Acer is on a bit of a roll in the gaming monitor space. First they challenged the excellent ASUS ROG Swift with their obtusely-named but glorious XB270HU, which delivered the holy grail: 1440p, G-Sync support, 144Hz refresh rate, and an IPS panel. Now they’re raising the bar on the FreeSync side of the fence with the XR341CK, a 34″ curved display that simultaneously elicits drool and then shrieks of horror from our wallets.
Let’s get the price tag out of the way first: Acer’s XR341CK will run you $1099, but it does bring an ample amount of features to the table.
First and foremost is AMD FreeSync, which alongside Nvidia’s G-Sync is truly next-gen technology for PC gamers. It allows your monitor’s refresh rate to be dynamically dictated by your graphics card instead of staying at a fixed 60Hz, for example. This eliminates nasty screen tearing and significantly reduces input lag. In my opinion its best benefit is bringing a sense of smooth gameplay, even at lower framerates.
The XR341CK is also 34″ of beautifully curved UltraWide screen real estate at a resolution of 3440×1440, punctuated by an IPS panel with viewing angles of 172 degrees horizontally and 178 degrees vertically. But that tasty, immersive peripheral vision is what excites me about UltraWide (not to mention the work space when it’s time to hit the articles). It has a 300 Nit brightness rating (more than enough for an indoor environment), and a response time of 4ms. While that’s not as lightning fast as the 1ms that’s become traditional with TN panels, in my experience it’s perfectly fine for anyone but the most hardcore pro gamer.
Acer promises no ghosting effects, 100 percent sRGB for high color accuracy (obviously valuable not only to gamers, but also to photographers and video producers), and a few of Acer’s proprietary technologies like EyeProtect and ComfyView to reduce eye strain and reflections.
You can also expect the usual amenities for a premium monitor, such as height and tilt adjustment, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, miniDisplayPort, a USB 3.0 hub, and even a pair of 7W speakers with DTS Sound if you find yourself without a pair of high-end speakers or headphones.
The Acer XR341CK hits online US retailers in late July for $1099, and I’ll admit I have a case of hardware lust. I can’t wait to test it with AMD’s Radeon Fury X.