Acer XB270HU 27-Inch IPS 144Hz G-Sync Monitor Review

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Viewing Angles, Uniformity, Response, Lag And Gaming

To learn how we measure screen uniformity, please click here.

AHVA stands for Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle and this photo shows why. There is almost no color shift or light falloff to the sides. All the steps are clearly visible and image quality is largely unchanged. There is a green shift and brightness reduction when looking down from the top but that issue is less-important in most situations. LCD panels don't really get better than this for off-angle viewing.

Screen Uniformity: Luminance

After the ANSI result, we were concerned the XB270HU's black field uniformity might suffer; but happily, that's not the case. The hotspots we measured in that test are not visible here. There is no light bleed or blotchiness apparent in our review sample.

Here's the white field measurement comparison.

The white field test is equally solid with a 10.69 percent result. Instruments show a slight center hotspot but our eyes just see a smooth-toned image. As you can see, the TN panels in today's group do not suffer any quality issues.

Screen Uniformity: Color

The color uniformity test is a tough one for any monitor and this time the XB270HU came out on top. The low number would have been even better if it weren't for a slight red shift (visible only to our i1Pro) at the bottom of the screen.

Pixel Response And Input Lag

Please click here to read up on our pixel response and input lag testing procedures.

To set the XB270HU to its fastest response mode, use a 144Hz refresh rate with overdrive on the Extreme setting. You can see the IPS technology gives nothing away to its TN counterparts. So the conclusion is that TN and IPS can be equal in speed but TN costs less to implement.

Here are the lag results.

Input lag is equally excellent at a brief 28 milliseconds. Again, it's hard to say that TN has a clear advantage in performance.

G-Sync, ULMB And In-Game Testing

After enabling G-Sync and setting the refresh rate to 144Hz, we tried out Far Cry 4, Tomb Raider and Battlefield 4. Far Cry 4 places greater demands on the graphics hardware so it was easier to see the effects of G-Sync, ULMB and overdrive options on gameplay. If you're debating between G-Sync and ULMB, go with G-Sync. There's no motion blur to speak of, even when frame rates drop into the 60s. And once you get below 35fps the judder becomes more apparent than the blur. Since G-Sync simply repeats frames below 30fps, you'll never see any tearing; but at that point, gaming that requires fast reflexes becomes difficult.

Thanks to our Titan X-equipped system, we were able to maintain rates over 100fps except in Far Cry 4 where they settled in the 70-80 range at the Ultra detail setting. The extra speed afforded by a fast-refresh screen like this definitely makes for a smoother experience. While we enjoyed gaming at 45-60fps on the Ultra HD XB280HK, higher rates do make a difference in clarity and overall feel.

While we're glad to see Acer include ULMB in this premium-priced product, we're not sure that anyone will want to give up G-Sync to use it. Of course that is a limitation that all G-Sync monitors share at present. Ultimately, the matched refresh rate is the single best reason to invest in a monitor like this. All the other features have far less impact on image quality.

Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • Bartendalot
    I was nervous after hearing all the QC issues but either they fixed whatever issues people were reporting And I got a perfect one out of the box on the first try (was ready to RMA once or twice because I really wanted this monitor to work as advertised).

    Have others been getting XB270HU out of the box with no dead pixels or noticible light bleed?

    Yes... It was expensive but this is hands down, the best monitor I've ever owned.
  • Bartendalot
    "*either they fixed the QC issues or I got lucky"

    Is what I meant to say. First comments get me a little overenthused sometimes!
  • envy14tpe
    When Acer announced this and after I saw the tftcentral review I had my heart set on this. But then as people started to get them I heard about the issues. The QC issues seem way above average. Unless there is proof of a real fix I'm staying away from this monitor. Sad. Cuz it has/had so much potential. The specs are what us fps gamers want.
  • razvanc
    I'd like more reviews to inform people about IPS glow. IPS panels are gerat for image and viewing angles but become completely useless in the dark. To me, they look like the first generation of LCDs with no ambient light. So, people who play games or who watch movies in the dark should stay away. TN panels don't have this issue. And this is why I don't really understand Tom's for recommending IPS for gaming with such conviction. It should come with an asterisk at the end saying: "If you don't play in the dark".
  • spagalicious
    Great review, and an even better panel. I have seen some photos of some pretty questionable panels as far as backlight bleed and 'IPS Glow' go. Purchased this panel near the end of July and at 45% (a bit too high even) brightness, there is no noticable backlight bleed or orange glow present. I like to think they've probably improved their process in manufacturing these panels over the last 6 months, but I could be wrong.

    Not to mention Acer is pretty good about the RMA process and replacement panels. Favorable to ASUS's "Under ten dead pixels is normal and not covered under warranty" policy...
  • cknobman
    $800 for an Acer?

    It may be a nice monitor but that is still a hard sell given it is an Acer.
  • ubercake
    I feel like I need to do a side-by-side with my PG278Q. The contrast on this Acer is amazing for an IPS in that price range I did love my Acer HN274H from the pre-G-sync days...
  • ToineF
    if it was 1ms, I think it would be worth it.
  • ubercake
    16450327 said:
    if it was 1ms, I think it would be worth it.

    I was thinking the same thing but the difference between that and the ROG Swift is only 2ms black to white. This is more where the rubber meets the road.
  • Eggz
    Wuuuut?! Where did the days go where we used to have to drop a lot of money on our favorite set of monitor compromises? I really want to see this in person to feel whether it's as good as it seems :)