Acer Predator XB273K gaming monitor
4.6Overall Score
Name: Predator XB273K
Price (RRP): $1,899
Manufacturer: Acer

Speed. It’s all about speed. That is, effective gaming. A speedy monitor and a speedy response. But that’s only part of what the Acer Predator XB273K monitor has to offer.

Acer Predator XB273K features

The Acer Predator XB273K features a 27-inch display with UltraHD – 3,840 by 2,160 pixel – resolution, an IPS panel and a very fast refresh rate. The “native” panel rate is 120 frames per second. But you can “overclock” it by setting it to 144fps.

All that can make for faster, smoother gaming. The monitor supports G-Sync, so if throughput slows down (and you’re using a compatible video card), the monitor will kick down the frame rate to avoid things like image tearing.

I like how terms like “overclock” have changed. When I was a much younger man, “overclocking” was fitting a computer with a clock that pushed it past what the manufacturer considered a safe, reliable speed. And so it was frowned upon by them, and probably invalidated the warranty. Now “overclocking” is a built-in feature.

Predator XB273K

The panel is rated at 350 nits brightness, with 400 nits peak available in HDR mode. The panel is rated at 10 bits and 90% coverage of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. Acer rates the panel as capable of producing 1.07 billion colours (as you’d expect: 10 bits per for each of R, G and B means 2^30th power colours). The native contrast ratio of the panel is 1,000:1 and the grey-to-grey switching speed is 4ms.

The two inputs are DisplayPort and HDMI. There’s also a USB 3.0 Type-B connection, and four USB 3.0 Type A sockets, so you can use the monitor to put lowish-powered USB devices close to hand.

Pre-calibration

Acer includes in the box of each monitor an individual report bearing the serial number of the particular monitor. The “Color Calibration Testing Report” shows the factory measured and calibrated DeltaE for 32 colours, grey-scale tracking and gamma. Gamma is the way input signal level is mapped to output brightness. Grey-scale tracking shows how closely the greys you get match what you’re supposed to get. Both of those looked impressive on the report.

Predator XB273K

DeltaE is the “distance” between the actual colour produced and the one supposed to be represented by a particular signal. Generally a DeltaE of less than 2 means indistinguishable by the human eye. On the report, 20 of the 32 colours were less than 2, while only 4 of them had a result of more than 3 (and all were well under 4).

Physical

The most obvious physical aspect of the monitor is screen size, which is 27 inches in size – 68.4mm or 26.92 inches if you want to be more precise. The side and top bezels are 18mm wide while the bottom one is a little wider than that. The monitor is mounted on a three-legged stand, hanging out over the front of the pedestal. Even though the rear-pointing leg is fairly stubby, the front of the screen will still be some 250mm in from the rear of the desk. A wall mount is included in the box.

Predator XB273K

The whole screen can be raised or lowered on the pedestal, from the display area some 90mm from the desk surface at the bottom of its travel, through to 195mm at the top. It slid smoothly and easily.

It can also swivel left to right by up to twenty degrees in each direction, plus down by five degrees and up by  25 degrees.

Flashing lights

A strip of LED lights along the bottom as well as a chevron-shaped set at the top rear of the monitor provide ambient lighting behind the monitor should you want it. It came out of the box with a blue hue and a “breathing” pulsation, but the monitor seemed to have been used before getting to me so that may have been someone else’s preference. You can choose the colour, choose whether you want the up or down or both sets of light, and the pattern of the display. I can’t imagine anyone would want to use the rapid flash option.

And, of course, you can just switch it off.

That’s what you’re likely to want to do if you just want to concentrate on the on-screen action. If you want to concentrate even more intently, you can fit the included top and side panels. These are made from sturdy-enough plastic, lined with a velvety material on the inner surface to avoid distracting reflections.

The main control for the monitor is a joystick just behind its bottom right corner. You use that to navigate an on-screen menu. Four additional buttons are back there to select certain things.