AOC’s 24G2ZU has professional performance at a budget price
- Manufacturer: AOC
- Model: 24G2ZU/BK
- Type: 1080p, IPS, 240Hz Gaming Monitor
- Price when reviewed: £279
- Supplied by: AOC
AOC 24G2ZU Review – Esports ready performance on a budget
For competitive gamers, the frame rate and responsiveness are often far more important than 4k resolution and gigantic screens. There’s a proven advantage in having the game react faster to your inputs and display the action faster (duh, right?) If you’ve got an astronomical budget, there are some incredible displays out there pushing 240, 300, or even 360Hz, with incredible picture quality.
But what about those just getting started or with families to provide for, who can’t drop big bucks on their setup? For a long time, if you wanted an affordable display for esports you were restricted to either a TN panel, with terrible viewing angles and average colour reproduction, or an IPS display with a lower refresh rate. Well, AOC sees you – the AOC 24G2ZU has a 240Hz IPS display, with low input lag, and best of all, it retails at around £279.
With monitors in the lower price ranges, you often see them removing useful features to keep the price down, but AOC has managed to keep the price in check while including features like an integrated four-port USB hub and full ergonomic adjustability. For the price, you really can’t go wrong with the 24G2ZU.
Unboxing, accessories and assembly
The AOC 24G2ZU is well presented, sandwiched between reassuringly sturdy polystyrene. The stand, which comes in two pieces, uses a tool-less screw to join it together, and a simple clip-in attachment to join the monitor to the stand. It has been designed so you can assemble the stand, clip it to the monitor and use the assembled display to easily lift it from the packaging. It may not sound that impressive, but this ease of assembly should be appreciated.
Inside the box is a quick start guide, an installation disc (which has AOC control software, along with an ICC colour profile), a USB-B cable, and a 1.8m HDMI cable, DisplayPort cable and power cable. The power adapter is integrated, so there’s no need for an external power brick, which I always prefer. If you don’t have an optical disc drive (pretty common nowadays), the software can easily be found on the AOC website.
Design and build
The 24G2ZU is classic AOC, and will be instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with the G2 series. Dark metallic-red accents run across the bottom bezel and ring the base of the stand, but aside from that, it has a clean profile, with slim bezels and a screen to body ratio of 90%.
The angular stand is made of metal on the inside but covered with a sturdy, matte black plastic. There is a full range of ergonomic adjustments, as well as a useful cutout section for cable management. Height can be adjusted 130mm, tilted by a huge -4°/+21.5°, swivelled +/-30° and also pivoted clockwise into a portrait alignment. It’s also Vesa 100 mount compatible – the AGON 24G2ZU weighs just 2.95Kg without the stand, so should be suitable for most mounts.
The tilt is very useful, as it’s possible to tilt it back and stick your head under, making it easy to add or swap cables as needed. At the rear, the down-firing USB ports have an unusual alignment, fitted on the angular side of the cutaway section. This makes it easier to thread the cables through the cable management hole in the stand, which is a nice touch.
Controlling the monitor’s menus and functions are done via a bank of five small buttons on the bottom-right of the panel. I’m still not a fan of these buttons, as they are small, awkward to locate quickly and aren’t that smooth in operation. Fortunately, once you’ve got your monitor set how you want it you won’t need to use them that often, and AOC has some useful software (AOC G-Menu) that lets you control your monitor with your mouse, via an on-screen display.
Connectivity and Supported Resolutions
There is a solid array of connections on the 24G2ZU: There are 2x HDMI 2.0 and 1x DisplayPort 1.2 for connecting your devices. There is also a USB-B upstream (to connect to your PC), and 4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 downstream ports for connecting peripherals (including one fast-charge B.C 1.2). Finally, a 3.5mm jack output is included for connecting headphones or stereo desktop speakers.
The AOC 24G2ZU supports the following optimum resolutions:
HDMI 2.0: 1920*1080 @ 240 Hz
DisplayPort 1.2: 1920*1080 @ 240 Hz
Having the full capabilities of the display available through HDMI 2.0 makes the 24G2ZU an ideal companion for a gaming laptop, as you can have your peripherals ready connected to the monitor and simply plugin and get going with minimal fuss.
The AOC 24G2ZU has native FreeSync Premium support but is not officially compatible with G-Sync for those using Nvidia GPUs. FreeSync was detected straight away by our test PCs and laptops, and also an Xbox Series S, which is a suitable match for the G2ZU when running at 120Hz. (If you are looking primarily for a console gaming monitor, however, then a 1440p or higher 120/144Hz display would be a better match.)
The AOC 24G2ZU is aimed squarely at the competitive gaming market, and for this, it excels. With low input lag enabled, you can expect input latency in the sub-3ms range – with it disabled this rises to around 16-18ms, which is probably unnoticeable to most people, but for esports, you always want to be gunning for the lowest figure.
With the panel’s overdrive turned off, I noticed a minor amount of smearing when viewing bright text against a dark background, but this was alleviated significantly when overdrive was turned on. Overdrive set to high offers the best performance for fast gaming, but in terms of overall picture quality, medium was my preference. Using the medium overdrive setting, ghosting is almost non-existent, and the image displayed is extremely smooth during rapid motion.
The overall picture quality of the AOC 24G2ZU is good, with an acceptable factory calibration that should be good to go straight out of the box for most users. Colours are accurate and well saturated, and the excellent response times and 240Hz refresh rate make this an excellent 1080p gaming display.
AOC’s usual suite of picture enhancements are present like faux HDR and artificial colour enhancement, but the results from these are highly subjective depending on your personal preference. It’s possible to noticeably increase colour saturation but this comes at the expense of colours being crushed and smooth gradients becoming flattened towards the peaks.
Brightness, contrast and colour
Peak brightness was above average at 374 cd/m², which gives a bright and easy to see display, even in a well-lit room. This is slightly offset by a higher than usual black level of 0.5 cd/m² with a resultant contrast ratio of just 750:1. At lower brightness levels the black point is more in line with other IPS panels, but we see a further dropoff in contrast.
I tested the 24G2ZU with the various presets, finding the Warm setting to most closely match the ideal 6500K white point. Black levels were consistent across the presets, however, peak brightness and contrast dipped massively with the normal and cool presets. With the Warm preset being the most accurate, this isn’t an issue, of course.
You cannot change brightness while in sRGB mode, which has been a common complaint leveraged against AOC monitors by some people. It is usually because sRGB brightness tends to be too high, but as we can see, it targets 200 cd/m² and comes close to the ideal 6500K whitepoint, so it’s certainly usable if not ideal.
Out of the box, the average DeltaE with AOC’s colour profile loaded up was 1.98, which is just below the perceptible limit of deviation. The gamma also followed the 2.2 curve very accurately. (Once calibrated, the DeltaE dropped to just 0.27, contrast was improved to 801:1 and the black level was marginally improved – as most buyers won’t have access to a colourimeter, all values quoted in the review are based on the factory ICC profile and device settings.)
Colour saturation is very good, and it goes a long way towards countering the lower than average contrast. Games and movies look bright and colourful, making it a very enjoyable monitor to use across all types of media.
The panel in the AOC 24G2ZU is 8bit (6bit+FRC), so you don’t get any wide colour gamut support, but it does provide excellent sRGB coverage as well as decent coverage of the Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 colour spaces. sRGB colour volume was measured at 106%, which means the monitor does well at retaining colour vibrancy and coverage at a lower level of brightness, too.
Viewing angles and uniformity
As you would expect from an IPS panel, viewing angles are excellent, with the image doing well at retaining colour saturation from sharper angles. In comparison to the outgoing 24G2, which had a TN panel, the difference is astounding.
Uniformity of colour was brilliant, with the large swathes of pastel colours on Futurama appearing consistent across the entire display. Brightness uniformity was also better than average, with the highest deviation towards the bottom right of the display. In use, it’s not something you’d be aware of unless you were specifically looking for it.
The corners of the display have almost no visible IPS glow, which is very good. The slightly higher black level is prominent in exceptionally dark scenes, but it is consistent across the display which made me less aware of it once my eyes were accustomed to the display.
Considering the price, the AOC 24G2ZU puts in a very strong performance. Side by side with my far more expensive office monitor I was hard-pressed to spot a difference when it came to colour performance and uniformity.
Overall, it’s hard to find any major fault with this display. Most people will be looking at this display for the rapid refresh rate and low input lag, having a good picture is just the icing on the cake. If you are all about visual fidelity, then perhaps something like the 170Hz AOC AGON AG273QXP and its Nano-IPS display would be more your jam, but for competitive gaming, the 24G2ZU strikes a brilliant balance between performance, image quality and price.
Pricing and availability
At just £279, the AOC 24G2ZU/BK offers fantastic value, with great gaming performance at a decent price. Paired with the very good picture quality, it makes this a highly desirable monitor and explains why this monitor is often out of stock at many retailers. It’s available in stock at the time of writing from many online retailers, though due to availability some are charging a little bit more. While I despise paying above MSRP for tech, even at a few pounds extra, this is a great deal.
With some manufacturers’ flagship displays, they are often incredible, but they aren’t for everyone. Many people are not able to spend huge amounts of money on a gaming monitor, which is why I am a huge fan of AOC’s affordable range of displays.
When you buy a lower-midrange display, you usually have to choose carefully where your money goes: do you want outright performance at high refresh rates, or do you want a rich and colourful display? AOC’s 24G2ZU is a rare beast that gives performance and great picture quality in a wallet-friendly package that should be attainable for most people.
The monitor control buttons are a bit naff, black levels are a touch on the high side, and the contrast could be better, but this is more than offset by the colour accuracy and vibrancy, the excellent 240Hz refresh rate and class-leading latency. Whether you are an aspiring esports competitor or you want an affordable display to help your kids dominate on Fortnite or Warzone, the AOC 24G2ZU is worthy of a spot at the top of your shopping list.