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.