- Stylish design
- Good image quality
- Plenty of useful features
- On-screen menu a bit clunky
- Not great for gaming
- Review Price: £339
- 27-inch panel size
- IPS panel type
- 60Hz refresh rate
- 4ms response time
- Height, pivot, rotate and tilt adjust
- 1000:1 contrast
- 2560 x 1440 resolution
What is the AOC Q2790PQU?
The AOC Q2790PQU is a stylish, high-end monitor aimed at those who don’t want to compromise on either image quality or design. Measuring 27 inches from corner to corner, and with an ample 2560 x 1440 resolution, it provides a large and detailed image that’s great for desktop work and watching video.
With a basic 60Hz refresh rate, this monitor isn’t one for hardcore gamers; otherwise, its excellent image quality will at least make your games look their finest.
AOC Q2790PQU – Design and features
This is a monitor with two main goals. The first is to look good on your desk, and the second is to deliver great image quality. So let’s start with the first of those.
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AOC has done a great job with this display’s styling. The most obvious feature is the dark, metallic paint job of the stand and chin bezel. It isn’t real metal, but the effect is similar. It’s less staid than the plain black finishes of most business monitors, but steers well clear of the garish look of the majority of gaming monitors.
Also key is its low-profile bezel. The top and sides of the frame are hidden behind the front pane of plastic, which is also the front of the screen itself. As such, when it’s off it appears that there’s just a tiny 2mm thick bezel round the edge of the screen.
Meanwhile, round the back things are a little more mundane – an Apple 5K display it isn’t. Nevertheless, it’s still reasonably tidy and has a practical textured black plastic finish.
Moving onto more practical considerations, the included stand offers 130mm of height adjustment, up to a maximum of 530mm. It also rotates on its base, it can be tilted forward and back, and it can pivot round into a portrait mode. Even if you plan on using the display in its normal landscape orientation, it’s always useful to have a portrait mode to make plugging in cables easier.
Speaking of which, you get an ample selection of connections here. It’s good to see the use of a normal mains power cable, rather than needing a power brick in-between the display and mains power supply.
For video there’s one DisplayPort, two HDMI and one VGA. You also get four USB 3.0 ports, with an input and all four outputs round the back. It would have been nice for a couple of the USB ports to be positioned on the side; but it’s a minor point.
Far more of an issue is navigating this display’s on-screen menus. AOC has a pretty poor track record here, with its control systems often feeling rather unintuitive.
The Q2790PQU uses a mini-joystick on the rear of the display that you press in to activate, then it’s relatively easy to scroll around the menus. However, the click action is a bit stiff, so it’s all too easy to accidentally hit a direction instead of pushing it straight in, thus activating one of the quick-access menus. Plus, the way you have to tap the button each time to select an option in the menu feels a little clunky.
That said, once you’ve set it up to your liking, you’ll seldom need to touch it again (unless you’re a professional who regularly calibrates their display).
Plus, the selection of options is excellent. It’s comprehensive without being overwhelming, so it’s quick and easy to lower the brightness to a sensible level and tweak the colour balance if need be. Any other settings you shouldn’t have to touch, although the low blue light mode is useful for those who work late into the night.
As for this monitor’s LCD panel, it’s of the IPS type so it should offer good viewing angles and generally excellent image quality. It’s a true 8-bit panel, too, so can produce all the colours you’d expect properly, without having to resort to dithering. Meanwhile, the backlight is of the white LED variety.
With a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, the AOC has a perfect pixels-per-inch count of 110ppi. This offers an ideal balance such that the screen looks sharp but things aren’t so small you can’t read them.
AOC Q2790PQU – Image quality
Right out of the box, the AOC Q2790PQU delivers excellent image quality. Its IPS LCD panel looks great from any angle, with little to no distortion of colours, or change in brightness as you move off-centre. There is some IPS glow, but that’s to be expected from any IPS screen – and it’s no worse than usual here.
Colours are rich and vibrant, yet accurate-looking too. There’s no odd-coloured tinge, no sense that everything looks a bit too bright or too dark. It just looks right.
Putting that experience into numbers, our X-rite iDisplay Pro colorimeter shows just how good this display is.
A contrast ratio of 1160:1 is comfortably beyond the 1000:1 baseline for a decent monitor. As such, there’s a nice difference between the darkest colours and the lightest. You can get even better contrast with VA LCD panels, but then you tend to compromise elsewhere in terms of image quality.
This display’s colour temperature is also just about perfect at its default setting. The ideal is 6500K and it registered 6553K. However, this is with the brightness set to an overly bright 360 nits (90%). Lowering this to a more sensible 150 nits (23%) does affect the colour temperature, with it dropping to 6302K. The gamma score also drops from a 2.13 to 2.11; the ideal is 2.2.
These changes are small enough that, for most purposes, the monitor will be perfectly fine for day-to-day use – but with a bit of tweaking the display can be brought back into line.
Switch from the default Warm colour preset to User and you can alter the RGB balance. Your mileage may vary, but by tweaking these values from 50 x 50 x 50 to 47 x 46 x 50, we were able to bring the colour temperature back to 6525K. Also, switching from the gamma1 setting to gamma2, pushed the gamma score to 2.14.
Meanwhile, in terms of this display’s ability to reproduce the full range of colours, and distinguish between them properly, the AOC Q2790PQU nails this too. Our colorimeter measured it as covering 99.9% of the standard sRGB colour space, while its Delta E score of just 0.14 is excellent.
For any gamers out there, this display is fine for anything that doesn’t rely too much on responsiveness. There’s no excessive input lag and the 4ms response time is adequate. However, a 60Hz display is unlikely to be able to compete with faster refresh rate displays.
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Why buy the AOC Q2790PQU?
This is a top-quality monitor that delivers stylish looks, a useful set of features and excellent image quality. All this and it’s competitively priced too – there really is very little to complain about.
For true imaging professionals or hardcore gamers it doesn’t quite cut it, but for the rest of us, it’s a great option.
A top-notch monitor for a great price.