Custom PC

REVIEW: Acer Predator XB323UGP

By Edward Chester. Posted

The Acer Predator XB323UGP is a 32in IPS screen that packs an intriguing feature set, including a 170Hz refresh rate, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, DisplayHDR 600 rating, and FreeSync and G-Sync compatibility.

Taken individually, these aren’t groundbreaking features and they don’t seem like they would ever justify a £800 asking price, but the full combination is still quite rare. Is the sum greater than its parts?

Well, the XB323UGP certainly makes a big initial impact with its huge box that houses the screen already assembled. The design is premium too, with its largely solid metal stand that’s topped by a carry handle, and provides height, pivot, rotation and tilt adjustment (although its long legs hog your desk). It’s not particularly slim and there’s no extra RGB lighting, but the overall impression is of quality.

This extends to the on-screen display controls clustered on the back right edge of the screen. They’re responsive and work intuitively in conjunction with the comprehensive menus.

The largely solid metal stand is topped by a carry handle, and provides height, pivot, rotation and tilt adjustment

Connection options are good too, with one DisplayPort and two HDMI inputs, along with a 4-port USB 3 hub that has two ports on the back and two on the left edge. There’s also a headphone jack but, along with the stereo speakers, it offers disappointing, weedy-sounding audio.

Back to the screen, its combination of a 32in diagonal, IPS panel, high refresh rate and 2,560 x 1,440 resolution is quite rare. The result is a big, fun display that balances the extra resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 (compared to 1,920 x 1,080) with the large screen size – it’s the equivalent pixel density of a 24in 1080p screen.

Jump up to 4K resolution and you get a much sharper image, but you won’t get this refresh rate and you put a huge amount of extra strain on your graphics card. Meanwhile, dropping to a 27in screen will again get you a sharper image, but you’ll lose the visual impact of the bigger screen.

Being an IPS panel, viewing angles are excellent and colour reproduction is generally very good too. However, the sheer size of the screen means that IPS glow – the greying effect produced from viewing IPS screens at an angle – can be quite noticeable in the corners of the non-curved screen.

The Acer has an extended colour gamut to match its DisplayHDR 600 credentials

Talking of colours, this display has an extended colour gamut to match its DisplayHDR 600 credentials, but you can also tone this down using an sRGB mode. Sadly, both the sRGB and the default extended gamut modes have poor colour temperature readings of 7,819K and 7,319K respectively, which is much hotter than the 6500K we’d expect, resulting in a slightly blue/green-tinged image.

What’s more, the HDR capabilities are rather pointless. You get the vivid colours of HDR but the 16 columnar backlight zones don’t do anything to boost real-world contrast. HDR is supposed to be about dazzling colours and inky blacks on-screen together, but in practical terms this screen doesn’t surpass its panel’s native 1,034:1 contrast ratio.

Gaming performance is more accomplished, though, with the quick response time and 170Hz refresh rate producing a sharp image in fast motion, while FreeSync and G-Sync take care of any tearing and stuttering.

Conclusion

The Acer Predator XB323UGP has a lot going for it, with its large screen size, mid-range resolution and high refresh rate combining to make a big, bold and fun gaming experience. However, its HDR credentials don’t add up to much, the colour temperature is too high and it just doesn’t do nearly enough to justify its very high price.

Verdict
Big and bold but miles away from justifying its huge price tag.

Price
£800 inc VAT

Scores
IMAGE QUALITY 20/30 | GAMING 24/30 | FEATURES 13/20 | VALUE 9/20 | OVERALL SCORE 66%

PREDATOR
+Great gaming performance
+Premium design
+Dazzling high-gamut colours

COMMANDO
-Pointless HDR features
-Poor default colour balance
-Poor speaker and headphone sound
-Far too expensive

SPEC
Screen size 32in
Resolution 2,560 x 1,440
Panel technology IPS
Maximum refresh rate 170Hz
Response time 0.5ms
Stated contrast ratio 1,000:1
Adaptive sync FreeSync and G-Sync compatible
Display inputs 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 2 x HDMI
Audio 2 x 2W speakers, headphone out
Stand adjustment Height, pivot, rotation, tilt
Extras 100 x 100mm VESA mount, 4-port USB 3 hub

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