Acer Predator XB3 gaming monitor review

The Acer Predator XB323QK NVbmiiphuzx—XB3, for short—tries to do it all. Its beautiful, fast 4K display is a great match for the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Its robust connectivity and features provide ample support for all types of PC users. Solid ergonomics, built-in speakers, and HDR all go beyond what we’d call a “basic” gaming monitor utility. However, trying to be everything to everyone comes at a high cost. At $1,200, the XB3 is priced out of consideration for most people, but not everything people. For the right kind of gamer, one who wants both great-looking games and professional-grade colors, the Predator XB3 may be worth it. Let’s take a closer look.

What is the Acer Predator XB3?

Even among Acer’s premium Predator line, which includes many of Acer’s best monitors, the XB3 is Dear. Two of our favorite 4K gaming monitors, the Gigabyte M32U and Asus Swift PG32UQ, offer very similar features for under $1,000, so the XB3’s price invites some skepticism. It’s an impressive screen, though, with the color reproduction to serve as a very accurate monitor for photography and design work.

Among Acer’s premium Predator brand, the XB3 offers excellent image quality, only surpassed by the massive 37-inch X38 and 43-inch CG7. The XB3 features a 31.5-inch IPS display running at 4K resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and a DisplayHDR 400 rating. A gaming monitor 32-inch 4K running at 144Hz is among the most luxurious base specs you can get, typically costing upwards of $700 (and often more when paired with unique innovations).

Apart from the screen, the XB3 offers a host of high-end keys. The chassis is largely metal, with great ergonomic adjustability, sturdy construction and slim bezels. Two built-in four-watt speakers are a great backup when headset fatigue starts to set in. At the rear, the XB3 offers extensive connectivity, including the latest HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 ports. HDMI 2.1 is especially useful for console gamers looking for optimal performance from their PS5 or Xbox Series X.

Acer Predator XB3 Setup

Fully assembled, the XB3 weighs 29.7 pounds. This weight makes it incredibly sturdy when adjusting ergonomics, but difficult to physically move.

It’s important to know what you’re getting when buying a monitor of this size. On my 47 x 30 inch desk, the screen was a bit too close to my face no matter where I placed the monitor. The stand puts the screen in front of the stand, so you need a very deep desk to position it well. Anyone with a larger desk should have no problem, but tighter setups like mine are a bit tricky to perfect.

Along with two USB-A ports on the left side, the XB3 has a wall of downward-facing ports on the back of the display, including HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, USB-B, USB-A and 3.5mm audio. Down-facing ports are a double-edged sword: they reduce strain on your cables but are a pain to turn on and off. It’s definitely worth it for the main video cables – HDMI and DisplayPort – but it can be frustrating with the ports used to connect other devices, like USB-A and USB-C.

Acer Predator XB3 review
The bottom-facing rear ports of the Acer Predator XB3. Harry Rabinowitz

Like most monitors, the built-in controls also leave something to be desired. You use a row of five downward-facing square buttons on the right side of the screen to navigate and make system-level display adjustments. The menus are intuitive, but their control is not, especially compared to monitors like Acer’s Predator X34 and X35, which feature a four-way joystick.

Using the Acer Predator XB3

The Predator XB3 is a perfectly capable everyday monitor, but it didn’t initially “wow” me with its performance. Digging into the settings, I discovered the XB3’s eight different picture modes: Standard, Eco, Graphics, HDR, Action, Racing, Sports and User. Out of the box, Eco is the default, which disables the XB3’s most impressive features, such as HDR, Super Sharpness, Visual Response Boost (VRB), and Overdrive.

Acer Predator XB3 review
The Acer Predator XB3 has eight built-in picture settings. HDR offered the best color performance. Harry Rabinowitz

Of all the preset picture modes, I’ve found HDR to offer the best picture. If you really want to tweak the monitor to your liking, User Mode lets you fully customize every setting.

The XB3 has a Vesa DisplayHDR 400 rating which makes everyday applications stand out. Outside of day-to-day tasks, HDR400 isn’t really good enough to fully display high dynamic range effects in video games. Yet when I showed the XB3 to friends and family who were used to 1080p and 1440p monitors, they were blown away watching 4K HDR TV shows and YouTube videos.

The Acer Predator XB3 as a gaming monitor

However, you don’t buy the Predator XB3 to work on spreadsheets. This is a gaming monitor, and you’ll only see its full potential when playing games.

I tested a wide variety of PC games through the XB3’s HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4 connections. Few monitors offer the latest HDMI 2.1 connectivity. Being able to play games in 4K at 144Hz over HDMI, rather than DisplayPort, was a new experience for me. G-Sync, paired with my Nvidia RTX 3070, ensured smooth and fluid performance in graphically intense titles like Ring Elden, that felt huge on the XB3’s 31.5-inch screen, with distant vistas and gruesome monsters rendered in stunning detail. Frenzied action games like underworld looked seamless and felt smooth.

Frankly, the XB3 allows for a higher frame rate and resolution than most gaming PCs can handle. Many AAA games, such as Ring of Elden and Red Dead Redemption II, are capped at 60fps in 4K, and even maintaining that resolution and frame rate requires a lot of power. My system could hit 144Hz at 4K in some well optimized first person shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and indies like dead cells which were easier on my graphics card. When I could handle it, however, playing games at 4K at 144Hz was fantastic. Fast-moving objects and small details were rendered with incredible fidelity, so much so that I noticed new details in games I was already familiar with.

Acer Predator XB3 review
It takes a lot of GPU power to play games in 4K at 144Hz. My PC could only handle it with a few less demanding games like Hades. Harry Rabinowitz

Although I only tested the XB3 with a PC, it is also particularly well suited to console games. With HDMI 2.1, it’s capable of playing games from a PS5 or Xbox Series X in 4K at 144Hz. Many monitors only offer HDMI 2.0, so they can only output one or the other at from a console. The large 31.5-inch screen and built-in speakers also allow for a standalone TV experience.

The Acer Predator XB3 as a creative monitor

My daily use of the monitor covers a wide variety of tasks, including light creative work in Adobe. The XB3 is best suited for gaming, but also offers surprisingly good color reproduction for creative workflows. Among gaming monitors, the XB3 offers very bold color reproduction. It has a color accuracy of Delta E<1, with a base DCI-P3 color gamut of 90% and an sRGB color gamut of 135%. This matches similar high-end gaming monitors like the Asus Swift PG32UQ and Gigabyte M32U, as well as many top graphics design monitors. Superior color accuracy isn't a guarantee among the best gaming monitors, and frankly, it's often not necessary when playing games for fun. If you need professional colors, the XB3 is generally up to the task.

So who should buy the Acer Predator XB3?

The Acer Predator XB3 is an incredible 4K 144Hz gaming monitor that can do a lot. It renders games in incredible detail, with fast-paced action captured effortlessly thanks to a high refresh rate and G-Sync compatibility. It’s also well-balanced, bringing above-average color accuracy and pixel density to creative production, especially for a monitor not designed to prioritize color reproduction.

Frankly, its main drawback is its price. Since only the most powerful gaming rigs will be able to hit its maximum resolution and frame rate, the Acer Predator XB3’s $1,199.99 price tag may be a bitter pill to swallow, even for gamers. players with high-end systems. With options like the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ or the Samsung Odyssey G70A in the mix, this is an exceptional display that will only make sense for a very select group of creatives who love games.

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