The AOCs AGON PRO AG254FG is ideal for serious competitive gamers
- Manufacturer: AOC
- Model: AGON PRO AG254FG
- Type: 1080p, IPS, 360Hz Gaming Monitor
- Price when reviewed: £689 (Amazon UK)
- Supplied by: AOC
AOC AGON PRO AG254FG Review
Here at Total Gaming Addicts, we’re huge fans of AOC’s range of monitors. Their budget range offers outstanding value, while the AGON and AGON PRO range have best-in-class features, often at a highly competitive price, making AOC monitors a great choice whatever your budget or needs.
We recently reviewed AOC’s affordable esports orientated monitor, the 24G2ZU 240Hz IPS panel, and were very impressed with the performance, but what if you wanted to kick it up another notch? The AGON PRO AG254FG takes the same esports/competitive gaming focus and ramps it up to the Nth degree.
The AGON PRO AG254FG has an excellent IPS panel, with an astronomical 360Hz refresh rate when connected via DisplayPort (240Hz with HDMI 2.0). It also supports both G-Sync and adaptive sync, making it ideal no matter which camp you prefer when it comes to your GPU manufacturer of choice.
I’ve found in the past that monitors designed specifically to pump out the fastest possible frame rates can sometimes suffer when it comes to colour reproduction, brightness and black levels; You get superb responsiveness but at the cost of fidelity. With the AOC AGON PRO AG254FG, there is no tradeoff in picture quality. This is a superb display in its own right, which is just as enjoyable to use for watching movies, playing cinematic adventure games or even using for productivity thanks to the accuracy of the colour.
These features alone make this a desirable monitor, but you also get HDR 400 certification, a measured peak brightness of 433.8 cd/m², RGB lighting, a display hood to block out unwanted light glare and reflections, and an integrated four-port USB hub which has a dedicated port to connect an Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer compatible mouse.
Despite the argument that you can’t see the difference in frame rate above a certain level, I have to disagree. Running at the full refresh of 360 frames per second, the biggest visual advantage is during rapid turns – when you’re snapping around the screen, there’s no blur, so you can effortlessly spot the subtlest movement of enemies. Once you’re locked on, you also get the advantage of your shots being registered faster (as proven by the Reflex Latency Analyzer). It’s no substitute for skill, but it can make an average player good, and a great player unstoppable.
We’ll cover all of these features in more depth further into the review, but before we get into facts and figures, I thought I’d leave a personal take on the AOC AGON PRO AG254FG. I’ve been using this monitor for all of my gaming and movie watching for about a month, now, and I have nothing but praise.
The colour saturation and gamut coverage aren’t quite up there with the new nano-IPS displays, but it’s still vivid and incredibly natural. Peak brightness is very good, and black levels and contrast are well above average for IPS panels.
Unboxing, accessories and assembly
The AGON PRO AG254FG is attractively packaged, with separate boxes inside containing the easy to assemble monitor hood and the power and display cables. The two-piece stand uses a tool-less screw to join it together, and there is a simple clip-in attachment to join the monitor to the stand.
Inside the box is a quick start guide, an installation disc (which has AOC control software, along with an ICC colour profile), the monitor hood, a 1.8m HDMI cable, 1.8m DisplayPort cable and power cable. The power adapter uses a sizeable external power brick, but it does have a good reach. Surprisingly, there was no USB-A to USB-B cable included. I’d highly recommend picking one up, as it’s necessary to connect the integrated USB hub to your PC and enable the Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer.
If you don’t have an optical disc drive (pretty common nowadays), the software needed can easily be found on the AOC website.
Design and build
From the front, the AGON PRO AG254FG cuts a subtle profile. The bezels are very slim, with a slightly larger lower bezel that has a matte red AGON logo, G-Sync logo and a power indicator light. Unusually, the Nvidia G-Sync logo is printed directly onto the lower bezel rather than being a removable sticker. Running along the underside of the bottom bezel is an RGB light strip that casts very subtle bias lighting under the monitor.
The aggressively styled stand is very solid, made almost entirely of metal, and it has some stunning red metallic accent pieces, including the integrated carrying handle. There is a full range of ergonomic adjustments: Height can be adjusted by 130mm, tilted by a huge -3°/+21°, swivelled +/-30° and also pivoted clockwise into a portrait alignment. It’s also Vesa 100 mount compatible. There is no cutout for cable management, as AOC has fitted a logo projector into the stand that casts either the AGON text or picture logo.
At the rear of the monitor, there are several RGB light panels on either side, a red metallic AOC logo, a slide-out headset hanger, a small ambient light sensor for the automatic brightness adjustment, and a very responsive joystick for controlling the OSD.
Controlling the monitor’s menus and functions can be done either with the joystick, on your PC with the AOC software, or using the very handy QuickSwitch that plugs into a port on the underside of the display. The QuickSwitch is ringed with a red LED strip which can be turned off but has only one colour option.
Along with sharing the same functionality as the joystick control, the QuickSwitch can also rapidly change between the three programmable gamer modes, which is very handy. A slight downside I found with the QuickSwitch is that it can’t quickly change in large increments. Pressing and holding the joystick will run through a few single steps before rapidly increasing values in multiples of ten, but the QuickSwitch needs to be pressed for every increment. It’s handy for small adjustments, but dimming or raising the brightness (which has a range of 40-450 nits) is much faster with the joystick.
Connectivity and Supported Resolutions
The AGON PRO AG254FG has a good suite of connectivity options: 2x HDMI 2.0 and a DisplayPort 1.4 are available for connecting your displays, with a USB-B upstream port to connect the USB 3.2 hub to your PC, 4x USB-A ports (including a fast charge and Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer port), microphone input and outputs and a 3.5mm headset combi-jack.
I would have liked to see a USB-C port included, as many modern laptops and GPUs support DP-alt mode. This would have made the USB hub even more useful for those with multiple systems, as well as opening up the full 360Hz potential to more users.
The AGON PRO AG254FG supports the following optimum resolutions:
HDMI 2.0: 1920*1080 @ 240 Hz
DisplayPort: 1920*1080 @ 360 Hz
Because the AGON PRO AG254FG only hits 360Hz with DisplayPort, if you only have HDMI available you’ll be restricted to 240Hz. Additionally, if you choose to go for 10bit colour, you’ll have to knock that down to 144Hz. Clearly, this monitor is best suited for direct connection via DisplayPort – unless your primary system uses DisplayPort you may be better off picking up something like the AOC 24G2ZU instead, but the excellent picture quality and added features still make the AG254FG a great choice if it’s in your budget.
The AOC AGON PRO AG254FG has both adaptive sync and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility, and both were detected and implemented automatically by our test PCs and laptops, and also Xbox Series S and X consoles. Although we wouldn’t recommend this monitor if you only have a games console (we’d recommend a 1440p or higher 120/144Hz display) if you use one as well as a gaming PC you’ll be happy to know it’s well supported.
The AOC AGON PRO AG254FG is targeted directly towards the esports/competitive gaming market, and for this, it excels.
Viewing the UFO ghost test, with overdrive turned off there is a very faint amount of blurriness at the trailing edge of moving objects, but switching overdrive to weak completely alleviates this, resulting in a pin-sharp image with no perceivable blur, artefacts or ghosting. Bumping the overdrive up to medium or strong does very marginally improve the responsiveness, but it introduces significant and noticeable haloing, with a bright tail visible at the rear of the UFO and some colour distortion at the leading edge. Whatever small benefit to performance may be gained at higher levels of overdrive is negated by the resultant loss in image quality, but considering the weak setting is, as near as makes no difference, perfect, it’s not an issue.
The out of the box picture quality of the AGON PRO AG254FG is excellent, with a competent factory calibration. Colour accuracy is superb with good levels of saturation, although the measured gamut coverage was a bit under what is quoted. With a 360Hz refresh rate and superb latency and response, this is an outstanding gaming display.
AOC has fitted the AGON PRO AG254FG with a suite of picture enhancement settings, but they differ from the lower specced panels they produce. There is no Game Colour setting, which worked well on the AOC 24G2ZU, but in fairness, using that setting brought that monitor more in line with the vibrancy of the AGON PRO AG254FG at the expense of some colour crush at higher levels of saturation. The AGON PRO AG254FG does a much better job at producing subtle gradations of colour, and the overall palette of colours is very natural and easy on the eye.
The shadow control implementation is very good, raising the brightness of the darkest parts of the image without washing out the colour in brighter parts, making it genuinely useful. I was also surprised to find the preset game modes are very good, and the three customisable game modes that can be activated using the QuickSwitch keep your favourite settings just a button press away. The AG254FG may not have as many image customisations as other monitors, but the things you can change are far more beneficial and don’t feel forced or artificial.
AOC has also reigned in the anti-glare coating which sometimes results in giving images a slightly grainy texture. On the AG254FG, the coating does very well at diffusing glare from light sources without negatively affecting picture quality.
Brightness, contrast and colour
The AGON PRO AG254FG has a very good peak brightness of 433.8 cd/m², which makes the monitor easy to see in a brightly lit room. This is complemented by a decent black level of 0.34 cd/m² at maximum brightness, and a contrast ratio of 1280:1, which is well above the 1000:1 average of IPS displays.
The default contrast setting of 50 was too high and overexposed the light grey background colours on my results spreadsheet so they appeared white. Lowering this to 33(/100) brought it back to natural hues, without diminishing the measured contrast ratio.
Lowering the brightness to around 50% (200 cd/m² in the settings) equated to a measured 236.8 cd/m² with a black level of 0.18 cd/m², which is excellent, but I was particularly impressed that the contrast ratio stayed consistent at 1290:1. This consistency of contrast was borne out across the full range of brightness, as can be seen from the table below.
I tested the AG254FG with the various presets, and like most AOC monitors, found the Warm setting most closely matched the ideal 6500K white point (6517K). Brightness and black levels remained fairly constant across all of the presets, however, contrast dipped significantly with the normal and cool presets. Personal preference aside, the Warm preset is the best option, here.
Out of the box, the average DeltaE with AOC’s colour profile loaded up was 1.27, which is perfectly suitable for most users and well below the perceptible limit of deviation. The display gamma was slightly out in the default settings – adjusting the OSD gamma setting to +0.2 brought the gamma curve closer to the ideal line, with a more consistent Gray Ramp. Once calibrated, the DeltaE dropped to just 0.2, but the contrast and black levels were almost identical, which further reinforces the quality of the factory calibration.
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. I managed to more closely match the calibrated profile using a custom colour temperature (R:54, G:53, B:46). Each panel is slightly different, so these numbers are for informational purposes rather than a recommended setting.
Gamut coverage and HDR
Colour saturation is very good and looks even better thanks to the above-average contrast. Games and movies look bright and colourful, which makes this monitor suitable to use for all types of media.
The panel in the AOC AGON PRO AG254FG is 10bit (8bit+FRC), with wide colour gamut support. The sRGB coverage is very good, measuring in at 110%, but the 110% AdobeRGB and 86% DCI-P3 figures are exceptional, especially for a high refresh rate display such as this.
HDR performance, as a result, is surprisingly good. The AG254FG only has DisplayHDR 400 certification, so there’s no local dimming, but the excellent DCI-P3 coverage, very good brightness and higher than usual contrast helps colours pop. If you’re primarily looking for an HDR display, other monitors produce better results, but as a feather in the cap for this incredible high-refresh display, it’s a worthwhile addition.
Viewing angles and uniformity
Viewing angles are as expected, with the AG254FG retaining colour saturation and clarity at extreme angles. There is a slight washing out of colours in comparison to viewing head-on, but it’s above average for an IPS panel. Consistency across the surface of the display is great, with only minor recorded deviations in the lower corners that are virtually undetectable by the naked eye.
There is a very slight amount of IPS glow visible in the bottom corners with the display at maximum brightness, but this is only visible when viewing a pure black image, and in dark scenes, there is no significant black crush or loss of detail.
Overall, the AOC AGON PRO AG254FG has visual fidelity beyond what you’d expect from such a high refresh display, which traditionally eschew picture quality for performance. Colours are natural and vivid, and the brightness has a high peak whilst also giving great black levels. Contrast isn’t as good as you’d find on a VA or OLED display, but it’s well above what you’d usually find on an IPS display. Combine all of this with the excellent factory calibration and the incredible 360Hz refresh rate and you’ve got an outstanding monitor for not just competitive gaming, but media consumption and content creation, too.
Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer
Before testing out Nvidia Reflex properly I was unsure as to just how effective it could really be. Because the display has Nvidia Reflex Latency Analyzer built into it, you can see instantly just how well it works. You’ll need a compatible mouse (I used an AOC GM500 gaming mouse), and you’ll need to connect this to the green USB input on the built-in hub, which must be connected to your PC.
Once you’ve got it set up, you can dip into the monitor’s UI and enter the G-Sync Processor settings to activate it. You can fine-tune the monitoring here, adjusting the size of the monitoring window, the location (so it matches up with the muzzle flash, which it uses to measure the latency), and the sensitivity.
I tested the analyzer with Bright Memory Infinite, firing 20 shots and averaging the results with Nvidia Reflex turned off, on and enhanced. The results were incredible, demonstrating not only how much of a difference Reflex makes, but also how much the end-to-end latency is improved at higher refresh rates.
|Frame Rate||Reflex on/off/enhanced||Measured Latency (ms)|
There are obvious and significant improvements when using Nvidia Reflex, but the highlight here is just how effective higher frame rates are at bringing the latency down. Regardless of whether you feel higher frame rates are visually noticeable past 144Hz, it’s an indisputable fact that higher frame rates reduce input latency.
Pricing and availability
At £699, the AOC AGON PRO AG254FG isn’t cheap, but it offers a lot of performance for the price. It’s still a new monitor, so availability is fluctuating at the moment. It has been seen on Amazon recently for £689, so it’s worth checking for stock coming back in soon and also checking for any deals that may be popping up.
The AOC AGON PRO AG254FG is perfect for competitive gaming, with none of the drawbacks often associated with pushing to incredible refresh rates. It is jam-packed with useful features and quality of life additions, such as both G-Sync and adaptive-sync compatibility, Reflex Analyzer, RGB lighting, a headset hanger and more, and it has picture quality that lesser displays can only dream of.
The price is consistent with other 360Hz displays currently available, and the performance is equal to or better than most. This monitor isn’t for everyone; you’ll need a pretty powerful PC to hit the full 360Hz on offer for most games, and if you don’t have a DisplayPort available you’ll be limited to 240Hz with HDMI. As long as your hardware is up to snuff, though, this is a superb monitor if your main goal is to dominate in esports and competitive games.