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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.

Our Verdict

There's not much to dislike about the XR341CK. It's a premium product at a premium price but you get what you pay for. Its panel boasts top-notch accuracy and is built with excellent quality control. The 75Hz refresh rate provides greater smoothness than a 60Hz screen. And it's the only ultra-wide curved monitor with FreeSync available right now. Unless you absolutely need 144Hz, this gaming monitor is well-worth considering.

For

  • IPS panel
  • 75Hz refresh rate
  • FreeSync
  • Hardware fps counter and reticules
  • WQHD resolution
  • 21:9 aspect ratio
  • Curve
  • All-metal stand
  • Settings memories
  • Sound quality.

Against

  • No ULMB
  • 75Hz refresh rate
  • old-school OSD controls

Introduction

Some users are still asking why curved monitors exist and why they should spend the extra coin it takes to own one. Manufacturers seem undaunted by this as they continue to introduce new models. It also seems the 21:9 aspect ratio has caught on sufficiently to qualify as a category that's here to stay rather than just a fad.

We've positively reviewed several ultra-wide and curved screens since they appeared about a year ago. They're expensive for sure, but they are also flagship products employing the best panel parts and comprehensive feature lists. We haven't seen a bad example yet.

Though the first curved monitors were aimed at the business class, their design seems more suitable for gaming where the more you can see the better. Now that ultra-wide screens are available in 1440p, the addition of a little curve just brings the game's world closer to reality.

The first curved gaming monitor we looked at was BenQ's XR3501. It's a gorgeous AMVA (Advanced Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment) panel with high contrast and excellent color, but it only offers 1080p resolution and no frame-rate matching. It is capable of 144Hz refresh though.

Today we're looking at member of Acer's gaming lineup -- the XR341CK. With a 75Hz IPS panel, WQHD resolution and FreeSync, it might just appeal to users looking for a more immersive experience.

At this time, 34-inch curved parts come only from LG and Samsung. Acer uses an LG panel in the XR341CK, which turns out to be the same one we saw in Dell's U3415W monitor. Its 3800R curve is far more subtle than the 2000R radius we saw in the BenQ XR3501.

An early stumbling block in the acceptance of 21:9 screens was their low resolution. 1080p just doesn't quite cut it, especially in larger 34 and 35-inch sizes. Fortunately Acer is using a 1440p part so you can enjoy the same scaling and screen height as a 27-inch QHD display, which is fast becoming a new desktop standard.

The backlight is a white LED and it is flicker-free. No pulse-width modulation is used at any brightness level. Though most PWM screens don't bother us, some users are sensitive to strobing even when it's happening at 20,000 times per second. The XR341CK's constant-current backlight will bother no one.

Gaming features are here aplenty as well. FreeSync is included and works up to the 75Hz max refresh rate. The lower limit is 30Hz at which point users can opt to switch to V-Sync. Acer has also included two hardware features that we think are pretty cool. There are three different aiming reticules available, similar to Asus' GamePlus. And you can place an fps counter in the screen's upper right by setting an option in the OSD.

Obviously the XR341CK is a flagship product selling for a premium price, but will you get what you pay for? Let's take a look.

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  • 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