Gigabyte Aorus CV27F Monitor Review: 27" Of 165Hz Curved Gaming Bliss
Gigabyte Aorus CV27F Review: Included Software
Windows apps for managing displays aren't a new concept, but it's one we like an awful lot. OSD Sidekick in particular gives access to tons of tweakable settings that let you get the monitor to output exactly what you want, and some reasonable presets to help you out if you'd rather go that route. The Display Settings tab exposes all of those adjustable settings. The settings below are what we got after performing the factory reset on the display. We should mention that, overall, those defaults looked pretty good, too.
Some of the setting names in OSD Sidekick aren't quite as obvious as we'd like. The Black Equalizer is basically a color compressor. If you think about an equalizer for audio, the name makes sense. When set to 10, which is right in the middle, white is very white and black is quite black. However, when the slider is pushed towards the left, white becomes darker and darker. Pulling the slider to the right raises the brightness floor, so black becomes gray. Color Vibrance is a saturation slider. If you ever wanted to game in black and white, there's no time like the present; just push the slider down to 0 for no saturation. Pulling it back up beyond the default setting of 10 brought the saturation levels way up.
Other setting names are very obvious. Color temperature presets are just "Warm" or "Cool", but the User Defined setting allows you to set the Red, Green, and Blue channels of the panel independently. Prior to calibration, DisplayCAL 3 suggested we turn the green channel down just a few notches, from 100 to 93. Since we had plans for VRR gaming with the CV27F, we left FreeSync enabled.
Also configurable here are several on-screen helpers. The Crosshair setting allows you to add a centered graphic with your desired styling in the center of the screen, which is handy if you're playing a rare game that doesn't already have a targeting graphic. The Refresh Rate shows the current panel refresh rate, and as a bonus, it bounces up and down while FreeSync is enabled, so it acts as a sort of instantaneous FPS counter. Gaming Timer lets you keep track of how long you've been playing.
The Hotkeys tab gives you quick control over basically every setting, including brightness, contrast, headphone volume, and changing inputs. Some of these hotkeys are very helpful. We liked being able to swap inputs with a hotkey on the keyboard instead of having to either use the single stick control on the bottom of the CV27F or opening OSD Sidekick. This ability could come in handy in a college dorm situation, where a monitor might also double as a display for a game console.
General Settings lets you set up the CV27F's on-screen display menu. Here you can change the transparency, how long the OSD stays on the screen, and how the power LED functions. You can also bind each direction on the four-way joystick control to different parts of the menu. However, we didn't find much need for the on-screen display. With OSD Sidekick available, the only time we ever used the joystick control was to press it down in the center to power on the display.
ANC is short for Active Noise Cancellation, which the CV27F supports by means of two built-in microphones, plus a third microphone supplied by a two-connector analog headset. The third microphone is necessary to get any input into the monitor, however. Without an external microphone connected, the "position" control panel didn't seem to do anything and at no point did those microphones record anything. However, once the external mic was plugged into the jack (the same Rode VideoMicro from our Sound BlasterX AE-9 review), flipping between all the microphone positions let us set a "master" microphone, and the two deselected mics performed noise-canceling duties. You can also toggle between five levels of noise cancellation, which is handy in situations where your voice is lost in the noise.
The About tab shows the application and firmware version, optionally auto-updates OSD Sidekick, and installs monitor firmware downloaded from Gigabyte's servers directly in the app.
Now that the monitor's software is configured, it's time to calibrate the panel and see if the CV27F lives up to its billing.