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Acer Predator XB321HK 32-inch Ultra HD G-Sync Monitor Review

Today we’re looking at Acer’s latest flagship gaming monitor, the Predator XB321HK. Sporting a 32-inch IPS screen, G-Sync and premium build quality; it looks like just the thing for a cost-no-object gaming rig.

Packaging, Physical Layout And Accessories

The XB321HK is a large, heavy monitor and comes in a carton to match. The panel with attached upright is well-protected by molded foam blocks while the base and other accessories are in a tray on top. You’ll have to lay the box down and slide everything out before unwrapping.

Every cable that can be connected to the Predator is included. You get USB 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort and an IEC cord for the internal power supply. There's a printed quick start guide. We found no CD with our sample so the manual came from Acer’s website. Assembly consists of attaching the base with a captive bolt.

Product 360

The XB321HK has one of the best anti-glare coatings we’ve seen to-date. It’s almost impossible to wash out the image unless you aim the screen at a sun-filled window. Yet the picture is razor sharp with no trace of grain. You’d almost think Acer had eliminated the air gap between the front two layers. It appears to be very small and this results in greater clarity, a good thing when the screen sports 138 pixels-per-inch.

The base is typical of Predator monitors. The red parts are solid anodized aluminum, while the black pieces are hard plastic with a lightly textured matte finish. The stand is extremely solid and heavy with a stamped steel core underneath its shell. Surprisingly there are only tilt and height adjustments. No swivel or portrait mode is provided.

Despite some serious heft, the XB321HK looks pretty trim from the side. Acer packs internal components neatly into a bulge that occupies about half the vertical space around back. On the left side (not seen in the photo) are two USB 3.0 ports. These can be left active when the monitor is powered down to facilitate mobile device charging.

The bulge extends from side to side with a smooth taper. At the right you can see the USB ports. The upright is bolted on, but you can remove it to reveal a 100mm VESA mount. The built-in speakers fire backwards so their sound is affected by whatever is behind the screen. They feature a DTS mode which improves tonal balance but doesn’t make them any louder, nor does it extend the frequency range. The sound is fairly tinny and even at max volume there isn’t a lot of noise.

The XB321HK features the latest G-Sync module that includes an HDMI port. For adaptive refresh and 60Hz you’ll have to use DisplayPort. HDMI signals are supported up to 30Hz at the monitor’s native resolution. Also there is a 3.5mm headphone output. The USB upstream and two of the downstream connectors are on the panel as well.

  • pjc6281
    So for 1100-1200 you get 60hz. That is a bit alarming.
    Reply
  • Bartendalot
    The nite about 4K@60hz being obsolete soon is a valid one and makes the purchase price even more difficult to swallow.

    I'd argue that my 1440p@144hz is a more future-proof investment.
    Reply
  • Yaisuah
    I have this monitor and think its great and almost worth the money, but I want to point out that nobody on the internet seems to realize there's a perfect resolution between 1440 and 4k that looks great and runs great and I think it would be considered 3k. Try adding 2880 x 1620 to your resolutions and see how it looks on any 4k monitor. I run windows and most less intensive games at this resolution and constantly get 60fps with a 970(around 30fps at 4k). You also don't have to mess with windows scaling on a 32in monitor. After seeing how great 3k looks and runs, I really don't know why everyone immediately jumped to 4k.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    Nvidia G-Sync = high price
    Reply
  • mellis
    I am still going to wait before getting a 4K monitor, since there is still not a practical solution for 4K gaming. In a couple of more years hopefully 4K monitors will be cheap and midrange GPUs will be able to support gaming on them. I think trying to invest in 4K gaming now is a wait of money. Sticking with 1080p for now.
    Reply
  • truerock
    A 4K@120Hz G-Sync video monitor based PC rig under $4,000 is probably 2 to 3 years away.
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    18346905 said:
    I have this monitor and think its great and almost worth the money, but I want to point out that nobody on the internet seems to realize there's a perfect resolution between 1440 and 4k that looks great and runs great and I think it would be considered 3k. Try adding 2880 x 1620 to your resolutions and see how it looks on any 4k monitor. I run windows and most less intensive games at this resolution and constantly get 60fps with a 970(around 30fps at 4k). You also don't have to mess with windows scaling on a 32in monitor. After seeing how great 3k looks and runs, I really don't know why everyone immediately jumped to 4k.
    I would hazard a few guesses. First would be that 2880x1620 is so close to 2560x1440 that no manufacturer wants to complicate product lines like that.

    Second, 2160 is the least common multiple of both 720 and 1080, meaning it's the lowest resolution that's a perfect integer scalar of both. So with proper upscaling, a 720 or 1080 source picture can be displayed reasonably well on a 4K display. These panels are made for TVs as well as computer monitors, and the majority of TV signal ( at least in the US ) is still in either 720p or 1080p. Upscaling 1080 to 1620 is the same as upscaling 720 to 1080 ( they're both a factor of 150% ). Upscaling by non-integer factors means you need a lot of pixel interpolation and anti-aliasing. To me, this looks very fuzzy ( I bought a 720p TV over a 1080 TV years ago because playing 720p PS3 games and 720p cable TV on a 1080p display looked horrible to me ). So it may be the powers that be decided on the 4K resolution so that people could adopt the new panels and still get decent picture quality with the older video sources ( at least until, or if, they get upgraded ). If so, I can agree with that.
    Reply
  • michalt
    I have one and have not regretted my purchase for a second. I tend to keep monitors for a long time (my Dell 30 inch displays have been with me for a decade). When looked at over that time period, it's not that expensive for something I'll be staring at all day every day.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    It would be nice to offer a GLOBAL FPS LOCK to stay in asynchronous mode at all times regardless how high the FPS gets.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    Update: AMD has this, not sure where it is for NVidia or if the GLOBAL FPS LOCK is easy to do.
    Reply