Acer Predator XB270H A review: a solid 27″ 144Hz G-Sync gaming monitor

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The Predator XB270H is one of Acer’s first gaming monitors to support G-Sync, a new Nvidia initiative that eliminates screen tearing without locking a monitor to 60Hz (or a multiple thereof). The monitor runs at 144Hz too, ensuring that if you’ve got enough grunt in your PC, you’ll get a very smooth experience – ideal for fast-paced games like shooters. The 27-inch frame is the standard ‘large’ size nowadays, and the 1080p resolution ensures that your PC doesn’t need to be too expensive to hit that 144 fps target. The XB270H looks like a promising gaming monitor, so let’s take a closer look at how it performs.

 

Specifications & Features

Display

  • 27-inch size, TN panel
  • 1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
  • LED backlight
  • 144Hz refresh rate (w/ G-Sync)
  • 300 cd/m2 brightness
  • 100M:1 contrast ratio
  • 1ms response time
  • 16.7M colours, 1.07B colour depth
  • 170° / 160° viewing angle

Dimensions

  • 640 x 408~558 x 245 mm

Connectivity

  • DisplayPort
  • USB 3.0 (x4)

Features

  • 2W speakers (x2)
  • +35° ~ -5° tilt
  • +60° / -60° swivel
  • 90° pivot
  • 150mm height adjustable
  • 100 x 100 VESA mount
  • 26.5W on / 0.0W standby
 

Design

The XB270H is a simple but attractive monitor, which uses glossy black for the bezel and base, with the rear and stand in a matte black. The monitor has minimal markings around the bezel – just an Acer logo at the bottom and the XB270H identifier in the upper right corner. Mine also came with G-Sync and 3D Vision stickers in the upper left, but these are easily removed. The buttons for the monitor are in the lower right corner, and are quite standard (if a bit slim).

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The monitor came become quite short when lowered all the way to touch the base, or raised by another 15 centimetres to sit high. You can also tilt the display towards you at a 45° angle, rotate it 90 degrees for portrait mode, and swivel it 60° to either the left or the right. The monitor uses a standard 100 x 100 VESA mount, so you can replace the stand with another one or use a floating / wall mount as desired.

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The rear of the monitor is quite standard, with another subtle Acer logo in the upper right. Looking from behind, you have the power switch and input on the left, and a single input on the right – DisplayPort, which is necessary to use the monitor at 144Hz.

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The monitor also includes USB ports, with a pair on the left hand side (as the monitor faces you), and another pair next to the DisplayPort input. The USB passthrough port is also here, which connects to your computer to make the other USB ports work.

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Overall, I’m impressed with the design of the XB270H. While the materials and build quality don’t quite live up to premium monitors, this is one of the best looking plastic monitors I’ve seen. The stand is surprisingly capable given the small circumference of its base, and the range of adjustability is commendable. It’s a bit annoying that there’s only one port available – HDMI would have been nice to use for console gaming, for instance – but for use with a PC as intended, it makes sense.

 

Benchmarks

Now we’ll look at the monitor’s quantitative performance through a series of benchmarks, using the Spyder4Elite.

First up we have an initial reading of the display’s colour gamut, which is 97% of sRGB, 75% of AdobeRGB, and 71% of NTSC. This is a pretty strong indication that you shouldn’t use this display for colour-sensitive work, as there are some colours within even the conservative sRGB standard that it cannot display. This is not a surprise for a TN-panel display, but it’s worth reiterating.

Screenshot 2015-07-18 23.25.54

Next we have the brightness, contrast and white point values. As you can see, the white point remains quite stable around 7500 throughout, with contrast in the region of 410:1 to 540:1. There are some issues with the Spyder4’s reporting in this area, so take these results with a grain of salt (particularly as other outlets have reported contrast in the region of 1000:1). It does seem that a brightness setting of 50% is ideal for maximum contrast.

Screenshot 2015-07-18 23.29.12

 

Now we have colour uniformity tests, which show how the colours in different quadrants of the screen are represented. The uniformity is quite good here for maximum brightness, but as brightness is reduced the upper-right quadrant is moderately off from the rest of the display, with a DeltaE of around 3.0.

Screenshot 2015-07-18 23.29.40_1

Luminance uniformity is also impressive. The centre is the brightest point of the screen, about 10% higher than its surroundings which is fairly reasonable.

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Next we have colour accuracy. We’re not expecting greatness from this twisted nematic panel, but the average deltaE value of 3.42 is decent.

Screenshot 2015-07-18 23.30.44

Finally we have the Spyder’s internal rating system, which awards the monitor decent marks. I’d agree with that – despite the issues with colour uniformity in the upper right quadrant, the colour accuracy is reasonable and there are no other glaring issues.

Screenshot 2015-07-18 23.30.46

Right – onto the qualitative side of things!

 

Impressions

In order to put the XB270H through its paces, I used it for a period of about three weeks. As well as testing it near-daily in competitive Counter-Strike, I also tried it with other games and even did a bit of work as well.

Counter-Strike is a fast-paced game that really demands the most out of your peripherals, and a monitor is no different. Running at 144Hz makes it feel like a different game, with very smooth movement that makes it easier to line up shots and feel in control. Going back to a 60Hz monitor is an unpleasant experience after getting used to 144Hz, and it’s easy to see why professional players and eSports tournaments all use 120 or 144Hz monitors.

The 1080p resolution is a little underwhelming, but it does ensure that your PC can output the stable 144+ frames per second that are needed to make full use of this monitor. The addition of G-Sync is impressive too, allowing games that you can’t run at full frame rate to still look good without screen tearing at a range of resolutions. You’ll need a Nvidia card to make use of this feature, but it’s definitely impressive and works well for games that run between 30 and 60 fps.

For work use, the XB270H is less impressive. The TN panel shows its unavoidable flaws with very poor viewing angles; you’ll definitely want to make sure that the monitor is facing you directly when watching videos or doing any kind of design work. Thankfully, the good adjustability of the monitor means that this isn’t an issue for single-user use. The monitor also has problems with colour accuracy; this is not a monitor to use when editing images or cutting together videos.

Still, outside of these creative tasks, the monitor works well enough for surfing the web, tweaking game settings and messing around on YouTube. The high frame rate is a lot of fun even on the Windows desktop, and definitely makes your PC feel like it’s running a bit faster and a bit more smoothly. As I said before, going back to 60Hz is definitely an unpleasant experience!

 

Conclusion

The Predator XB270H makes a damn strong case for G-Sync and for 144Hz monitors; gameplay feels fast and fluid, and I even feel it makes me a better competitive player. With an attractive design that includes both impressive adjustability and a handy USB hub, the monitor is quite practical too. While there are no additional inputs and the construction is overly plasticky, for the price point these seem like reasonable limitations. Of course, being a TN panel, the monitor is also not the best in terms of viewing angles or colour accuracy, but it makes up for it with good response times and contrast. Overall, the XB270H is a great gaming monitor that compares well to others at a similar price point.

Pros

  • The combination of 144Hz and Nvidia’s G-Sync produce silky smooth gameplay, which looks amazing and can even help you improve in competitive games
  • Solid and stylish (if plasticky) design
  • USB ports are a helpful inclusion
  • Good range of adjustability – tilt, swivel, rotate, raise

Cons

  • No additional inputs (for multiple devices / consoles)
  • A more daring design and metal materials could improve looks and build quality
  • TN panel produces inaccurate colours, poor viewing angles

Score

score8

Links

About William Judd

Editor-in-Chief for XSReviews. Find me @wsjudd or on G+.

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