AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK review: A solid performer for a reasonable price

An affordable gaming monitor with a lot to like

The AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK photographed on a desk.
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

A generally solid gaming monitor, the AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK provides some great image quality with accurate mainstream colors and good detail. It’s also well-built for the price with mean looks and is especially easy to put together. Just watch out for its tinny speakers and iffy HDR performance.


  • +

    Good overall looks

  • +

    Excellent color accuracy in SDR

  • +

    Decent brightness


  • -

    Washed-out colors in HDR

  • -

    Internal speakers sound thin

  • -

    Lack of extra connectivity options

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AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK: Two-minute review

It’s gotten to the point where you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a generally solid gaming experience. That’s certainly where AOC is positioning their latest panel, the catchily named AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK, which brings with it the ideal combo of panel size and resolution – 2560 x 1440 strewn over a 27-inch screen – alongside purposeful looks and a generally great image for reasonable money in today’s economy. 

There’s quite a sea of options at this more affordable price point, but the AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK offers a lot for a good price, and may well just be one of the best gaming monitors out there in its price bracket.

The AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK is perhaps a little non-descript compared to some similarly-priced gaming monitors, opting for a simple but effective black plastic chassis with flecks of red on the stand and underside of the bottom bezel. This is typical for AOC monitors and makes this panel look as if it’s a successor to the AOC display I use day to day. 

The AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK photographed on a desk.

(Image credit: Future)

Its simple design pays off, as it’s a good-looking monitor, with thin bezels helping it to look reasonably modern. A weight of 5.5kg gives it some nice heft, and it feels well-made, considering the price. The stand on offer is practical, offering solid adjustment with tilt, height, and swivel, but not rotation - arguably given the slight 1500R curvature. This is also a VESA-compatible panel if you want to opt for wall mounting or on a desk clamp with a mount, as opposed to the bundled stand. 

It’s also easy to put together with a tool-less construction. Instead, the CQ27G2S/BK uses a screw-in stand that attaches to the panel especially conveniently, making life easy. If you’re like me and have a small phobia of manual labor then putting together AOC’s candidate is a doozy.

As for inputs, the CQ27G2S/BK features a pair of HDMI 2.0 ports and a singular DisplayPort 1.4 option, as well as a headphone jack. Given the more affordable price point, I’m not too worried about the lack of more modern accoutrements such as any USB ports, although they would have been nice to have.

There are built-in speakers, although they aren’t the best, sounding thin overall with little in terms of bass and top-end. The saving grace here is that the AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK features a 3.5mm earphone jack so you can connect up external speakers, which would be preferable.

The AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK photographed on a desk.

(Image credit: Future)

Apart from the actual panel itself, the AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK doesn’t offer much else in the way of additional features. The big thing here though is its on-screen display (OSD). While offering plenty of features to play around with including dedicated gamer modes as well as a handful of HDR modes you can enable, it isn't easy to navigate. It takes a few seconds to move from menu to menu, and the buttons on the bottom right offer very little in the way of assistance with function and direction. A joystick would have made things a lot easier.

In delving into the actual panel, the CQ27G2S/BK utilizes a 27-inch VA panel, complete with a 2560x1440 resolution and 165Hz refresh rate. There is support for VRR with AMD FreeSync, although Nvidia GPUs are supported with adaptive sync, and there's a vague semblance of HDR with support for DisplayHDR 10. 

In testing, the AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK provided some excellent image quality. It provides decently bright images with a measured peak figure of 242 nits while offering pretty deep blacks and solid contrast that actually exceeds AOC’s own quoted 4000:1 by a little bit. Its 6900K color temperature is solid for a monitor of this price too, as is its SDR color accuracy. 100% sRGB coverage means it displays all the colors needed for mainstream work and play as accurately as possible while 90% DCI-P3 means it could handle more specialist workloads if you wanted to.

AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK Key Specs

Panel size: 27 inches
Panel type: VA LCD
Resolution:  2560 x 1440
Brightness: 250 nits
Contrast: 4000:1
Pixel response: 1ms
Refresh rate: 165Hz
Inputs:  2x HDMI 2.0, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 3.5mm headphone jack 

In enabling HDR though, it’s where AOC’s more affordable mid-ranger falls over. It becomes a much more washed-out and overall less enticing picture. Its 80% sRGB and 59% DCI-P3 color space coverage mean that the CQ27G2S/BK isn’t at all suitable for HDR workloads, and you should stick to working in SDR.

However, it’s important to note that this isn’t necessarily a panel designed for color-sensitive workloads, and for gaming in SDR, it was excellent. The combination of a 27-inch screen and 1440p panel offered solid detail over a great size for my desk, while the 165Hz refresh rate ensured output was smooth. Playing CS:GO at a high frame rate felt especially responsive while using it for day-to-day work and running my Football Manager 2023 save felt sharper. 

The moderate 1500R curve helped to provide a tad more immersion in FPS titles, and allowed me to focus more on firing at bots in CS:GO (I refuse to play online, I don’t want to get smoked!). That curvature was also welcome for filling my eyesight for day-to-day working, and while it may seem like an odd thing to say, the CQ27G2S/BK helped to immerse me in what I needed to get done. When rewatching the last series of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on Prime Video, the curvature helped there, and viewing YouTube videos was solid too.

The AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK photographed on a desk.

(Image credit: Future)

AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? £220 (US model $290, about AU$425)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Currently available in the UK

The AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK appears to be a UK-exclusive panel, being priced at £220 - at least, this exact model. A virtually identical monitor - the AOC Agon Q27G2S - is available in the US for $290 (around AU$425). It sits well amongst some of the best high refresh rate monitors we’ve looked at in the past, such as our top choice, the Gigabyte Aorus CV27Q, and other similar specced options.

The CV27Q, despite now being a slightly older panel, matches well against AOC’s latest option with the same screen size, resolution, and refresh rate, although offers a quicker response time of 1ms, but a worse contrast ratio at 3000:1 compared to AOC’s 4000:1. 

Perhaps the next nearest competitor to the CQ27G2S/BK is an option from the brand 'X=', a spin-off from UK retailer AWD-IT. Their X=XRGB27WQ offers a virtually identical spec sheet to AOC’s choice with the same resolution, screen size, and resolution. It gets a little brighter than the CQ27G2S/BK with 350 quoted nits and offers an IPS panel as opposed to VA. That’ll run you £230, although you are banking on trusting a lesser-known brand.

Other options from the likes of Dell are going to cost at least £100 or so more than the CQ27G2S/BK, making it a rather great value-for-money choice in its category.

The AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK photographed on a desk.

(Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK?

Buy it if...

You want an affordable 1440p display
Compared to the sea of 27-inch, 1440p choices out there, AOC’s option makes for remarkably good value with a spec sheet and overall performance that rivals options that cost a fair bit more.

You want a more immersive gaming experience
The accurate colors and good detail, combined with its moderate 1500R curve, allow the CQ27G2S/BK to offer quite an immersive gaming experience.

Don't buy if...

You want sublime HDR performance
Where this AOC panel falls down is with its iffy HDR performance, combining washed-out colors and dim brightness, so stick to SDR if you do pick this up.

You want excellent audio
Its internal speakers are serviceable, but nothing more. They’re thin-sounding, and I’d steer clear of using them if you value even average audio quality.

Also Consider


Samsung Odyssey G7
The Odyssey G7 offers the same resolution and panel type, although with a higher refresh rate (240Hz), but comes at a fair higher cost than AOC’s option, if you want to spend a little more.

Read our full Samsung Odyssey G7 review 


Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q
Asus’ affordable 4K option offers a higher resolution over a slightly bigger screen size, although it falls behind AOC’s offering in terms of refresh rate and response time.

Read our full Asus TUF Gaming VG289Q review 

 AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK: Report Card

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ValueAgainst other options, the AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK is especially well-specced in its price bracket.4 / 5
DesignIt may be a little boring, but this is a good-looking monitor with a sturdy construction and easy to put together stand.4 / 5
FeaturesThis monitor might be relatively feature-light, but the high refresh rate make it ideal for 1440p and 1080p gaming.4 / 5
PerformanceIt also provides some great SDR performance, meeting or exceeding AOC’s own claims to provide a responsive and well-rounded gaming experience.4 / 5
OverallThere’s a lot to like about the CQ27G2S/BK from its solid construction to good image quality, making it a fantastic choice for most people.4 / 5

How I tested the AOC Gaming CQ27G2S/BK

  • Spent nearly two weeks testing
  • Used for gaming, photo editing, watching videos and day to day work
  • Tested using a colorimeter for testing overall image quality

During my time with the AOC Gaming CQ27G2S, I used it as my main working monitor, using it for day-to-day work writing articles and editing images with Photoshop. I also used it to watch streaming content on Disney+ and Prime Video after work, as well as playing a variety of games

This is a monitor primarily designed for gaming, hence my testing in eSports titles such as CS:GO, where you’re more likely to feel the benefit of the panel’s 165Hz refresh rate. Its excellent color accuracy also makes it suitable for productivity and generalist workloads, as opposed to using it for more specialist tasks.

As someone who has a few years of experience writing reviews and testing all sorts of monitors, I’ve got the right tools to help you through the minefield of whether a monitor is actually any good or not. You can trust me to take everything into account to help you make the right buying decision.

  • First reviewed March 2024
Freelance contributor