Acer Nitro XV273K – Design and Features
The Acer XV273K doesn’t have the flashiness that we usually associate with the visual design of gaming monitors. Acer’s angular look is still the basis for the stand design and there’s a touch of red on the base of the stand and the menu joystick (why is it always red?), but beyond those two red accents, the monitor’s design is pretty tame. There is some ambient lighting that shines under the monitor. LED color and lighting style (fixed, pulsing, etc.) can be set in the menus.The bezels are all relatively thick, with the top and sides 0.5 inches and the bottom a little under an inch wide. There’s a blue power light at the bottom right, but all button controls are on the back right. The controls consist of a power button, three select buttons, and a joystick toggle for navigating the menu. Button response is slightly sluggish and the joystick takes a firm hand to use.
Monitor adjustments for height, tilt, and swivel are easy and there’s no wobble when it’s set in place. The monitor height can adjust up almost 4 inches, tilt forward up to 5 degrees or back up to 25 degrees, and swivel up to 20 degrees left or right.
A three-piece hood comes with the monitor. The two side panels screw into the monitor’s frame while the top is kept secure with magnets. There’s a door in the top of the hood to allow a calibration tool and its wire through. Since the sides are attached with screws, the hood feels incredibly sturdy.
The Acer arrives with stand already attached in the box. If you want to mount it on a monitor arm, the stand can be removed and replaced with a VESA bracket that comes with the monitor. The bracket is for a 100 x 100 mm mount. There aren’t instructions included for how to accomplish this, but it’s pretty straightforward. A two-piece plastic cover around the stand’s mounting point can be popped off that reveals four Philips-head screws.
On the left side of the XV273K are two USB ports. All other connections are on the back of the monitor and are down-facing. There are two more USB ports, the USB hub upstream port, a headphone jack, two DisplayPort, and two HDMI 2.0 ports. There’s a plastic panel that snaps on and hides the ports if you’re into a cleaner look.
The Acer XV273K is loaded with features. The panel is IPS, 4K, has a max refresh rate of 144Hz, FreeSync technology, meets the DisplayHDR 400 specification, and supports wide color gamut (in this case DCI-P3). It is also on the new G-Sync Compatible monitor list. When you connect the monitor to a NVIDIA GeForce 10-series or higher video card (with an updated driver) and turn FreeSync on in the Acer’s menu, the G-Sync menu option shows up in the NVIDIA control panel. The refresh rate does top out at 120Hz in this configuration – in order to get 144Hz you’ll need to use an AMD video card with FreeSync – but it works flawlessly.
For 144Hz refresh rate at 4K resolution with 10-bit depth you’ll also need to connect two DisplayPort cables to your video card (there are two DisplayPort cables included with the monitor). There are some tradeoffs, though. FreeSync with HDR in a two-cable configuration will only work up to 120Hz. If you’re using G-Sync, the moment you put it in HDR mode, the FreeSync option turns off and grays out. A beefy AMD card like the Radeon VII is the only way to get HDR and anti-tearing concurrently.
A response time of 1ms is listed that includes Acer’s VRB (Visual Response Boost) technology to reduce blurring. It can’t be used in conjunction with FreeSync and it lowers the overall brightness of the monitor. Without it the pixel response time is certainly a little higher, but I never experienced ghosting. Response time on IPS panels in general has improved so much over the past few years that it doesn’t need to be as much of a concern for the average gamer. I’d rather have the anti-tearing tech and extra brightness for my gaming.
There are built-in speakers on XV273K that sound fine for monitor speakers and will do in a pinch. They’re a little thin and lacking of bass response as you’d expect, but for viewing a quick video on YouTube without having to turn on desktop speakers they work just fine.
Acer Nitro XV273K – Testing and Gaming
Testing was done with a Photo Research PR-650 spectroradiometer, a Konica Minolta LS-100 luminance meter, and CalMAN 2018 calibration software. HDR patterns were from Diversified Video Solutions’ UltraHD/HDR-10 Test Pattern Suite. SDR patterns were from the CalMAN Client 3 software.
The term DeltaE is used to indicate how accurate a measurement value is when measuring the grayscale and color accuracy of a display. A value of 1 or lower is considered perfect as any deviation from the color is imperceptible to the human eye. A value of 3 or lower is excellent and difficult to see any difference without scrutiny. Above 3 you can start to see distinct alterations in the intended color and that being displayed by the monitor. I used the default Standard setting for SDR and HDR Mode for HDR testing.
The overall grayscale performance of the Acer XV273K was mediocre. With a DeltaE value of 6.53, there is a visible purple tint which gets worse the closer it gets to white. Grayscale improves significantly in HDR. Average DeltaE is still over 4 with the deviation happening as the image approaches white, as with SDR. But the visible purple tint isn’t nearly as prominent. Gamma tracks well with an average of 2.31.
Color in SDR is an improvement over the grayscale tracking. The monitor is a little oversaturated, especially in blue, but it has coverage of 99.9% of the sRGB color space and 92.4% of DCI-P3. SDR colorchecker and saturation sweep DeltaE values in were both just over 3.0, mostly due to the oversaturation of the primary color points. In HDR the color is even better with average values hovering around 2.0. If you have the ability, there are excellent 6-point color calibration controls in the menu for SDR. When in HDR these controls are disabled.
The XV273K is pretty bright out of the box, measuring at 383 nits in SDR. HDR surpasses the 400 benchmark necessary for the DisplayHDR 400 spec reaching just over 450 nits. The contrast ratio is in line with what you’d expect from an IPS panel. Black level is average and there was some light bleed at the corners of my sample, but nothing glaring or overly distracting.
For a direct comparison between SDR and HDR in gaming I started up Assassin’s Creed Origins. In both there was incredible detail in the 4K image. Craggy outcroppings in the distant mountains were visible and HDR added nice depth to their shadowing. I felt like I could almost see the individual grains of sand as they swirled around my feet. In HDR there was definitely more contrast to bright objects, such as the sun. You could distinctly see its shape and rings of glare if you looked at it directly, but it didn’t have the piercing brightness that you can get from brighter (and therefore more expensive) displays. In SDR that sun was more of a bright blob in the sky, so there was some significant visual improvement with HDR enabled.
After re-enabling FreeSync after turning off HDR, I checked how the G-Sync compatible monitor worked with Final Fantasy XV’s battle sequences. Gameplay was consistently smooth with no tearing whatsoever and frame rates never dropped below 100 with my GeForce 1070 Ti. As with Assassin’s Creed, the visual detail was stunning. From the skin and teeth of monsters to the desert shrubs, every detail was beautiful.
The Acer Nitro XV273K has an MSRP of $899.99 but you can find it online for less.
Acer Nitro XV273K
This article was originally published by IGN.COM