Acer XG270HU 27-inch FreeSync Monitor Review

Conclusion

For now, gamers looking to add frame rate-matching to their rigs have limited choices. That narrow spectrum results in higher prices. The first-generation G-Sync- and FreeSync-capable displays all cost more than their contemporaries without those technologies. As with any other attractive capability, the early adopters pay more. As follow-up solutions become available, adding to the number of options out there, prices inevitably come down. Acer's XG270HU is a decent example of that.

If you look at the G-Sync-equipped monitors, they’re all fairly expensive. In the 24-inch form factor (the smallest at present), you’ll still pay around $400. And 27-inch screens cost $600 or more. Acer is making a bold statement with the XG270HU by adding in AMD's version of this technology in a $500 display. This is not only a nice option for Radeon users, but it undercuts any 27-inch G-Sync monitor by a tidy sum.

It’s obvious that Acer isn't cutting corners with regards to image quality or the features that matter most to gamers: speed and frame rate-matching. You get stable 144Hz operation, and thanks to HDMI 2.0, that input is now available for native QHD signals. But the main reason to buy the XG270HU is, of course, FreeSync.

We’ll say it again--once you’ve eliminated tearing from your favorite games, there is no going back. The option to dial in a 144Hz refresh rate is great, but FreeSync and G-Sync are better for creating a smooth realistic look to motion rendered on-screen.

Though color accuracy and contrast may be a lower priority for some users, the XG270HU doesn’t skimp on either. Contrast ratios, both on/off and ANSI, are quite high at almost 1000:1. Until VA panels make their way into this market, that’s about as good as it gets.

We’re glad to see Acer joining the list of companies providing displays that are very color-accurate without calibration. Even though most products benefit from an instrumented adjustment, users of the XG270HU can enjoy excellent image quality right out of the box. Just power up and set brightness to taste.

The only thing still missing is that IPS panel. Acer heard our cries long before this article was written with the XB270HU, which we are still waiting to receive. Rest assured, that review will happen shortly. Not only is it the only 144Hz IPS panel from a mainstream company, it adds G-Sync to the mix as well.

If, however, you are committed to your Radeon graphics board, Acer's XG270HU is your best choice at the moment. With stable 144Hz operation, excellent image quality, FreeSync and a reasonably low price, it easily earns our Tom’s Hardware Editor Recommended award.

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Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware, covering Monitors and TVs.

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24 comments
    Your comment
  • rdc85
    Look goods,

    hope they can make 144hz IPS "Freesync" monitor...
    24" preferred.. 27" just to big for me..
  • 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
  • ubercake
    Quote:
    "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?
  • 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
  • wtfxxxgp
    Quote:
    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.
  • UncleVesper
    Quote:
    "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
  • 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."
  • Wisecracker
    133584 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.
  • singemagique
    Quote:
    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.
  • quilciri
    Why, oh why, oh why doesn't it have a VESA mount? You were so close to the perfect monitor, Acer.
  • Xenophage
    The Asus MG279Q looks better by far. Going on sale at Newegg on Monday.
  • Eggz
    How long do you think it will be until Nvidia supports the standard Adaptive Sync from VESA? They'll have to eventually, right? If not, that'll be great for AMD and Intel.
  • Wisecracker
    Quote:
    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.

    In your haste to slam Toms (and AMD FreeSync) you missed this little nugget from Guru3D ....

    " ...Our tested sample is a 40-144Hz in case this of Acer..."

    Ooops.
  • UncleVesper
    Quote:
    Quote:
    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.
    In your haste to slam Toms (and AMD FreeSync) you missed this little nugget from Guru3D .... " ...Our tested sample is a 40-144Hz in case this of Acer..." Ooops.


    The monitor Min refresh rate for freesync IS 40 HZ. The information posted here is wrong, and my slamming is warranted because I almost pulled the trigger on this monitor myself. Notice how there is no "Freesync testing" page? Because it was not tested by them.

    Another Source:

    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/acer_xg270hu.htm
  • Shankovich
    Waiting for that IPS version and I'm sold. Can save me $200 for the 14nm cards next year when it'll be time for an upgrade. Thanks to Acer for actually using a proper FreeSync range. Annoying to see people hating on some of the other monitors for not having a low enough range, even though FreeSync is speced for down to 9 Hz (so it's up to the panel makers).

    Regardless, if you're going to plop +$500 or so on a monitor, you sure as hell better have a good enough rig to play near or above 60fps at its resolution.
  • Bondfc11
    Still TN, but it is a start - not for me since I love IPS, but a decent showing from Acer (although many people are complaining of screen issues with this monitor like the ROG Swift when that first came out).
  • toadhammer
    Quote:
    Why, oh why, oh why doesn't it have a VESA mount? You were so close to the perfect monitor, Acer.


    Yeah. A crappy stand, *and* no VESA alternative.
  • JackNaylorPE
    The Acer XB270HU G-Sync model was the 1st IPS I could recommend for gaming with 144 Hz, ULMB and G-Sync eliminating the lag and ghosting issues. I had high hopes for the expected Freesync version but was disappointed to learn that, like previous Freesync models tested as of the review date, Freesync is broken and can't be used with Display Port and the Overdrive feature. It should also be detailed that not all ports on the XG270HU support Freesync.

    How this could escape mention in a tech site review is kind of baffling and I agree with the above user in recommending the Asus MG279Q which is not so afflicted..... unfortunately the Asus is not quite a complete package as it has no blur reduction mode.

    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/content/acer_xg270hu.htm#freesync

    Quote:
    From a monitor point of view the use of FreeSync creates a problem on the XG270HU at the moment, just as it had on the BenQ XL2730Z we tested recently. The issue is that the OD (overdrive) setting does nothing when you connect the screen over DisplayPort to a FreeSync system. This applies whether you are actually using FreeSync or not, you don't even need to have the option ticked in the graphics card settings for the problem to occur. As a result, the OD setting appears to be in the off state, and changing it to Normal or Extreme in the menu makes no difference to real-World response times or performance. As a result, response times are fairly slow at ~7.7ms G2G and there is a more noticeable blur to the moving image. See the more detailed response time tests in the previous sections for more information, but needless to say this is not the optimum OD (response time) setting on this screen. For some reason, the combination of FreeSync support and this display disables the OD function. This only happens when you are using a FreeSync enabled graphics card, FreeSync capable drivers and the DisplayPort interface. If you switch to DVI or any other interface (which don't support the FreeSync feature) even from the same graphics card/driver then OD behaves as it should again. If you use DisplayPort but revert to an older non-FreeSync enabled driver package then OD works as it should. If you use a non-FreeSync supporting AMD card, or a card from NVIDIA/Intel then OD functions as it should. It's only when all 3 things are combined that the problem seems to occur. Obviously if you eliminate one of them to make OD work properly, you lose the advantage of FreeSync dynamic refresh rate control. We know from our review of the BenQ XL2730Z, and our conversations with them about it that the issue is a known bug which apparently currently affects all FreeSync monitors. The AMD FreeSync command disturbs the response time function, causing it to switch off. It's something which will require an update from AMD to their driver behaviour, which they are currently working on. It will also require a firmware update for the screen itself to correct the problem. We know that AMD are working on their updated drivers, and we've asked Acer for comment on how they might handle firmware and screen updates. Assuming that fixes the issue the performance when using a FreeSync system should be better than now, as you can move from OD Off to the better OD Normal setting. At the moment if you use the FreeSync function, or even just have a FreeSync enabled system in place, the response times are slower than they should be by a fair amount, and so you will experience a moderate amount of blur. To be fair they aren't really slow (7.7ms G2G measured) but they just aren't as fast as they could be and show some more noticeable blurring than OD normal. If you need to, you can always switch to DVI or another interface other than DisplayPort to benefit from the OD setting (but lose FreeSync).
  • soldier44
    Monitor looks great just needs to be over 30 inches and 4k.
  • somebodyspecial
    So I guess you guys just don't seem to mind ghosting etc?

    http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/monitors/82189-acer-xg270hu-freesync-monitor/?page=4
    "From our results it seems that the magnitude of the ghosting problem isn't as severe as observed on some other FreeSync panels"

    This means STILL THERE right? I mean, you can SEE it...LOL. Let me know when rev2 of these monitors fixes all the issues. Until then this isn't GSYNC.

    "In short we don't feel the ghosting on the Acer XG270HU is significant enough to impact the gaming experience."

    Well that is subjective though right? I want NONE...So rev2 or as they say:
    "That said, AMD could benefit from enforcing stricter standards on monitor vendors to ensure that panels with significant ghosting do not drag the value of the FreeSync package down."

    Until they FORCE components that fix the issues, I'll pass and wait for better or Gsync if none exists by the time I buy.

    On under 40fps:
    "However, the issue did creep into focus when tackling tougher games such as Assassin's Creed Unity, Crysis 3 and Metro Last Light."

    More:
    "The most significant issue pertains the noticeable transition between FreeSync and non-FreeSync zones, particularly if that's a frequent occurrence. In that instance gamers should consider lowering game settings to avoid dropping out of the FreeSync range and hope that AMD presents a driver fix for the issue in the near future. Nvidia's G-Sync deals with this specific issue by implementing a frame-duplication algorithm for low framerates. The Nvidia driver duplicates frames by varying magnitudes, two times for 19 to 38fps and three times for 14 to 18fps for example, to ensure the refresh rate of the panel stays around or above 40 and thus, cleverly, the gaming experience stays smooth."

    So NV has advantages I can't live without currently, though they still haven't put out the monitor I really want yet anyway (but that's my issue with the monitor not gsync performance issues). I also refuse to turn things down to hide issues here.

    Tomshardware seems to hate WAY too much on things that are proprietary, and covers for the issues of the crap that isn't. IE, OpenCL lovely, what's CUDA? compare them perf wise? You high? Why would we do that and let you know CUDA kills OpenCL? Freesync is lovely - oops, forgot to mention AMD needs to fix drivers, oh and that ghosting thing. jeez...

    Another more point, over the life of the unit, how much will the extra watts costs you to RATE MATCH with AMD vs. an NV Gsync solution if you hate turning things down like me? You can easily make up $100 on the high end of gaming cards in electricity currently with AMD vs. NV over say 3-5yrs of card ownership (god forbid you have kids gaming on it too). TCO means something. It's like arguing Xbox1/ps4 aren't much more than Shield TV, but reality is those $60 games blow up the cost of a console in short order and GRID can give higher quality especially as games evolve and NV upgrades servers repeatedly over time. Given the appropriate connection GRID could bury a console over time as consoles can't speed up to add more effects etc on AAA titles right? Whatever. The extra watts issue might go away with AMD's Fiji stuff but we're talking today.

    Also backing unclevesper's comment, the article at hexus states 40hz also hence the problem I mention at 40 above. So yeah, tomshardware found LACKING (a lot lately, reviewing shield without required connection speeds, this review etc). They mention issues in these games:
    "However, the issue did creep into focus when tackling tougher games such as Assassin's Creed Unity, Crysis 3 and Metro Last Light."

    Again, in those tougher games (and getting worse as games evolve) how much do the extra watts cost over time to keep you from having the issues Hexus etc found? How much crap will you turn down over time to keep there too like Hexus? As games get more taxing you'll end up doing it more frequently as more issue games pop up. meh...
  • SuperBlaster78
    You know what is truly baffling? The fact that you are baffled in your baffling world of misinformation. The issue you are talking about FreeSync not working correctly due to the OD issue when FreeSync is enabled was a minor quality control issue which was just saved by only a simple firmware upgrade. I actually happen to own the BenQ XL2730Z which I just recently received from a quick RMA turn around (5 business days Total for firmware repair) and now the OD works as planned when FS is enabled. I give this monitor a 10/10 as it may be the best TN monitor available ton the market today.

    Quote:
    The Acer XB270HU G-Sync model was the 1st IPS I could recommend for gaming with 144 Hz, ULMB and G-Sync eliminating the lag and ghosting issues. I had high hopes for the expected Freesync version but was disappointed to learn that, like previous Freesync models tested as of the review date, Freesync is broken and can't be used with Display Port and the Overdrive feature. It should also be detailed that not all ports on the XG270HU support Freesync. How this could escape mention in a tech site review is kind of baffling and I agree with the above user in recommending the Asus MG279Q which is not so afflicted..... unfortunately the Asus is not quite a complete package as it has no blur reduction mode. http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/content/acer_xg270hu.htm#freesync
    Quote:
    From a monitor point of view the use of FreeSync creates a problem on the XG270HU at the moment, just as it had on the BenQ XL2730Z we tested recently. The issue is that the OD (overdrive) setting does nothing when you connect the screen over DisplayPort to a FreeSync system. This applies whether you are actually using FreeSync or not, you don't even need to have the option ticked in the graphics card settings for the problem to occur. As a result, the OD setting appears to be in the off state, and changing it to Normal or Extreme in the menu makes no difference to real-World response times or performance. As a result, response times are fairly slow at ~7.7ms G2G and there is a more noticeable blur to the moving image. See the more detailed response time tests in the previous sections for more information, but needless to say this is not the optimum OD (response time) setting on this screen. For some reason, the combination of FreeSync support and this display disables the OD function. This only happens when you are using a FreeSync enabled graphics card, FreeSync capable drivers and the DisplayPort interface. If you switch to DVI or any other interface (which don't support the FreeSync feature) even from the same graphics card/driver then OD behaves as it should again. If you use DisplayPort but revert to an older non-FreeSync enabled driver package then OD works as it should. If you use a non-FreeSync supporting AMD card, or a card from NVIDIA/Intel then OD functions as it should. It's only when all 3 things are combined that the problem seems to occur. Obviously if you eliminate one of them to make OD work properly, you lose the advantage of FreeSync dynamic refresh rate control. We know from our review of the BenQ XL2730Z, and our conversations with them about it that the issue is a known bug which apparently currently affects all FreeSync monitors. The AMD FreeSync command disturbs the response time function, causing it to switch off. It's something which will require an update from AMD to their driver behaviour, which they are currently working on. It will also require a firmware update for the screen itself to correct the problem. We know that AMD are working on their updated drivers, and we've asked Acer for comment on how they might handle firmware and screen updates. Assuming that fixes the issue the performance when using a FreeSync system should be better than now, as you can move from OD Off to the better OD Normal setting. At the moment if you use the FreeSync function, or even just have a FreeSync enabled system in place, the response times are slower than they should be by a fair amount, and so you will experience a moderate amount of blur. To be fair they aren't really slow (7.7ms G2G measured) but they just aren't as fast as they could be and show some more noticeable blurring than OD normal. If you need to, you can always switch to DVI or another interface other than DisplayPort to benefit from the OD setting (but lose FreeSync).
  • norseman4
    Had this monitor since May 5th, ordered it the day it was on NewEgg (4/30) and love it.

    My stand seems to be stable, and the monitor's tilt angle stays exactly where I left it. Having height and rotate capabilities, as my AOC panel of the same dimensions (27" 1440p) has would be nice, but even there, once I got that panel where I wanted it I never move it, so those features, to me, aren't required.

    No ghosting and no tearing in the few games that I play with an R7 260x.
  • WyomingKnott
    Quote:
    Seriously? 27" 1440p is the SWEET SPOT.


    Yeah, but different people have different tastes. I, for one, need more pixels per inch than most people to be comfortable. So be gentle with folks who want slightly different things.
  • somebodyspecial
    51219 said:
    Quote:
    Seriously? 27" 1440p is the SWEET SPOT.
    Yeah, but different people have different tastes. I, for one, need more pixels per inch than most people to be comfortable. So be gentle with folks who want slightly different things.


    Agreed, so where is my 16:10 monitor ;) I need HEIGHT to read web pages, not width and more scrolling all day. Wider is better on my car when I'm cornering at stupid speeds or sliding around a mounting cliff in a jeep :) It's only better on my monitor when I'm reading a spreadsheet at work. If I want wider on games, I'll buy 2-3 monitors. Bring back 16:10 please. I know I'm not alone, but the monitor makers seem to ignore this whole group. The single dell is stupidly priced and needs competition. Different strokes...