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Acer S277HK review

Michael Passingham
4 Mar 2015
An angled view of the Acer S277HK 4K monitor
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
569
inc VAT

The Acer S277HK is a stylish Ultra HD monitor with fabulous image quality, but it's not hugely practical

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Specifications

Screen size: 27in, Resolution: 3,840x2,160, Screen technology: IPS, Refresh rate: 60Hz

Acer's striking 27in S277HK Ultra HD monitor will divide opinion. Acer has shunned tradition and, more importantly, symmetry, by placing the monitor's stand upright on the right side of the base, creating a reverse L-shaped stand. The base itself is a wireframe divided into two asymmetrical sections, with the surface of the desk visible. It's distinctive, and creates a flat space in which to store desk toys or pens without them rolling away. There's not much room for anything useful, though, because there's only 75mm of clearance between the desk and the bottom of the monitor's frame.

The frame itself is made from a light grey brushed metal similar to the material seen on its cheap Switch tablets. It looks fine, but doesn't quite have the premium feel that the near-£600 price suggests. When the monitor is switched off, the bezels are only 1mm thick, which is astonishingly thin and very impressive to look at. However, as is the case with all super-svelte monitors, when the screen is on, you'll see an extra 8mm of black space around the left, right and top edges. It's still impressive, but we long for the day where these black bars are a thing of the past.

The stylish design means the S277HK isn't as practical as it could be. There's no height-adjustable stand, no swivel and no portrait mode. Not everyone needs these adjustments, though, and they are often expensive extras, so whether this is a problem for you will depend on how you work and how your desk is arranged.

A front view of the Acer S277HK 4K monitor

The rear of the monitor is coated in a shiny white plastic that some may call stylish, but we think looks a bit cheap. All the video inputs (DVI, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort and DisplayPort) are placed on the rear facing backwards instead of the conventional downwards, and very high up, about halfway up the back of the panel. This means things will look untidy if you have your monitor facing away from clients or a ground-floor window. An external power brick is used instead of an internal one, which may increase desk clutter further. There's no USB hub either, so you won't be able to reduce wires trailing across your desk by plugging peripherals into the monitor. We're not surprised about this omission, though: stylish monitors rarely add this practical feature.

 IMAGE QUALITY AND EXTRA FEATURES

The S277HK uses a 27in IPS panel with a 3,840x2,160 resolution. At this price you should be expecting wide colour gamut coverage to get the most out of high quality Ultra HD images and video, and it delivers just that. Images with vibrant colours are faithfully represented onscreen with detail bursting from the small nuanced shades of high-resolution photographs. We measured sRGB colour gamut coverage at 99.9%, which is almost perfect, while contrast was a fine 883:1. Black levels were decent, at 0.27cd/m2 and colour temperature was slightly off at 6858K, which results in slightly cooler colours than you'd expect from a screen calibrated to 6500K. Switching to the Graphics colour preset improved this to 6583K, and also improved contrast slightly to 911:1.

Colour profile

sRGB

Adobe RGB

Colour temp (target 6500K)

Brightness

Contrast

Black levels

Standard (factory default)

99.90%

72.20%

6858K

239.4cd/m2

883:1

0.27cd/m2

Graphics (most accurate)

99.90%

72.60%

6583K

246.3cd/m2

911:1

0.27cd/m2

Movie

99.90%

72.50%

6657K

213.4/cd/m2

895:1

0.23cd/m2

As a consumer-level monitor there are no promises of professional-grade accurate colours but in our calibration tests the monitor managed some truly outstanding scores when tackling sRGB colour accuracy test. The average Delta E, where a lower score is better, was measured at 1.4, which is up there with more expensive professional panels. The panel's weakest colour was red, which was slightly oversaturated. All other colours were well served by the S277HK.

Adobe RGB, which is the colour gamut used by professionals working in print, isn't so well served. 72% coverage won't be good enough, but since this monitor isn't marketed for design professionals, this is nothing to worry about. Home and office users will be served just fine.

Backlight uniformity is reasonable: the outer reaches of the panel are 10% darker than the middle, but in normal conditions this won't be noticeable. Viewing angles are also very wide, with minimal contrast and a slight blue tinge when the panel is viewed from oblique angles. Gamers should be well-served by low 10.3ms input lag times, making this a great choice if you have a PC powerful enough to output games at Ultra HD resolutions.

The onscreen menus are fairly basic and not particularly easy to navigate, in part because the buttons you use to navigate the menus are not labelled on the front of the monitor but also because the symbols representing forward, back, left and right are very similar and can get very confusing when you're navigating in and out of menus.

A side-on view of the Acer S277HK 4K monitor

There are five preset colour modes to choose from: Standard, ECO, Movie, Graphics and User, which lets you adjust colour balance, temperature and gamma. You can also switch on a "super sharpness" mode that makes text sharper, but gives everything else an unpleasant black border, which we wouldn't recommend. There's a picture-in-picture mode that allows you to view two inputs on screen at once. Finally, there's an sRGB mode that increases colour accuracy even further, giving us an average Delta E score of 1.07.

There are stereo speakers, too, but they're only rated at 2W meaning they lack any sort of depth, and definitely won't replace your desktop speakers or headphones.

If you're using Windows, your operating system probably won't handle scaling very well on this high-dpi monitor. While things have improved recently with Windows 8.1, some objects still appear tiny or broken when Windows is trying to upscale them for Ultra HD resolutions. This will be fixed with Windows 10, but that's not due out until later this year. If you're using  Mac OS X, you should be fine, though.

The Acer S277HK is a very pretty monitor with excellent Ultra HD image quality. If you don't need an adjustable stand or USB ports, it's a great buy and one of the best-performing 4K monitors for under £1,000 we've reviewed to date. However, if you're after something slightly more practical, the Asus PB279Q has equally good colour accuracy, a USB hub, adjustable stand and only costs around £50 more.

Hardware
Screen size27in
Resolution3,840x2,160
Screen technologyIPS
Claimed contrast ratio1000:1
Claimed brightness300cd/m2
Refresh rate60Hz
Claimed response time4ms
Response time typegrey-to-grey
Horizontal viewing angle178 degrees
Vertical viewing angle178 degrees
Screen depth16mm
Base (WxD)383x149mm
Screen elevation75mm
Portrait modeNo
Internal speaker (power)Yes (2x2W)
Detachable cablesYes (2x2W)
USB hubNo
Integrated power supplyNo
Video inputsDVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort
Audio inputs3.5mm audio input
Buying information
Price including VAT£569
WarrantyTwo years onsite
Supplierwww.pcworldbusiness.co.uk
Detailswww.acer.co.uk
Part codeUM.HS7EE.001

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