We’ve seen a pretty clear division between business class and gaming displays. Enterprise screens are all about reliability and ease of use, where gaming monitors add high refresh rates, adaptive-sync, and ultra-responsive panels.
With AMD’s FreeSync technology, a manufacturer can add adaptive refresh with nothing more than the correct DisplayPort firmware. No additional hardware is required, which means any monitor can feasibly support tear free gameplay and the smooth motion that comes along with it.
Acer’s BE270U is the first stealth monitor we’ve seen. That is, nowhere on the box or in Acer’s marketing does it say anything about FreeSync. Not one word. The only clue is the 75Hz native refresh rate spec listed on its website. The OSD doesn’t provide a clue either. Only when you open AMD Catalyst and see the FreeSync status slider set to On will you realize what you’ve got on your desktop.
We have covered numerous examples of Acer’s excellent gaming monitors. The BE270U represents something of a departure, because it's aimed more at the enterprise high-end and professional markets. It doesn’t offer a wide gamut or a factory calibration, so in our eyes the word professional might be a stretch. It does have a nice IPS panel with good contrast, decent color and brightness, and a flexible OSD. It also sports a nearly bezel-free design. There is a border around the image, but it’s one of the thinnest we’ve seen yet.
The backlight is a flicker-free white LED offering a decent 350cd/m2 output rating. Color is sRGB and the bandwidth is a native 8 bits. 75Hz is the default refresh rate, and FreeSync works down to a minimum of 48Hz. That range is too narrow for Low Framerate Compensation, so gamers will have to supply enough video processing power to push 2560x1440 resolution past 48 FPS.
The BE270U looks to be a jack-of-all-trades with a good balance of features and performance. It won’t stand out in any particular area but given the specs, it should do most things well. How well? Let’s take a look.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
The ordinary looking carton provides adequate protection for its contents and gives no clue as to its gaming intent. The only feature that stands out in the printed icons is the flicker-free designation. But now that you’re reading this review, you’ll know that it supports FreeSync and 75Hz.
Bundled cables include an IEC cord for the internal power supply, DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB 3.0. No CD is in the box, so you’ll have to turn to Acer’s website for a user manual.
The promise of a truly bezel-free monitor remains unfulfilled with the BE270U. But it comes closer than any screen we’ve reviewed so far. The image is surrounded by only 8mm of blackness, and that includes the plastic trim. Putting two or three of these on your desk will make for a very nice wrap-around display. The anti-glare layer is the industry-standard 3H hardness with a matte surface. Clarity is good with no evidence of grain or streaking in the image.
Controls are found around back at the lower-right corner. The buttons are very slim and hard to find. In fact, we had to physically lay eyes on them before we could get comfortable with OSD navigation. They click firmly but we wish they protruded a bit more. Better yet, how about including a joystick?
The stand is rock solid and offers a portrait mode along with 5" of height, 30° tilt, and 30° swivel in each direction. Movements are firm and free of play or wobble. Both the mounting hardware and the panel have a nice weight and heft, belying their premium market intent.
The panel is a fairly slim 57mm and has a nice flat mounting area for the included upright, which snaps in place. Press a button to remove it and you have a 100mm VESA mount, bolts included. Plenty of ventilation is provided at the top of the power bulge. The grill also covers two small speakers. They aren’t loud or possessed of much bass, but they are less distorted than most thanks to two tiny phase plugs molded into the cones. Sound exits the BE270U backwards, so whatever you have behind the monitor will affect sound quality.
USB 3.0 is supported by an upstream port and four downstream ones, two of which are on the left side of the panel. The input panel offers two HDMI/MHL ports, two DisplayPorts (one mini), and a DP output for daisy-chaining. You can specify clone or extend in the OSD when connecting two monitors to a single video output.
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