Gaming

A monitor suitable for action games

The Acer XB281HK works best with a powerful PC.
The Acer XB281HK works best with a powerful PC.PHOTO: ACER

Acer display boasts 4K resolution with tech promising to remove screen tearing, stutter

In the past few months, Taiwanese PC maker Acer has launched a slew of gaming products with the Predator brand.

Among them is the Acer XB281HK monitor, which boasts a 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) screen resolution and support for Nvidia's G-Sync technology. This technology promises to eliminate screen tearing and stutter by synchronising a game's frame rates with the monitor's refresh rate.

The monitor's red-and-black body fits its gaming image. The screen can be pivoted to switch between portrait and landscape modes. However, its bezel is much thicker than many of its competitors'.

The XB281HK has a twisted nematic (TN) panel that does not look as good as displays that use the in-plane switching (IPS) technology. The monitor managed 97 per cent coverage in the sRGB colour space, compared with 100 per cent on a good IPS monitor. But it scored highly in colour accuracy.

However, TN panels have a faster response time than IPS displays (1ms versus 4ms), which makes them suitable for first-person shooters and other action games.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $1,199
    RESOLUTION: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels
    ASPECT RATIO: 16: 9
    BRIGHTNESS: 300 cd/m2
    RESPONSE TIME: 1ms
    PANEL TYPE: Twisted nematic (TN)
    CONNECTIVITY: DisplayPort, HDMI, 4 x USB 3.0 downstream, 1 x USB 3.0 upstream, headphone jack

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 4/5
    DESIGN: 3/5
    PERFORMANCE: 3/5
    VALUE: 2/5
    OVERALL: 3/5

With its ultra-high screen resolution, the XB281HK works best with a powerful PC, preferably one with dual graphics cards.

Out of the box, the XB281HK's display looks washed out, so you probably need to tweak the contrast and brightness settings.

The monitor's control scheme could do with some work. It has five buttons but is not as intuitive as other monitors. The better monitors now also come with a joystick that makes it a breeze to navigate and adjust the screen settings.

For gamers, the Aim point feature puts a cursor in the middle of the screen, while Dark Boost increases the brightness of the darker areas of the screen, presumably to help you spot the enemy during gaming.

A good alternative to the XB281HK is the $899 Samsung U28E590DS. This 28-inch model has a similar TN screen with an identical 4K resolution. It supports AMD's equivalent of the Nvidia G-Sync technology, known as AMD FreeSync.

Personally, I prefer the more vibrant look and wider viewing angles of an IPS display. Hence, I would recommend the IPS monitor variants in the Acer Predator series. These models may have a lower screen resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, but that is good enough for most gamers.

Verdict: A thick bezel, finicky controls and high price are reasons to avoid this 4K gaming display. But your choices are limited if you want a 4K resolution and Nvidia G-Sync support.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2016, with the headline 'A monitor suitable for action games Gaming'. Print Edition | Subscribe