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Acer XG270HU 27-inch FreeSync Monitor Review

We’ve had G-Sync monitors for many months now, but AMD fans had to wait for FreeSync screens. Today we’re looking at Acer’s 27-inch QHD XG270HU.

Viewing Angles, Uniformity, Response And Lag

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

This is usually the place where we lament the lack of IPS panels in the gaming segment. With a few exceptions, TN is still the tech of choice for a fast screen. By using the latest AU Optronics part, however, Acer delivers one of the best twisted-nematic monitors we’ve tested. You won’t mistake it for IPS or VA, but it’s rare that we can see all of the dark steps in both the side and top-down photos. While the color shift is obvious, very little detail is lost when moving off-center in the horizontal plane. It's weaker vertically, but you can see the steps there too. You won’t have to feel like you’re settling for TN as much with the XG270HU.

Screen Uniformity: Luminance

Although the numerical result in our black test is disappointing, it’s almost entirely due to a center-screen hotspot. The surrounding zones are much more uniform. There is no visible patchiness or light bleed, just a barely visible glow in the middle. And it’s not something that will bother you in real-world use.

Here’s the white field measurement:

The white field test shoots the XG270HU to the top of the group with an 8.8% result. There are no visible bright or dim areas.

Screen Uniformity: Color

If a monitor scores over three in this test, it means you can see slight color tint in parts of the 80-percent white field pattern. We didn't observe any, but our i1 Pro spectrophotometer did. It mainly picked up errors along the top of the screen.

Pixel Response And Input Lag

To perform these tests, we use a high-speed camera that shoots at 1000 frames per second. Analyzing the video frame-by-frame allows us to observe the exact time it takes to go from a zero percent signal to a 100% white field.

Testing a 144Hz gaming monitor means we can’t use the AccuPel generator, which is limited to 60Hz. So, we hooked the XG270HU up to a Radeon R9 285-equipped PC and filmed a mouse movement that triggers the field pattern’s appearance. Since this is less precise than using the generator, we average five measurements. Here’s the screen draw result:

With a panel this responsive, the absence of blur reduction isn't really missed. All of the screens in this group have it except for Acer's. And as you can see, the contenders present near-identical performance. Moreover, we observe no evidence of FreeSync slowing panel response. It was turned on for every benchmark.

Here are the lag results:

The LG 24GM77 is likely to be our input lag champ for the foreseeable future. Still, 10 extra milliseconds are hardly a deal-breaker. Playing FPS titles that require hair-trigger reflexes is great on the XG270HU. And with the super-smooth motion provided by FreeSync, you’ll never want to go back to a fixed-refresh monitor.

FreeSync

As with our previous review of the BenQ XL2730Z, enabling FreeSync is simply a matter of checking the appropriate box in AMD's Catalyst Control Center.

Once we did this, the feature worked perfectly in the games we tried. There were no tears present and we could leave the refresh rate at 144Hz. Most G-Sync monitors top out at 120Hz (unless you turn rate-matching off) so this is a plus for FreeSync, especially as graphics cards achieve higher frame rates.

  • rdc85
    Look goods,

    hope they can make 144hz IPS "Freesync" monitor...
    24" preferred.. 27" just to big for me..
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    "In the case of the XG270HU, its frame rate range is 30-144Hz, which means you can benefit from FreeSync down to 30 FPS."

    my god that is wonderful
    Reply
  • ubercake
    "In the case of the XG270HU, its frame rate range is 30-144Hz, which means you can benefit from FreeSync down to 30 FPS."

    my god that is wonderful
    The first freesync monitor with such a range. This is great for competition!!!

    I also like the fact these freesync monitors are not limited to a single DP input.

    Now I feel like I have a choice again. AMD corrected their FCAT issues I had been complaining about for years and now freesync? I may head back to team red with the next gen. This is good stuff. How are the drivers lately?
    Reply
  • wtfxxxgp
    Very sexy monitor. That IPS version is also supposed to be QHD... That's going to be pricey for sure, but at least it's the start of good things to come
    Reply
  • wtfxxxgp
    Look goods,

    hope they can make 144hz IPS "Freesync" monitor...
    24" preferred.. 27" just to big for me..

    Seriously? 27" 1440p is the SWEET SPOT.
    Reply
  • UncleVesper
    "In the case of the XG270HU, its frame rate range is 30-144Hz, which means you can benefit from FreeSync down to 30 FPS."

    my god that is wonderful

    It figures Tom's Hardware does not actually do a full review of their products. The FreeSync range they just took for granted in what they were told. According to GURU3D, they experienced tearing this monitor < 40 FPS, so the minimum range is NOT 30 but 40 HZ.

    http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/amd_freesync_review_with_the_acer_xb270hu_monitor,12.html
    Reply
  • UncleVesper
    Link cut off, this was the conclusion: "We did noticed on the ACER screen that at low sub 35 FPS screen tearing was back, which was disappointing. From what we learned, the ACER dynamic range starts at 40Hz, and thus so will FreeSync. If you cannot achieve such a framerate then you need to tweak image quality in such a manner that it stays above the minimum dynamic range. But FreeSync at 40+ FPS is as good as it is at 60 FPS, that is a fact."
    Reply
  • Wisecracker
    16039451 said:
    "In the case of the XG270HU, its frame rate range is 30-144Hz, which means you can benefit from FreeSync down to 30 FPS."

    my god that is wonderful

    Yup.

    The first OEMs to seriously target entry-level and 'mainstream' 30Hz+ at a respectable size and resolution are sitting on gold mines. Hopefully, it will happen sooner rather than later.

    If Intel gets behind it, it's a done deal. Being the big dog with DX12 on the immediate horizon, and with their investment made into integrated graphics, it is a natural extension to bring DP to great, inexpensive motherboards.

    I'd love to see some gaming reviews at the lower-end. Let us see the experience with a $130 APU.



    Reply
  • singemagique
    Very sexy monitor. That IPS version is also supposed to be QHD... That's going to be pricey for sure, but at least it's the start of good things to come

    Yep, the XB270HU is 1440p, IPS, 144hz, 4ms, GSync. I picked up two last month from Amazon at $738. They are excellent panels and the best monitors I have used outside of professional monitors.
    Reply
  • quilciri
    Why, oh why, oh why doesn't it have a VESA mount? You were so close to the perfect monitor, Acer.
    Reply