Acer Predator X27 4K HDR Gaming Monitor Review
Possibly the best PC gaming monitor you can buy, but it is £1799!
What is the Acer Predator X27?Familiar to a lot of PC gamers, Acer’s Predator range of monitors usually include a tasty set of specifications such as G-Sync, low response times and high refresh rates. They aren’t the cheapest you will find but, in both of our previous Predator monitor reviews, we found them to perform very well with a good build quality. It’s just the high price point that is the stumbling block for a lot of gamers. Even more so now that Nvidia have enabled G-Sync to work on certain FreeSync monitors.
Our review monitor today from Acer does nothing to help their price point issues. The Acer Predator X27 is a 27” 4K UHD HDR Nvidia G-Sync monitor with FALD, Quantum Dot, a 4ms response time, 10-bit IPS panel and a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz. Also featured is a peak brightness of up to 1000nits and 384 dynamic FALD backlight zones. A very impressive specification indeed, but all that comes at a simply jaw dropping price. Available for £1799 this is the most expensive monitor we have ever reviewed and really needs to be something out of this world to be worth the asking price. Read on to see how it fares in our tests……
- Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (UHD) 16:9
- Panel Type: IPS
- Tearing Prevention: G-Sync HDR
- Backlight: FALD
- Standard Refresh Rate: 120Hz
- Overclocked Refresh Rate: 144Hz
- Response Time: 4ms
- Input Lag: 21.9ms
- Brightness: 425.2 cd/m2
- Colour Depth: 10 bit
- Colour Support: 16.7 million colours
- Audio Output: 4W x 2
- Viewing Angle: 178°
- Power Consumption: 71W
Design and ConnectionsLet’s put the £1799 price tag aside from one moment, if that is even possible, and focus on the design and connections. The X27 is the least blingy monitor of Acer’s Predator range that we have seen. It’s an all-black design and is missing the red flashy highlights to the metal stand and other gimmicks that are often added which manufacturers assume will make them look more appealing to ‘gamers’. Apart from the Predator logo to the front, it looks like any other monitor.
As we’ve come to expect with the Predator range of monitors, the connections are generous with a USB 3.0 (upstream) port and 4 x USB 3.0 ports (two left side mounted and two rear mounted). Plus a single HDMI 2.0 port, Display Port 1.4 port and audio connection.
If you are using Display Port, ensure that you have the latest Nvidia firmware. Most 10 series cards are Display Port 1.4 ready, but not enabled. The update is very quick and the upgrade tool does all the work for you. Nvidia Graphics Firmware Update Tool.
Menu SystemThe menu system is comprehensive and identical in layout to previous Predator monitors we reviewed. The control system sees the return of the annoying rear mounted joystick and buttons. Aesthetically it’s better as the controls are all hidden but from a usability point it makes it very fiddly and hard work. Especially as they have put the power button right next to the other menu buttons so you will often accidentally turn the monitor off when you are trying to change a setting. At this top end price we would have expected something better.
The menu is split into 6 sections covering Picture, Color (colour!), Audio, Gaming, OSD and System. The Picture menu allows you to alter the Ref. white (nits) level, contrast and brightness levels along with various other settings. The Colour menu allows you to set the Colour temperature, enable YCbCr sRGB on the HDMI or DP ports and alter the gamma. The Audio menu simply adjusts the volume.
The Gaming menu includes the Over Drive settings (which affects the panel response times) and Over Clock settings, the OSD menu is self-explanatory and finally, the system menu allows you to change the ambient light settings, quick start mode and other settings. Any changes you make can be saved to one of three modes for quick access, Action, Racing and Sports.
With HDR enabled a lot of the picture settings are unavailable, you can’t alter the Ref. white (nits), contrast or brightness.
CalibrationFor our monitor calibrations we use SpectraCal software and a C3 Colorimeter.
The screenshot below shows the pre and post calibration results.
The maximum screen luminance detected was a 425.2 cd/m2 (398.7 cd/m2 with HDR enabled). Following calibration, this was set to a slightly less eye bleeding level of 104.7 cd/m2.
Testing and Display QualityFor our testing we use a Leo Bodnar input lag tester. This measures the delay (latency) that it takes a video signal to pass from the point of input until it is displayed on the monitor. With the X27 we get a rather disappointing result of 22.3ms. This is slightly improved to 22.2ms with the Over Drive set to normal and 21.9ms set to Extreme. Compared to the Z35P of 14.4ms, 16.5ms of the Predator Z1 and our own Acer Predator XB271HU of 12.2ms, the X27 it comes out on the high side.
It’s important to note that input lag is not response time. Response time is often the headline number that monitor manufacturers use in their advertising, such as ‘very low 2ms’ for example. Response time is how quickly a display can change its pixels from black to white or grey to grey. A high response time will mean you are more likely to see ghosting, which is the blurring that you see behind fast moving objects.
The display quality of the X27 is fantastic, as you would rightly expect for £1799. The colours are vibrant, text is clear and distinct, with excellent black levels and a maximum brightness level more than sufficient even with HDR enabled. Testing with a wide range of 4K and 4K HDR videos showed just why Acer feel they can charge £1799 for it. The images were sublime with a rich level of detail. With an excellent 178° viewing angle we had no cause for any complaints with the image quality.
Moving onto gaming and firstly, whilst 4K HDR is the current pinnacle of PC Gaming, it does require some very impressive hardware to run it. Unfortunately, the GTX1070 in our PC is certainly not up to the task with frame rates topping out around the 50-60FPS mark in most of the games we tried.
HDR looks amazing in games, astoundingly so with the likes of Battlefield 5, but for non HDR programs, which includes Windows, if you have HDR enabled the brightness is terrible and the colours are flat and washed out. What this means is that to get the very best out of this monitor you need to be constantly switching between HDR and non HDR. A switch that we would have expected to be done automatically based on the content being viewed in 2019!
- Gorgeous 4K HDR display quality
- Superb colour accuracy
- Nvidia G-Sync
- 144Hz refresh rate
- Quantum Dot
- Full Array Local Dimming
- PC games have never looked better
- It's £1799!
- Fan noise could be a distraction
- Some settings unavailable in HDR mode
- Fiddly menu system
- Input lag a little high
- Windows still not fully ready for 4K and HDR
Acer Predator X27 4K HDR Gaming Monitor Review
Should I buy the Acer Predator X27?The X27 from Acer is currently the pinnacle of all that is great with PC gaming monitors. With an impressive specification including 4K HDR, 144Hz, 10-bit IPS panel with FALD, Quantum Dot and 4ms response time, if you have the hardware to support it you will be very pleased indeed.
The display quality is sublime, with superb colours and accuracy, deep rich blacks and clear and concise text at any font size. With a video card up to the job the latest games in HDR will look better than anything you have played before. But it is £1799. A price that can’t be ignored and currently aimed at those wanting the top end. The very, very top end.
We did have issues setting it up in games and Windows still doesn’t play nice with 4K, especially when adding HDR into the mix, but that’s not the monitor's fault. It does add an annoying level to it though, with constant tweaking of settings, turning HDR on and off to get the best image quality level across all types of content. This was an issue we had several years ago with 4K monitors and content providers have still not caught up.
What alternatives are available?A standard 27” monitor starts at under £150, approaching £400+ for those wanting 1440P with G-Sync and high refresh rates. If you want 4K HDR, then Acer’s own XV273K has everything the X27 has except for FALD and a maximum 120Hz for 4K HDR at almost £1000 less. So simply you are paying £1000 for FALD and an extra 24Hz on your refresh rate. If you want the very best with a stunning 4K HDR display, then £1799 is the going rate with similarly priced monitors available from Asus. If you have deep pockets, the X27 is a monitor you should definitely consider.
This monitor has been very difficult to score as on the one hand it is a superb performer but then, on the other hand, it is £1799 for a PC gaming monitor. But based on the superb performance and specification, it is a worthy winner of our Highly Recommended award.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £1,799.00
Out-of-the-box accuracy sRGB6
Black Levels & Contrast9
Bright Screen Uniformity9
Dark Screen Uniformity9
Value for Money8
Our Review Ethos
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