Acer Predator Z35 35″ Gaming Monitor Review
The large format gaming monitor market is quickly becoming an extremely cluttered segment with nearly every single manufacturer entering into the struggle in some way. While there are plenty of also-rans, Acer has distinguished themselves as a trailblazer with monitors like the X34 and XB27 largely defining what used to be just a fledgling niche. Now the Predator Z35 is trying to shake things up again by introducing a leading-edge gameplay tool that doesn’t sacrifice on technology but doing so at a (slightly) more affordable price point. For the most part it works quite well but for some its limitations may far outweigh the benefits.
If you want access to high refresh rates, very good color reproduction, amazing uniformity (on our sample at least), an enveloping curved panel, a boatload of features and G-SYNC then the Acer Predator Z35 likely fits the bill quite nicely. It can impart an element of fluidity into scenes that you have to see to believe and do while retaining almost all the other hallmarks we have come to expect from a gaming monitor. I’d actually choose it over BenQ’s flagship XR3501 since Acer has added in a number of features that make their Z35 more appealing. Naturally, all of these items are extremely tempting, provided there’s a willingness to spend just over a grand.
Even though the Predator Z35 has an awesome spec sheet, in order to achieve its capabilities Acer had to make some notable sacrifices. Due to current display interface limitations, a resolution of 2560×1080 was used which makes achieving parity between the 200Hz refresh rate and onscreen framerates easier than it was on the X34. However, stretching the available pixels across a 35” canvas causes a horribly negative effect upon image fidelity. The resulting drop-off in pixels per inch causes a slight screen door effect, an issue which is compounded by an overly aggressive anti-glare coating.
Actually finding a benefit to that insane refresh rate is also rather difficult as well. When the X34 and Z35 were placed side by side it was nearly impossible to distinguish the onscreen motion differences despite an epic 100Hz chasm separating the two. While it may look good on a marketing slide, the human eye just can’t make sense of 200Hz which effectively nullifies one of the main selling points. Acer seems to have created a “solution” to an imagined problem that 100Hz or 144Hz isn’t enough.
It is fairly easy to understand why Acer felt the need to launch a monitor for folks who wanted even higher refresh rates but in my eyes the Predator Z35 ends up taking a back seat to Acer’s own Predator X34. While the X34 may be more expensive you’ll need about the same amount of horsepower to achieve optimal framerates for G-SYNC, it provides a more visibly satisfying resolution, the AG coating is much less intrusive and the IPS panel boasts slightly better color reproduction. This doesn’t mean the Z35 should be overlooked and there’s certainly a niche for it somewhere but there are better alternatives out there right now.