For those who don’t want the extreme wraparound effect, there are plenty of gently curved monitors out there. That’s understandable, because a radius narrower than about 1300R can cause image distortion. But for hardcore gamers who want to replicate VR goggles without the bulky technology hanging over their heads, the 1000R ultra-wide screen does a great job of filling their peripheral vision and surrounding the player in a virtual environment.
AOC CU34G3S is one such monitor. It’s 34 inches diagonal and features a VA panel that delivers over 3,000:1 contrast. HDR and wide color gamut deliver punchy, realistic images. Plus, Adaptive-Sync and a 165Hz refresh rate boost gaming performance. The best part is the price. It’s only $430 at the time of writing this article. This is a great candidate to join the ranks of the best gaming monitors.
AOC CU34G3S Specs
|VA/W-LED, edge array
|Screen size/aspect ratio
|34 inches / 21:9
|row 2 – cell 0
|Curve radius: 1000mm
|Maximum resolution and refresh rate
|3440×1440 @ 165Hz
|row 4 – cell 0
|Free Sync: 48-165Hz
|row 5 – cell 0
|Native color depth and color gamut
|Response time (GTG)
|2x DisplayPort 1.2
|Row 12 – Cell 0
|2x HDMI 2.0
|3.5mm headphone output
|1x up, 4x down
|48 watts, brightness @ 200 nits
|Panel dimensions WxHxD (including base)
|31.3 x 15.8-20.9 x 13.4 inches (795 x 402-532 x 340mm)
|5.2 inches (133mm)
|Top/Side: 0.3″ (8mm)
|Row 19 – Cell 0
|Bottom: 0.9 inch (22mm)
|18.3 lbs (8.3kg)
Equipped with a high-contrast VA panel, the CU34G3S brings plenty of dynamic range to your party. It doesn’t have HDR dimming, but it has the deepest image depth of any IPS panel. Achieves vivid colors with a wide color gamut that covers nearly 87% of DCI-P3. For the purists, an accurate sRGB mode is hidden in the color temperature options. Colors are very accurate and no calibration is required in either mode.
To keep your game running smoothly, AOC includes both kinds of Adaptive-Sync. AMD FreeSync is a native technology and operates in the 48-165 Hz range. The CU34G3S is not certified by his Nvidia, but Nvidia G-Sync works fine, as my testing confirmed. As a play aid, Adaptive-Sync is replaced with an aimpoint, frame counter, and backlit strobe for blur reduction. It also includes an effective 3-level overdrive.
AOC has omitted the LED lighting which does not compromise the functionality of the CU34G3S. It has built-in speakers and numerous USB 3.2 ports (1 upstream, 4 down) to support peripherals. A sturdy, adjustable stand completes the package, so this looks like a good deal for users who want maximum image curvature.
assembly and accessories
The CU34G3S is well protected in a large carton surrounded by frangible foam in three parts. After aligning the base and uprights using captive bolts, the panels snap into place. Below the mounting point is a 100mm VESA mount that works with aftermarket arms and brackets. Bundled cables include HDMI and DisplayPort, but not USB. The power supply is unusually internal and the interface is IEC C5-6 commonly found on power bricks. This is my first time. I’m used to seeing IEC C13-14. Anyway, once everything was hooked up the CU34G3S worked fine.
image 1 of Five
A thin flat bezel surrounds the image, with an 8mm border around the top and sides and a 22mm border on the bottom. The cable holes here and in the base have red trim. There’s more red on the back that offsets the stand and small grilles on either side, with the AOC logo front and back in silver. The base is also a silver color with a matte finish. It looks like solid metal but is actually a plastic shell over a cast metal core.
The stand is a solid piece with -5/22 degree tilt, 30 degree swivel and 130 mm height adjustment. The movement is solid, but there is a rattling at the mounting part of the panel and the stand. The screen may shake slightly when you hit the desk during the game.
The side view shows the bulge on the component facing up for easy access to the USB port. It’s on the other side of the photo above. The inputs are closer to the center and include two DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack. Control buttons are also displayed here. A power key and four controls for menu navigation. The internal speaker boasts 5 watts of power and plays really loud. Distortion is minimal, but doesn’t affect the bass or low-mid frequencies too much. Players looking for good sound are advised to use headphones connected to the 3.5mm audio jack.
The CU34G3S has 4 buttons to navigate the OSD instead of a joystick. It’s a bit old-fashioned by today’s standards, but it gets the job done. The menu is the familiar AOC ribbon-style graphic that appears at the bottom center of the screen.
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Seven submenus begin with Luminance, which includes Brightness & Contrast, Gamma, Dynamic Contrast (SDR only), and HDR mode. There are also eight image modes called Eco that focus on specific tasks or game types. Standard is the best place and is also the default mode. Coupled with the game modes detailed below, the eco mode changes can be confusing. I don’t see any improvement with calibration, but luckily the default image is very accurate.
Color settings let you choose from five presets, including sRGB. This is the method if you want the correct configuration of the SDR content. Other options use the monitor’s full native color gamut, which covers 87% of DCI-P3. The default option, warm, is very accurate and cannot be improved.
Picture Boost is unique to AOC monitors. This allows the user to create a frame in the center of the screen that is lighter or darker than the surrounding image. Within the frame, you can adjust brightness and contrast, size and position. Tucked away in the OSD settings menu, you can find the DisplayPort version option and the break reminder setting.
The ultra-wide display is great for viewing multiple sources, and the CU34G3S can display two images simultaneously. It’s a picture-in-picture, so you can resize and reposition the secondary window.
Game settings allow you to choose from multiple game modes that change image and video processing parameters. It’s confusing when combined with eco mode. We recommend leaving Game Mode off and setting the overdrive to your liking. Strong works fine with no ghosting, but I noticed a slight black trail behind moving objects in my test pattern. This is a sign of undershoot. Here you can also turn on the frame counter and set up a backlight strobe. It has 20 levels to reduce blur as the photo gets darker.
AOC CU34G3S setup and calibration
The CU34G3S is very accurate out of the box in standard mode and warm temperature with game mode off. Tried different settings, including user color temperature, with no improvement in performance. We recommend leaving the monitor at its default settings and adjusting the brightness to your liking. Below are some commonly used level settings. If you want the sRGB color gamut, there is an option for SDR content within the color temperature settings. It renders that small gamut almost perfectly.
In HDR mode, the default option is DisplayHDR closest to the mark. Other settings include games, images, and movies. All three add edge enhancement and reduce image quality. For best results with HDR content, use DisplayHDR.
- 200 – 91
- 120 – 45
- 100 – 31
- 80-18 (min. 54 nits)
Games and hands-on
If you’ve never used a curved monitor before, or if the monitor you’ve been using is gently curved, we recommend checking out the 1000R Ultra Widescreen before committing. It is the tightest curve and the extreme. Thanks to its tight curves, spreadsheets and text documents have a pincushion effect. It’s inevitable, but it’s not necessarily a problem. Once you get used to it, it’s barely noticeable unless you have a flat screen nearby. And that’s another consideration. If you use multiple monitors, they should all be the same curve and size. The three CU34G3S make an excellent cockpit for his driving and flight simulator. Two screens are great for first person shooters.
Shape aside, the CU34G3S offers plenty of screen real estate to work with. Since you’re basically looking at two 27-inch QHD monitors, placing the windows side-by-side is natural. The pixel density is the same at 109 ppi, so the images have the same sharpness.
Colors and contrast are pleasing, featuring true blacks and sharp rendering of dark objects against light backgrounds. Black text on white fields renders nicely with no visible jaggies or anti-aliasing. If you use HDR on Windows, don’t use the extra HDR mode. Only DisplayHDR is displayed without edge enhancement.
The game was a lot of fun. The CU34G3S delivers well-balanced performance with smooth motion and very low input lag.It didn’t blow my test (response and lag scores were solidly average), but it matched my play rhythm, with no discernible lag or loss of detail in fast-moving sequences. I always go straight Doom Eternal In Horde mode, in this case, we cut through the first few arenas in seemingly record time. The extra peripheral information was certainly helpful, and being close to my eyes was a plus.
A game that had more time to explore the environment tomb Raider, Additionally, it showed the value of a 21:9 screen. There’s no better way to game than an ultra-wide angle. The best 16:9 panels can’t fit the excess width, and AOC’s tight curve accentuates the effect.
It’s hard to beat the gameplay experience that a monitor like the CU34G3S offers if you want to deal with image distortions in your daily work.
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