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Acer Predator XB271HK 27-inch UHD G-Sync Monitor Review

Gamers seeking Ultra HD resolution have few choices but an excellent new G-Sync monitor has just appeared from Acer, the XB271HK sporting a 27-inch AHVA screen. We’re checking it out in our lab today.

Conclusion

After the benchmark tests and several hours spent playing our favorite games, it’s pretty easy for us to conclude that the XB271HK is a significant improvement over its TN-based predecessor, the XB280HK. With most aspects of performance being fairly close between the two, we definitely prefer its AHVA screen and accompanying improvement in image quality.

The 27-inch Ultra HD category has seen very few new models compared to 28-inch TN and the larger 32-inch IPS and IGZO models. For business tasks, the extremely high pixel density (163ppi) can be a bit of a challenge when trying to find optimal font and icon scaling in Windows. But in games this isn’t really an issue. One simply has to select the monitor’s native resolution in the title’s video options to enjoy optimal quality.

The question then becomes, where is the point of diminishing return? We know that Ultra HD is currently limited to 60Hz. Even if you throw the most powerful video boards into the mix, you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of faster framerates like users of QHD screens do. So do those extra pixels make up for this? We’d have to say no at this point. And we also believe the difference between QHD and FHD is greater than that between UHD and QHD. Once you exceed 109ppi, it becomes harder to see real improvement in detail.

For us, the gaming experience is best served smooth. In fast-paced titles, we think motion quality is more important than resolution. When you move up to 75Hz and beyond, things like motion blur fade into the background. Those kinds of artifacts no longer distract from gameplay. With adaptive refresh, tearing is a thing of the past at any resolution, but we’d still rather have those high framerates. And what of ULMB? That’s a feature seen in many premium gaming displays but it’s becoming less common. We’ve enjoyed the benefits of G-Sync and FreeSync far more.

In the growing category of Ultra HD gaming monitors, the XB271HK represents a superb choice. Its high-quality IPS panel offers decent contrast, accuracy without calibration (just make sure you drop Contrast to 42 and Gamma to 1.8), nicely saturated color and excellent viewing angles. Coupled with a flicker-free backlight and you’ve got a display that looks good in all situations. We’re also impressed with its build quality, although that has become the norm for Acer’s Predator line.

For its excellent image quality, color and gaming prowess, we’re giving the Acer Predator XB271HK our Tom’s Editor Approved Award.

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  • chumly
    Bummer about the response times. The other Predators, the x34, z35, and the smaller 16:9 XB270 variants were all on point (less than 15ms absolute input lag).

    The world is still not ready for 4k (but getting closer). 2 more years, 2 more years.
    Reply
  • chumly
    actually now that I'm comparing tom's review to another review on the same monitor, the response time numbers are not adding up. lag of 16 - 32ms, is one to two frames of lag at 60Hz, according to TFT central, they call this class 2; class 1 (less than 16ms) being optimal for gaming. They have this same exact monitor with only 4ms between signal process and pixel post (much much faster). What's up? Your response time numbers seem to be a lot higher than they should be.
    Reply
  • jasonelmore
    Newegg recently had this model for $679. Pretty good deal for a 4k gysnc
    Reply
  • picture_perfect
    We think motion quality is more important than resolution. When you move up to 75Hz and beyond, things like motion blur fade into the background. Those kinds of artifacts no longer distract from gameplay. With adaptive refresh, tearing is a thing of the past at any resolution, but we’d still rather have those high framerates. So do those extra pixels make up for this? We’d have to say no at this point.

    YES. This is an opinion gamers need to know before buying a 4K monitor and one that has been missing from your previous reviews. KUDOS for finally dishing out some common sense. These resolutions are too high.
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    18177986 said:
    Bummer about the response times. The other Predators, the x34, z35, and the smaller 16:9 XB270 variants were all on point (less than 15ms absolute input lag).

    The world is still not ready for 4k (but getting closer). 2 more years, 2 more years.
    that prediction falls in line with mine... but for me, that means it's an excellent time to buy a "stop gap" monitor now.

    3440x1440, 120hz, OLED HDR 34" monitors with low latency to be a thing in 2-3 years. but until we have the hardware to drive that resolution, it makes no sense to wait. i think a 35" 2560x1080 144hz VA panel is amazing right now (for gaming).
    Reply
  • Sam Hain
    For me (and this is just my opinion and gaming needs), I cannot justify 4K 60Hz, regardless of price-point, monitor size, response times, manufacturer, etc. at the moment...

    Perhaps 4K w/GSync, hitting 100Hz and we have a winner... But of course, then comes that killer price tag.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    I had this monitor for a day and returned it because of the backlight bleed. It was equivalent of the poor viewing angles you see on a TN monitor because the bottom right corner was very bleached out unless you physically moved your head to center on the bottom right corner.

    I then picked up a PG279Q which has less backlight bleed.

    I found both monitors to have great performance, but found the backlight bleed on both to be distracting.

    I really don't think either Asus or Acer is where they need to be when they charge $800 for a 1440p IPS monitor. These panels may perform well, but they are not great IPS panels from a backlight bleed standpoint. They should be priced around $500 because of the low-end IPS panels. You know what I mean if you've used a good IPS panel.

    Hopefully, they'll stop ripping people off one day.
    Reply
  • Sam Hain
    18179002 said:
    I had this monitor for a day and returned it because of the backlight bleed. It was equivalent of the poor viewing angles you see on a TN monitor because the bottom right corner was very bleached out unless you physically moved your head to center on the bottom right corner.

    I then picked up a PG279Q which has less backlight bleed.

    I found both monitors to have great performance, but found the backlight bleed on both to be distracting.

    I really don't think either Asus or Acer is where they need to be when they charge $800 for a 1440p IPS monitor. These panels may perform well, but they are not great IPS panels from a backlight bleed standpoint. They should be priced around $500 because of the low-end IPS panels. You know what I mean if you've used a good IPS panel.

    Hopefully, they'll stop ripping people off one day.
    In your XP, would Asus build-quality stand as being "better" or does another manufacturer in this realm of gaming-spec monitors stand out in your opinion? I'm not in the market yet... BUT am getting close. Thanks!

    Reply
  • AlistairAB
    At bestbuy.ca this monitor is $1288 after tax in Canada and the LG 27UD68 is $616. Swap freesync for gsync and save over 600 dollars and you get the same quality panel (or is the LG a higher quality one?) I wish I could spread the gospel of the LG monitor faster, as hardly any sites are mentioning the first inexpensive freesync 4k monitor has arrived, making the price points of all the older ones obsolete.
    Reply
  • Bezzell
    Gsync prices are out of control, as are their GPUs.
    Reply