AOC make some of the best budget gaming monitors in the biz, with both their flat 24G2U and curved C24G1 sitting high on all of my various recommendation lists ever since they came out. Now, the C24G1 has been replaced by the even better C24G2U, which bumps this 24in, 1920x1080 monitor's refresh rate up to an even more pleasing 165Hz, and adds a USB3 hub to its series of ports and inputs. And to top it all off, it will only set you back £180 / $190.
That's an incredible set of specs for a gaming monitor of this price, especially when it's also got a height-adjustable stand and a sleek, slim design. There's still a hint of this being a 'gaming' screen thanks to the subtle red, metallic highlights on its lower bezel and the base of the stand, but for the most part, this is a good-looking modern screen you wouldn't be embarrassed to have in your home office or gaming desk - especially not when it's beautiful curved VA panel can produce such rich, vibrant colours straight out of the box.
On its default Standard Eco mode and warm colour temperature settings, my Xrite i1 DisplayPro calibrator showed the C24G2U was already displaying a near-perfect 99.1% of the standard sRGB colour gamut. I was also impressed by its 89.1% coverage of the HDR-grade DCI-P3 colour gamut as well. The C24G2U isn't an HDR display, but the more of this gamut a monitor can display, the deeper and more vibrant colours will appear onscreen.
In fact, I was pretty impressed with all of the C24G2U's colour profiles - which is probably the first time I've ever said such a thing. Often, any special gaming modes are either massively oversharpened, got crazy contrast or washed out colours, and it's a real rare occasion where they look any good. With the C24G2U, however, all six of its additional gaming modes - from its dedicated FPS, RTS and Racing modes to its three customisable Gamer profiles - are just as accurate and pleasing to look at as its default settings. They all covered at least 99% of the sRGB colour gamut, and the FPS mode actually covered a tad more than the standard Eco mode, stretching to 99.5%. That's practically unheard of, and it means you don't have to compromise on image quality if you want to make use of its special gaming modes.
Admittedly, the C24G2U isn't the brightest screen I've ever seen, with its peak white level maxing out at around 260cd/m2, but that's still fine in the grand scheme of things. You'll likely have to have it set to 100% during the day (as I did, especially if you're working or playing games in a bright room), but that's still more than enough for everyday use, and I never found myself wishing I could turn it up any further.
Thankfully, its average brightness is the screen's only real flaw. Since this is a VA panel, the C24G2U has superb contrast, hitting 3631:1 on its default settings according to my calibrator, and peaking at around 3893:1 on its FPS mode. Likewise, it has lovely low black levels of just 0.06cd/m2 (the closer to 0.00cd/m2, the better), producing lovely, dark, inky blacks even on max brightness.
All in all, it's a great-looking screen. It's a Freesync Premium one, too, meaning its variable refresh rate tech (which automatically syncs your monitor's refresh rate to the number of frames being spat out by your GPU) works in a wider frame rate range than your typical Freesync screen. According to AOC, this range is 48-165Hz, so as long as you're hitting 48fps or above, then you should get the benefit of a tear-free, stutter-free gaming experience.
The C24G2U isn't currently one of Nvidia's officially certified G-Sync Compatible monitors, admittedly, but when I fired up Doom Eternal on the C24G2U with an Nvidia graphics card inside my PC, I didn't run into any kind of trouble whatsoever. Sometimes, uncertified G-Sync compatible displays (with a small 'c', as all Freesync screens are technically G-Sync compatible now, even if they haven't passed Nvidia's big 'C' Compatible tests) can exhibit signs of blinking, pulsing, washed out colours or fluctuating brightness levels when AMD's variable refresh rate tech fails to play nicely with Nvidia cards, but none of this happened on the C24G2U. As such, this monitor should be a great fit for AMD and Nvidia card owners alike.
There's really nothing to complain about with the AOC C24G2U, especially when its £180 / $190 price is so easy on the wallet. Whether you're looking to add a second monitor to your gaming setup or you're upgrading from a very old one, the C24G2U is a great pick for high refresh rate 1080p gaming, and our new curved budget gaming monitor of choice. Meanwhile, if it's a flat gaming monitor you're looking for, AOC's similarly-priced 144Hz 24G2U (no 'c') is still a great alternative.