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Acer Predator X34 34-inch WQHD Curved G-Sync Monitor Review

Today, we're looking at Acer's flagship curved gaming monitor, the Predator X34. It offers WQHD resolution, G-Sync, a 100Hz refresh rate and DTS audio in an impressive ultra-wide package.

Conclusion

After thorough evaluations of both the Acer Predator X34 and XR341CK, we can't really say one is superior to the other. Both use the same excellent panel part that provides accurate color, good contrast and adaptive refresh. With our speedy Titan X-based test system we thought we might prefer the higher refresh rate of the X34 and perhaps we did just a bit. But ultimately, even 75Hz is pretty smooth in a fast-moving fps shooter.

So if you've already decided to go with a curved ultra-wide monitor, the decision comes down to price. If you're already invested in a high-end Nvidia setup it seems you might be fated to spend that extra $200 for the X34. But if you've spent the same coin on a robust AMD graphics card, you'll enjoy a little savings with equally high image and motion quality. We applaud Acer's inclusion of a higher refresh rate in the X34. It takes a bit of the sting off its higher price. But for equally powerful PCs, the real-world performance difference is small.

While very few of our monitor reviews talk about sound quality, it should be noted here that both Predators use the same seven-watt built-in speakers. The X34 goes a step further with its DTS tuning; and that does result in a deeper soundstage. But in looking back at our coverage of the XR341CK, we also commented on its better-than-average audio fidelity. That extra power helps elevate both screens well above the competition.

As you'd expect, both displays are joined at the hip in the benchmark tests. There are only minor differences in the test results—minor enough to make performance comparisons a wash. The only place we ran into an issue was gamma tracking. It seems that Acer has set the default contrast at a value that clips detail and degrades image quality. If you do nothing else, please drop that slider to at least 44 in order to enjoy the best possible picture while rendering full detail.

And we shouldn't wrap up without mentioning Acer's other curved gaming monitor, the Z35. Even though it gives up pixel density, its high-contrast AMVA panel and 144Hz native refresh rate (200Hz with overclock) adds another wrinkle to the purchasing decision process. Don't automatically dismiss it based just on resolution. In a side-by-side comparison, you'll be hard-pressed to pick the QHD screens over that one.

When you're spending this kind of money on a display, we urge you to check one out in person. It's easy to form opinions based on reviews and online accounts but nothing beats looking at the real thing with your own eyes. We try to talk about what constitutes a good image and how benchmark tests translate to reality, but there is no better way to judge than in person.

We like the Predator X34 and think it has earned a place among high-performance gaming displays. It's expensive but that seems unavoidable when you're talking about curved ultra-wides. For solid gaming cred and excellent performance, we're giving it our Tom's Editor Approved Award.

MORE: Best Computer MonitorsMORE: Display Calibration 101
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Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Monitors.

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  • Alan Caldwell
    Looks great!
    Reply
  • Realist9
    Finally a large monitor that checks all the boxes, resolution included.

    Now I just have to decide between this and a 4k. :(
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    It's a very nice display. But $1300 is still very hard to swallow.
    Reply
  • WyomingKnott
    Serious question, and maybe I'll learn something. Didn't freesync / Gsync eliminate the need for 100hz rates?
    Reply
  • Au_equus
    Which batch did this monitor come from?

    The predator x34 was produced in two main batches. The 2nd batch (Feburary 2016) was done to correct problems in the first batch.
    Reply
  • av30
    There is no blb etc.. because you received a cherry picked press sample. I can't take this review at face value due to that fact. The fact is that these panels have huge quality control issues that a visit to the forums will provide evidence of. I've gone through enough panel lotteries tyvm. Buy one of these at retail and see what a difference it makes.
    Reply
  • natedawg72
    Serious question, and maybe I'll learn something. Didn't freesync / Gsync eliminate the need for 100hz rates?
    Not at all. The purpose of Freesync/Gsync was to increase the apparent smoothness of gameplay by syncing refresh and frame output, which also happens to reduce possible input lag somewhat.

    High refreshrates (90+) still have the advantage of less pixel blur (from pixels transitioning colors faster) which makes images clearer in fast paced games, and can still appear smoother than 60 hz gsync. Additionally, with a game running at 120 fps+ input should feel a tad snappier, especially with a higher refreshrate monitor.

    How much you will notice it depends on several things I suppose. Some people don't care about it, but I've really enjoyed my 144hz monitor, even when I disable free-sync.
    Reply
  • natedawg72
    Not at all. The purpose of Freesync/Gsync was to increase the apparent smoothness of gameplay by syncing refresh and frame output, which also happens to reduce possible input lag somewhat..

    Forgot to mention one the most important points, elimination of screen tearing (within the dynamic refresh range). I apologize that I don't know how to edit comments here..
    Reply
  • scott91575
    There is no blb etc.. because you received a cherry picked press sample. I can't take this review at face value due to that fact. The fact is that these panels have huge quality control issues that a visit to the forums will provide evidence of. I've gone through enough panel lotteries tyvm. Buy one of these at retail and see what a difference it makes.

    I own one. The only issue I have is some backlight bleed that has actually improved with time. It is noticeable in a completely dark room and a black screen but I never notice it during normal usage. No other issues at all and I do get 100Hz.

    That is of course a sample size of one, and for $1300 (although I paid $1150) expecting perfect is not unreasonable. Yet it is a fantastic monitor.
    Reply
  • Sam Hain
    Conclusion... By looking at the test comparisons, the BenQ X3501 bests the X34 OVERALL and is cheaper by a landslide.

    $1300 plus say $600 (average) for a GPU to push the X34's pixels, not to mention S&H and potential sales-tax... and your looking at $2K for your video-display option. SLI/X-Fire, ramp it up even more. Going Titan with this monitor as a dual-purchase and that's a loan, LOL! No thanks!

    DSR upscale to 1440p with the X3501 makes more sense, i.e. bang-for-buck performance.

    Who cares if the desktop is 1080p? If you are a strictly a gamer, it matters not to most, only those who vid/photo render/edit, or are just plain elitist's.

    The X34 is a grand monitor, yes. But for the price, strictly for gaming... There are better/smarter options. Just my opinion.
    Reply