Acer Predator XB3 – Introduction
The Acer’s Predator XB3 ($1,299.99) is a high-speed, high-refreshment G-Sync HDR gaming monitor that aims to split the difference between two of the company’s other 4K 144Hz models, the premium Predator X27 and the low-end Nitro XV3. It is much more potent than the XV3 and almost matches the screen quality of the X27, much more expensive. If you are looking for Gold Loop 4K 144Hz HDR game monitors, the XB273K should be entirely appropriate.
Acer Predator XB3 – Design
For reasons of pure aesthetics, the Acer Predator XB3 will not leave you indifferent. The height, inclination, and pivoting support are quite correct. But the panel frame is made of uninterrupted black plastic. It is disappointing considering the price.
Acer has equipped the XB3 with a fully configurable LED mood light panel along the bottom surface of the bottom bezel. You can manually set the color output of these LEDs and configure them to “mirror” the color displayed by the panel itself. It’s a fun feature, but it can not compensate for the relatively lean style and old-school glasses. It is not an elegant and slim wonder. It does not get any better if you mount the three-sided anti-glare hood of the XB3. It installs quickly and securely and does not do much for the XB3 in terms of style. But it is up to you to decide if you are adapting and if you find compromises in terms of appearance and performance.
Acer Predator XB3 – Display
The XB273K is a 27-inch IPS panel, to which the AHVA moniker has been added. This means Advanced Hyper Viewing Angle (not the vertical alignment). It should not be confused with AMVA. Which offers a much higher native contrast. AHVA is a better off-axis image quality, which is right in some cases, but not all. Apart from that, it is no different from any other IPS panel, which is typically featured by dominant colors, excellent viewing angles, and a gray-to-gray 4ms response time.
The backlight uses a quantum dot film to extend the color gamut up to 90% of the DCI-P3 specification. This, combined with a maximum white level of 400 nits, makes the XB273K an excellent candidate for HDR10 content. Although it does not provide the impression of a full-matrix backlit model, Acer has developed an efficient variable dimming feature that quadruples the contrast ratio of the monitor. What’s impressive is that you can take advantage of this option with SDR and HDR content.
Acer Predator XB3 – Performance
The input delay performance of the Acer XB273K is excellent with a delay of about 5 ms, which is imperceptible in actual use. Also, the 4ms response speed (GtG – gray to gray) effectively eliminates all trolling objects left behind for a fluid and fluid gaming experience. Now, to get 144Hz, you need to overclock the monitor to its native refresh rate of 120Hz to 144Hz in the OSD (On Screen Display) menu, which will limit the color output of the full RGB 4: 4: 4 range to YCbCr 4: 2: 2 chromatic sub-sampling. This compression will make the text and some elements of the desktop fuzzier, but this is not noticeable in video games.
On the other hand, the FreeSync model of this monitor, the Acer XV273K, has two DisplayPort ports that allow it to reach 144Hz to 4K without color compression. However, this also has its disadvantages; If you use both ports, you can not use FreeSync or HDR. On the Acer Predator XB273K, you can use G-SYNC up to 144Hz. Plus, you get a more extensive VRR range of 30-144 Hz, as opposed to 48-120Hz of the XV273K. Also, you can use G-SYNC and HDR simultaneously, while with FreeSync, you have to choose between FreeSync and HDR.
Acer Predator XB3 – Connectivity
Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, a headphone jack, two side USB 3.0 ports (one with fast charging) and another upstream and two additional USB 3.0 downstream ports on the back of the monitor. There are also two built-in 4W speakers.
The HDMI port is limited to 60Hz at 3840 × 2160, but it also supports HDR, making it an ideal monitor for console games. Besides, the monitor is covered with a light anti-reflective coating, a detachable shade hood, and a low-noise active cooling fan.
Acer Predator XB3 – Conclusion
At multiple levels, it’s a hell of a gaming monitor. 4K resolution plus 144Hz refresh and G-Sync support deliver exceptional speed and accuracy. The IPS panel is also a high-quality case. It’s hard-hitting, that’s right, that’s right.
But at this price, even with a discount compared to other similar panels, you will feel justified in being very difficult. And the Acer Predator XB3 is not perfect software. It seems a bit cheap and lacks true HDR capabilities. More than anything, it is the limited extent of the use of 27 inches that is the main problem of the value proposition of the XB3. If you are looking for an essential cinematic gaming experience that you are looking for, 27 inches probably will not cut it.