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Review: ACER XB280HK 4K2K G-SYNC Gaming Monitor with 28" screen

Review: ACER XB280HK 4K2K G-SYNC Gaming Monitor with 28" screen

November 17, 2014 8:44 am0 comments

Introduction

A gaming monitor is always more than just a G-Sync monitor. In fact, G-Sync features does not the gaming monitor make, but rather it enables any monitor to have proper gaming features, with flawless image quality and improving player experience, whether skilled or just plays from time to time. GSync technology favors not only fast monitors but also compensates for the shortcomings of monitors with refresh rates that are more limited, such as current 4k monitors, which you can find them at reasonable prices. This is the case of the new Acer XB280HK. A  4k monitor with reasonable price around 800 dollars, which also includes G-Sync.

ACER XB280HK 4K2K GSYNC Gaming Monitor

The Theory of G-Sync

GSyncG-SYNC can wipe out one of the visual quality problems that gamers have been experiencing since the beginning of time. When our graphics card generates more frames or snapshots per second that what is supported by the vertical frequency of your screen, we begin to note problems such as tearing, in which we can see how the imbalance between what the screen displays and the movement results in a significant image quality defect, that is more than evident when our system surpasses the game we are running.

For this, there has always been a common but not perfect solution called Vsync. This is used by everyone and is nothing more than synchronizing the frame rate generated by our graphics card with the vertical frequency capacity of your monitor. This, with LCD input, made the highest frequencies to be stuck in 60Hz for years, but in recent times we have been able to acquire more capable and faster panels that can reach up to 144Hz, thus getting closer to the potential of higher performance systems and providing players a stronger platform.

GSync

The problem is that Vsync is designed for when our system is overrun and therefore it is always above this limit that we set. But what happens when we lower frame rates and these are reduced to 50, 40, or 120 when using a 144hz monitor? What happens are a whole array of other pesky problems worse than tearing, such as input lag, in which the latency between our keyboard and mouse commands take some time to appear on screen.

Modern monitors for gamers have improved on many aspects, from faster panels, techniques such as ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) that have reduced ghosting and other defects in a significant way, and access to the 120-144hz has enabled powerful systems that find on Vsync a remarkable solution but not a definite one, as there are still stuttering problems, meaning when the system is stuck waiting for sync.

G-SYNC is introduced as the solution to all these problems mentioned above, mainly both the lack of power of tightly adjusted systems to achieve FPS frequencies above the vertical frequency of the monitor, and including the defects of Vsync systems.

For this purpose it was introduced a dedicated electronic in the monitor that makes the GPU output to be in charge of the actual vertical refresh rate of the monitor, leaving obsolete (according to Nvidia itself) other techniques such ULMB in more powerful monitors and also rendering other techniques useless, such as monitor overclocking. All this can be solved in one stroke but at a high cost, and perhaps with some limitations that we will show you.

ACER XB280HK 4K2K Setting

G-SYNC allows the monitor to be suited to the output frequency of the GPU. That is, if our GPU gives us a 42FPS vertical frequency, the monitor sets to that frequency and therefore eliminates the problems of Vsync adaptation and in fast monitors, as the one we will show you today, it significantly reduces latency input, and images are generated with less fixed pixels, thus resulting in sharper images and a game that is more responsive to your commands.

G-SYNC requires dedicated hardware in the monitor, along with graphics above Geforce 650ti and prepared drivers. Every game supports G-Sync while we maintain it in active mode in the Nvidia panel, using a real full screen mode (Diablo 3, for example, does not have this full screen mode). The supported resolutions are now up to 4k and multiple monitors are also supported, but not 3D modes (at least for now).

The monitor panel

Although Acer will debut this monitor with its XB product line, for me there is no 4x resolution monitor (3840×2160) that can actually be considered a gaming monitor. Its 60Hz limitation on a Displayport 1.2, makes this model far from the most powerful gaming monitors. Though truth is, it is a great alternative for gamers who want to incorporate 4k to their method.

The monitor panel

The screen has a diagonal size of 28″ with resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. Its connectivity is limited to Displayport, like all G-Sync monitors that come out to the market, and supports this resolution at a 60Hz vertical frequency. It supports Nvidia’s 3DVision technology, but this 3D mode is limited to 30Hz which dismisses it as a quality 3D monitor to play on, but perhaps only to watch videos. Anyway, I don’t think anyone would buy it for its 3D capability, but rather for its good balance between price and native resolution.

The monitor panel

The panel is TN type, like all economic 4k monitors that we see in the market, with a pixel response time of just 1ms. This TN panel generation not only is fast, but also improves the contrast while angles are still less graceful than in other panels and diversity of colors is also lower. It’s something that a player has to accept if you want a really fast monitor and it is also a reality for anyone who wants to have a large 4K monitor for a reasonable price.

Acer

The Acer XB280HK has a professional base that allows a lot of movement and position angles, so we can fit it right, so that the least graceful angles of TN technology don’t become a problem. This integrated support allows spins on its own axis, tilt and pivot to even work vertically. Besides, these monitors have a high brightness (300cd / m2), inherited from technologies like ULMB (which just plays with brightness to improve and reduce blur effect) that still supports this monitor when we don’t have G-Sync mode enabled.

USB Port

Something very pleasant about this monitor is to find a USB 3.0 Hub with four ports, which two are in the inferior part of the screen and two in the lateral side. Besides, one of them supports extended load for USB devices with high intake up to 2.1A loading power. This allows us to organize everything much better and with higher speeds as the USB 3.0 offers.

ACER XB280HK 4K2K GSYNC monitor

The shame is that all these monitors are very limited in terms input conectors refers, and therefore they get restricted to serve only one PC. In my case this would be unworkable since monitor with several inputs turns into an important work and entertainment center.

The monitor. Gaming

Apart from the low latency Tn+Film panel, the truth is that this monitor is not so apt for gamers but a professional monitor with an astonishing resolution and with a size with which working is a joy. A good thing is that adds those compatible G-SYNC monitor special benefits, therefore we can play with an excellent quality in addition to our daily tasks and work.

ACER XB280HK 4K2K GSYNC monitor

Its pivoting base invites us to use several of these monitors in multiple combinations as it has a lot of positions as it has much position flexibility and it adapts well to any stance. Its VESA anchorage also eases to set it in other kinds of standard supports that have fixation to 100mm VESA.

ACER XB280HK 4K2K GSYNC monitor

The Acer XB280HK OSD is accessible an easy to control, and in fact it doesn’t has a lot of truly important options to discuss apart from the regular parameter configuration in any monitor. We can play with two interesting elements as the ULMB (when the G-SYNC is not activated in the graphic control panel) and other interesting function as the OverDrive, which may be off, normal mode, or extreme mode. This speeds even more the pixel answer and eliminates Blur and improves the “imput lag” but it’s only a recommended mode while we play, and sincerely with G-SYNC is not as necessary. Anyway it’s there for the users who are accustomed to it or who see an improvement using it.

ACER XB280HK 4K2K GSYNC monitor Setting

We miss some extra functions that we can find now in the ASUS or Viewsonic gamers monitors, where the OSD may serve to dispose crosshairs on screen independently from the game we are using. Minor details but that shape an authentic gamer monitor.

Review and conclusion

A 4k resolution monitor, or UltraHD if you prefer, with GYSNC technology sounds very attractive. If we add up a attractive price of less than 800 dollars, which is less than other G-SYNC options with lower resolutions, we have as resulted a really attractive product for certain kind of user, especially gamers. The problem is when we can buy non-G SYNC options and notice the price differences, and definitely filled with doubts as to whether it’s worth to wait to see how the existing options decrease its price or appear new ones in the market.

ACER XB280HK 4K2K GSYNC monitor

This is a question that each one should answer. What I can say is that the result of playing in this monitor is spectacular and definitely makes you want to adopt one. The 4k technology adds a brutal definition to the games that are able to handle it properly and a G-SYNC monitor adds that final quality point to a kind of gamer that doesn’t care much about the high rates of FPS  but enjoying a complete cinematographic experience. This monitor offers that, if you want or can pay it.

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