Acer Predator XB271HK 27″ 4K Monitor Review


Gaming Performance

Considering how impressed we have been with Acer Predator monitors in the past there were some high expectations for this new addition and for the most part the XB271HK delivers. So much so that in some ways it can be considered the best all round choice of the Predator lineup. Unlike the larger Predator monitors like the X34 and Z35, the XB271 uses a flat screen which makes it infinitely more versatile This in conjunction with the 200 pixels per inch resolution makes even older games look razor sharp, provided they actually support 4K.

While a 4K resolution is certainly more demanding than the usual 1440P resolution, this monitor has a much more manageable a 16:9 form-factor and as such consumers won’t have to worry about modifying .ini files or dealing with the occasional gremlin that sometimes accompanies 21:9 monitors. Instead the XB271HK can be considered a true ‘plug and play’ solution. With that being said, the true benefits of that 4K resolution stretched across just 27” of space are debatable at best since there just isn’t enough screen real estate to actually see the difference between it and a proper 1440P design.

This is however secondary to the other reason that we consider the XB271 to be the premier archetype for the entire Predator line: the form-factor. Unlike the Z35 or X34 models that are meant to be standalone models that do not play well with others of their kind, the XB271’s combination of thin bezel and reasonable footprint means that serious gaming enthusiasts can use three of these monitors for true surround gaming. Such a setup would indeed require a significant investment in video cards, but in return would provide a customizable mega-monitor with the perfect amount of curvature. Also unlike the X34 or Z35, such an investment in monitors and video cards could be done over time so as to make the total bill a lot easier to handle.

The XB271HK is actually more than the sum of its parts when it comes to gaming. Yes it is ‘slower’ and ‘smaller’ than the X34 and Z35 but when you combine ultra-rich color pallet with razor sharp resolution and then pile in gaming features like GSYNC & ULMB most gamers will feel like they have died and gone to heaven.

Unfortunately, before consumers rush out and purchase this model they need to be aware that that razor sharpness does come at some major caveats; caveats that may radically change their opinion of Acer’s relatively affordable Predator model. The first is rather obvious: video card horsepower. This model may ‘only’ offer 27-inches of diagonal real-estate but at this resolution you will need a video card capable of pushing 497.66 million pixels. Every. Second. To put this level of demand in perspective it is only a couple percent less than the larger Predator X34 demands. Needless to say if you are used to 1440P resolution demands, prepare to be shocked at how much more horsepower is truly needed to hit 60 frames per second at 4K – and remain there. Naturally G-SYNC does make staying at 60Hz a lot less necessary than it once was, but in order to get the full abilities of this monitor be prepared to pay megabucks.

The other issue is that going from 144Hz at 1440P to 60Hz at 2160P may not seem like an upgrade for some consumers. It really will depend on the game genre and the individual user’s perception abilities. For most the extra clarity more than offsets the slower refresh rate, but some – especially those who need ultra quick FPS response times – will find 60Hz too slow for full video immersion. This issue will be most noticeable in fast twitch franchises such as Call of Duty or Battlefield, and be a lot less noticeable in RTS games. In between these two extremes is where most games fall. For example, we found that Crysis 3 was simply jaw dropping, even at ‘only’ 60Hz. Overall we consider the Acer XB271HK to be a fantastic video game monitor, but one that may fail to impress all gaming enthusiasts.

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