Color Performance and Calibration
Moving on to the all-important color performance, and things aren’t looking so good for the AG322QCX in its default state. The monitor ships with brightness set to 90, or 220 nits, but it’s the white balance that is far from accurate. Bizarrely, there’s a noticeable red tint to this display from the factory, at least my review unit, leading to a color temperature average of just 6047K. Greyscale performance is all over the shop too, with a gamma less than 2.0 and a greyscale sweep dE2000 average of 5.23.
Poor white balance shifts all colors towards the red area of the spectrum, leading to a weak saturation average of 4.16. Some colors do exceed the sRGB spectrum with their peak levels – greens and reds in particular – though blues aren’t quite as saturated. Still, sRGB coverage reaches 99.89%, albeit with a dE average of just 4.64 in our intensive ColorChecker test.
Considering these results, it’s surprising AOC has opted to use the ‘warm’ color temperature mode by default, as opposed to the included sRGB mode. Switching to this sRGB mode delivers significantly better results, essentially fixing the color tint. In this mode, the average CCT is 6566K and there’s a greyscale dE of 1.08, which is fantastic. Gamma is still slightly too low, but much improved over default.
How about color performance in the sRGB mode? Well, it’s very good, with a saturation dE2000 average of 1.22 and a ColorChecker result of 1.24. The fact you can change just one setting in the OSD and achieve results like this is outstanding from a gaming monitor.
However I do have one minor complaint about the sRGB mode, and that is how the mode is locked to one brightness level: 203 nits. I normally calibrate all monitors to 200 nits, but others may want to use the display at lower or higher brightness levels depending on their ambient conditions. The fact you can’t change the brightness while in the color-accurate sRGB mode is disappointing, as you’ll have to fully calibrate the display using the manual OSD controls should you want to change the brightness. In future models, AOC should really unlock the brightness adjustment for all modes.
Normally here I’d talk about the tweaks you can make in the OSD to improve the color performance without a calibration tool, but for most people, the sRGB mode will provide good enough performance without any hassle. Instead, I’ll be moving on to looking at just how good this display can get through full calibration using SpectraCAL’s CALMAN 5 software.
Fully Calibrated using SpectraCAL CALMAN 5
With a strong sRGB mode, it’s no surprise that the AG322QCX can be calibrated to an impressive standard. I achieved an excellent grayscale deltaE of 0.36 with essentially spot-on color temperature and gamma. This led to accurate color performance: a deltaE of 0.52 in saturation sweeps and 0.73 in ColorChecker.
While the calibrated results here are strong, I wouldn’t recommend this monitor for professionals due to the uniformity issues I mentioned earlier. That said, as a gaming monitor, you won’t be disappointed with how this display performs with a simple setting change in the OSD.