With an MVA panel, 75Hz refresh rate at 1440p and huge 31.5in display, this monitor hits the sweet spot.
The jump from 1080p to 1440p may not sound much, but actually doubles the number of pixels. That’s why 1440p monitors tend to be substantialy more expensive than Full HD alternatives, especially 32in monsters such as this one. Even if the AOC Q3279VWF had such shocking image quality it made you want to cry, for only $380 you’d still feel like you grabbed something of a bargain. Especially considering the panel natively runs at 75Hz and comes with AMD FreeSync, providing a smoother experience for gamers compared to a regular 60Hz monitor.
Before you buy, though, make sure you have space. This display consumes 730 x 425 x 153mm at its most compact, and compared to the Philips opposite it’s a shot putter versus a gymnast: the stand only tilts by -2° to +21.5°, there are no VESA mounts and don’t even think about pivoting. Still, that restrictive stand does at least securely hold the monitor in place, and the overall build quality and design belie its price: the glossy low-profile bezels and brushed silver aluminium stand lend it a premium look.
There are plenty of video inputs – DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4, DVI and VGA – along with a 3.5mm headphone jack, but there’s no USB hub or headphone stand (a shame for a monitor that clearly has its eye on gamers). The OSD, which is accessed through the buttons found on the bottom right-hand corner, gives you access to a host of different options. These include the Overdrive level, colour settings and brightness.
Of most interest to gamers is its in-built AMD FreeSync technology (48Hz to 75Hz over HDMI and DisplayPort), which results in tear-free gaming with a compatible AMD graphics card. And it’s gaming where this monitor is most comfortable. Its 75Hz refresh rate is a step above a 60Hz panel, while its input lag is surprisingly low and its response time fast, especially with Overdrive set to Medium. There’s a slight amount of overshoot (purple smearing), but this is suppressed to a min imum. This makes the AOC ideal for multiplayer games, including semi-competitive shooters such as Call of Duty: WWII.
In more general use, though, the first thing I noticed on plugging it in was a blue tint. This affects the whole screen. Set the monitor to sRGB mode and you’ll notice blues drop to 43, and red and green stay at 50. An odd occurrence for a PC monitor, as it’s usually the other way around.
Tested with our i1 DisplayPro calibrator, it manages to cover 90.2% of the sRGB colour space. In sRGB mode you’re also limited to a 202cd/m² brightness. In user mode, however, it increases to 232cd/m². This makes the panel dull to view under bright ambient light, but it’s more than bright enough for a late-night gaming session. Colour accuracy, meanwhile, is mediocre; with an average Delta E of 1.93 and a 3.87 maximum, the AOC could only be used for non-professional photo editing and video colour grading.
The AOC Q3279VWF uses an MVA panel with matte coating, and while MVA panels are renowned for their high contrast ratio, I’ve yet to come across one like the Q3279VWF. At a contrast ratio of 4,276:1, it makes the image vibrant and pop full of colour. At 90% brightness in sRGB mode, the panel also achieves the lowest black luminance I’ve seen in a consumer-grade monitor. At 0.047cd/m², you’ll observe a true black colour - exactly what you’d want when watching movies with dark scenes.
So this monitor has its faults, but at the price it also offers spectacular value for money. It’s perfect for those looking for a monitor for watching movies, ideal for gamers and excellent for multitaskers. If you’re looking for a huge all-purpose monitor, and you’re on a budget, get the Q3279VWF.