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Acer Predator X38 175Hz Gaming Monitor Review: Bigger Really Is Better

A big, fast, curved performer

Acer Predator X38
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Acer)

The Predator X38 can be enjoyed without calibration. It delivers pro-level accuracy in all metrics in the default Standard picture mode. This is true for both SDR and HDR content. It also has the ability to switch color gamuts automatically -- sRGB for SDR and DCI-P3 for HDR -- as long as the SDR Colors sRGB option is turned on.

Grayscale & Gamma Tracking

Our grayscale and gamma tests use Calman calibration software from Portrait Displays. We describe those tests in detail here.

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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)

Out of the box, there are no visible grayscale errors at all. There is a slight reduction in red as brightness increases, but to the naked eye, it’s perfect.

Gamma has a slight dip at the 10% brightness step, which means it’s a little too bright, but that error was very hard to spot in content.

With a few changes to the RGB sliders, grayscale tracking improved (second chart), at least as far as our meter is concerned. We couldn’t tell the difference visually. Gamma, meanwhile, didn’t change. This is excellent performance, worthy of a professional screen.

Comparisons

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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Starting the tests with a grayscale error of 1.67 Delta E (dE) means we don’t have to calibrate. But we did anyway and got the number even lower. 0.49dE is enough to take the top spot among a solid group of gaming monitors.

The gamma dip at 10% brightness costs the X38 a little in the gamma range test, but a 0.22 span of values is still quite good. With an average of 2.2, it meets the standard with a 0% deviation.

Color Gamut Accuracy

The Predator X38’s color gamut accuracy is equally impressive. Calibration is unnecessary, but as in the grayscale tests, a small improvement in numbers is possible and easy to achieve.

Our color gamut and volume testing uses Portrait Displays’ Calman software. For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, click here.

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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)
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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Portrait Displays Calman)

For the most accurate rendering of SDR content, the SDR Colors sRGB option should be turned on. The first chart above shows the default measurement, which has no visible errors. The meter picked up some slight undersaturation in red, but we couldn’t see this in actual content. This is one of the best sRGB modes we’ve seen from any extended color monitor.

With SDR Color sRGB turned off, we measured the X38’s full native gamut. As you can see, it pretty much nails the DCI-P3 spec. Green is slightly undersaturated, which is typical, performance. And you get a bit of bonus red.

Calibration didn’t make a visual difference for either gamut, but the measured errors become slightly lower. Not many monitors can achieve less than 1dE average in our color test. The X38 is a seriously capable display.

Comparisons

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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Acer Predator X38

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

For comparison, we used the sRGB gamut number because this test is meant to show color accuracy for SDR content. With an average error of 0.91dE for DCI-P3 though, the X38 would still be in first place. Though we are satisfied with the color performance of all the screens, the X38 is one of the best we’ve tested.

Though the X38 has a little less DCI-P3 gamut volume than the Cooler Master and Viotek screens, it’s more accurate overall and will deliver superior image fidelity. And it exceeds the volume number of most extended color monitors we’ve measured. It also has a near-ideal volume for the sRGB gamut. The X38 is well-qualified for color-critical duties.

  • coloradoblah
    Maybe when its under 1000, 1700 is way too high, 1,000:1 contrast sucks
    Reply
  • cknobman
    LMAO Acer is smoking crack if they think this monitor is worth $1700!!

    Monitor pricing is just stupid these days. Maybe when crap does not sell prices will come back down to sane levels.
    Reply
  • coloradoblah
    cknobman said:
    LMAO Acer is smoking crack if they think this monitor is worth $1700!!

    Monitor pricing is just stupid these days. Maybe when crap does not sell prices will come back down to sane levels.
    Yeah you can get a few 34” ultrawides for around 300-400 now , obviously VA panels but is it really 4 times the cost ? The Gigabyte 34 ultrawide is actually pretty damn good for the cost, as long as you get one that has good QC.
    Reply
  • tharkis842
    Meh. For the price, might as well buy a nice gaming TV and run a custom res.
    Reply
  • brandxbeer
    tharkis842 said:
    Meh. For the price, might as well buy a nice gaming TV and run a custom res.
    I agree. Some die hards will disagree but tvs are the best option for casual pc gaming. A descent 4k tvs colour and hrd will blow a monitor away
    Reply
  • coloradoblah
    Yeah i think you can get a 120hz 4k oled for 1299, for this cost Asus should have a no light bleed, dead pixel guarantee
    Reply
  • waltc3
    Should have tested with a more mainstream GPU--because a 3090 & this monitor = well over $3,000. Also, I'm not sold on curved monitors at all. It's interesting that quite a few of these widescreen, < 4k monitor reviews of 34" and up do not list dot pitch (sometimes called pixel pitch)-- the number provides the distance between screen pixels, & the lower the better--under .20 is required for 32" 4K monitors, if you don't want to be able to see individual pixels from any distance. My 32" 4K BenQ EW-3270U has pixel pitch/dot pitch of .18 and no individual pixels are observable even 1" away from the screen.) One can only think it is because the dot pitch is less than ideal in these monitors which, given their larger size and lower resolutions (lower than 3840x2160), is understandable from a marketing standpoint, I suppose.

    Interesting that I see that Win10 supports a resolution of 3840X1620 on my BenQ--which I would think would also affect aspect ratios, were I to use it (tried it, knocks the 16:9 aspect way off.) Additionally, my BenQ supports something like 360 nits, max, but I can run HDR games set to 1000nits (No Man's Sky supports HDR 400, 600, 1000--you choose) and the HDR 1000 setting for the game looks by far the best. (I was pretty surprised by this, actually.) BG3 has the best HDR implementation in a game I've ever seen. (Game developers are finally beginning to get up to speed with HDR, finally--no more "washed out" fairly ugly appearances.)

    Best of all, the 32" 4K HDR 1000 BenQ sells for ~$440. It's a VA panel but as I don't need to view the monitor from anything except a straight-on position, broader viewing angles aren't required. BenQ also offers a newer version, the EW-3280U, which uses IPS instead of VA, for the exact same support--it's ~$700 (Which is close to what the 3270 cost before the 3280 was introduced.)

    *It's 60Hz, but that can be easily overcome by turning off vsync so that you can get hundreds of frames per second--without page tearing--which was another surprise with this monitor. All I can figure is that the anti-flicker tech in the monitor also controls page tearing, which I rarely if ever see even though my default driver setting (5700XT) is Vsync off.

    Highly recommended if you want a great HDR gaming monitor with plenty of size that won't break the bank:

    https://www.amazon.com/BenQ-EW3270U-inch-Monitor-FreeSync/dp/B078HWBGH5/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=benq+ew3270u&qid=1616432901&sr=8-1
    --Looks like they've sold out--getting more 3270's on April 13, the page says.

    (I seem to be pimping this monitor...;) All I can do is say that if I didn't really like it I'd not have two words to say about it...;))
    Reply
  • coloradoblah
    I dont mind the curve, makes it a bit easier to see especially on 21:9, HDR is a mess on windows currently and don’t even bother using it anymore.
    Reply
  • VinceV
    Any particular reason there aren't comparisons to the very similar LG and Alienware monitors? And no mention of the fact that neither port has the bandwidth to push these monitors to their limits.
    Reply
  • Blacksad999
    VinceV said:
    Any particular reason there aren't comparisons to the very similar LG and Alienware monitors? And no mention of the fact that neither port has the bandwidth to push these monitors to their limits.

    I was just coming here to ask the same question myself. lol It seems really odd to leave out the monitors which are direct competitors to this model from the comparison. IIRC, both Alienware and Acer get their panels from LG for the 38" models. Would have been nice to see a side by side breakdown of the strengths of each.
    Reply