Acer Predator X27 4K Gaming Monitor Review: Our New Addiction

No matter how many technologies a company stuffs into a gaming monitor, there are users who want more. Resolution is probably the most sought-after feature, followed by refresh rate. But what if you could have it all? We’re talking about a true reference-level, state-of-the-art display with everything a gamer could want, squeezed into a single chassis. If you’re thinking, “You must be talking about the Asus ROG Swift PG27U,” you’re wrong.

Nope, today, we’re looking at Acer’s Predator X27, a 27-inch IPS (in-plane switching) screen with a 384-zone backlight, 1,000 nits peak brightness with HDR and Adobe RGB color. Gamers will appreciate Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160), the 144Hz refresh rate with overclock and G-Sync. It can all be yours for around $2,000 at this writing.

While $2,000 is more than you’ll pay for many 65-inch televisions, one must appreciate the amount of technology that goes into a monitor like this. For starters, you won’t find a 384-zone backlight in anything but a premium reference display. We first saw one in Dell’s UP2718Q and didn’t see another until Asus’ PG27U, which we reviewed a few weeks ago. Why does this matter? Because it’s the only way to see HDR’s full potential.

A full-array backlight means that power can be allocated to just part of the screen, making it feasible to hit 1,000 nits peak. To achieve the contrast promised by HDR, 1,000 nits should be considered a minimum brightness. Since it'll never achieve the deep blacks of an OLED or plasma panel, the only way an LCD screen can boast a truly wide dynamic range is to up the brightness level. The X27 is only the third monitor we’ve reviewed that can manage this feat.

Specifications

Panel Type & BacklightIPS / White LED, 384-zone array backlight
Screen Size & Aspect Ratio37-inch / 16:9
Max Resolution & Refresh3840 x 2160 @ 120Hz
144HZ with Overclock
G-Sync: 24-144Hz
Density - 163ppi
Native Color Depth & Gamut10-bit (8-bit+FRC) / Adobe RGB
HDR10
Response Time (GTG)5ms
BrightnessSDR - 600 nits
HDR - 1,000 nits
Contrast1,000:1
Speakers2x 7w
Video Inputs1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0
Audio3.5mm headphone output
USBv3.0 - 1x up, 4x down
Power Consumption60w, brightness @ 200 nits
Panel Dimensions
WxHxD w/base
24.8 x 17.5-22.5 x 14.8 inches
630 x 445-551 x 376mm
Panel Thickness3.4 inches / 86mm
Bezel WidthTop/sides - .4 inches / 11mm
Bottom - .8 inches / 21mm
Weight20.5lbs / 9.3kg
WarrantyThree years

Unpacking & Accessories

No assembly is required; the X27 lifts out of the box, ready for action. One thing that surprised us was the inclusion of a light hood, as this is something normally seen only in high-end professional monitors.

Cables include USB 3.0, HDMI and DisplayPort. The external power supply comes in brick form. A cover tidies up the input panel along with a cable clip for the upright. There’s also a factory calibration data sheet for the sRGB mode, but no such information is included for the Adobe RGB or HDR modes.

Product 360

The X27’s hood is quite substantial, made from thick, rigid plastic lined with light-absorbing fabric. The sides bolt onto the panel (you’ll need a Phillips-head screwdriver), and the top snaps in place. Once installed, it really helps improve image quality in all but the darkest rooms. Honestly, this is something users should consider adding to any monitor. It makes a significant improvement to perceived contrast.

The bezel sits higher than the anti-glare layer and is 11 mm wide at the top and sides and 21 mm wide at the bottom. We’ve seen photos of the X27 with a Tobii Eye Tracking device installed on the lower edge, but our sample did not include one. On-screen display (OSD) controls are around the back of the lower-right corner and consist of three buttons and a well-designed joystick. You can program two of the buttons for different functions, like brightness or input selection. The stick brings up a comprehensive OSD, loaded with features for both HDR and SDR gaming.

The stand is an elegantly thin piece of cast aluminum, finished in medium gray. The swivel point is a large stack of discs that add a nice heft to the package, which weighs just over 20 pounds. Adjustments include five inches of height, 20-degree swivel in each direction and 25-degree forward and five-degree backwards tilts. There is no portrait mode. Movements are firm and solid, as one would expect at this price. The stand includes a stout handle, making it easy to move the heavy display around.

The X27 is a bit thicker than many LCD monitors at nearly 3.5 inches. Two USB 3.0 ports adorn the left side, while the upstream and two more downstream connectors are found in back. Video inputs include one each of HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4. For G-Sync, you’ll need to use the latter. Audio is supported by a 3.5mm headphone output and two 7-watt internal speakers. The speakers play quite loudly without significant distortion and feature a nice mid-range without too much high-end harshness. They sound better than most of the built-in monitor speakers we’ve heard.

OSD Features

Two clicks of the handy joystick summon the OSD. There are eight picture presets, including a fully configurable User mode. There is no HDR emulation available for SDR material. To see HDR, you’ll need HDR content.

The X27 advertises an Adobe RGB color gamut, which is accessed by turning off an option called SDR sRGB Color. With more red than the Adobe spec calls for, you’ll see later in our tests that it measures closer to DCI-P3, which is a good thing. For standard content, it’s best to leave sRGB on because you’ll find there is no need for calibration. If you do wish to tweak in this mode, there are RGB sliders and a gamma offset feature. You can also toggle the variable backlight feature, which really helps with contrast in SDR mode.

Gaming features include an overclock, which takes the X27 from its 120Hz native refresh rate to 144Hz after a reboot. Our sample had no problems running at 144Hz, though the extra heat activated an internal fan that was a bit loud. The Asus PG27U has a similar fan, but it runs more quietly. You can also set the variable backlight feature to different modes, like Gaming or Desktop, which alters the level of dynamic contrast depending on content. We found Gaming to provide the best performance. Also included are aiming reticles, an fps (frames per second) counter and a three-level overdrive control. Normal is the middle setting and offers good blur reduction without much ghosting. Speaking of blur-reduction, ULMB is not included.

Fans of LED lighting will enjoy the effects that appear on the panel’s bottom edge and backside. You can turn one or both on, or leave them off if you wish. There are multiple settings, like breathe and flash, and you can vary the color. Hundreds of combinations are possible, and we had a ball experimenting with them.

The X27 also features auto brightness and auto black level, courtesy of a tiny sensor mounted at the top of the panel. When turned on, it measures room light and adjusts the picture accordingly. In our lab, we never found a need for this feature. It pumped out some brightness if conditions changed during gameplay. Ultimately, it created too much distraction.

When you’re done setting the X27 to your liking, all options can be saved to one of three memories, a feature we’d love to see on more monitors.

Setup & Calibration

The X27 doesn’t require calibration for SDR content. If you want to access extra color in SDR mode, turn SDR sRGB Color Off. This will give you an Adobe RGB gamut that measures closer to DCI-P3 in actuality.with a good deal of additional red.

To wring out every possible drop of performance, we calibrated the User mode using the RGB sliders. The gamma is a tad light, but the other presets are too far off the mark to make an improvement. We liked how the brightness control is measured in nits and found it measured quite close to correc. If you set 200 nits, you get around 208 nits; pretty cool.

Here are the settings we used for SDR content.

Picture Mode

User

Brightness 200 nits

194

Brightness 120 nits

117

Brightness 100 nits

95

Brightness 80 nits

77

Brightness 50 nits

47

Contrast

48

Gamma

Default

Color Temp User

Red 55, Green 54, Blue 45

HDR mode is as accurate as SDR mode, which is a good thing since most image settings are grayed out here. In HDR mode, there are no picture controls available except for color temperature. We found good results from the RGB values used in SDR mode. There is no way to adjust peak brightness for HDR content, but Windows and most games allow you to tailor brightness output to your preference.

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors

MORE: How We Test Monitors

MORE: All Monitor Content

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  • cknobman
    As nice as this is I just cannot justify the cost.

    I'll be part of crowd waiting for prices to become reasonable on this type of stuff.
  • Daniel_225
    It's too small for 4K. Sacrifice down to 60hz and you can step back up to the 32" size we're all more comfortable looking at 4K without font scaling. This monitor's real advantage is HDR + 4K + 144hz but it costs as much as having a better gaming monitor next to a better proofing monitor.
  • dominionz
    You say in the article it's a 27" but in Spec's it's listed as 37". Which is it?
  • rantoc
    Its 27" and an quite insane price for its size no matter how much goodies it contains, 4k, hdr and 144 is all nice but at this size the 4k is far less useful than on a much larger screen.
  • beoza
    The 2nd slide under Product 360 kind of reminds me of the animated desk lamp you see in movies that Pixar has done.

    The monitor is expensive I'll agree with that. The size is good if you don't have the space on your desk for larger monitors. It's a bit much for me though, I only recently made the jump to 1440p, 4k is still too expensive for me to make the switch, not to mention my aging GTX 970 would choke at 4k resolutions. I'll give Acer some credit though they have made some pretty decent gaming monitors recently.
  • milkod2001
    Read real reviews from actual users on Newegg. This monitor has built in small fan which can get very loud. That very weird. Don't know what is that doing there. Absolutely not acceptable at over 2 grand monitor. This is just gaming monitor not professional designer monitor. Price is just ridiculous. I'd like to get something more down to earth with specs and price: 4k, 32'', 100Hz factory calibrated monitor $1200 max.
  • adamlreed93
    DO NOT BUY ACER MONITORS at least the one with GSync capable, I bought a xb321hk for $1000.00 and got the famous artifacting and screen blanking issue.
    Below link for Acer's community forum regarding this issue
    https://community.acer.com/en/discussion/441879/xb321hk-weird-artifact/p1

    My Actual issue video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bo2iExeZRk


    I have reached the END of Acers customer service line, They only offered me $400 refund LOL. After 5 returns, 3 different xb321hk monitors, I have worked with Corporate Customer service and "Elite" technical support and wasted 3-4 months for $400.00 refund.... Unbelievable. I will continue to post my personal experience on websites and I'll update my Youtube video warning people NOT to buy ACER.
  • hendrickhere
    This best thing about this monitor is that it is essentially "future proof." The high quality HDR with a 144hz refresh rate that no existing graphics card(s) in SLI can hit with a modern AAA title at max setting makes the price somewhat justifiable. It'd be more apply priced at sub $1,200 in my opinion and it would, in the longer term, be a great investment for an enthusiast.
  • barryv88
    $2k.... why on Earth? 2560X1440 144Hz GS/FS 27" to 32" screens all available for $500 or thereabouts. That's 75% less. Sure, you're gaming at a lower res, but it really isn't that significant. Spend $1500 instead on upgrading or enhancing your gaming needs in other areas of the PC.
  • Ninjawithagun
    Toms failed to mention the high complaint rate regarding the very loud fan that is inside this monitor. The fan is required to actively cool components inside the housing. For me, this is a huge fail. No way would I buy a monitor that has a moving part that will wear out eventually. I'll wait for the 2nd gen of these monitors that use a passive cooling solution ;-)
  • Diji1
    > This monitor's real advantage is HDR + 4K + 144hz

    >4k, hdr and 144 is all nice

    >The high quality HDR with a 144hz refresh rate


    Nope, 4K with HDR is limited to 98 Hz because of DisplayPort limitations.

    >$2k.... why on Earth? but it really isn't that significant.

    So many newbs here.

    Contrast has more of an effect on image quality than resolution. You cannot get high contrast on IPS screens without FALD and FALD is expensive to add to displays.
  • hendrickhere
    Anonymous said:
    > This monitor's real advantage is HDR + 4K + 144hz

    >4k, hdr and 144 is all nice

    >The high quality HDR with a 144hz refresh rate


    Nope, 4K with HDR is limited to 98 Hz because of DisplayPort limitations.

    >$2k.... why on Earth? but it really isn't that significant.

    So many newbs here.

    Contrast has more of an effect on image quality than resolution. You cannot get high contrast on IPS screens without FALD and FALD is expensive to add to displays.


    It's still a pretty sweet monitor if you can afford it. 98 hz would still outpace current gen graphic cards. Also, you don't need to get so upset on a monitor review on the internet. Posts are meant to be a discussions. If you think you have better information then post about it without projecting emotional negativity at members of the community.
  • alithegreat
    Can you make more comments on the fan?
    Also there was some videos of the big brother of this panel Predator X35 and ghosting, simply done on a fair with UFO test site. (Not released for years, for some reason)

    Do you think these have valid points? Do people exaggerate?

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Monitors/comments/8qzklw/review_of_acer_predator_x27/
    https://www.reddit.com/r/Monitors/comments/8ske8r/acer_predator_x27_some_warnings/
    There are confusing comments out there (a lot more if you search) , i guess they are missing something but what? Can we get your professionel comment please?
  • grestorn
    I couldn't resist and got my X27 yesterday. So far I'm more than happy with it.

    Regarding the fan: I don't know why people make such a fuss over it. I can only hear it in total silence, if I turn off everything in the room, including my (watercooled!) silent PC. It's barely audible. And I never heard it change its velocity either.

    So as far as I'm concerned, this is really a non-issue.

    The only thing standing against the x27 is the crazy price.