A good quality monitor, but it’s expensive and not as good as its main rival for gaming
- Impressive colour accuracy
- Native 100Hz at 1440p
- Excellent in-built speakers
- Very expensive
- Strong inverse ghosting
- Sub-par screen uniformity
Having reviewed the AOC AG352UCG, a 35in curved monitor that has almost the same specifications as the Acer X34, I was intrigued to see if Acer’s choice of panel would differentiate it from its rival. Is the Acer X34 the go-to 1440p ultrawide gaming monitor or does it drown under its competitors?
Acer X34 review: What you need to know
The Acer X34 is ideal for casual gamers. With its vibrant colours, 34in curved display, 1440p resolution, 100Hz refresh rate, Nvidia G-Sync technology and excellent build quality, the monitor offers a lot of features, but it’s a pricey monitor and not the best for pro-gamers.
READ NEXT: Best gaming monitor
Acer X34 review: Price and competition
In fact, the Acer X34 costs an arm and a leg. At £950, it’s over £200 more expensive than the 35in AOC AG352UCG, which offers a much better gaming experience due to its use of an MVA panel over Acer’s IPS. There’s also the 34in ASUS PG348Q, but that’s even more expensive at around £990. Both the AOC and Asus offer near-identical specs to the X34.
Take away Nvidia G-Sync and you’ll find the 34in Samsung CF791 that costs around £720. The latter comes with AMD FreeSync, instead.
READ NEXT: Best monitors
Acer X34 review: Design, features and build quality
The X34 looks fantastic and it offers all the right design elements you’d want from an ultrawide gaming monitor.
It has ultra-thin bezels on the top, left- and right-hand edges, which give it a very similar look to the Acer XF270HUA. At the front of the monitor, you’ll find the Predator logo embossed on the wider bottom-bezel, while at the bottom right-hand side there are a few physical buttons that are used to access the OSD.
The X34’s stand provides tilt (-5 to 35°), pivot and height adjustments and its impressive build quality reverberates across the entire monitor, from the arrow-shaped panel on the rear to its metal stand and carry handle. Better still, there’s an adjustable LED strip underneath the monitor that lets you switch between pre-assigned colours to add a colourful hue to your desk.
As for connectivity, there’s a single DisplayPort and HDMI video input and a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio output. Four USB 3.0 ports can be found at the rear, too.
The monitor also has two DTS-certified 7W speakers, which provide excellent sound quality, a rarity in monitors. It won’t quite replace a set of PC speakers, but for once, I felt comfortable listening to music and playing games with a monitor’s in-built speakers.
READ NEXT: Best gaming headset – our pick of the best
Acer X34 review: Image quality
Acer employs IPS technology to portray a vivid, colour-accurate image on this large 34in UWQHD (3,440 x 1,440) curved monitor, and its image quality is impressive. Out-the-box, I was pleasantly surprised at how little setup was required to get the best image.
There’s no sRGB mode, but I found ‘User’ and ‘Warm’ colour modes were a pretty close match. The monitor hits 99.1% of the sRGB colour space, a stone’s throw away from the AOC AG352UCG’s 99.3%. Colours are vibrant and pop with life.
At a measured 1,113:1 contrast ratio, the Acer X34 isn’t bad, but it isn’t as good as its main rival; indeed, the AOC reaches a much more impressive 1,958:1 contrast ratio. At max brightness, meanwhile, I measured the X34’s black level at 0.3cd/m². As a result, dark scenes in movies and games don’t suffer from a greyish tone.
If you’re a photo or video editor looking to edit images, you’ll be pleased to know that colour accuracy is impressive, too. With an average Delta E of 1.63, the Acer monitor is a great monitor to edit photos and video on.
The panel also reaches a peak brightness of 340cd/m². That’s bright enough for most circumstances, but it might be a tad dull for those who game in bright rooms. Brightness uniformity, on the other hand, is rather disappointing. There’s up to 22% variance from the top corners to the monitor’s centre-point. By comparison, the AOC only has an 11% variance.
Due to the horizontal alignment of liquid crystals found in curved IPS panels, the X34 suffers from backlight bleed, most notably around the top corners of the display. This also results in an image roll-off at both sides of the monitor, a problem I’ve seen in the past with big curved displays. This means if you view it at an extreme angle, you’ll notice the image fade to black around the extremities.
Acer X34 review: Gaming performance
The X34 is a UWQHD (3,440 x 1,440) IPS display that runs at 100Hz over DisplayPort. You’ll need to dive into the OSD settings to increase the monitor’s refresh rate up to 100Hz, though, as it’s set to 60Hz by default. Thankfully, there’s no frame skipping or gamma shift at its fastest settings.
Outputting 100Hz consistently at 1440p is no easy task, though, so make sure you have a powerful enough graphics card to cope. I’d suggest a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card or better.
I found the monitor’s input lag bearable but, in demanding first-person shooters, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive I found it a little slow to respond to mouse movements. The monitor’s response time is rather slow, too. Without Overdrive enabled, it struggles to cope with intensive games.
Turning Overdrive on introduces a lot of inverse ghosting, however, most notably in its ‘Extreme’ mode. I’d suggest leaving Overdrive on ‘Normal’, as this provides a good middle-ground. This is quite similar to the AOC AG352UCG that incurs almost the same problems but manages to respond a touch faster than the X34.
If you’re a casual gamer who doesn’t require a monitor with a fast response time or low input lag, then the X34 is perfectly respectable. For example, if you plan on playing Total War: Warhammer II you’ll enjoy the Acer’s broad 34in expanse and 1440p resolution. If however, you’ll be playing Overwatch the panel’s slow response time and input lag should probably put you off.
It’s also worth noting that the Acer X34 features Nvidia G-Sync, an excellent technology used to eliminate tearing. You’ll need a compatible Nvidia graphics card to benefit from this. AMD graphics card-owners should look elsewhere.
Acer X34 review: Verdict
Gaming aside, the Acer X34 delivers decent colour-accuracy from an IPS panel, excellent build quality and an attractive, low-profile design.
At £950, however, it’s pricey and it isn’t the best monitor of its type. For around £200 less you can by the AOC AG352UCG, which offers practically the same specifications and offers a better gaming experience. I can’t see why you’d want the Acer instead.