Can you have too much of a good thing? That certainly seemed like a pertinent question when the AOC Agon AG493UCX arrived at Maximum PC HQ strapped to a large, wooden pallet. The box was absolutely huge. And this 49-inch monster gaming monitor is barely any smaller once extracted.
AOC Agon AG493UCX Review
It’s not the first monitor based on a huge 32:9 aspect LCD panel, of course, but such is the sheer scale of the thing and so crazily wide the proportions, it’s still an almost shocking sight sitting on a desk. And a very large desk it will need to be, too.
As a gaming-focused model, the AG493UCX runs a high refresh rate. That said, the 5120×1440 native resolution does limit options in that regard. 120Hz is your lot, as opposed to the 144Hz that’s typically the entry level for high-refresh- rate gaming on smaller, lower resolution panels, never mind the 240Hz or 360Hz of really serious e-sports oriented screens. Looking for hdmi 2.1 monitors? check out our list of best hdmi 2.1 monitors.
That native resolution basically means you’re getting a pair of conventional 1440p panels fused into one. On the upside, that provides loads of width for multitasking. Four full application windows, documents, or web pages side by side are certainly comfortable. You also get an impressive complement of connectivity options, including a pair of DisplayPort inputs, two HDMI ports, and slick single-cable USB-C connectivity complete with 65W of charging power. You can pair this monitor with RTX 3070 Ti GPU as well.
The downside? The vertical pixel count of 1,440 feels limited, especially at this elevated price point. That’s especially true given that cheap IPS 4K monitors can now be had for under $300, and offer 2,160 vertical pixels. Likewise, 5,120 by 1,440 pixels over a 49-inch panel doesn’t make for very impressive pixel density; 109dpi is not exactly “retina” territory.
Not that DPI is necessarily a major consideration for the AG493UCX’s core remit of gaming. Indeed, there are more than enough pixels to keep your graphics card busy. A total of 7.3 million is up there with a full 4K panel, so you’ll need a very powerful GPU to drive this beast properly in demanding games.
That consideration aside, issues such as response and sheer visual punch are more critical. With that in mind, AOC has included three user-configurable levels of pixel-accelerating overdrive. In truth, they don’t have a huge impact, but at least the most aggressive setting isn’t rendered irrelevant by introducing lots of ugly overshoot and inverse ghosting.
Anyway, overall pixel response is decent, but not up there with the latest, fastest IPS panels. That’s not a surprise, given this is a VA, not IPS, monitor, with a GtG response rating of 4ms, while the best IPS screens are now quoted at 1ms. Such metrics aren’t terribly reliable, but that claimed performance gap is at least indicative of a slight shortfall in speed versus the very best LCD monitors.
More impressive and once again a consequence of the VA panel tech is contrast performance. Combined with the 550-nit peak brightness, it makes for an above average HDR experience for a DisplayHDR 400 screen with no local dimming support. Want an example? Cyberpunk 2077 running in HDR mode with ray tracing enabled absolutely, positively zings. Add in the huge scale of the panel, plus the wrap-around effect of the panel curve, not to mention the 120Hz refresh, and you have an incredibly immersive gaming experience.
There are, inevitably, caveats. SDR content calibration in HDR mode is pretty terrible, introducing the need to switch back and forth between modes for a decent experience, depending on content type. Plus, the extreme 32:9 aspect doesn’t suit some games. Indeed, some titles don’t even support it.
All of which means the AOC AGON AG493UCX is an acquired taste, for both its core remit of gaming and general duties. It’s not for everyone. But if you understand and can accept the limitations and quirks of this kind of screen, there’s nothing else quite like it.
- 49” with 5120×1440 DQHD resolution.
- VA curved panel for wide viewing angles and world class colors
- Color gamut 90% Adobe RGB and 121.6% of sRGB
- VESA DisplayHDR 400 for bright, vibrant, and realistic colors
- Rapid 1ms response time (MPRT) and 120Hz refresh rate
- 2 x DisplayPort and 2 x HDMI connections
- Built-in KVM switch to easily switch between sources
- AMD FreeSync Premium Pro to reduce stuttering and tearing