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Acer Predator Z35 35″ Gaming Monitor Review

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Image Quality (Uniformity / Panel & Gamma Performance)

Calibrated Settings
Please remember that the settings below have been calibrated for our specific environment and your viewing conditions may differ from ours.

Mode Used: “User Mode”
Notes:
– All tests done at default settings at 120 cd/m2.
– Unless otherwise noted, the tests were carried out via DisplayPort

Panel Uniformity

In a perfect world a screen’s brightness output would be equal throughout the entire panel. This is not a perfect world, but the lower the variation the less chances you will notice overly bright or dark sections on the screen. For the consumer LCD marketplace, a variance of 10% is our gold standard but anything below 15% can be considered excellent as we doubt anyone will notice a -7.5 to +7.5 variation. A variation above 15% but below 24% can be considered adequate, but anything above this does not meet our basic minimum standards.

In a very interesting turn of events, the Acer Z35’s panel was more uniform than the BenQ XR3501. To be precise our sample had a deviance of only 20%, compared to the XR3501’s 24% variance. By the same token this is still worse than the X34’s 13% variance but and given the size of this panel, we still consider this to be a reasonable amount of variance which was not overly noticeable to the naked eye.

Panel Performance

In a perfect world a screen’s real world response rate would be so high that motion blur, ‘ghosting’, ‘reverse-ghosting’ would be a thing of the past. No matter how fast the action on screen all images would be represented in pristine condition similar in quality to a static image. This is not a perfect world, but the less amounts of blurring which occurs the less chances you will notice the issue in real world scenarios. While the panels response rate (ms) and and frame rate (Hz) can give a fairly rough idea of how much blurring to expect it is not the end all and be all.

To this end we have taken PRAD’s Pixel Persistence Analyzer ‘Streaky Pictures’ program and using a high speed camera captured exactly how much and what kind of motion blur you can expect from a given monitor.

As you can see there is actually some blurring happening even with . This is because the response rate of this panel is 11ms with a 4ms Gray To Gray response rate. In order to have perfection at 200Hz the panel’s full response rate would have to be at least 5ms and a 1ms GTG. Even with overclocking that is simply impossible without using a TN panel.

With that said, given that this is a 144Hz panel and yet Acer allows consumers to overclock it all the way to 200Hz without voiding the warranty we are not too disappointed by the results. However, we were hoping for even less blurring of the image since with careful examination we could see a difference between 144, 160, 180, and 200. Ironically, the differences are slight with 144Hz actually achieving the clearest motion representation.

While this is a tad disappointing, it is only by ‘pixel peeping’ that you will ever see any blurring of the image at refresh rates of 144 to 200Hz. In fact, to the naked eye the sports car and driver seem to float perfectly across the screen at 200Hz, whereas it was slightly “off” at 144Hz. The reason for this seemingly contradictory opinion is simple: 200Hz is well beyond the imaging processing speed of the human brain, and instead the brain is presented with multiple images per ‘processing cycle’. As such our brain combines multiple images into one seemingly perfect image.

We do recommend turning ‘OverDrive’ to off, or at the very least never using the Extreme setting when overclocking the panel. This is because when the panel was overclocked and OD was enabled pre-ghosting cannot only actually occur, but is extreme enough to be noticeable to the naked eye. The pre-ghosting actually became worse when OverDrive was set to extreme. Once again this phenomenon only happened when OD was on, and when the panel was overclocked. Needless to say, 200Hz is more than enough and consumers need not try and ‘overdrive’ the panel’s response rate further. Just don’t do it.

Gamma Performance

Gamma correction is one of the hardest terms to explain. However, for our purposes the gamma correction of any electronics device is how bright or dark an image will be displayed on a screen.

All PC devices now use 2.20 gamma as the default. Any variance from this will result in an image being either underexposed which will create black crush and underexposed shadow detail or washed out with too little black level detail (aka being over-exposed).

While 2.20 is the gold standard, a minor deviation of 0.10 will in all likelihood never be noticed by anyone other than professional photographers. Higher levels of deflection however will be noticed by just about everyone.

The Z35 may have a gamma that was slightly inferior to the X34’s but this amount is still within tolerances. By that same token we would have preferred such an expensive monitor to come factory calibrated with proper Gamma levels.

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