AOC CU34G2X Ultra-Wide Curved 144hz Gaming Monitor Review
Peter Donnell / 4 months ago
There’s a huge range of gaming monitors on the market these days, something in seemingly every size and every budget. However, when it comes to ultrawide monitors, size is easy, but affordable prices are not. However, that last part seems to be changing, as the new AOC CU34G2X is currently just £449.99. A far cry from that £1000 we would expect to pay for something like this a couple of years ago.
The CU34G2X isn’t exactly lacking in features to keep the price low either. It has a massive 34″ panel with a 3440 x 1440 resolution. Furthermore, that panel delivers great speed, with 144 Hz refresh rates and a 1ms MPRT. Plus, if that’s not enough, you’ll find it’s FreeSync ready, G-Sync compatible, and offers up HDR too! The list goes on, and for sub-£500, it seems almost too good to be true. So, let’s take a closer look!
What AOC Had to Say
“AOC’s G Line 2nd Gen CU34G2X redefines immersive gameplay with its ultra-wide Quad HD and 3440 x 1440 resolution. Equipped with PIP (Picture in Picture) and PBP (Picture by Picture) functions, the widescreen 21:9 aspect ratio possesses high vertical resolution and a wider panoramic image which allows for a more immersive gaming experience. It supports HDR10 mode to deliver images with high contrast and color accuracy. Performing at the pro gaming standard, the screen’s 144 Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time and Adaptive Sync Technology is designed to prep you for every winning battle.” – AOC
- 34″ Class (34″ Viewable) AOC Gaming G2 Series monitor with 3440×1440 Ultra-wide Quad HD (2K+) resolution VA panel
- Rapid 1ms response (MPRT) and 144Hz refresh rate with Adaptive-Sync for ultra-smooth competitive gameplay
- A 3-Sided frameless design with 1500R curvature for immersive gaming and entertainment
- VA panel for wide viewing angles and brilliant colours displaying over 115% sRGB and 98% Adobe RGB colour gamut area coverage
- AOC Re-Spawned 3-year zero-bright-dot 3-year advance replacement 1-year (one-time) accidental damage
- Height-adjustable stand AOC low Blue mode and flickers for wellbeing and comfort during extended gaming sessions (VESA compatible)
- 2x DisplayPort 1 4 2x HDMI 2 0 and USB 3 2 x4 hub inputs/outputs for high performance Graphics display and convenience
- AOC low input lag delivers lag-free Display from the video signals
For in-depth specifications, please visit the official AOC CU34G2X product page here.
A Closer Look
In the box, you’ll find the monitor comes in just three parts. There’s the main panel, obviously, and a two-piece stand.
The stand is heavy-duty, with a metal construction base to keep everything firmly planted on your desk.
The back support is pretty heavy too actually and features a multi-angle adjustment system. Installation of the two doesn’t even require tools. Just clip the stand into the back of the display, then use the built-in thumbscrew to attach the legs. It takes seconds to do it!
The monitor its self looks brilliant, I mean, it’s a monitor, so most of it is just a big black rectangle. However, the ultra-wide design and a slim bezel make for a great combination.
The design certainly has a gamer vibe about it, mixing a textured black with some metallic red highlights.
They’re not too in your face though, and I rather like the subtle touch of colour. There’s not too much branding on show either, just a small AOC logo in the middle here.
On the right-hand side, there are five small control buttons. They’re actually buttons on the bottom too, not those lousy touch controls, so it’s really easy to get into the OSD here.
As you can see, the monitor features a slight curve. Well, at least for a panel of this width. I’m not a curved panel fan myself, but on a panel as big and wide, a slight curve works wonders to bring everything into focus on the outer edges.
Around the back, AOC has thrown on a few more of those red highlights. I prefer this to the current RGB monitor trend. I’ll admit, there’s a market for it, but I’m not that market. This is clean, stylish and simple, and no doubt cheaper to buy too.
There’s an optional VESA mount under the stand too, which is great for using custom stands. You could wall mount too I guess, but that’s rarely done right with curved panels.
The power comes from a standard 3-pin cable (included in the box).
There are two HDMI and two DisplayPorts on the back, and you’ll find two HDMI and a single DP cable included in the box. There’s also a headphone jack, a four-port USB hub. You get the USB Type-B cable included in the box too.
The monitor may be massive, but it still offers a good range of adjustments too. Even with the monitor at its maximum height, it still feels good and stable on the stand.
Plus, it allows for a good amount of tilt backwards and a small amount forwards.
Plus, you can turn it side to side quite a lot without having to turn the stand its self. It seems then, that despite being a 34-inch monster, the AOC CU34G2X should be pretty easy to live with.
The OSD is pretty standard stuff for AOC, and not unlike what we’ve seen on their other models. It’s not as feature-rich as some of the more expensive gaming monitors for the likes of ASUS and AORUS, but it’s perfectly usable regardless.
You still have full control of colour temp, gamma and levels, allowing for a more in-depth calibration.
It’s a minor thing, but you can customise the OSD quite a bit too, which is handy.
Since the panel is ultra-wide, it also offers a comprehensive set of PIP/PAP modes, allowing you to show two inputs on one display.
Gaming mode allows for faster response times and boosting it from 100hz to the maximum 144zh.
Out of the box, the monitor offers up some pretty respectable black levels and good brightness. For daily work and photo editing, I found it to be more than usable. Sure, it’s not a professional studio monitor, but it’s priced to reflect that, but the colours are plenty good for my needs.
This is a gaming monitor most of all though, and the added effect of throwing (compatible) games onto such a wide canvas is pretty amazing. I’m still a 4K 16:9 fan myself, mostly due to my available space. However, I still look in awe at the sheer level of immersion you get from these panels.
I tried it on Elder Scrolls Online, and for world bosses and raids, you can see so much more of the battlefield, which is fantastic.
In FPS games you just soak up a huge amount of FOV, allowing you to use a more natural peripheral vision approach while running around. It just feels more natural and you actually move your head side to side as you would in real life, without having to spin the camera all the time.
Plus for single-player adventure and RPG games, I think that’s where these monitors show their best. Skyrim, Assassins Creed, etc, feel so much more alive. There’s just simply more of the world on show at any one time, and it’s fantastic. The only downside is that games or cutscenes without ultrawide support show black borders, but you get used to it surprisingly quick.
Take this, for example, this is a 16:9 trailer on YouTube, that has burned in 21:9 bars at the top and bottom. We’re so used to seeing them, and you will get used to those side ones. Don’t worry though, there are browser add-ons that will nip that entire border away and get your content showing fullscreen. Plus, when you do watch a movie on this that’s in 21:9, you can reap that full-screen goodness, and honestly, it’s more movies than you realise, because again we’re so used to the black bars on 16:9 displays.
For work though, having two or even three full windows side by side is a huge advantage. Plus, you can throw up a huge amount of timeline in Premier, or a have a full 16×9 window for photoshop editing, with the additional space for your tools.
As usual, I fitted our trusty Spider5Elite monitor testing and calibration tool. Out of the box, the monitor was actually pretty good to my eyes, I liked the bright and vibrant colours it offered, but it seems they’re all running a little too rich for the Spider5Elite. The gamut was fantastic, and the tone response about average, but overall above what can typically be expected outside of professional displays. The Delta-E of the colours was around 2.51 average but had a peak of 3.69, which is just too high. The black was way above what I would expect and saw the biggest drop once calibrated. Typically if the Delta is more than 3.0 on a colour, you can notice it’s out of spec.
However, as you can see, the maximum Delta-E after calibration was just 2.14 on the primary cyan channel, but that’s not uncommon for monitors to push more blue if they’re LED-backlit. You can counter this a little bit manually, but honestly, it’s still below 3.0 Delta-E and unlikely to provide any benefit. An average of 0.84 is great though.
Without proper calibration tools, I’d suggest setting the monitor to the warm profile and brining the brightness down as low as you’re comfortable. However, I suspect most gamers will be fine with the stock profile and the extra vibrance it provides.
How Much Does it Cost?
The new AOC CU34G2X/BK 34-Inch Ultrawide Gaming Monitor is available now for around £449.99 in the UK and $449.99 in the US. That’s pretty expensive, but not so much when you consider the sheer size of this panel, the features and technologies you get, and the quality of it. Screens like this were £1000+ not so long ago.
Sure, you can get last years model for about £70 less, but I suspect the stock will dry up soon and it doesn’t have the 144hz refresh rate this one does and the same level of HDR/Sync features.
It’s easy to see what AOC are one of the leading brands when it comes to high-performance monitors. The AOC CU34G2X shows their progression as a brand. Two years ago I reviewed the AG352UCG, which was £325 more expensive, and while it has a few more bonus gamer features, the cheaper model from this year still has a better panel, a higher refresh rate, and HDR! By that measure, you’ll be getting 200hz+ panels in ultrawide format for about £250 in two years time… albeit, it doesn’t always work that way.
It’s actually really robust, and the metal stand is really impressive when many cheaper models have switched to plastic stands. I thought AOC had cut costs by going for cheaper materials, or even cheaper panels, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. I guess panel production is moving in the right direction, allowing the same or better quality at a much lower price.
The only budget thing here is the OSD, which is basically the same as all other AOC monitors. With most brands pushing a unique gaming OSD, I think it’s time for AOC to match the market here, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker.
While a 16:9 might cut it for most people, there’s a growing demand for ultrawide. Why have two or even three monitors side by side when you could just get one? No bezels, no triple cables, no awkward setup, but one monitor that’s ready to rock. Plus 3440 x 1440 is a very good resolution for today’s GPUs to push, coming in at 4953600 pixels, or around 35% more than 2560 x 1440p, but still 40% fewer pixels than regular 4K gaming. That means that you can still push higher frame rates on fast graphics cards, and still enjoy a higher resolution.
Should I Buy One?
Ultrawide is like 4K, once you get used to those extra pixels or that extra space, it’s pretty much impossible to go back. The same is true with the higher refresh rate, and with this monitor having all that space, all those pixels, 144hz refresh rate and more, you’ll be crushed the next time you have to use a 16:9 1080p 60hz panel. It’s a LOT of screen and tech for a very reasonable price, I can’t recommend it enough!