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Acer XR341CK 34-Inch Curved FreeSync Monitor Review

Acer offers its latest curved monitor, the XR341CK 34-inch WQHD, which should appeal to gamers with its 75Hz IPS panel and FreeSync. Today we check it out.

OSD Setup And Calibration

OSD Tour

Bringing up the OSD requires three button presses but once you're in, it's pretty easy to navigate.

The first menu contains Brightness, Contrast and a Black Level control. The Black Level control is something we rarely see on any computer monitor. If you game in a brightly-lit room, turning it up will help bring out shadow detail; but don't drop it below five, as that will clip the darkest shades.

Turing on the Blue Light warms the color temp a bit and has five levels. ACM is Acer's dynamic contrast control; since it skews gamma and clips both highlight and shadow detail, we recommend leaving it off. Super Sharpness adds a subtle edge enhancement and reduces contrast a little. We recommend leaving this off as well.

The Color menu has all the necessary calibration adjustments including two-point white balance and a color management system. sRGB mode locks out all image adjustments including Brightness and Contrast. It provides good color and grayscale but its gamma is too light; we'll show you the graph on page five. Finally there are three gamma presets: 1.8, 2.2 and 2.4. The 2.4 comes closest to the correct value.

The User color temp mode has both gain and bias controls. That means you can adjust the high and low ends of the grayscale independently. That being said, the XR341CK is so close to perfect out of the box you probably won't need to adjust anything here.

The color management system is split into hue and saturation adjustments. We used hue to fine-tune the magenta secondary but no other changes were necessary. The saturation sliders are effective but change luminance as well, so use them carefully.

The OSD is available in 15 languages and its timeout can be as long as 120 seconds. Refresh Rate Num is like a hardware version of FRAPS. It will display the current refresh rate in the upper right corner of the screen. The bright yellow font is fairly large so you probably won't want it on all the time. It's a cool feature though.

Transparency refers to the OSD itself and can be set to one of five levels. Game Mode is a set of four settings memories. Aim Point works like Asus' GamePlus feature and provides three different reticules, which are fixed at the center of the screen.

The final set of options is in the XR341CK's tools menu. You can change the input, set the overdrive (Off, Normal and Extreme), turn on the DTS speaker function, change the DisplayPort version, set your multi-monitor daisy-chain options, change the HDMI Black Level (Normal is correct for PC signals) and access the PIP/PBP function.

Ultra-wide screens are great for displaying multiple sources. The XR341CK can do PIP or PBP with anything connected to its four inputs. The PIP window can be sized and moved around the screen. And you can select which input's audio you want to hear.

At first we thought Ambient Light might refer to a light sensor, but it's actually a soft glowing LED that illuminates the surface below the panel. You can choose from red, green or blue; flash or pulse the light, change the brightness and even sweep it from side to side if you wish. It's something we haven't seen before and after playing games for a while, we grew to like it. If you don't want to use it, it can be easily turned off.

The signal info includes the current refresh rate and whether or not FreeSync is active.

Calibration

In its out-of-box mode the XR341CK is one of the most accurate monitors we've seen to date. You can literally set brightness to taste, change the gamma preset to 2.4 and be done. As you'll see in our tests, color, grayscale and gamma are all on par with many professional screens.

In the User mode, we were able to realize tiny gains in both grayscale tracking and color gamut accuracy, but they weren't visible to the naked eye; only to our instruments. Nevertheless, we'll include the settings we arrived at below if you'd like to tweak your XR341CK.

Acer XR341CK Calibration Settings
Picture ModeUser
Contrast48
Brightness 200cd/m257
Brightness 120cd/m228
Brightness 100cd/m221
Brightness 80cd/m214
Brightness 50cd/m23
Black Level5
BlueLiteOff
ACMOff
Super SharpnessOff
Gamma2.4
Color Temp UserRGain 51, All Others 50
6-axis HueMagenta 53, All Others 50
6-axis SaturationAll 50
OverdriveExtreme
HDMI Black LevelNormal
Low LatencyOn
  • ohim
    Why do they make screens brighter than 300 or let`s say max 350 cd/m² ? I had tested a Iiyama 27" with 350 and at max brightness i could feel the heat from the screen on my hands and face at 30 cm away from the screen ... you can`t even use the blessed thing at max.. i finally settled for around 20-30% of screen brightness max 50% for presentation purposes ...
    Reply
  • rene13cross
    Better the screen is too bright and brightness can be reduced than it being too dark and brightness cannot be increased. Nothing to complain about in my opinion.
    Reply
  • DoDidDont
    Seriously considering two of these for work/play, but holding off as the Asus ROG PG384Q 34" curved monitor looks more promising, G-sync, IPS, and 3440x1440 @ 100Hz. All come down to when Asus will release it, and how long I can wait...
    Reply
  • Au_equus
    acer also has a g-sync model (XR341CKA aka Predator X34), but, like asus, there seems to be a never ending delay after delay.
    Reply
  • Larry Litmanen
    I saw a similar monitor in the store recently and i have to say yes it is wide, but in height the display is too short, they need to add a few more inches to height so the experience is very immersive.
    Reply
  • PlanesFly
    Great Review guys. Just one thing, you need to remove the reference to being a Predator monitor, this monitor has absolutely no tie to the Predator line-up of products, it is a XR Series monitor. Only the G-Sync version falls under the Predator series.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    $1000? LOL No. They have already proven in the TV market that this curved crap adds nothing to the experience, and even detracts from it. It is not worth any type of premium whatsoever.

    $500, Yes
    Reply
  • PlanesFly
    16681781 said:
    I saw a similar monitor in the store recently and i have to say yes it is wide, but in height the display is too short, they need to add a few more inches to height so the experience is very immersive.

    You can't just add to the height or the aspect ratio wouldn't be 21:9. The height is equal to a 27" 16:9 monitor with 30% more width.

    You're looking for a monitor with 3820x1600, essentially a 4k monitor with the vertical chopped off.
    Reply
  • obababoy
    Seriously considering two of these for work/play, but holding off as the Asus ROG PG384Q 34" curved monitor looks more promising, G-sync, IPS, and 3440x1440 @ 100Hz. All come down to when Asus will release it, and how long I can wait...
    What GPU are you running? if you have AMD get this, if you have Nvidia get the ROG...but wait for however long it will take.
    Reply
  • PlanesFly
    16681911 said:
    Seriously considering two of these for work/play, but holding off as the Asus ROG PG384Q 34" curved monitor looks more promising, G-sync, IPS, and 3440x1440 @ 100Hz. All come down to when Asus will release it, and how long I can wait...
    What GPU are you running? if you have AMD get this, if you have Nvidia get the ROG...but wait for however long it will take.

    Why should someone wait for the ROG, they will be using the exact same panel and the Acer X34 has already passed both reviews I've seen so far with flying colors. The only difference is if you desperately want the slightly different aesthetic of the ASUS version over the Predator.

    The X34 should be out in a couple weeks...the ASUS won't be out until possibly Jan 2016.
    Reply