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Acer XB280HK 28-inch G-Sync Ultra HD Gaming Monitor Review

Acer breaks new ground with its XB280HK. Offering an Ultra HD resolution and G-Sync in a reasonably-priced 28-inch package, this monitor is unique.

Our Verdict

Choices in Ultra HD monitors for gaming are pretty limited right now. With most high-res screens marketed to professional and luxury desktop applications, gamers have little to work with at the moment. Acer’s XB280HK is the first UHD display to cater to enthusiasts with its G-Sync capability. With solid performance and prices under $800, we think it makes an excellent complement to a high-end gaming system.

For

  • Build quality
  • Color
  • G-Sync
  • Ultra HD

Against

  • Contrast
  • Gamma performance
  • No motion-blur reduction

Introduction

Last year's introduction of Nvidia's G-Sync variable refresh technology definitely gave gamers something to buzz about. Though AMD’s competing FreeSync standard recently grabbed some of the spotlight, Nvidia’s ecosystem has had more time to mature, and as a result, enthusiasts have a few more choices available.

Asus was first to market with its ROG Swift PG278Q, a monitor that still commands over $700 as of this writing. Following that, we reviewed screens from BenQ (XL2430G) and AOC (G2460PG), which sell at lower price points. So far, they’ve all proven to be excellent gaming monitors. The addition of G-Sync certainly makes them that much better-suited for fast-paced action.

Recently, we got our hands on the first of two Acer G-Sync-capable displays you'll see reviewed on Tom's Hardware. And this one offers something new: Ultra HD resolution. We’re talking about the XB280HK 28-inch monitor.

Since we published our reviews of the first two FreeSync-capable screens, BenQ’s XL2730Z and Acer’s XG270HU, there has been much debate about the merits of one technology over the other. In my game play tests, I can't tell the difference. To delve deeper into the nuances of G-Sync, we obtained a Digital Storm gaming PC and loaded it up with several popular titles. My impressions and findings are on page seven of this article.

Is this the ideal tool for gaming in Ultra HD? Let’s take a look.

  • Frozen Fractal
    On first glance I thought I wouldn't have to see "we will be reviewing XB270HU soon" quote again. But then I realized it's XB280HK. Oh well, guess have to endure that quote for few more time :rolleyes:

    Contrast ratio, brightness, chromacity & gamma tracing is where XB280HK looses the ground, but to be fair, most of the gamers won't be noticing much difference at all. But it is kind of disappointing to see Planar do better in these fields than Acer utilizing the same panel. I don't know, maybe the overdrive somehow worsen the results?

    But ofcourse, it does well on uniformity and response time. Makes me wonder why XB280HK doesn't have ULMB if it's supposed to be a bundled feature with G-Sync. That should've helped in 60Hz panels more, rather than 144Hz ones.

    But anyway, XB280HK looks promising, although I don't think 4K is what I prefer for gaming+life (although I do for gaming only).
    Reply
  • deuce_23
    Sorry if i missed it but what version display port is it?
    Reply
  • Frozen Fractal
    16328127 said:
    Sorry if i missed it but what version display port is it?

    It's 1.2a I presume. Since that's what is capable of 4K@60Hz other than HDMI 2.0
    Reply
  • boju
    Should be at least version 1.2 for 4k @ 60Hz since this version has been doing this since year 2009. v1.2a is the same Res/Hz deal but brings added support for Freesync.

    Reply
  • picture_perfect
    Why do they keep pushing 4K for gaming. True gamers have always regarded fps as king and 4K is one-quarter the frame rate of 1080. Gamers don't need expensive 4K monitors driven by expensive cards at ever-lower frame rates (via G-sync). This is chasing the proverbial tail and counterproductive. Regular 1080p, v-synced at a constant 144 fps would be better than all that stuff.
    Reply
  • spagalicious
    Why do they keep pushing 4K for gaming. True gamers have always regarded fps as king and 4K is one-quarter the frame rate of 1080. Gamers don't need expensive 4K monitors driven by expensive cards at ever-lower frame rates (via G-sync). This is chasing the proverbial tail and counterproductive. Regular 1080p, v-synced at a constant 144 fps would be better than all that stuff.

    *Competitive Gamers
    People that like to play games also like to play games in ultra HD resolutions.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    For peeps that want gaming at 4k now, this is the best option I've seen so far.
    Reply
  • picture_perfect
    4K is cool but GPUs cant handle it well enough yet. I'd rather have 1080p at high fps and gain an extra 1-2 frames of lag, but to each their own.
    Reply
  • bystander
    16328109 said:
    But ofcourse, it does well on uniformity and response time. Makes me wonder why XB280HK doesn't have ULMB if it's supposed to be a bundled feature with G-Sync. That should've helped in 60Hz panels more, rather than 144Hz ones.

    ULMB uses flickering to lower persistence, which reduces the motion blur. If you've ever used 60hz CRT monitors, you'll know that flickering is painful on the eyes. This is why ULMB mode is not offered on 60hz monitors, and likely won't be offered on anything less than 75-85hz.

    Reply
  • bystander
    16329841 said:
    4K is cool but GPUs cant handle it well enough yet. I'd rather have 1080p at high fps and gain an extra 1-2 frames of lag, but to each their own.

    Top end GPU's can handle 4K just fine. You just don't play it at max settings. What is better, medium to high settings and 4K, or maxed at 1080p? That is a subjective question, and will vary from person to person.

    That said, I prefer higher refresh rates than 60hz, so I'll be going 1440p before 4K.
    Reply