to a lot of people, but it certainly has its uses for programming and reading, as well as serving as a secondary monitor for gamers.

Speaking of formats, this gaming monitor makes it easy to build a multiple monitor setup. It’s got a frameless design with three incredibly narrow bezels that allow for a more seamless transition when you’ve got several of these monitors put side-by-side. In theory, the overall image should look a lot smoother without the thick bezels getting in the way when these monitors are set up to serve as a single ultrawide gaming monitor.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to test this feature as we only received one monitor for this review. However, it’s certainly a promising function for those who might prefer a multi-monitor battle station over an ultrawide one. The fact that this display comes with two HDMI 1.4 ports and one DisplayPort 1.2 makes that even easier.

 

AOC 27G2 monitor review

(Image credit: Michelle Rae Uy)

It’s just too bad that AOC trimmed down the variety of ports as well. USB-C fans will be disappointed that there’s not one USB-C port here. There isn’t a USB hub either. At least, this is the case with the US version (the 27G2U model available in Europe has a hub). This is easily remedied if you need more ports, however. There’s a plethora of USB hubs and docking stations on offer on Amazon alone.

Some customizations may be done via AOC’s G-menu software. There are game mode presets, as well as customizable profiles. These can be used to manage such things as shadow, contrast, brightness, DCB (color enhancement) modes and color temp, according to the type of game you’re playing. You can also assign these profiles and presets to specific apps you’ve got open so that it automatically changes display settings depending on the app you’re currently using.

AOC 27G2 monitor

Multi-monitor arrangement. At this price, you might as well. 

(Image credit: AOC)

AOC 27G2 monitor review: performance

The AOC 27G2 may have a modest feature set, but it hardly compromises on performance. In fact, for a monitor in its price range, we’re surprised at how clean, crisp and vibrant the image quality is.

It’s not all excellent though. While AOC gives it a 178/178 viewing angle rating, we’ve noticed that the picture starts to get less clear and saturated around 150 to 165 degrees. The display starts to darken, and the image is less visible. But, we guess that if there’s one thing to sacrifice in order to minimize the cost, it would be this.

The brightness could be better, too, at only 250 nits. 300 nits is pretty much the standard these days – but it doesn’t really feel all that dark. The contrast and color are both decent, however, at 1000:1 and 94% Adobe RGB coverage.

This monitor is, therefore, vibrant and bright enough for most gaming situations. Even the shadowy parts are visible enough, though you do lose some details in shadow, and the highlights sometimes get a bit overblown.

Testing the AOC 27G2 with Cyberpunk 2077, Metro Exodus, Anno 2070, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, Firewatch, and Sayonara Wild Hearts, we haven’t seen any discernible screen tearing and stuttering. Nor were there any signs of ghosting and latency, even in the faster-paced games.

That’s hardly a surprise. It boasts a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, which help it deliver a smoother gaming experience. Those combined with its great color reproduction and crisp image quality make these games look stunning and more immersive.

AOC 27G2 monitor

(Image credit: AOC)

AOC 27G2 monitor review: price and verdict

You’ll hardly believe that the AOC 27G2 will only cost you $209 (£209 or about AU$289) considering its performance and picture quality.

Before our testing, Viewsonic’s Elite XG240R had stayed unbeatable as the best budget gaming monitor. That has the same 1080p resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and 1,000:1 contrast ratio – only, it’s $271 (£249 or about AU$350), which means it’s a bit more expensive and it’s only 24 inches, so you’re getting less screen real estate.

The AOC 27G2 is also a competent enough gaming monitor in its own right, delivering clean and vibrant picture quality that’s about on par with many pricier gaming monitors. It may be a little minimal in features, and things like viewing angles and dynamic range could be better. However, there’s already a lot of value here for the price, making it among the best gaming monitors – budget or not.

Michelle Rae Uy
Michelle Rae Uy

Michelle Rae Uy is a tech and travel journalist, editor and photographer with a bad case of wanderlust. She is a regular contributor for IGN, TechRadar and Business Insider, and has contributed to Thrillist, Paste Magazine, Nylon, Fodor's and Steve's Digicams. Living mainly in California with her adorable cats, she splits her time between Los Angeles, London and the rest of the world.