AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM: a top performer, but at a steep price

A value-packed 1440p gaming monitor with some caveats

An AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM on a black desk with a green deskmat underneath
(Image: © Future / John Loeffler)

TechRadar Verdict

AOC’s latest competitive gaming-leaning monitor introduces mini-LED backlighting to create an even better image quality and performance on the Agon Pro AG274QZM. Having Picture-in-Picture mode and KVM capabilities also means that streamers should be satisfied as well. Just be mindful that there are significantly cheaper 1440p/240Hz gaming monitors with better HDR implementation.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent SDR image quality

  • +

    Gaming performance is fantastic

  • +

    Build design is even better

  • +

    KVM and Picture-In-Picture Mode

Cons

  • -

    Expensive for a 1440p gaming monitor

  • -

    HDR application is sub-par

  • -

    Internal speakers still need improvement

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AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM: One-minute review

 We were overwhelmingly impressed with the AOC Agon Pro AG274QG last year for a plethora of reasons, from its visual performance and quality to build design and on a surface level, the AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM builds on nearly everything that made last years model so well-received. 

The change to mini-LED backlighting greatly improves image quality, so1440p gaming at a 240Hz refresh rate on the AG274QZM feels better than it does on the AG274QG. That is if one stays away from HDR; the implementation here just doesn’t look good. 

Colors by default look considerably washed out and a bit fuzzy and though this could be improved by changing some of the monitor’s internal settings, there’s still some issues with image quality despite being Vesa DisplayHDR 1000 certification. 

This time around, there were special accommodations made toward gamers who stream often and need an extra display, namely KVM and picture-in-picture. 

KVM allows individuals to switch keyboards and mouses from one display to another. Since many streamers usually need two PCs and monitors to do so, it’s best for streamlining that process. The inclusion of a USB-C port makes this possible and is one of several overall design improvements to the AG274QZM. Enhancements to the internal speakers would have been nice as well, but maybe next year. Similar to the AG274QG, they lack any real punch or bass so grab one of the best PC gaming headsets, you’ll definitely need it.

Having picture-in-picture means that those who rather use one monitor for everything can do so. Considering its 27-inch screen, there’s enough visual real-estate to game and control streaming software like OBS Studio. On the other hand, anyone who wants to do some general computing task while playing a console at their desk can do so as well through picture-in-picture. It’s a great addition overall.

Holding the AG274QZM back from being the best gaming monitor at this size and refresh rate is its price. At $1,099.99, there are 27-inch 1440p/240Hhz gaming monitors that offer similar image quality and performance for much cheaper. If the extra features don’t matter much, you’ll be better off saving the money with one of those. However, there’s much to appreciate with the AG274QZM for PC gamers with deep pockets who need the built-in extras.

AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM: Price & availability

An AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM on a black desk with a green deskmat underneath

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • How much does it cost?  $1,099 / £999 (about AU$1,600) 
  • When is it available?  It is available now.  
  • Where can you get it?  Available in the US and UK, Australian availability forthcoming  

 There are a handful of respectable 27-inch gaming monitors that offer both 1440p resolution and 240Hz refresh rates, like the HyperX Armada 27, Monoprice Dark Matter, and LG UltraGear Ergo 27GN88A. Even the AG274QG is around $300 cheaper. Of course, those aren’t backlit by mini-LEDs like the AG274QZM. Most general consumers looking for great image quality and performance won’t be able to tell the absolute difference unless they’re videophiles. 

For those that understand the significance of having a mini-LED display, the price is justifiable to an extent. Let’s not take into account standard features for the gaming monitor including the AOC Agon Pro Quick Switch puck for quicker access to display settings and shield cover which is great for gaming during the day. Add a boatload of features featured on the AG274QZM from KVM to picture-in-picture, there’s some real value here. 

  • Price score: 4 / 5

AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM: Design

An AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM on a black desk with a green deskmat underneath

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Generous amounts of inputs in addition to having USB-C
  • Customizable back lights alongside logo projector with bottom LED bar
  • Internal speakers are lacking 
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Screen size: 27-inch
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution:2560x1440
Brightness:750nits
Response time:1ms
Viewing angle: 178
Contrast ratio:1000:1
Color support:1.07 Billion
Inputs: 2x HDMI 2.1 / 1x DisplayPort 1.4 / 1 USB Hub / 4x USB-A / USB-C/ headphone out 3.5mm / mic in 3.5mm
Weight: 16.53lb

 On a surface level, the AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM doesn’t look much different from the AG274QG, design wise. However, there are some small additions that make the display feel fresh enough. The most notable is there is an LED bar at the bottom of the monitor. 

This, in addition to the standard back LED lights and bottom logo projector, goes a long way to providing an aggressive look. Of course, these are all customizable from the display menu alongside AOC’s G-Menu app. Many in-display options can be controlled that way as well. Despite being DTS certified, the internal speakers are a bit underpowered and lack powerful volume and bass. 

We praised the AG274QG for its liberal amount of ports and this continues through the AG274QZM. The ports include two HDMI 2.1 slots, one DisplayPort 1.4, a USB Hub, four USB-A, one 3.5mm headphone jack and 3.5mm mic jack alongside a new USB-C 3.2 port. Besides upstream and power delivery for up to 65W, this is mainly for the KVM capabilities. 

Setting up the AG274QZM is a simple process as mentioned previously in the accessibility section. Be mindful that the power brick it uses is pretty big too. Having an added shield cover goes a long way in blocking out a lot of excess light and isn’t difficult to put together. The AG274QZM improves on its predecessor’s already phenomenal design while adding incremental updates that improves the look and functionality of the display in meaningful ways.

Like the AG274QG, putting the monitor together isn't too complicated, though some of the parts are heavy. The base connects to the neck and both to the display lock, it’s really simple and there’s a heaviness to it that definitely brings quality. In terms of accessibility, there are understandable complaints of the weight.

With everything together, users are going to be looking at something in the range of around 17 pounds. The process isn’t difficult but the weight distribution can be a bit tricky to deal with considering how wide the base is. Ports including the power jack point downward which could be a problem for people who have issues bending over and looking up. 

Putting the lightweight shield cover together is simple as well. Coming in three parts, both right and left sides connect to the top through a long nail-like bar. One of the best features of the AOC Agon Pro line is the Quick Puck switch that connects to the rear near the display and USB ports. Once connected, it really does help making display changes remarkably easier. 

  • Design score: 4.5 / 5

AOC Agon PRO AG274QZM : Performance

An AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM on a black desk with a green deskmat underneath

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Mini-LED backlight makes SDR image quality look fantastic 
  • Motion performance is buttery smooth 
  • HDR image quality isn’t the best even with settings tinkering 

 The addition of mini-LED backlight for the display works wonders for image quality on the AG274QZM. With a brightness that maxes out at 750 nits, images look clear, crisp and vivid where it matters most. It doesn’t matter if one is playing Cyberpunk 2077 at 1440p with max settings, creating content on Adobe Suite or watching video content. Considering the competitive gaming lean of the monitor, sessions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Halo Infinite or even racing games like Forza Horizon 5 played phenomenally.

It also helps that the in-display options have pre-made settings for shooters, racing, RTS and the like, too. When it comes to 1440p at 250Hz in SDR, this is one of the best monitors money can buy. Performance during picture-in-picture mode was fantastic too in displaying two different inputs. Switching between two displays through KVM worked as it was supposed to as well. 

We couldn’t say the same thing for its HDR image quality. Default image quality in HDR looks a bit too warm even with the brightness turned all the way up. Collaborations for Windows HDR Collaboration app didn’t help much either. There’s a washed out look that simply doesn’t provide a better image over SDR. 

  • Performance: 4 / 5

Should you buy the AOC Agon AG274QZM?

An AOC Agon Pro AG274QZM on a black desk with a green deskmat underneath

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
AOC Agon AG274QZM report card
ValueThe high price of admission for the AG274QZM may be a bit too much for PC gamers looking for a quality 1440p monitor with a 250Hz refresh rate. Those who want more than that may find the cost of ownership understandable. 4 / 5
DesignEverything about the AG274QZM looks battle ready. Aesthetically, the additional bottom light bar adds a new visual flair while the new USB-C provides some new options including KVM mode. 4.5 / 5
PerformanceImage quality and in-game performance is fantastic overall with the exception of bad HDR implementation. 4 / 5
Final ScoreRow 3 - Cell 1 4.167 / 5

Buy it if...

You want a great performing 27-inch QHD gaming monitors
As long as one stays away from HDR, the AG274QZM  is one of the most beautiful 1440p gaming monitors available with motion performance to match. 

You are into streaming
Picture-in-picture and KVM modes really help make streaming more efficient without the need for extra input devices or monitors.

You want a well thought out monitor design
The AG274QZM has a sturdy build and is simply a pleasure to look at. Everything from customizable LED lighting to light shield feels aggressive and ready for anything.

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget
Though the AG274QZM may be top tier, there are cheaper gaming monitors that can match image quality and performance.

You require better HDR capabilities
SDR is where the AG274QZM shines best as HDR capabilities look a bit muddy and washed.

You need better internal speakers
Most PC gamers are going to have headsets but if it matters, the internal speakers on the AG274QZM are fairly weak. 

AOC Agon AG274QZM: Also consider

If my AOC Agon AG274QZM review has you considering other options, here are two more 27-inch monitors to consider. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
AOC Agon AG274QZM vs the competition
AOC Agon AG274QZMHyperX Armada 27Monoprice Dark Matter
Price: $1,099 / £999 (about AU$1,600)$499 / £499 $299
Screen size: 27-inch 27-inch 27-inch
Aspect ratio: 16:916:916:9
Resolution:2560x1440p2560x1440p1920 x 1080p
Brightness:750nits400 nits500 cd/m2
Response time:1ms1ms GtG (with overdrive)1ms (overdriven)
Viewing angle: 178178°178°
Contrast ratio:1000:11000:11000:1
Color support:1.07 Billion95% DCI-P3100% sRGB
Inputs: 2 x HDMI 2.1 / 1 x DisplayPort 1.4 / 1 USB Hub / 4x USB-A / USB-C/ headphone out 3.5mm / mic in 3.5mm 2 x HDMI 2.0; 1 x DisplayPort 1.41 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1x HDMI 1.4
Weight: 16.53 lbs8.03 lbs10.7 lbs
Image

HyperX Armada 27
The HDR issues are just as problematic on the HyperX Armada 27 as it is on the AG274QZM but the sub-$500 price point makes up for lacking many extras. It also comes with a sick boom arm for a stand!

Read our full <a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/hyperx-armada-27#section-hyperx-armada-27-price-availability" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">HyperX Armada 27 review

Image

Monoprice Dark Matter
Budget minded PC gamers looking for a great, no-frills 27-inch gaming monitor with a lower 1080p resolution and 250Hz refresh rate should give the Monoprice Dark Matter a look. It might not have the kind of performance as the AOC Agon AG274QZM, but for this price, you can't beat it.

Read our full <a href="https://www.techradar.com/reviews/monoprice-dark-matter-27" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"">Monoprice Dark Matter review

How I tested the AOC Agon AG274QZM

  • I spent a week testing the AOC Agon AG274QZM
  • Games played include Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Shadow Warrior 3 and Forza Horizon 5.
  • Creative apps used were Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro

The AOC Agon AG274QZM was tested over a week. During that time, various games and creative applications were used in testing. Some of the games tested included Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, Shadow Warrior 3 and Forza Horizon 5. On the creative side, Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro were used as well. 

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed April 2023

Ural Garrett

Ural Garrett is an Inglewood, CA-based journalist and content curator. His byline has been featured in outlets including CNN, MTVNews, Complex, TechRadar, BET, The Hollywood Reporter and more.