Discussions about high performance game monitors generally focus on speed-related items, such as entry delay and frame rate. But discussions about image quality extend to color accuracy and contrast. To this end, we are seeing more monitors that support HDR and extended color ranges. When a screen combines these things with low latency and a fast refresh rate, the gaming experience can move to a new level
The first HDR monitors appeared about 18 months ago and, like all cutting-edge technology, obtained higher prices. That is still true today if you also want a zone dimming panel with 4K resolution and a fast refresh rate. Today, there are cheaper alternatives available if you are willing to use a border matrix backlight and lower pixel density. We are seeing a new crop of 27-inch curved screens that offer HDR, DCI-P3 color and premium update rates. The sacrifice? You have to settle for the FHD resolution. But with a lower pixel density you get higher performance and a lower need for an expensive graphics card to handle it.
Curved monitor for Aorus CV27F 165Hz games (Credit: Gigabyte)  The 27-inch Aorus CV27F display is a VA panel with a 1500R curvature and a 165 Hz refresh rate (without overclocking). With FreeSync 2, you can even enjoy HDR content with an older AMD graphics card, like the AMD Radeon R9 285 that we have in one of our test equipment. No, HDR at 3840 x 2160 will not work above 30 frames per second (fps) like some of the best 4K game monitors. But you can run HDR up to 165 fps at 1920 x 1080. And the price is also much more attractive.The Aorus CV27F sells for around $ 350 at this time.The image quality of something like the Asus PG27UQ, a $ 1,500 HDR game monitor with a full matrix backlight wi dimming l Ocal, it sells for less than a quarter of the price.
Aorus CV27F specifications
|Panel type and backlight||VA / W-LED, edge matrix|
| Screen size, aspect ratio and curve radius
||24 inches / 16: 9
Curve radius: 1500 mm
| Maximum resolution and refresh rate
||1920×1080 @ 165Hz
|Native color Depth and range  8 bits / DCI-P3|
|Response time (GTG)||1 ms|
|Contrast||3,000: 1  Speakers||✗|
|Video inputs||1x DisplayPort 1.2
1x HDMI 2.0
|Audio||1x 3.5mm headphone output|
| USB 3.0
||1x up, 2x down|
|Power consumption||24w, brightness at 200 nits|
|Panel dimensions (width x height x depth with base)  24.1 x 15.8-21 x 10.2 inches / 614 x 401-533 x 260 mm  Panel thickness||2.9 inches / 74 mm|
|Bevel width||Top / sides: 0.3 inches / 8 mm
Bottom: 0.9 inches (22 mm)
|Weight||15.4 pounds (7 kg)|
|Warranty  Three years|
Players will find here almost all the features they want, such as a fast DCI-P3 color refresh rate, a high contrast panel, a low entry delay and even a reduction of motion blur. To top it off, although Nvidia has not certified it that way, our tests confirmed that the Aorus CV27F can run G-Sync and will process HDR in FreeSync or G-Sync.
Unpacking and accessories
The CV27F comes with a generous cable package. It obtains HDMI, DisplayPort and USB 3.0 along with an IEC cable for the internal power supply. Our sample was also sent with power cables for the electrical systems of two other countries. The base, the upright and the panel are separated in the box and can be assembled without tools.
The design is simple, but the intent of the CV27F is crystal clear. The curve is 1500R, tight enough to provide a subtle surround effect, but not so much that the image is distorted. However, the curve is barely noticeable. You can use the monitor for work day tasks and just notice its shape.
The bevel is 8 mm thick at the top and the sides with a wider strip at the bottom. There is a joystick in the bottom center. When pressed, a quick and configurable menu appears. One click back opens the full screen display (OSD) and one click forward alternates the power.
The back of the panel has an RGB lighting effect that can be controlled in the OSD and with Gigabyte’s downloadable software, RGB Fusion. The software allows the CV27F to coordinate color schemes with other Aorus components, such as CPU coolers and LED fans. Additional style signs include the Aorus bird logo in an upright position and a combination of matte and brushed finishes molded into thick plastic.
The build quality is first class with a solid support that offers a height adjustment of 5.2 inches, along with 20- Turn both sides, tilt 21 degrees back and 5 degrees forward. The movements are smooth and without game. Although the base looks thin, it is made of a solid aluminum foundry and is very stable without creating a large footprint.
The side profile is quite thick, thanks to the curve of the panel. The ports are located on the bottom entry panel, which is clearly labeled with large molded icons. There are three USB 3.0 ports (one ascending and two inactive), along with two HDMI 2.0 and a DisplayPort 1.2. All are compatible with FreeSync 2 with HDR, but if you use G-Sync (which is not officially compatible), you must connect through DisplayPort. There is a headphone jack and an audio input, but no internal speakers.
Characteristics of OSD
 The OSD includes a lot in an efficient system. First is the Gaming menu, where you’ll find everything you need for competitive gaming, including a blur reduction feature called Aim Stabilizer (more on that in the Gaming & Hands-on section below).
To adjust the image quality, there are seven image modes, plus three memories custom. All allow adjustment, except the sRGB mode, which sets the brightness to 170 nits and dims the calibration options. Fortunately, the CV27F is quite accurate in its default standard mode and can be enjoyed without calibration. You can make adjustments in the User mode, which has five gamma presets and three color temperatures. We use them to achieve a high level of image fidelity. If you want a warmer presentation to read, there is also a low blue light setting.
The GameAssist menu has a selection of aiming points, an update frequency indicator and a countdown timer. You can place the information window in any corner of the screen. In addition, there is a screen alignment chart to help align multi-screen settings.
Configuration and calibration
Standard image mode offers good accuracy without calibration. Its gamma is a bit clear, which makes the image somewhat flat and dull. sRGB offers no relief and, again, its brightness is set at 170 nits.
The best option is to calibrate the Standard mode by changing the gamma preset from 3 to 4 and adjusting the RGB sliders. This raises the image quality of the CV27F to an extremely high standard. However, one note: in any mode, except sRGB, you must accept the native DCI-P3 color gamut. You will see later in our tests that it is not as far from sRGB as you might think, so the overall appearance is very saturated if it is not quite accurate.
These are the settings we use:
|Aorus CV27F calibration settings|
| Image mode
|Brightness 200 nits||46
 Brightness 120 nits
|Brightness 100 nits||17|
|Brightness 80 nits||11|
| Color Temp User
||Red 95, Green 98, Blue 100|
Games and practice
Our practical experience with the CV27F revealed a couple of interesting things. First, the frame rate in Call of Duty: WWII and Tomb Raider remained locked at 165 fps. That is the advantage of FHD resolution. In addition, the movement remained smooth, so sharp details were always visible. One could argue that a 4K monitor at 60 fps does not look better than an FHD at 165 fps. In the Aorus C27F, there was no blur, thanks to adaptive synchronization. Although G-Sync compatibility is not officially compatible, we observe the same quality when using FreeSync or G-Sync.
When it came to FreeSync 2, our PC with Radeon R9 285 showed frame rates in the range of 80-90 fps for Call of Duty and Tomb Raider . And, of course, HDR was available if we wanted to use it.
HDR was also available when we connected the monitor to an Nvidia graphics card, the GTX 1080 Ti FE, for G-Sync. We were able to turn on HDR on both Windows and Call of Duty while using G-Sync at 165 Hz.
Like all strobe backlighting lights, the Aorus blue reduction function, stabilizer aim, light output was reduced, in this case by approximately 60%. A three-level overdrive softened things without noticeable ghosts. That, combined with the high frame rate possible in FHD, will not achieve blur reduction frequently. Overdrive does not work at refresh rates below 100 Hz or with adaptive synchronization.
We were surprised by an elevated black level in HDR mode. After playing a little, we lowered the level of black HDR in the game menu, which improved the image. Taking a close look at the results of our HDR test shows why this adjustment was necessary. The monitor records the same luminance value of 0-10% brightness. This is a bug that could potentially be corrected with a Gigabyte firmware update. The bottom line is that in HDR-enabled games, one may need to lower the black level in the game menu to compensate for the CV27F’s black level error. In any case, the color still had rich nuances that showed the extended color range of Aorus.
On the Windows desktop, HDR added some pop, but we could see a slight improvement in the edges in sharp transitions from dark to light. We couldn’t find a way to disable this, but it wasn’t a big distraction. The HDR color saturation looked nice and vivid without exaggeration. Text and small graphics rendered well, but graphic editors will want a higher pixel density than Aorus’ 81.59 pixels per inch. Fortunately, there is a QHD version of this monitor (the Aorus CV27Q, $ 460 at the time of writing) with a higher pixel density (109ppi, our optimal point), which we will explore in an upcoming review.
Both the CV27F and its higher resolution brother use an integrated chip and two microphones for noise cancellation when headphones are connected. This should help combat voice distortion and allow other players to hear you more clearly while chatting.