OSD & Calibration, Tobii Eye-Tracking Setup
The OSD contains only the traditional controls found in a G-Sync monitor. Eye-tracking functions are handled exclusively in software. We’ll talk about them separately.
Pressing the joystick brings up a quick menu that offers input selection, brightness control, and a volume slider. A second press calls forth the full OSD, which will be familiar to Acer users.
The Picture menu provides luminance controls along with a blue-light adjustment, Dark Boost (increases shadow detail), and Adaptive Contrast. The latter will clip information from the signal, so use it for personal taste only. The Z301CT offers plenty of contrast without help, so we recommend leaving this feature off.
There are eight picture modes, of which Standard is the default. The others manipulate color to tailor themselves for specific tasks. If you make any changes to the other OSD controls, the mode switches to User. This is where you’ll want to go for a calibration.
The Color menu has a nice set of image adjustments including four gamma presets, four color temp presets, and a user mode with single-point white balance sliders. They start at center-range, which helps maintain contrast during calibration. In fact, we didn’t see any reduction during our tests. The sRGB mode locks out other tweaks but offers no more accuracy than the default modes. You can adjust saturation for all six colors at once and there’s a 6-axis option. It only allows changes to color luminance, however. We couldn’t derive any benefit from it.
The Volume menu has only a single slider and a toggle for the DTS mode. You’ll want to leave that on, because it improves sound noticeably.
Gaming is where you’ll find the overdrive, overclock, and ULMB options. The latter works at 120Hz and below and requires turning off G-Sync. It has a pulse-width slider that adjusts the level of blur-reduction with a corresponding loss of brightness. At its highest settings, it will cost you about 50% output. Luckily, brightness is independently adjustable, so you can regain the lost light up to a maximum of 145cd/m2. Overclock worked well for us, running the Z301CT at 200Hz without complaint.
The OSD menu offers multiple languages, a 120-second max timeout, transparency, and an FPS counter. It appears as an extremely large yellow number in the upper-right corner of the screen.
The System menu has an input selector, programmable hotkeys for the bezel buttons, sleep, quickstart, power LED options, and a toggle for the USB port power. It can be left on when the monitor’s off to keep your devices charged. The Wide Mode field controls aspect but is missing a stretch mode. When sending 16:9 signals, they are displayed in their original aspect, which means you’ll see letterbox bars on the sides.
Once you’ve completed all your adjustments, they can be saved to one of three picture mode memories.
The Z301CT’s Standard picture mode offers average color accuracy and leaves some room for improvement, especially in gamma. Because the contrast control is set too high, there is some clipping of the brightest signal steps. You can engage the sRGB mode, but then output is locked at 300cd/m2 and gamma is unchanged. It makes for a fairly harsh image. We suggest using our settings below to dial in better performance. With changes to the RGB and contrast sliders, we achieved good grayscale and gamma tracking and a color gamut that is only slightly over-saturated. Most importantly, the missing highlight detail became visible.
|Acer Predator Z301C Calibration Settings|
|Color Temp User||Red 51, Green 52, Blue 46|
Tobii Eye-Tracking Setup
Installing the Tobii Eye-Tracking drivers is simply a matter of navigating to www.tobii.com/getstarted and selecting Predator as your device. Make sure you’ve connected a USB cable from the Z301CT to your computer beforehand. The drivers will install and a wizard will guide you through eye calibration. You’ll see lights appear in the sensor bar to confirm everything’s working.
Once complete, Tobii has volumes of information on its supported games, listing exactly which features are included with each title. Not only can the tracker follow eye movements, it reacts to your head position too. Each game has its own set of adjustments available for things like sensitivity and angle, and a host of other parameters. If you think of Tobii as a new type of controller, you’ll be well on your way to integrating it into your gameplay. The hardware works well but requires some tweaking for optimal results. You can check out our hands-on observations on page five of this review.
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