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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.

Conclusion

There are some who will quickly dismiss the Predator XB321HK because of its high price. But just how much more does it cost than any other 32-inch Ultra HD monitor? And we have to remember the G-Sync premium, regardless of the screen it’s installed in, is around $200 of that cost.

But sometimes there are expensive things in this world that are actually worth the asking price. It is true that the number of buyers willing to spend $1200 or more on a monitor is relatively small. And not every premium product can be called a good value. But in this case, we think it’s worth every penny.

Our test results play only a small part in this opinion. Out-of-box accuracy is good and many gamers will enjoy the XB321HK’s picture quality without ever opening the OSD. However we strongly recommend setting Contrast on 40 and Gamma on 1.8 to unlock the monitor’s full potential. Those two changes will take quality from good to great and put the Predator within striking distance of many professional displays we’ve tested.

The thing that impressed us most, however, was the sense of depth and immersion we experienced when using it. Games take on a completely different feel thanks to this jumbo screen. And even though the framerate maxes at 60fps, we never felt cheated when it came to smoothness and clarity. G-Sync is certainly a big factor in that equation and the XB complemented our GTX Titan X gaming system perfectly. As with any Ultra HD monitor, you’ll need to tailor your particular games’ detail levels to achieve playable framerates. Even with lots of graphics horsepower on hand, Far Cry 4 on Ultra probably won’t be that much fun to play.

So now the decision becomes this: Do you go for the flagship 32-inch Ultra HD monitor with G-Sync? Or would it be better to stick with QHD and a higher refresh rate? It seems likely that interface speeds will increase soon since DisplayPort 1.3 (approved in 2014) supports 3840x2160 signals up to 120Hz. Why we have yet to see monitors and video cards with this spec is anyone’s guess. So one could say that Ultra HD monitors available now may soon be obsolete. But even when graphics cards add DP 1.3, they’ll still need more processing power to enable those higher speeds.

Given these facts, we think a premium display like the Predator XB321HK makes a great choice for a high-end gaming rig or even a nice desktop productivity system. Gamers will appreciate its low latency, G-Sync adaptive refresh and stunning clarity. Business and graphics users will no doubt find many uses for its vivid and accurate color-rendering.

It’s not always easy to reward expensive displays no matter how good they are, but the XB321HK represents a good value in our eyes. For that reason, we’re giving it the Tom’s Hardware Editor Recommended Award.

MORE: Best Computer Monitors


MORE: How To Choose A Monitor

MORE: Display Calibration 101

MORE: The Science Behind Tuning Your Monitor

MORE: All Monitor Content

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  • 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