When considering a computer monitor that costs $1000 or more, it’s hard not to be caught up in the specs. Fast refresh rates and long feature lists are always attractive to buyers. But one must remember what’s important: speed, yes, but with a proper balance of pixel density, competent video processing, and image fidelity. We’ve touted the virtues of VA panels and their high contrast, but that isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. There are plenty of well-engineered and well-made IPS monitors that can compete favorably and offer superior quality in some areas.
Acer has plenty of cred in the gaming monitor category, but chooses to ply its offerings with less flash. The styling of the Predator line is clearly meant for enthusiasts, but it doesn’t call as much attention to itself as some other brands. Still, users need high resolution, high speeds, and adaptive refresh, not to mention decent contrast and color accuracy. The new Predator X34P amply delivers on all counts.
If you’re trying to decide whether to purchase the old X34 or the new X34P, here’s a summation: The new monitor is styled much the same but goes for non-reflective finishes on its chassis. It now has a swivel function on its super-solid stand. The curve is tighter at 1900R versus 3800R. Resolution is the same 3440x1440, but the X34P refreshes natively at 100Hz and overclocks reliably to 120Hz. Even if you’re concerned that your particular sample won’t run at 120, it is guaranteed to work at 100.
For us, the big difference comes in picture quality. The outgoing model certainly delivers an excellent image and the new panel doesn’t bring any more inherent contrast. But Acer has changed its gamma implementation to help increase the perception of dynamic range, and it has succeeded. Ignore the labels in the OSD; the Predator X34P works best at a gamma setting of 1.9 (2.4 in reality). That setting not only increases depth, but color saturation as well. The new screen is more vivid than the old, and ultimately shows more detail and delivers a sharper picture. Though pixel density is unchanged, the visual result is superior.
If you’re considering buying the old X34 to save a bit of cash, you’ll get an excellent G-Sync monitor that offers a good gaming experience at a likely 100Hz. But for a little more money, the new Predator X34P has higher speed, a tighter curve, and better image quality. In our eyes, that’s a win and makes the new screen a worthy successor to the old.
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