PC

Superb display for work and play

The Acer XR382CQK is a 38-inch curved monitor that is versatile enough for both work and play.

Its ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio offers plenty of space for app windows. I could easily fit two browser windows and a document side by side. Its 3,840 x 1,600-pixel screen also has sufficient pixels to ensure text looks sharp.

More importantly, it being an in-plane switching (IPS) screen means that the image quality is excellent. It looks good even from the sides, with negligible colour shift. Measuring with a colourimeter, I verified that it supports 100 per cent of the sRGB colour space, as advertised by Acer, and is hence suitable for photo-editing work.

For those who have multiple display sources, the Acer has a picture-in-picture mode. Or if you need to hook up more monitors, it supports daisy-chaining with a DisplayPort output connector.

It is an HDR-ready screen, an industry term to denote screens that will accept a high dynamic range (HDR) signal, but is unable to show these videos with the same level of contrast and brightness as a proper HDR screen. In this case, the Acer monitor is unable to hit the 1,000 nits of peak brightness required to qualify for the HDR standard used by TV makers.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $1,698

    RESOLUTION:3,840 x 1,600 pixels

    ASPECT RATIO: 21:9

    BRIGHTNESS: 300 cd/m2

    RESPONSE TIME: 5ms

    PANEL TYPE: In-plane switching

    CONNECTIVITY: DisplayPort, HDMI, Mobile High-definition Link (MHL), mini-DisplayPort, DisplayPort output, 4 x USB 3.0 downstream, headphone jack


    RATING

    FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

But it makes an attempt with a HDR display profile that, when enabled, pushes the monitor's brightness to near maximum. This produces about 500 nits of brightness, according to my colourimeter, which is good for a monitor, but not comparable to a HDR TV. Its two integrated speakers do an adequate job, but will not convince anyone to ditch their PC speakers.

For gamers, the Acer ticks the boxes primarily for its support of AMD FreeSync, a variable refresh rate technology that reduces stuttering in games for AMD graphics cards. The downside: The Acer's maximum refresh rate is 75Hz compared with the 100Hz and 144Hz offered by other gaming monitors. Its limited FreeSync range (48Hz to 75Hz) also means that games have to run between 48 and 75 frames per second for the FreeSync technology to work.

It has three display profiles for gamers, designed for action, sports and racing games. Toggling between them, I could not really tell the difference except for changes in the brightness of the screen.

There is also a crosshair overlay to help gamers with their aim, but that is about the extent of this monitor's gaming features. Its feature set is lean, compared with other gaming models, including Acer's Predator range. But I never did find the extras, such as frame rate counters or timers, useful in the first place.

It offers an excellent range of adjustments. You can vary its height by up to 13cm and swivel it either side by up to 30 degrees. For a monitor of its size, the Acer has a relatively modest footprint. It has slim bezels on three sides - only the bottom bezel, which has a row of 12 LEDs, can be considered chunky.

These LEDs are meant for adding ambient light and can be customised via the on-screen display (OSD) settings. The physical buttons for the OSD and its navigational joystick are at the back of the monitor. With just a handful of colours and a few lighting effects, the LEDs are fairly tame compared to the ones found on other gaming monitors. Personally, I turn them off as they are distracting, especially in a dark room.

• Verdict: A large curved display with superb image quality, the Acer XR382CQK will satisfy both working professionals and gamers alike.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2018, with the headline 'Superb display for work and play'. Print Edition | Subscribe