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Acer Predator XB270HU G-Sync monitor review

Michael Passingham
20 Jul 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Acer XB270HU front shot
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
680
inc VAT

With the best image quality we've ever seen from a gaming monitor, this Predator is at the top of the food chain

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Gaming monitors have seen a surge in popularity this year – so much so that there's now a huge amount of choice when it comes to screen size, refresh rate, resolution and image quality. The Acer Predator XB270HU on test here represents one of the most impressive technical achievements to date, with a 2,560x1,440 pixel IPS-like AHVA panel that can refresh at 144Hz.

AHVA is AU Optronics' name for a display technology that's functionally identical to LG's IPS. Technical jargon aside, you simply have to switch the monitor on to see why it costs so much: image quality is stunning and the best we've ever seen from a gaming monitor. Colours are vibrant and punchy, with stunning performance confirmed by the 97.7% sRGB colour gamut coverage we measured with our colour calibrator. Contrast is high, too, at 1123:1 and low black levels of 0.3cd/m2 contribute to richly detailed images, videos and games.

Out of the box, the monitor is incredibly bright with wince-inducing default brightness of 342cd/m2. You should definitely turn this down; our eyes were begging for mercy within minutes. Backlight uniformity was generally acceptable, with the darkest part of the screen 14% darker than the point at which the backlight was at its brightest. This disparity isn't particularly noticeable at full brightness, and since we don't imagine many people will be able to stomach the squint-inducing 100% brightness, you're unlikely to notice this at all. Viewing angles, meanwhile, are reasonably wide. We only started noticing a faint blue tint as we moved the monitor to more oblique angles.

The high resolution is a big help, too, producing pin-sharp images and crisp text. You'll need a more powerful graphics card in order to play the latest games at 2,560x1,440 pixel resolution, but if you're spending nearly £700 on a monitor you probably already have a beefy gaming setup.

Acer xb270hu back

Fast onscreen movements appear silky-smooth with the refresh rate set to 144Hz, with even simple desktop tasks feeling snappier thanks to the quicker refresh time. Even better, Nvidia's G-Sync completely eliminates frame tearing, keeping monitor refresh rates synchronised when paired with a compatible graphics card. On a monitor with such a fast refresh rate, frame tearing is admittedly less of an issue than it would be on a monitor that can only refresh at 60Hz, but considering the price, it's still a very nice feature to have. Bear in mind, G-Sync only works with Nvidia graphics cards; AMD owners will need a monitor with FreeSync to get the same effect.

Also present on the monitor's relatively sparse onscreen menus is an option for Ultra Low Motion Blur, which keeps the blurriness on fast-moving objects to a minimum by performing very quick backlight adjustments. Sadly, you don't get any benefit from ULMB unless the monitor is set to either 85Hz or 100Hz, and you also need to have G-Sync turned off. Unless you're very sensitive to motion blur artefacts, you'll probably get more benefit from G-Sync than you will from ULMB.

The plain design, which is free from bright colours and distractions, is apparently preferable for professional gamers, although Acer has still opted for glossy plastic rather than matt. This looks a little cheap and really isn't befitting of what is a very expensive monitor. Because the panel is set so far back into the frame, the glossy bezel reflects the contents of the screen, which is surprisingly distracting.

Acer xb270hu ports

There's a red rim around the point where the monitor upright meets the base, but that's about it for design flair. It's an immensely versatile monitor in terms of swivel and tilt, and can even rotate 90 degrees into portrait mode. Screen elevation ranges from around 5cm to 20cm.

Connectivity is limited to a single DisplayPort, as this is the limitation of the first generation Nvidia G-sync module. This is no longer an issue on newer monitors with the second-generation module, so it might pay to wait for a similar specified G-Sync monitor with more display connectors. If you'll only be hooking up your desktop PC, however, you'll be fine.

There are four USB3 ports: two easily-accessible connectors on the left-side of the monitor, and two more on the back facing downwards. This is handy for anyone that doesn't want lots of wires trailing across their desks and is also useful if you want to use the monitor as a docking station for your laptop – assuming it has a DisplayPort connector or you have an HDMI adapter.

The Acer Predator XB270HU is the most technically impressive monitor we've ever seen. A 144Hz refresh rate IPS-like panel was a dream even a couple of years ago, and now it's here as a very expensive reality. Our only real hangup with this monitor is its lack of inputs. A single DisplayPort in this day and age is a serious compromise, and while we understand the technical limitation imposed by Nvidia, we certainly don't agree with it. If you can look past this, though, this is a cracking gaming monitor.

Hardware
Screen size27in
Resolution2,560x1,440
Screen technologyAHVA
Claimed contrast ratio1000:1
Claimed brightness350cd/m2
Refresh rate144Hz
Claimed response time4ms
Response time typegrey-to-grey
Horizontal viewing angle178 degrees
Vertical viewing angle178 degrees
Screen elevation150mm
Portrait modeYes
Internal speaker (power)No
Detachable cablesYes
USB hub4-port USB3
Integrated power supplyYes
Video inputsDisplayPort
Audio inputsNone