Acer Predator XB271HK 27″ 4K Monitor Review


Menu Layout & Observations

The On Screen Display (OSD) which accompanies this monitor is virtually identical to the one that comes with the Predator X34 and we have absolutely no problems with this. The X34’s OSD was one of the best Acer On Screen Displays we have seen and using it across the entire Predator lineup makes perfect sense to us. As such, a lot of what you see here below will simply be a rehash of previous monitor reviews.

As with all Acer monitors, when you first press the Menu button you are not greeted with the full OSD and instead a small shortcut menu filled with some of the more common adjustments gamers will want access to while others are easily ignored. For example, the included ‘Game Mode’ is not that noteworthy as unlike most other monitors the included profiles are left blank, ready to accept user-generated presets.

The Acer XB271HK comes with end-user adjustable ‘overdrive’ (OD) settings. What OD does is basically push more voltage to the liquid crystals which forces them to change from one state to another faster. In theory panel overdrive is a great idea as it reduces the panel’s response time. The downside is that inverse ghosting (pre-images in front of the actual image) and degradation of color quality are very much apparent when this feature is abused.

The default overdrive (not to be confused with Acer’s “Over Clock” on some of their other monitors) setting for this model is ‘Normal’ and in testing it was able to boost performance without too many issues at the native refresh rate of 60. The ‘Extreme’ is just that and can cause noticeable color shifting. Unlike other Predator models, for most consumers the default setting is actually the setting they will want to use, but more on that later.

If you do need to delve deeper in to the XB271HK’s settings the shortcut menu also includes the standard option of entering the full OSD – or what Acer calls the ‘Function Menu’. This section is a bit limiting when you compare it to what’s offered on other $900 monitors like Dell’s UltraSharp line. With that being said, there really isn’t any reason to critique here since the Predator is targeted towards gamers and that segment doesn’t need some of the advanced power saving and image quality modifications that are required by the professional market.

There are five main sections here that run the gamut from dealing with color and picture customization, to configuring the panel itself, to even modifying the OSD. The topmost one is called ‘Picture’ and as the name suggests it deals with adjusting the picture displayed on the monitor. Here you will find the usual suspects such as brightness, contrast settings, and selecting from the factory created profiles. There’s also the ability to control black levels, blue light, and even change the adaptive contrast settings.

The Black Level ‘Dark Boost’ setting is fairly self-evident; it changes the black depth within the panel’s contrast range. Blue light modifies how much blue is output by the monitor’s LEDs and is best not messed with unless you have a very specific need for boosting or decrease blue levels.

What you may notice missing from this section though is ‘Super Sharpness’ found on the XR341CK. Obviously Acer felt that their custom hardware-level interpolation would not be optimal when used in conjunction with G-SYNC. To be blunt, we did not miss it and do not consider this to be a big a loss. On the positive side, the Adaptive Contrast option is now clearly labeled as such instead of ‘ACM’ as it was in earlier Acer On Screen Displays.

The next area is the ‘Color’ section which deals with actually adjusting the color profile of this monitor. Here you will find basic gamma correction, color temperature, as well as sRGB mode which basically cuts the wide color gamut down to sRGB levels.

Also included is 6-axis hue and saturation adjustment abilities that make fine tuning the color pallet a lot easier than it would normally be. That is because in addition to the typical red green and blue you can also individually adjust the yellow, magenta, and cyan levels. Since our panel came with an out of the box color profile that was nearly perfect this was not truly needed but it was still a welcome addition nonetheless.

The third section allows for modification of the OSD and can be used to adjust the language, timeout setting, and transparency level. In addition to these standard fares you can also select one of three game orientated factory profiles, and even turn on Aim Point, which puts a crosshair on your screen similar to what ASUS’ RoG monitors offer.

The fourth section deals with monitor hardware settings that do not really fit into one of the other categories. Basically if you want to adjust the latency mode, turn on/off DTS, or other highly specific tasks this is the section for you. Unfortunately, as there simply is not bandwidth headroom left for overclocking the panel, Acer has dropped the ‘Over Clock’ setting from this OSD.

The last is the Information section and it basically tells you the mode, resolution, and serial number of your particular XB271HK. For the most part this section can be safely ignored.

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