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Acer Predator Z35 35" Gaming Monitor Review

AkG

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Oct 24, 2007
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5,274
The Predator series of gaming monitors has been expanding at the speed of light as Acer attempts to cover every single possibility and price point with extremely capable and specifically targeted options. We already seen what they can accomplish with the G-SYNC equipped X34 and XR341CK, an awesome option for folks who need FreeSync. Both of those massive 34” IPS panels had an impressive yet challenging-to-drive resolution of 3440x1440 and refresh rates of 100Hz alongside suitably high price tags. The new Predator Z35 on the other hand has a much more uses a more reasonable 35” 2560x1080 A-MVA panel, an insane refresh rate of 200Hz and a price just north of $1000. Think of this as a more budget friendly option but one that’s extremely capable of delivering a superlative gaming experience.

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With most gaming orientated monitors consumers can expect to get anywhere from 80Hz to 144Hz refresh rates via a TN or IPS panel, G-SYNC or FreeSync abilities, and usually a few other small accoutrements to separate one model from the next. This seems to be the formula upon which all manufactures – including Acer- have built their gaming monitors. It worked extremely well but there really wasn’t much in the way of distinction.

However, what if an engineer decided to break this mold and start with a truly fresh slate? What kind of design would they come up with? Obviously this is a question that Acer asked themselves. However unlike most who just laugh at daring to change an award winning design, Acer actually moved the yardsticks forward in a big way. The end result is the Z35 which is certainly a unique monitor and represents a different way of thinking about what gamers want in their next large screen monitor.

In many ways, the Acer Predator Z35 carries on in the same footsteps of the BenQ XR3501 we reviewed a few weeks ago. It actually uses the exact same 144Hz A-MVA panel but overdrives it to an impressive 200Hz (achievable from within the OSD) and adds in some additional features which go a long way towards justifying its premium.

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When we talk about the limits of today’s monitors, certain realties had to be taken into account in terms of form-factor and bandwidth limitations. While a 3440x1440 monitor with an ultra high 144Hz refresh rate would be everyone’s dream, even the latest DisplayPort 1.2 standard doesn’t have the necessary bandwidth to push that torrent of data towards a monitor. DP 1.3 will solve that limitation but it will only be present on AMD’s Polaris and NVIDIA’s Pascal GPUs. Even if it was possible, current large format IPS technology hasn’t quite progressed past the 120MHz mark yet.

Due to all of these factors, Acer’s design team needed to optimize output while still remaining within the constraints of today’s technology. As a result they looked towards an Advanced MVA panel which has color rendering characteristics very close to what IPS can achieve but can also be driven at substantially higher refresh rates without the need for overdrive. Meanwhile, panel speeds were boosted to a stunning 200Hz while remaining within the aforementioned bandwidth constraints by using a lower resolution of 2560x1080.

Naturally, there are pros and cons to the 21:9 form factor but when combined with a 2000R curvature and massive real-estate, an enveloping experience is certainly achievable. Is it unique? No, but when all of these features are combined, the Z35 is a unique beast.

ang_sm.jpg

Many people like saying there’s such thing as a free lunch and that fact certainly remains in place with the Z35. While that 200Hz refresh rate sounds amazing, actually driving the panel to that 144 to 200 frames per second “zone” within today’s AAA games will be challenging for all but the most expensive GPU setup. Granted detail levels can easily be lowered but that begs the question: what’s more important to you, graphics quality or a high framerate.

Another concern is of course the dot pitch level of this monitor. A resolution of 3440x1440 stretched across a massive 34” screen provided an impressively clear viewing experience on the Predator X34 but now we’re seeing 2560x1440 on a 35” screen. Some eagle-eyed viewers may very well see this as a huge limitation depending on their viewing distance.

ang2_sm.jpg

Further helping to impress gaming enthusiasts is this monitor also takes full advantage of NVIDIA’s Ultra Low Motion Blur technology. It is this combination of 200 frames per second, full G-SYNC capabilities, and ULMB that makes the Z35 truly unique and is what Acer is counting on to help the Z35 stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

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OK, enough about the underlying technology since there are also the exterior looks to take into account. Like all other Predator series products –be they gaming notebooks, peripherals (more on this soon!) or monitors- the Z35 has a distinctive and aggressive design but not one that’s overly gaudy. It all works extremely well.

The stand which the Z35 uses has been changed from the X34, and looks much more aggressive. Unfortunately, some may find its angular lines and red powder coating tips to be too “loud”. However, it may look different but beneath the surface this stand offers some well rounded capabilities. This means that while it may lack portrait mode (you wouldn’t use this on a curved monitor anyways) or even swivel capabilities, it does offer 130mm of height adjustment and 30 degrees of tilt (-5° to 25°). More importantly it provides a stable foundation that is rock solid. Just as with the X34, you can accidentally bump into the Z35 monitor and not have worry about it tipping over which is great considering the whole thing looks like a fat chicken perched on a narrow clothesline.

top.jpg

The overall looks of the Z35 seem to have matured when compared to the very similar X34. While the X34 was monochromatic, and very classical in its styling, the Z35 has more sharp angles and blood red highlights which blend seamlessly together.

Just like the X34 the Z35 includes down-firing LEDs that allow the bottom edge to ‘glow’ in one of many different colors – all customizable via the OSD. This feature actually plays a crucial role as much like the X34 you can have it glow one color when G-SYNC is enabled and another when the feature is disabled.

Beyond these changes the Z35 makes use of a very similar hardware to that of other Acer 21:9 models. For example, the physical interface is basically the same as the Acer X34 and allows for relatively easy navigation of the on screen menu system. The OSD is also pretty much the same as that of the other Acer Predator monitors. But like the physical buttons, we have no issues with this rehash. It works and is easy to navigate.

Overall the Z35 certainly has numerous features to make it extremely enticing to gamers, but reality has been known to disagree with theory from time to time.
 
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AkG

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Menu Layout & Observations

Menu Layout & Observations


<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/menu1.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

The On Screen Display (OSD) which accompanies this monitor is virtually identical to the one that comes with X34 and we have absolutely no problems with this. The X34’s OSD was one of the best we have seen and using it across the entire Predator lineup makes perfect sense to us.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/menu2.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

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 gaming monitors the included profiles are left blank, ready to accept user-generated presets. It would have been nice to see at least a few default profiles here to act as a jump-off point.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/menu3.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

As with many gaming orientated monitors the Acer X34 comes with end-user adjustable ‘overdrive’ (OD) settings. What OD does is basically push more voltage to the liquid crystals, forcing them to change from one state to another faster. In theory panel overdrive 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.

The default overdrive (not to be confused with Acer’s “Over Clock”) 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 144Hz. The ‘Extreme’ is just that; it not only introduces noticeable pre-ghosting but substantial color shift as well. In other words, for most consumers the default setting is good enough but if you take color fidelity seriously you may want to turn this setting to Off. This is especially true if you plan on overclocking the panel to 200Hz. More on that later.

If you do need to delve deeper in to the X34'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 $1000 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.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/menu4.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

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 the XR341CK’s On Screen Display.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/menu5.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

The next area is the 'Color' section which deals with actually adjusting color profile of this monitor. Here you will find basic gamma correction, color temperature (warm, cool, normal, bluelight, User - we recommend using User), 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.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/menu6.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

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.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/menu7.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

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. More importantly it is where you will find the ‘Over Clock’ setting which will allow you to adjust the panel refresh rate from 144Hz all the way to 200Hz.

Unfortunately, Acer has not given fine grain control over the overclocking, and even compared to the X34’s less than optimal 5Hz increments the Z35 looks down right ham-fisted. To be precise you can choose from 160Hz, 180Hz, and 200Hz. Conversely if you wish to under-clock your options are equally limited to 60Hz, 85Hz, 100Hz, 120Hz, and the native 144Hz. This is sub-optimal to say the least, but at least our Z35 came with this setting at the panel’s native 144Hz. Note that the Z35’s overclocking can only be done when using the DisplayPort connector and not the HDMI due to bandwidth limitations.

An interesting bonus here is the Ambient Light adjustment. This adjusts the color of the down firing LEDs that give a glow around the bottom of the monitor. If you don’t want to turn your expensive investment into the equivalent of a rice rocket you will probably want to navigate here and turn this annoyance off. In testing we found it hindered our immersion in games more than it helped. This however is a very subjective issue and you may feel differently – especially if you play Need For Speed or other high paced games.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/menu8.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

The last is the Information section and it basically tells you the mode, resolution, and serial number of your particular Z35. For the most part this section can be safely ignored.
 
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AkG

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Image Quality (Uniformity / Panel & Gamma Performance)

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.

uniform.jpg

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.


blurr_sm.jpg

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.

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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.

blurr2_sm.jpg

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.


gamma.jpg


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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AkG

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Colour Saturation Levels / Default RGB Levels

Colour Saturation Levels


<i>While there are numerous colors the human eye can’t “see”, the human color space confined to three primary colors and combinations thereof. To make things easier for manufactures (and not waste resources displaying colors we can’t see) a color space was mathematically described and while various models do exist, the CIE RGB color space is the de facto standard.

In the below image, the dark triangle which isn’t highlighted is the sRGB color space while the overall CIE color space is displayed as the background colors. Meanwhile, the white triangle with highlighted color represents the results of what a given monitor can display. No monitor can display the entire CIE color spectrum but a good monitor should be able to display the sRGB spectrum of possible colors as this is usually used as the standard for image encoding.

A monitor which uses the “wide color gamut” moniker can display more than the sRGB spectrum and is considered primarily for professional use. If a monitor cannot cover off the entire sRGB triangle, the resulting image will appear “off” to an observer. The end result is a picture displayed on the panel which won’t be as rich, vibrant or as correct as it should be. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/cie.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Much like Uniformity results, the Acer Predator Z35’s color gamut is better than the BenQ XR3501’s – so much so that we were properly stunned. Put simply, it may not be the widest we have ever seen but this result really does put A-MVA on a level that's quite close to IPS.


Default RGB Levels


<i>An LCD or LCD LED backlit panel relies on accurately blending Red, Green and Blue pixel clusters to create an overall image so closer to each of these colours is to a “perfect” 100 output, the better and more accurate the default colors will be.

In this case, we have a low tolerance for anything less than perfection since any color shift can be noticeable even to untrained eyes and will require a color correction be applied at the software level to overcome a monitor’s stock output. We do however consider a minor variation of only a few points per color to be acceptable. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/rgb.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

As with the Gamma were are a tad disappointed that Z35’s default color profile is not as good as the X34, but it still is close enough that most consumers would not notice the slight variance in colors. Again, measuring tools and charts may show the differences but the human eye will likely tell a different story.
 
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AkG

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Viewing Angles / Contrast Ratio / Power Consumption

Viewing Angles


<i>Unlike CRT displays, the manner in which LCD panels create an image can result in one large weakness: the image can lose contrast when viewed off angle. While we do not recommend watching an LCD at anything besides perfectly straight on, the reality is this cannot always be done.

To help give you a glimpse of what a panel will look like when seen from either above the horizontal or vertical plane we have taken pictures at fairly extreme angles. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/view.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Viewing angles of any curved monitor are going to be inferior to a straight panel since hese monitors are designed to be viewed perfectly straight-on. If you are unable to do this, the entire class of monitors will not be an optimal choice.

With that taken care of the viewing angles of the Z35 are actually a touch inferior to the X34. This is because the Predator Z35 uses an A-MVA panel whereas the Predator X34 is a IPS based unit. MVA is more of a jack of all trades technology and this is one of the tradeoffs consumers need to be willing to make in order to get 200Hz – without going TN.


Maximum Contrast Ratio


<i> While manufactures love to throw around “maximum” contrast ratios in the millions, the fact of the matter is that to get these high numbers they have to use "dynamic contrast" which—at best—results in overly optimistic specs. With DC turned off, the number of shades between purest white and blackest black a given monitor can display is usually in the low hundreds rather than the thousands.

The higher the contrast ratio, the better the monitor will display shades of dark and light. For IPS monitors, anything below 450:1 is unacceptable, with 500:1 or above considered optimal. For TN anything above 120:1 will be considered “good enough” for most consumers. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/contrast.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

The contrast ratio of our Z35 sample was actually better than the X34 sample but the differences are minor to say the least, and as such we would not choose one model over the other because of it. However, this is one area that the Z35 can <i>technically</i> claim to be superior to the X34.


Power Consumption


<i>To obtain the maximum number we set the monitors brightness to 100% and the contrast to 100%. The Calibrated results are taken at 120 cd/m2 with the contrast set to the default level. </i>

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/power.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

When you combine a massive 35-inch panel with internal components capable of driving said panel all the way to 200Hz the end result is a power hog by modern standards. This should come as little surprise to consumers. If a few watts of additional power are that critical to a buyer's decision making process we recommend opting for a cheaper, or smaller monitor.
 
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AkG

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Gaming Performance

Gaming Performance


Based on my recent experiences I must admit to having rather mixed feelings upon starting to test the Z35. On the one hand the X34 was simply phenomenal. So much so that I can easily state that it is the best curved 21:9 monitor for gaming available today provide you have an NVIDAI GPU. On the other had the Z35 is nothing like the X34 and in fact is more like the BenQ XR3501 – a monitor which proved to be less than optimal in a number of respects. It is for these reasons that I was cautiously optimistic about this monitor at satisfying its raison d’être.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/g1.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

After spending countless hours testing the Z35 in a wide variety of gaming scenarios I feel that there are a few key points that potential buyers need to be aware of, both on the positive and negative sides. First of all this monitor is noticeably better than the BenQ alternative. It is not even a close race. The combination of 2000R radius curve with a 200Hz fresh rate, G-SYNC, <I>and</i> ULMB is a winning one; or at least it is a winner with a few major caveats.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/g2.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

The first and most obvious is that 2560x1080 is a downright odd resolution. If you purchase the Z35 – or any 2560x1080 monitor for that matter– expect to spend time adjusting the Field of View in games, and even tweaking .ini files in order to get all games to play ‘nice’ with it. Talk about a royal pain in the ass, especially when some titles can’t even be coaxed into compatibility.

Thankfully, unlike BenQ and all the other 2560x1080 resolution monitors, Acer actually had a damn good reason for choosing this resolution. Instead of using it just to be ‘different’ it was done because 2560x1080 at 200Hz is the absolute most that can be pushed over a DP 1.2 cable. That is a hard limitation that would have required either a second input cable, which certainly would have been old school, or reducing the refresh rate. Neither option was optimal to say the least.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/g3.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Since Acer obviously did not want the Z35 to simply be a slightly larger clone of the X34, the 200Hz refresh rate was no-negotiable. The end result is certainly buttery smooth images, but in many ways it actually leads to an experience that is inferior to the X34’s 100Hz.

The fact of the matter is very, very, very few people will be able to tell the difference between 100Hz and 200Hz; but most will instantly notice the difference between a 0.23mm mm dot-pitch and the massive 0.32mm that this rather large monitor comes saddled with. This massive dot pitch negatively impacts the Z35’s ability to create a truly immersive gaming experience.

Sadly, this is only the start of problems as the Z35 is further hindered by overly aggressive anti-glare coating. This coating all on its own adds a ‘grain’ appearance to images and when combined with the large DPI can make images look downright god-awful. Thankfully, in darkened rooms the anti-glare coating does become less noticeable and less annoying, but the dot pitch cannot be fixed by using it in a darkened room. Even high levels of anti-aliasing cannot hide it.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/g4.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

As I already mentioned, in order to actually get to 200Hz and consistently stay in that zone users will have to spend huge amounts of money on video card horsepower or lower detail levels. I personally use an MSI GTX 980 Ti Lightning that is heavily overclocked and it was not up to the task. Even if I had two of them I doubt I could have coaxed a consistently at 200Hz / FPS at even this reduced resolution without turning down the post processing effects. The end result for us mere mortals not willing to drop thousands on video cards is that we will have to either live with not being able to use the 200Hz refresh rate or sacrifices will be needed in other areas.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/g5.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

With all that said, if you can afford to properly harness this massive beast the gaming experience it offers is rather impressive. Just one that is arguably not as immersive as what the X34 has to offer. That to us is a bloody shame.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/g6.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>
 
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AkG

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Movie Performance

Movie Performance


<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/m1.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Much the BenQ XR3501 the Acer Z35 may not have been purpose built with movies and multimedia in mind, but that does not stop it from being a very, very decent option. This is especially true for movie buffs and tech savvy people who know their way around third party programs which can capitalize upon the combination of large screen, movie friendly resolution and even the 200 frames per second refresh rate.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/m2.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

With that being said this monitor still uses a 21:9 format, and as such cannot be considered a plug and play option for movies. It will suffer from the same scaling issues as other 21:9 ‘1080P’ monitors, however even in this regard the Z35 is above average for its class. Not only is there a lot less scaling needed to be done compared to the X34, the Z35 is rather good at turning a sows ear into a silk purse.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/m3.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Yes this is an expensive monitor to turn into a ‘super television’ but it really did impress us with how immersive movies became. The BenQ XR3501 did the same thing. Basically this is because a lot of the features and negatives that made using the Z35 for gaming a less than optimal experience, actually make this monitor great for movies. So much so that a good argument could be made that the Z35 is better than the X34 in this regard.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/m5.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

With that being said is the Z35’s unannounced, non-hyped ability enough to justify it’s steep asking price? No. Actual LCD TV’s in this size range cost a hell of a lot less, come with fewer scaling issues, offer 3D abilities, and many even come with just as good colors and nearly as good refresh speeds. Put another way the Z35 may be a decent choice for movies and multimedia centric tasks but that is a far cry from justifying its asking price.

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/m6.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>
 
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AkG

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Non-Colorimeter Tweaking and Results

Non-Colorimeter Tweaking and Results


<i>In a perfect world either every monitor would come factory calibrated to perfection or every single consumer would own a decent colorimeter. We don’t live in such a world and as such most consumers simply use the old Mark 1 Mod 0 eyeball to fix any imperfections with the stock colors of their new monitor.
In order to gauge how easy this is to do for a given monitor we have included a new set of tests. These tests will be carried out before any of our standard tests and will consist of us using a combination of the free online LCD Monitor Test Images (found here LCD monitor test images) and then if necessary the free Hex2Bit Monitor Calibration Wizard (found here Hex2Bit - Software by Mike Walters). The goal of these tests is to not only gauge how easy it is to accurately calibrate a given monitor using only the onboard monitor tools, but to see how closely we can come to what a Spyder3 Elite can do. </i>

To obtain these results we did the following:
Used “User” mode
Adjusted the brightness to 19% (which resulted in a 121.3 cd/m2)
All other settings left to default levels

<div align="center"><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/man_rgb.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Monitor/Acer_Z35/man_gamma.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

Thanks to its excellent On Screen Display and very, very decent out of the box color profile the Acer Predator Z35 is extremely easy to manually correct. For most consumers all that needs to be adjusted is lowering the brightness levels as the default levels are extremely bright and hard on the eyes. This will take mere seconds and once done most people will be more than satisfied with the end results.

For people who wish to correct the ever so slight R/G/B variances the combination of six color axis color correction with physical input buttons also takes most of the pain out of this usual painful procedure. This too will only take a few moments. For people who are truly OCD, correcting the slightly off Gamma will require going to software solutions and it is here that the Z35 stumbles a bit. It will take a few moments to correct, then correct the over-correction… and then correct the correction to the correction. Eventually though most will hit the right setting. To be honest if you require this level of procedure a small investment in a colorimeter will be money well spent. Though once again the levels are close enough that most would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the ‘off’ out of the box settings and the ‘perfect’ corrected settings.

Overall we consider this monitor to be well above average bordering on excellent in its manual correction abilities.
 
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AkG

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Conclusion

Conclusion


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 2560x1080 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.
 
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