Whenever gaming gear is festooned with racing car design touches or imbued with a big name brand, things can get a bit cringeworthy (eyebrows are often raised at the resulting designs, not to mention prices). And although the AOC AGON PD27 is still an expensive monitor at $800 / €800, it offers the top specs one could ever want without shelling out for a true 4K behemoth.
The blend of AOC and Porsche Design for the AOC AGON PD27 gaming monitor also bucks the questionable trend of team-ups feeling off; the combination seems to work neatly on the surface. But does this translate into one of the best gaming monitors?
Design & features
This is the area in which the PD27 monitor truly shines. It is heavily imbued with a Porsche design approach, ethos, and aesthetic. It's a slick, sleek, chic, and really quite beautiful-looking thing.
The clearest and most obvious flourish inspired by Porsche's design ethos is the stand. It's a symphony in chrome and bars that really does look like the roll cages of racing cars that inspired it. It's rock solid, industrial, and provides a sturdy frame for the monitor that channels the Porsche car. The stand also houses some RGB lighting which is tastefully done, and very much in keeping with the design, and there is also a downward-facing light that projects the 'PD' emblem on to your desk. Nice.
My only small gripe is one that couldn't really be addressed anyway: 'most' of the Porsche-inspired design - the rear stand - is out of sight when you're using the monitor. It's both a shame and a necessity of the design. There's not an easy place on the front of a screen for a roll cage-inspired feature really, is there?
The 1000R curvature only serves to heighten the design aesthetic while naturally adding to a game experience, giving the monitor a sports car curve flourish. It genuinely feels like an AOC monitor has gone through the front doors of a Porsche Design workshop and come out the other end as a Porsche AOC monitor, knocked about, augmented, and made even more premium. The curved panel also houses some RGB goodness which can be programmed on board and matches that on the stand.
It's important to note that this stand - and monitor on the whole - are large for a 27-inch panel. It will require a fair whack of desk real estate. It's form and size definitely indicates that the monitor would be ideal for going into a corner, for example.
While it's easy to wax lyrical about the design if it's of your tastes - which it happens to be, for me - the PD27 is clearly a well-built AOC gaming monitor. You are of course getting some flourishes the monitor maker's range doesn't normally have, but this still has the aura of a great gaming panel nonetheless.
Elsewhere, we have what's inside the monitor; what makes it tick, perform, and how you can engage with it. And at its core, the AOC AGON PD27 is very much a gaming monitor. Very much. It's a 27-inch VA panel offering a 1440p resolution - the sweet spot for gaming still even with the landscape of the best graphics card shifting toward 4K - and spectacular speeds of up to 240Hz refresh rate, and a 0.5 response time (MPRT). These are blistering and certainly indicate the direction of travel and target audience (and games) for the PD27. There's also HDR400 certification, FeeSync Premium Pro, and contrast ratios of 2500:1 (static) and 80,000,000:1 (dynamic) thrown in for good measure too.
In terms of extras, the battery-powered keypad works as a remote for easy access to the settings that offer a great range of optimisation and customisation points. This is particularly useful given the on-monitor controls is a joystick on the back right of the panel, and thus much harder to access.
Naturally, and despite the flashy design and specs, the proof is in the use with gaming monitors. Once set up, positioned, and angled right on your setup, the PD27, on the whole, is a terrific monitor to use.
The speedy specs of the monitor are indeed indicative of its home in games, and this was proven with round after round of Apex Legends where the gameplay was some of the smoothest I've ever experienced. The movement in Red Dead Redemption 2 was also greatly enjoyable, making travelling through the landscape more like gliding than riding a horse, and even the map-scanning and overseeing in the likes of Total War Troy and Command & Conquer Remastered was a joy. The one thing I would say here is that the vibrancy and specific image detail is somewhat lacking at times with the PD27. And while this is acceptable to a limit given the place in the market it's clearly appealing to, it was noticeable in single-player RPGs and the like. It's a great VA panel, absolutely, but at close range, the IPS screens still have that noticeable edge. But the experience in games remains very high, and particularly so if you team it with one of the best gaming PCs - like the ASUS ROG GA15 PC that I am lucky enough to have.
It's quite light on the whole, but doesn't become pastel-y; there's sometimes a greyness to whites when using it for day-to-day tasks like documents or spreadsheets, for example. Perhaps indicative of the HDR400 rating that isn't world-beating, to say the least.
I have been using it as part of a two-screen setup for work and play, and having it slightly off centre isn't the perfect place, but it's still great. Truth be told though, due to its immersion-enhancing curvature, this would be even better, perfect perhaps, as the main display right in front of you. (It might work with another curved model, or with another PD27 if you have the budget, but the stand and the curve might make for a different spatial challenge.)
I would add that the joy of curved screens is their ability to draw your eyes, attention and focus in on the task at hand, be that work or play, and the PD27's 1000R curve does exactly that.
Overall - should you buy it?
All in, this is a tastefully done merger between AOC and Porsche Design; the result is one of the best-looking gaming monitors ever to appear, I think. If you're interested in design and having things a little different then this is absolutely up your street. If you're not into the design spirit and aesthetic approaches in gaming gear, then, well. I doubt you've made it to this part of the review.
But while the design might be for the few, the specs and performance are certainly for the masses: the PD27 excels in its performance as a day-to-day monitor but also in games where anything fast, pacey, twitchy, or speedy in particular is being played.
If you want something that can provide more of the speeds and smooth gameplay that some of the best G-Sync monitors have rather than the sheer image detail and quality that the best 4K monitors for gaming possess, then this sure is a great, and unique, pick of what's available right now.