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The most prolific computer display category is easily 27-inch 1440p. There are literally hundreds of examples with at least 144 Hz refresh rates and Adaptive-Sync with prices covering a wide range. You can find a barebones model for under $400. But extra features, like a faster refresh rate, RGB, blur-reduction, HDR or an accurate extended color gamut, will cost you more.
For around $550 as of writing, the Acer Predator XB273U NVbmiiprzx delivers all the above at 170 Hz with G-Sync Compatibility. With DisplayHDR 400 certification, extended color and the solid build quality endemic to Acer’s Predator series, it’s a standout in its crowded class and competes well against the best gaming monitors.
Acer Predator XB273U-NV Specs
|Panel Type / Backlight||IPS / W-LED, edge array|
|Screen Size / Aspect Ratio||27 inches / 16:9|
|Max Resolution & Refresh Rate||2560 x 1440 @ 170 Hz|
|G-Sync Compatible: 48-170 Hz|
|Native Color Depth / Gamut||10-bit (8-bit+FRC) / DCI-P3|
|HDR10, DisplayHDR 400|
|Response Time (GTG)||0.5ms|
|Brightness||SDR: 200 nits|
|HDR: 400 nits|
|Video Inputs||1x DisplayPort 1.2|
|2x HDMI 2.0|
|Audio||3.5mm headphone output|
|USB 3.0||1x up, 4x down|
|Power Consumption||35.2w, brightness @ 200 nits|
|Panel Dimensions WxHxD w/base||24.2 x 16.4-20.9 x 12.1 inches (614 x 417-531 x 307mm)|
|Panel Thickness||3.7 inches (93mm)|
|Bezel Width||Top/sides: 0.3 inch (8mm)|
|Bottom: 0.7 inch (18mm)|
|Weight||17.2 pounds (7.8kg)|
Acer’s product page for the XB273U NVbmiiprzx says that the screen has a 144 Hz native refresh rate that can overclock to 170 Hz; however, you won’t see an option for overclocking in the monitor’s on-screen display (OSD) menu. Instead, Windows will automatically recognize it as 170 Hz if you use DisplayPort, while the HDMI connection is limited to 144 Hz.
It’s also worth noting that Acer also makes a couple other Predator monitors with “XB273U” in its name, the XB273U GSbmiiprzx and XB273U GXbmiipruzx. The Acer Predator XB273U NVbmiiprzx we’re reviewing adds VisionCare and a TUV Rheinland Eyesafe certification. This takes the form of a low blue light mode and a room light sensor, which can vary brightness and color temperature to better match ambient room light and reduce user eye fatigue. Further, the GS model has a 165 Hz refresh rate, while the GX version hits 240 Hz. The NV is also a 10-bit panel, rather than 8-bit.
The Acer Predator XB273U NVbmiiprzx uses a type of IPS panel dubbed Fast IPS, and it claims a 0.5ms GTG response time, plus certification to run Nvidia’s screen tear-fighting G-Sync tech. You can also use the screen’s backlight strobe feature, called VRB, but then you can’t use Adaptive-Sync.
Image quality is enhanced, thanks to the monitor opting for DCI-P3 color over the smaller sRGB color gamut. The XB273U also accepts HDR10 signals over both HDMI and DisplayPort with VESA certification to hit at least 400 nits. There’s also an effective dynamic contrast feature, which we’ll detail later.
The XB273U dips into professional monitor territory with a factory calibration, multiple gamut modes ranging from SMPTE-C to DCI-P3 and plenty of picture adjustments. Three settings memories ensure that your tweaks are saved for quick recall.
Assembly and Accessories of Acer Predator XB273U NV
Extracting the XB273U carton’s contents revealed a chunky panel, heavy upright and solid metal base. We were able to assemble the three pieces without tools and into a substantial package that felt built to last. Acer includes a calibration data sheet showing color, grayscale and gamma measurements for the sRGB gamut mode. We verified the numbers in our tests.
Accessories are DisplayPort, HDMI and USB cables and an IEC power cord for the internal power supply.
Product 360: Acer Predator XB273U NV
Acer’s Predator monitors are all simply styled with just a few basic elements to signal their gaming intent. In front, the XB273U NVbmiiprzx has a thin, flush bezel of 8mm around the top and sides and 18mm of trim across the bottom. The Predator logo is at the lower left near a centrally mounted room light sensor, which adjusts brightness and color temperature to minimize eye fatigue based on the environment. This helps the monitor earn an Eyesafe certification.
From the side, you can see a pronounced component bulge, which houses two USB ports on the left side. There are two more on the down-facing input panel, along with two HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.2 and a 3.5mm audio jack.
The stand is a solid piece with a cast aluminum base and an upright with a metal core and heavy plastic shell. The base is powder coated in dark gray matte, while the rest is textured plastic. Adjustments include 30 degrees swivel, -5/25 degrees tilt and 4.5 inches of height. You can also rotate the panel 90 degrees for portrait mode.
The back of the panel shows a textured section on the bulge surrounded by a large strip of RGB LEDs covered by a diffuser. It throws out a lot of light, even at low intensity settings. There are many options for color, effect and brightness in the on-screen display (OSD) menu. You can use Acer’s RGB Light Sense app to coordinate effects with other Predator monitors through a built-in wireless transceiver, just the thing for multi-screen setups.
OSD Features of Acer Predator XB273U NV
The Acer Predator XB273U NV’s OSD is divided into six sub-menus and offers a huge array of options for gaming, picture adjustment and convenience. There are eight preset modes corresponding to different game types. If you make any change to image parameters, the User mode is automatically selected.
The Acer Predator XB273U NV’s Picture menu has basic luminance controls, along with low blue light modes, ACM a.k.a. dynamic contrast, HDR, LightSense and Super Sharpness. You can set HDR to Auto for automatic switching between signal types, but when playing HDR games, they look best with the HDR400 option. LightSense activates the room light sensor mounted on the bezel to tweak brightness and color temperature automatically for a fatigue-free image. Super Sharpness adds visible edge enhancement to the picture and should be left off for superior image quality.
The Color menu has five gamma presets and five color temp options, plus a User mode with gain and bias sliders. This allows adjustment of the dark and light ends of the white point. We only needed to adjust the gains to achieve near-perfect grayscale tracking. The gamma presets are a little off the mark. 2.2 is closer to 2.1, and we found the best picture using 2.4. You can also select different color gamuts ranging from SMPTE-C to DCI-P3 and everything in between. General gives you the full native gamut, which is around 88% of DCI-P3, according to our testing below.
The Gaming menu has toggles for Adaptive-Sync, a refresh rate indicator and three aiming points. The overdrive is very effective at its middle (Normal) setting. Though it looks grayed out when Adaptive-Sync is on, it’s functioning. We saw no ghosting or motion blur when running at 170 Hz. If you’d rather use the backlight strobe, turn on VRB and choose one of its two pulse width settings. As usual, if you want less blur, you also get less brightness. We didn’t see a need for using VRB because the Acer Predator XB273U NV is super smooth with just Adaptive-Sync.
Calibration Settings for Acer Predator XB273U NV
In the default Standard mode, the Acer Predator XB273U NVbmiiprzx measures very close to standard and does not require calibration. It uses its full DCI-P3 gamut for both SDR and HDR content unless you choose a different color space in the OSD. sRGB mode is very accurate and has a brightness slider. We chose the User mode and calibrated grayscale to a high standard. This monitor is as precise as any professional screen we’ve reviewed. Since none of the gamma options are exactly 2.2, we chose 2.4 for a slightly darker but more three-dimensional image. Our SDR settings are shown below.
Below are our recommended SDR calibration settings for the Acer Predator XB273U NVbmiiprzx.
|Brightness 200 nits||92|
|Brightness 120 nits||48|
|Brightness 100 nits||34|
|Brightness 80 nits||23|
|Brightness 50 nits||6 (min. 44 nits)|
|Color Temp User||Gain – Red 52, Green 48, Blue 51|
|Bias – Red 50, Green 50, Blue 50|
For HDR content, it’s best to manually select the monitor’s HDR400 mode. It delivers the brightest picture with the widest dynamic range and is very color accurate.
Gaming and Hands-on with Acer Predator XB273U NV
The Acer Predator XB273U NVbmiiprzx is a very versatile monitor. Color accuracy is excellent whether you calibrate or not and high color saturation gives the impression of greater contrast. Working in Windows proved it’s more than up to productivity tasks. White backgrounds were neutral in tone, while small fonts and icons stood out clearly. Graphics work was easy to accomplish, thanks to a very sharp image. Videos, meanwhile rendered well with smooth motion resolution at any framerate.
Tomb Raider made a great first impression, as we observed excellent SDR contrast. Toggling the dynamic contrast feature, called ACM, made only a subtle difference. Either way, it looked better than the average IPS screen. Color was well saturated, and detail was clearly rendered. The image was extremely textural, clear enough that one might be fooled into thinking they were looking at 4K resolution. Of course, 1440p resolution means higher framerates. We had no trouble keeping the action at or near 170 frames per second (fps).
Motion resolution stayed sharp with a perfect overdrive implementation and faultless G-Sync Compatibility (see FreeSync vs G-Sync). We even got FreeSync to work even though the monitor’s not AMD-certified. We had the same experience on both platforms. Even though the overdrive option was grayed out when Adaptive-Sync was on, it was obviously in play because we saw no motion blur whatsoever.
We played Doom Eternal, it was easy to make direct comparisons between SDR and HDR graphics. While both looked excellent on the XB273U, HDR had a distinct advantage in depth and contrast. The monitor’s dynamic contrast feature kept blacks true and detailed and brought out not just white highlights but bright colors too. This game makes heavy use of red, and the extra size of the color gamut really shows. If you’re looking for a monitor that does HDR well but doesn’t cost four figures like the best HDR monitors, the Acer Predator XB273U NVbmiiprzx is it.
Trying out a few night sequences in Call Of Duty: WWII further showed the Acer Predator XB273U NVbmiiprzx’s HDR prowess. In more evenly lit areas, detail was easy to see and never obscured by deep shadows. When sneaking into a house, the dark corners were suitably scary with just enough detail to let us see the enemy while creating a realistic effect. Only a full-array local-dimming (FALD) monitor will do this effect better. The XB273U NV is one of the very best edge-lit HDR monitors we’ve seen to date.
The XB273U NV also has a pair of built-in 2W speakers that played at reasonable volumes without distortion. However, turning them up to max sounded a little harsh with audio concentrated in the upper mid-range only.