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Acer Predator XB271HK 27″ 4K Monitor Review

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Movie Performance

With its combination of excellent color pallet, razor sharpness and 16:9 form-factor we doubt most users will consider this monitor to be anything other than fantastic for watching movies. Movies will be stunning, images will pop, and overall the ability to suck viewers right in to the action is actually greater than the Z35 or X34.

Now with that being said there will be times that this monitor will create images that are anything but jaw-dropping. In fact, it can and will make images that are downright ugly bordering on unwatchable if the source content is anything but 4K. This is because the XB271HK is a hard taskmaster that will amplify the source material and highlight any issues with it. In order order to actually use all 27” of the XB271’s screen real-estate consumers have to use software to upscale both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of non-native content since Acer hasn’t included a hardware upscaler. Thankfully the XB271HK does make use of a resolution that is precisely four times that of the most common format for movies – 1080P.

Simply put, when watching movies you will need to use as high a bitrate as possible as each and every pixel will be blown up by a factor of four. Most of the time this will create stunning images, but even the best up-scaling algorithms still create some odd looking images from time to time. These oddities will break your immersion in a movie and leave you shaking your head at exactly what a ‘blob’ on the screen is supposed to be. This issue is further exacerbated with lower bitrate videos, and becomes extremely apparent when upscaling 480P videos regardless of bitrate. So much so that 720P is barely tolerable and DVD quality is anything but enjoyable without some heavy processing power. As such we do not recommend most software solutions and instead you will want to use something like MadVR and the power it offers.

On the positive side, all images will at least look proportional as the image will not have to be unevenly scaled in the horizontal or vertical. This factor cannot be overlooked and is rather important when compared to the X34 and Z35 models – as all 21:9 monitors have to not only upscale an image but also stretch them to fill out the sides.

It is also worth mentioning that while the out of box default color profile is more than adequate it does stray more to a warm color pallet than a neutral one. The XB271HK was better than the XB270 in this regard, but if you do care about seeing a movie the way it was meant to be viewed you will probably want to modify the stock colors. Also, somewhat negating this improvement was the slightly narrower pre-calibration color gamut. Once again the differences are minor but blacks may seem a touch washed out before you modify a few key settings.

Even with these issues taken into account the Acer Predator XB271HK is an amazing monitor that outclasses the older XB270 in movie scenarios.

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