I remember the early days of using CRT monitors, large boxes in various colors with a low resolution display, used to be sufficient. A 640×480 screen was deemed high end back then. Since that time, the “screen industry” has come a long way with 720p displays leading the charge and gradually being replaced by 1080p and the very crisp 2160p, and of course the 4K resolution we know and love.
Over the past couple of years, 4K has had a pretty slow adaptation rate due to its high price. One wouldn’t be better off if they spent a small fortune on a quality 4K TV, to then realize the limited availability of content at that resolution for consumption. However, things are much different for the “PC Master Race”. There are numerous games optimized for the 4K resolution with little to no problems. The misconception of 4K only being possible with a massive SLI of Titan X’s, the latest Intel or AMD processor, and tons of RAM gets thrown around but what if you could build a PC for $1500 that is capable of 4K gaming? Before you do that, a 4K display is required to view all your content and thus are becoming very popular amongst photographers, videographers, and graphic designers.
- 32″ IPS (In-Plane Switching) Panel
- HDMI / DisplayPort Inputs
- UHD 3840 x 2160 Resolution
- Static 1000:1 Contrast Ratio
- 350 cd/m² Brightness
- 178°/178° Viewing Angles
- 4ms Response Time
- 1.07 Billion Colors
- NVIDIA G-Sync Technology
- Ultra Low Motion Blur Technology
As you can see in the list above, the Acer Predator XB321HK features a 32″ back-lit display with an IPS panel. With a 16:9 aspect ratio, 4K resolution and a response time of 4ms, this monitor is truly the ideal choice for a gaming rig. For those who like to adjust their viewing angle, the monitor features a tilt angle of -5 to 25 degrees. Even though limited, it is more than enough unless you plan on performing yoga while looking at the screen. The IPS panel additionally helps with extreme viewing angles and the adjustable height on the monitor maxing out at 120mm also makes it an ideal choice for standing while gaming.
All technicalities out of the way, the monitor is built extremely well. The killer red and black tones combined with the gorgeous matte finish even make the monitor usable with a light source directly behind it. For aesthetics, the Predator logo is also present, but unfortunately does not illuminate. Flanking the right of the monitor are controls for menus and a power button that illuminates to blue when it is active, and flashes when there is no signal. Power save options are also present if you wish, so the flashing light isn’t too much of an issue.
Unfortunately, the monitor does not swivel, meaning you can’ t change its orientation and the “ZeroFrame” build is a bit misleading. Even though thin, I’ve seen much thinner bezels on other monitors so they might be a small hindrance if you plan on working with multiple monitors. Nonetheless, the back of the monitor features a small cut out for a decent level of cable management.
Having described the monitor in detail, how does it perform in use? The 4ms response time and G-Sync (click to learn more) allows for minimal input lag, high FPS count, and no visible screen tearing. The black levels were not as saturated as I would have liked, but colors did have a slight “pop” to them. Games like GTA 5 , Just Cause 3, and Rainbow Six Siege looked and performed very well, and the detail produced at even 1080p resolution was outstanding. Even though this was my first 4K monitor experience, I am not sure how it could be beaten and the monitor kept me coming back for more every single time I used it.
But even this perfect sounding device has its blemishes. As with all IPS displays, there is still considerable screen bleed from the corners which is not expected at this price point. The tiny in-built speakers too were a huge disappointment due to their lack of power output and I would have much rather preferred no speakers for a thinner monitor. Lastly, having the manually install monitor drivers for the device was a let down especially because I had to download the Windows 8 driver and then reboot into the 64-bit Windows 10 for the drivers to be detected and installed.
Regardless of the flaws, the strengths definitely outweigh them. At $1200, the Acer Predator is a great option for gaming and I encourage you to check it out on B&H here. Thanks to B&H for sending this out and letting me put it through it’s paces in my review, and you want to see it in action, check out my video down below.