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Acer Predator XB271HK 27-inch UHD G-Sync Monitor Review

Gamers seeking Ultra HD resolution have few choices but an excellent new G-Sync monitor has just appeared from Acer, the XB271HK sporting a 27-inch AHVA screen. We’re checking it out in our lab today.

Conclusion

After the benchmark tests and several hours spent playing our favorite games, it’s pretty easy for us to conclude that the XB271HK is a significant improvement over its TN-based predecessor, the XB280HK. With most aspects of performance being fairly close between the two, we definitely prefer its AHVA screen and accompanying improvement in image quality.

The 27-inch Ultra HD category has seen very few new models compared to 28-inch TN and the larger 32-inch IPS and IGZO models. For business tasks, the extremely high pixel density (163ppi) can be a bit of a challenge when trying to find optimal font and icon scaling in Windows. But in games this isn’t really an issue. One simply has to select the monitor’s native resolution in the title’s video options to enjoy optimal quality.

The question then becomes, where is the point of diminishing return? We know that Ultra HD is currently limited to 60Hz. Even if you throw the most powerful video boards into the mix, you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of faster framerates like users of QHD screens do. So do those extra pixels make up for this? We’d have to say no at this point. And we also believe the difference between QHD and FHD is greater than that between UHD and QHD. Once you exceed 109ppi, it becomes harder to see real improvement in detail.

For us, the gaming experience is best served smooth. In fast-paced titles, we think motion quality is more important than resolution. When you move up to 75Hz and beyond, things like motion blur fade into the background. Those kinds of artifacts no longer distract from gameplay. With adaptive refresh, tearing is a thing of the past at any resolution, but we’d still rather have those high framerates. And what of ULMB? That’s a feature seen in many premium gaming displays but it’s becoming less common. We’ve enjoyed the benefits of G-Sync and FreeSync far more.

In the growing category of Ultra HD gaming monitors, the XB271HK represents a superb choice. Its high-quality IPS panel offers decent contrast, accuracy without calibration (just make sure you drop Contrast to 42 and Gamma to 1.8), nicely saturated color and excellent viewing angles. Coupled with a flicker-free backlight and you’ve got a display that looks good in all situations. We’re also impressed with its build quality, although that has become the norm for Acer’s Predator line.

For its excellent image quality, color and gaming prowess, we’re giving the Acer Predator XB271HK our Tom’s Editor Approved Award.

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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.