Acer XV273k Review
Half the price of the Acer X27 while offering nearly the same gaming experience making this the only 4K HDR high refresh rate monitor worth buying.
Overall - 85%
Last year both Acer and Asus launched the first 4K HDR 144Hz G-Sync monitors, being bleeding edge technology they commanded an astronomical price of over £2000. Even today, the Acer X27 will set you back around £1700. Granted, to run those monitors at their full potential you would need one, if not two £1000+ RTX2080 Ti graphics cards, so any potential buyer probably could afford it anyway.
At IFA 2018 last year, Acer announced two new monitors, the Predator XB273K 4K UHD 144Hz G-SYNC Monitor and the Nitro XV273K Freesync priced at £1200 and £900 respectively.
As most avid PC gamers are aware, in March, NVIDIA finally succumbed to Freesync, and now any Freesync monitor can, in theory, use G-Sync. So, for all intents and purposes, the Acer XV273K has the same features as the XB273K but for £300 less.
Acer and Nvidia will no doubt argue that the XB G-Sync variation is superior, and it probably is, but I am sceptical if that £300 extra is justified and you will probably be better off spending it on a PC upgrade. This is also one of the few certified G-Sync monitors, so there is no risk of any glitches with the G-Sync if you buy this.
So in the space of a year, 4K HDR 144Hz monitors have dropped about 60%. At £900 it is still extremely expensive, but at the time of writing, there is no comparable monitor at this price point that I am aware of, which makes the Acer XV273K a bit of a bargain.
It is worth noting that to achieve this more affordable pricing compared to the X27, this does not feature FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) so if you want the best performing HDR then the X27 is still a better option (but twice the price).
The XV273K uses an 8-bit + FRC panel to replicate 10-bit. AV enthusiasts will likely complain about this, but for a gaming monitor, I struggle to tell the difference.
The monitor features two HDMI 2.0 ports that are capable of 4K HDR at 60Hz and two DisplayPort 1.4 inputs that are each able to display 4K HDR at 120Hz. If want to run 10-bit 4K at 144Hz, two DP 1.4 cables are required to the graphics card. Running it at its full potential sacrifices HDR, AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility, so you are better off keeping it at 120Hz in my opinion.
Similar to the X27, this arrives in a massive box, and the monitor is fully pre-assembled, no faffing about with attaching the stand. Though if you want to mount it you can disassemble it and use the built in VESA mount.
Face on, there is nothing particularly noteworthy about the monitor, though the stand is nice with a triangular shape that keeps everything securely in place. The footprint of the stand is quite large, I had the rear foot of the stand dangling over the edge of my desk. The stand provides a decent level of adjustment, with swivel, height, and angle, there is no option to rotate it into portrait mode though.
From memory, this is less thick than the X27, which is likely due to the lack of FALD. The OSD is controlled via buttons on the rear and a little joystick. It is more intuitive than just buttons but the joystick can sometimes be fiddly to use.
I used this for a bit over a week for both gaming and work on my primary PC replacing my ultra-budget AOC Q2778VQE that I used as a left-hand screen. Compared to that, the difference is night and day for everything I do on a monitor, though that is not a particularly great monitor so not a fair comparison. During my time with it, I used the monitor for all my normal activities, including gaming, media and work.
To get the most out of this monitor, you will want to enable HDR within the settings of windows and the OSD of the monitor. I found it is best to map the settings to a profile, with HDR on in a working environment you will feel your retinas burn. With HDR in use, you will be restricted to 120Hz 4K or alternatively, you can do 1440p at 144Hz with HDR enabled.
While my mid-range PC struggles to run the monitor at ultra with high refresh rates, gaming on this is a pleasure, far superior to what I use on a daily basis. The Predator X27 does offer superior luminance so the image quality is arguably not as good here. I am personally quite sensitive to bright light so sitting close to an ultra-bright monitor isn’t exactly ideal, and don’t think many people will miss out much on the lower brightness more so when you factor in price differences.
Overall, gaming felt superb on this, with HDR games looking particularly special. I found the monitor to be very responsive, with G-Sync helping keep things nice and smooth. I am not a huge FPS fan, certainly not competitive, so the high refresh rate is perhaps a little wasted on me, but its performance is certainly up there with the best monitors I have used.
Getting 4K HDR on things like Netflix via a browser isn’t the easiest, nor is it easy to identify if it is streaming correctly. You have to use Microsoft edge, and every monitor on your system needs to meet the 60Hz 4K HDCP 2.2 and well as a 7th generation Core CPU or GTX 10 series GPU or higher. Something on my system didn’t like it so I only got 1080p.
Thankfully with dual HDMI and dual DP inputs, I was able to use my Fire TV 4K HDR when I wanted to watch Netflix. While the monitor can’t quite compete with my Sony AF8 TV in my living room, watching Netflix in 4K HDR does look glorious in comparison to my older monitor.
While not many people will be buying this monitor specifically for work, it is likely many of us will use it for dual purposes.
Windows by default will use 150% scaling, I usually find this is necessary on a monitor of this size, but I found it quite comfortable to use at 125%. If you are not sat too far away from the screen and have good eyes, 100% is even doable with the text being clear and readable. I found myself leaving it at 100% using it as my screen for emails, and it was superb for email productivity allowing me to have multiple email accounts visible in Outlook, while also easily able to view all the text in the selected emails.
If you want to game at 4K HDR with a high refresh rate, then, in my opinion, this is the only monitor worth buying, there is nothing comparable to it at this price point. The X27 is a better model, but £800 more, that could comfortably buy you a GeForce RTX 2080 or go a long way to purchasing the Ti variant.
However, it is not quite as black and white as that, many gamers would argue that ultra-wide is the superior choice and that section of the market has much more choice at different price points. For none gaming activities, 27-inch at 4K is not ideal, with 32-inch being far better, the up and coming 43-inch Predator CG437K P will be perfect for gaming and work if you have space. None of these points are criticisms of this excellent monitor though.
It is likely a screen of this calibre will only appeal to a niche segment of the market, but if 4K HDR 120hz/144hz gaming is your thing, then this is the only monitor worth considering.