Acer has gotten back into gaming in a big way with a whole new Predator line of laptops, desktop and now gaming monitors. The Predator X34 is a curved, ultrawide gaming monitor that boasts a 4K resolution of 3,440 x 1,440.
And, as if that wasn’t a mouthful already, this 21:9 screen also incorporates Nvidia’s G-Sync technology to smooth out any errant graphical glitches. Throw in the fact that Acer has used an IPS panel, and the X34 sounds like it should be the ultimate display for gamers and media makers.
However, for a steep price of $999 (£899, AU$1,899), the Acer Predator X34 isn’t perfect and leaves me wanting more in certain regards, namely connectivity and audio..
As a curved gaming monitor, the Acer Predator X34 sports an aggressive styling without being obnoxious.
The bezels around the display have been reduced to a mere centimeter, and even the largest one, along the bottom, only measures an inch thick. Not that it really matters, because you’ll be mainly focusing on all those pixels filling your field of vision.
The monitor has a very clean front face. Aside from the red-edged Predator branding you’ll find in the center, the bottom lip of the X34 features a lined texture and a muted, gray paintjob. Meanwhile, the rest of the bezels feature a matte black coating to blend in with the actual display panel.
Thankfully, Acer also opted to go with physical buttons – rather than finicky touch sensors – and hid them all on the underside edge.
Around the edges of the screen, you’ll also discover the display panel is wrapped in a metal frame to help protect it. Unfortunately, the back of the monitor is a basic glossy, black plastic. It makes sense, though, as a denser material could have easily made this 21.8-pound display even heftier.
Heavy duty metal
For the base, Acer kept things as bare as possible to a minimal, metal skeleton. The monitor stands on two long metal "feet" oriented in a wide "V", while a third peg in the rear helps support the panel.
While I have to applaud the aggressive base, the design ends up commandeering a lot of desk space. The metal legs are long enough to step on your mousepad, and you can’t really stow your keyboard underneath the monitor – even if yours is compact.
That said, the entirely bare metal base is a welcome change, unlike the unnecessary plastic shrouds seen on other monitors, like the Asus ROG PG348Q. What’s more, the base also features a useful handle to help you tote the screen around when needed.
Overall, I enjoy the design of the X34. That said, I wish Acer went with red LEDs instead of blue ones, which seem to clash with the crimson-tinged color scheme of Acer’s Predator line.
Between the 4K resolution, 21:9 aspect ratio, gentle curvature and G-Sync technology, the Acer Predator X34 isn’t lacking in tech features. However, underneath all these headlining features is a genuinely beautiful IPS panel.
Acer rates its monitor to display 1.07 billion colors (100% of the sRGB color gamut), and it shows whether you’re editing movies or exploring the lush forest in FireWatch. At the same time, with the contrast ratio tuned all the way up to 100 million to 1, it displays some of the deepest blacks I’ve seen on any monitor.
Of course, this gaming monitor only truly comes alive when you’re gaming.
While patrolling Gotham as Batman in Arkham Knight, I am able to take in the vastness of the city. Driving simulators also feel that more real when you can see the entire track at a glance.
What’s even more amazing is how perfectly uniform the entire picture looks. Everything from the colors to the black levels look steady from corner to corner across the ultra-wide monitor’s 34-inch screen. Even when displaying a completely black frame, there’s no semblance of a bleeding backlight or IPS glow.
There are also a couple of smart built-in features, like a blue-light filter to save your eyes from the fatigue of looking at it for hours on end – not that you should for the sake of your eyesight.
Thanks to the gentle curvature, the monitor doesn’t so much as wrap around your head, but is curved enough to push the edges of the screen around your eyes, so that the entire picture is in focus.
If you were to look at a flat 21:9 screen, you would have to either move back or keep turning your head to see the entire display. Because the edges of the screen are so far from the center, they actually enter a different plane of focus, and so rolling the edges forward pushes them back into your field of view.
A lack of ports
For such an impressive display, the Predator X34 doesn’t come with a ton of inputs. On hand you’ll have a DisplayPort and HDMI … and that’s it – save for a USB 3.0 hub. This leaves you with only enough ports to hook up one PC and maybe a set-top box for watching movies and TV.
Given the size and gorgeous image quality of the display, I would have liked the ability hook up even more systems, and there isn’t a picture-in-picture mode either.
Another failing of the monitor is its lackluster speakers. Thanks to their rear-facing orientation, you won’t enjoy a pleasing audio experience unless you park the Predator X34 right up against a wall to reflect the sound back towards you.
The Acer Predator X34 is an impressive display to be sure. The spanning ultra-wide monitor offers impeccable color accuracy and a contrast-rich picture to boot. Coupled with the 4K resolution and G-Sync technology, the curved screen elevates gaming to a higher level of immersion that’s the next best thing to wearing a VR headset – minus the 3D effect and head tracking, of course.
That all said, with the display ringing up for $999 (£899, AU$1,899), it isn’t perfect. You get a small assortment of ports and underpowered speakers, which even make music sound bad.
Limitations aside, if you’re looking for a large display with enough flexibility for everyday use, media work and gaming, the Predator X34 is a gorgeous, powerful all-in-one package.