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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.

Brightness And Contrast

To read about our monitor tests in-depth, please check out Display Testing Explained: How We Test Monitors and TVs. Brightness and Contrast testing is covered on page two.

Uncalibrated – Maximum Backlight Level

We rounded up all the latest ultra-wide and curved monitors in our database for today's comparison. BenQ is represented by the XR3501 and from Dell we have the U3415W, which is more of a professional tool than a gaming monitor. LG's 34UC97 is a business-class screen but since the XR341CK adds only FreeSync and an extra 15Hz, we think it's relevant. To fill out the group, we're including two more FreeSync displays -- Acer's XG270HU and Asus' MG279Q.

Acer rates the XR341CK at 300cd/m2 but we saw over 326cd/m2 on our sample. That's enough to offset the output loss caused by ULMB -- if that feature were included. So far it seems to be missing on all FreeSync displays.

The lone TN screen here loses ground in the black level contest mainly thanks to its brighter backlight. The BenQ takes the top spot with its superb AMVA panel. Hopefully we'll see both that and frame-rate matching on a product in the near future.

While the BenQ monitor is far ahead of the pack in max contrast, the XR341CK acquits itself well with a ratio of 1111.6 to 1. This is higher than almost any IPS screen we've tested. We still maintain that contrast is the most important element of image quality. That belief is confirmed by the superb picture coming from this Acer unit.

Uncalibrated – Minimum Backlight Level

Turning down the backlight to minimum yields a just-useable 41.7485cd/m2. With all the lights off, gaming becomes very immersive. If you want to turn up the brightness just a little, three clicks will result in exactly 50cd/m2.

The XG270HU and U3415W represent two extremes while the rest of the pack displays nearly identical minimum black levels. The Dell's result is thanks to its very dim backlight and the XG's is due to a very bright one. All of these screens will produce sufficiently deep blacks for gaming or anything else you want to do.

Minimum contrast remains stable at 1083.1 to 1; just a tad under the max number. We almost never see a monitor with inconsistent contrast anymore and that's as it should be. Since the XR341CK is so accurate, you can just set the brightness where you want it and enjoy around 1100:1 contrast and accurate color, it's that easy.

After Calibration to 200cd/m2

Calibration moves the XR341CK up a bit in the rankings. It won't be mistaken for an AMVA panel but .1883cd/m2 is a great result nonetheless.

Contrast is only a tiny bit lower after calibration, mainly because we dropped the Contrast slider for better grayscale accuracy. It's a nit-pick though; no adjustments are actually necessary for optimal image quality.

ANSI Contrast Ratio

Since ANSI contrast is affected by screen uniformity, we saw an 11 percent drop thanks to slight hotspots in the screen's corners. They aren't visible to the naked eye, but our instruments could see them. Other XR341CK samples could measure slightly better or worse than our result.

Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.