Acer XF251Q Gaming Monitor Review: Ideal Budget Rig Companion

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Viewing Angles, Uniformity, Response & Lag

Viewing Angles

The XF251Q shows performance typical of TN monitors in our viewing angle photos. That said, it is better than many screens we’ve reviewed in the past. The 45-degree side view showed an obvious shift to green, but detail didn't suffer too badly. Light falloff was only about 40 percent, which is better than most. While VA and IPS technologies are superior in this regard, the difference isn’t as significant at smaller screen sizes, such as in the XF251Q, since most users won’t be sharing a 25-inch display.

Screen Uniformity

To learn how we measure screen uniformity, click here.

In the past, TN monitors suffered from sample-specific uniformity issues that manifested as hot spots and edge glow. Happily, newer panels are better in this regard. One is no more likely to find problems with today’s TN panels as with many IPS displays. Our XF251Q sample showed no visible issues with a respectable 10.98 percent average deviation from the center zone. Measurements showed slightly elevated blacks on the right side, but we couldn’t see an issue in the black field pattern or in actual content.

Pixel Response & Input Lag

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

The XF251Q offers a 75Hz refresh rate, while the other more expensive monitors in the group have a 144Hz or 165Hz refresh rate. Of course, larger numbers mean faster screen draw and lower input lag. But the XF251Q drew a frame twice as fast as a 60Hz screen. That means motion blur is a non-issue.

As we said earlier, overdrive is locked to Normal at 75Hz, which caused slight ghosting, but the reduction in blur is worth it. With 46ms of total input lag, this monitor won’t be on competitive gamers’ short lists, but it is more than adequate for the rest of us. Even skilled players will find it snappy and smooth as they frag their friends at the weekly LAN party.

Gaming & Hands-on

FreeSync monitors like the XF251Q are a perfect complement to our modest test PC. It’s equipped with an AMD Radeon R9 285, so it won’t win any speed contests. But in games like Tomb Raider and Battlefield 4, we can turn the detail up to Maximum and still maintain frame rates in the 60-70 fps range. This affords smooth gameplay that’s free from frame tears.

The ghosting we mentioned earlier did not manifest in any of the scenarios we tried. In BlurBuster’s UFO test, it appeared as a white trail behind a dark object moving against a light background. In our gaming tests, there were no visible artifacts. Mouse movements were instantly translated into character reactions. We had little trouble mopping up bad guys with Lara’s pistol or bow.

Concerns about resolution were unfounded as the XF251Q’s 90ppi density is just fine for good detail. The monitor’s excellent contrast contributed to a good sense of depth and dimension. Color saturation was on the vivid side, and we never noticed any clipping of detail in the mid-tones. This is an excellent gaming monitor, worthy of consideration by any value-conscious user.

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors

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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.

  • Rakanyshu
    6 or 8 years ago i bought a couple 24 inches screens similar to this thing for 100 each, is ridiculous that after so much time the only thing that changes is price... i mean screens and ram modules are almost the same as 8 years ago only more expensive... (ddr3 to ddr4) for regular computer usage you would not notice the difference and there is almost not worth it to buy this monitor if you already have one you bought in this decade.
  • mikeebb
    I'm interested, though, because the old Dell (Sony Trinitron) CRT needs replacement.