AOC G2590PX review: hitting the sweet spot

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£234

24 inches. 1080p resolution. 144Hz refresh rate. These are the three specs that we hear recommended a lot for gamers these days, and exactly what you’ll get on this AOC monitor. The ubiquity of this spec sheet means there’s a lot of competition, so AOC will have to nail the basics and come up with enough features to justify its £249 price point if we’re to give this monitor our full recommendation.

 

Specs & Features

  • 24.5-inch 1080p TN panel (via AUO)
  • 144Hz refresh rate w/ FreeSync
  • 3-side frameless design (tiny bezels)
  • 23° tilt, 40° swivel, 90° rotation, 130mm height adjustment
  • 514 x 558 x 30mm, 5.4 kilograms
  • £249 RRP
 

Design

The G2590PX sports a modern design, which means matte black bezels measuring just a couple millimetres on the top and sides. There’s a a thicker and more eye-catching light red bezel at the base, which has been inscribed with a sparkly AOC logo. I’d prefer to see something that blends in a little better, but I soon tuned this ornamentation out and I’m sure you will too. The power LED is nowhere near as obtrusive, a tiny white gem that phases out of your mind with ease.

The buttons are also almost unnoticeable — in fact, there aren’t any on the front or sides at all; you have to reach around the right side of the monitor to find the solitary nub that serves as a five-way joystick. Once you know where this is, adjusting settings is intuitive if a little slow; there are a lot of options here, so you’ll sometimes need to press the joystick dozens of times to find the control you’re after.

I like that the monitor doesn’t make too much of itself. The circular base is tidy and takes up minimal desk space, and the colour scheme is quite constrained with none of the throbbing LEDs we saw on earlier AOC designs. If you have a small desk or you like to keep your monitor right against the wall, this is an efficient choice.

The ergonomics of the stand are also impressive. You can rotate the display into portrait mode, tilt it back and forth, swivel it side to side and even adjust the height by 120 millimetres. That’s pretty awesome, as it makes it easier to ensure the display is facing directly at you. This is particularly important for a monitor with a TN panel such as this, as if you are looking at the monitor from an angle, you’re likely to experience undesirable shifts in colour and brightness.

The back of the monitor contains both your USB 3.0 hub (with four ports on offer, one designed for fast charging USB devices like phones) and various power and A/V connectors.

They include one DisplayPort 1.2A, two HDMI 1.4 ports, one VGA and 3.5mm in and out. You’ll need to use any of the three digital connections to realise the full 144Hz potential of the monitor.

 

Impressions

We used the G2590PX for two weeks as our main monitor, eschewing our lovely Acer XB271HU with its 165Hz refresh rate and IPS panel (ah, the sacrifices we make!).

Our time included a lot of time playing games — notably World of Tanks 1.0, Counter-Strike: Global OffensiveFortnitePlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundsStarCraft Remastered and Rainbow Six: Siege. We also watched every episode of Dimetri Martin’s Important Things, a decent sketch comedy show, and every Billy Connolly DVD we could get our hands on. Of course, we also wrote a lot of reviews for this site as well in that time!

Without further ado, let’s get into the results, divided into gamin’, workin’ and watchin’.

Gaming

The G2590PX is a 1080p display, and in-game we found that resolution was a decent trade-off between high visual fidelity and low performance requirements. 1440p or 4K will of course look nicer, but with a modest 24.5-inch panel the resolution doesn’t appear overly pixelated. Highly detailed games, like RPGs or simulators with plenty of on-screen text, would benefit most obviously from a higher resolution, but for more common fare — shooters, MOBAs, most strategy games — you will be just fine with 1080p.

The higher refresh rate provides a massive in-game advantage — and you don’t need to be a pro gamer to benefit.

When it comes to playing games, anything fast-paced will benefit from a panel with a 144Hz (or higher) refresh rate. This manifests as a certain fluidity in on-screen action; you can more easily track quickly moving opponents in a shooter as your mouse movements feel more closely connected to what’s happening on screen.

Of course, these benefits can be felt in other game genres as well; the faster you need to move and react, the more fluid things will appear. The higher refresh rate also reduces the perception of blur, making game worlds feel sharper and easier to visually decode.

The G2590PX hits that 144Hz target well, with the Medium Pixel Overdrive setting proving an effective countermeasure to ghosting without introducing the opposite problem of overshooting. The higher refresh rate, combined with low input lag, provides a big advantage that can be felt even by those that aren’t professional gamers or esports enthusiasts.

This monitor also supports AMD’s FreeSync technology, which prevents screen tearing without locking the framerate to your monitor’s refresh rate and reducing responsiveness as traditional V-sync does. You do experience a bit of extra input lag compared to running with no V-sync at all, but your monitor can render anywhere from 30 to the full 144 frames per second without any tearing whatsoever — nice. If your PC isn’t capable of hitting 144 frames per second consistently, this is a must-have feature and it’s nice to see it here. Of course, FreeSync does require an AMD graphics card, so Nvidia fans won’t be able to use this feature.

In fast-paced games like Counter-Strike and Fortnite, the AOC monitor’s responsiveness was top-notch, while the resolution ensured consistently high frame rates (often 200+) which minimised tearing without needing to turn on V-Sync or Free-Sync. The Game Color setting was also handy, allowing us to crank vibrance for a more cartoon-y look that sometimes made enemies stand out more easily against the background, while Shadow Control boosts the brightness of dim areas to reveal hidden foes. There’s no option to add a crosshair overlay, but who uses that anyway?

Watching

Many TN panels suffer from a washed-out appearance, particularly before calibration. It was great to see the G2590PX dodge this problem, with a bright but balanced out-of-the-box configuration that looked just fine. You’re not going to get the same perfect colours as you would from an OLED or IPS display, but for a TN panel it’s pretty respectable stuff.

That means you can watch television and not get distracted by weird blotchy skin tones or animated characters that are a noticeably different shade to their usual on-air appearance. You will notice some colour and brightness shifting as you move around, so it’s best to use this box face-on, with no onlookers crowding behind your shoulders.

Working

Having four USB ports available is pretty handy, especially when one of them is actually powerful enough to recharge your phone in a useful period of time. However, getting at the back of the monitor to plug and unplug is a real pain, so it’s best to leave your cables plugged in if you can at all manage it; save oft-removed stuff like USB drives for your PC’s top or front USB ports.

The inclusion of flicker-free backlighting and a blue light reduction mode is to be applauded as well. We’re seeing these modes increasingly on modern monitors, but they’re still great options to have, particularly when you’re going to be staring at a screen for hours each day. The modes here are well-implemented, with a range of filter strengths so you can adjust the colour temperature to suit your preferences.

1080p resolution is the bare minimum for working, we’d argue, and is just enough to squeeze two skinny windows side by side. As we mentioned in the gaming section, a higher resolution (or ultrawide aspect ratio) would be better, but 1080p is generally fine.

 

Benchmarks

Many TN panel monitors, especially cheap ones, are poorly calibrated out of the box and require lots of tweaking before they look acceptable. In contrast, the G2590PX was almost perfect right from the word go — and indeed, we snuck in some games before knuckling down for the hard work of benchmarking.

Games done, we started our calibration using an i1Display Pro colourimeter and DisplayCAL software (version 3.5.1). Before benchmarking, we let the monitor warm up for several hours.

 

We first calibrated the monitor to 120 nits, using the following settings:

  • Brightness: 15
  • Contrast: 50
  • Gamma: 1
  • Colour temperature: User – 50 (R), 50 (G), 48 (B)
  • Game mode: off
  • Low input lag: on

ICM file

Here’s the .ICC / .ICM file produced by the DisplayCAL software; feel free to use it for your own G2590PX. The usual disclaimers apply; panels vary, sometimes considerably, and this file may not produce an improved result.

2590G4 #2 2018-03-21 18-06 120cdm2 D6500 2.2 F-S XYZLUT+MTX

Next, we performed our usual suite of tests, checking gamut coverage, colour accuracy and other metrics. Here’s what we discovered.

Luminance & contrast

First up, our initial readings post-calibration. Black luminance was measured at 0.118 nits, good for a contrast ratio of 1010:1 — just what we’d hope to see from a TN panel.

White point

We got an average white point of 6497K, pretty close to our 6500K target throughout the range.

Gamma

We want a gamma of 2.2, as this is the standard used almost everywhere, but our measured gamma curve is a little above where it should be. You can see it below; the open circles are the 2.2 curve and the coloured circles represent the measured gamma, which is a little closer to 2.3. This indicates a slightly more contrast-y image, which is not necessarily a bad thing for gaming.

Gamut coverage

Next, we have gamut coverage. This shows us how much of a particular colour space the monitor can accurately hit, which is a good indicator of the monitor’s worth for professional and creative uses. We can see we only hit 92.1% of the common sRGB space, meaning that this monitor won’t be too useful in colour-sensitive work. The Adobe RGB and DCI P3 percentages are also middling to poor, at 67.2% and 71.7%, respectively.

You can see how the colour space of the monitor (the coloured outline) compares to sRGB (the grey dotted outline) in the graph below. You can see we’re pretty good towards the bottom end, the kind of pinky-purple colours, but we’re missing a chunk of green and overshooting yellow, orange and red by a considerable margin. That means we have about the right volume, but the coverage is still sub-par.

Colour accuracy

Colour accuracy is up next. As this is a TN panel, we expect that colour accuracy will change from quadrant to quadrant; this is in the centre. Good colour accuracy should ensure that what we see on our screen is what content creators are seeing too, whether they be filmmakers, game designers or photographers.

The average Delta-E value is 2.05, about average for a TN panel monitor. This isn’t a terrible result — we’ve seen average values as high as 3 or 4 — but it also doesn’t match the sub 1.00 results that we expect from professional-grade monitors. As usual, our teal friend represents the biggest issue at Delta-E 4.5, while green makes a guest appearance at Delta-E 2.8.

Screen uniformity

Screen uniformity is a measure of how much a screen changes from area to area. We’re doing a comprehensive test of 25 regions, to see how the monitor changes in brightness and contrast.

Against the ISO 14861:2015 standard, the panel can’t hit our requirements for contrast deviation of 10% or better. We see scores just above 10% contrast deviance on the right (the red sectors), with the left-hand side having a very dim reading at 100% white, some 16% below our 120 nits calibration target. Generally, things aren’t wretched, but the peripheries of each side have worse readings than the centre quadrants do.

 

Benchmark summary

In general, the G2590PX performs well for a TN panel monitor. Its initial calibration is easy to achieve; the most important thing is just reducing the brightness to more reasonable levels. The panel’s contrast is fine at 1000:1, white point is on point at ~6500K and the gamma curve is a reasonable ~2.3 at its stock setting. The monitor doesn’t respect the sRGB colour space, overshooting in some areas and undershooting in others, and colour accuracy is merely average. Screen uniformity could also be improved, with a few quadrants reading significantly dimmer than their fellows. However, for a gaming-focused monitor available at what is a relatively low price point, these are strong results.

 

Wrapping Up

The G2590PX is a stylish monitor that performs well in fast-paced games and has been better calibrated than many of its 1080p 144Hz peers. Its low cost is driven through the use of a TN panel which doesn’t reproduce colours or offer as wide viewing angles as other technologies, but these are sensible sacrifices for a gaming-focused display. The monitor ticks all of the boxes when it comes to extras, with the inclusion of a USB hub, good ergonomics and helpful blue-light reduction and gaming modes. If you are looking for a 1080p 144Hz gaming monitor at a reasonable price, the G2590PX from AOC is an excellent candidate that we highly recommend.

  • 10/10
    Design - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Features - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Performance - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Value - 9/10
9/10
Buy from Amazon
£234

Last modified: April 11, 2018

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