The Acer Nitro XV273K is the first monitor to offer gamers 4K resolution and 144 Hz refresh rate at a lower price.
You might remember our reviews of the Acer Predator X27 and the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ, the first monitors to offer this combination of high resolution and high refresh rate. However, since they also included proper HDR support and G-Sync Ultimate, they were offered to many buyers out of the $ 2,000 range.
The Nitro XV273K is much cheaper and often costs around $ 900. We wouldn't call this a value proposition, but given the offering and half the cost of the original 4K high-updated monitors, this is undoubtedly an enticing proposition for those who buy a premium display.
Of course, some functions have been shortened to lower the price. The big gap here is FALD, or full array local dimming backlight, found in the Predator X27. The FALD backlight brings the right HDR to the table and since this function is missing, we no longer get any real HDR functions. The XV273K is still "DisplayHDR 400" certified, but this validation stamp is pretty meaningless.
G-Sync has also been trimmed in favor of FreeSync, but now that Nvidia openly supports FreeSync, there's no need to worry, and as expected, adaptive sync worked fine with the Nvidia GPUs we tested. In fact, this monitor is G-Sync compatible, so the Nvidia Control Panel automatically recognizes it as an adaptive sync monitor and applies the appropriate settings for you.
Acer has given this monitor a certain gaming aesthetic without going overboard. The stand uses silver metal tines and the base has a slight flare with a red highlight. Otherwise we get a standard black plastic construction. It's not a particularly slim monitor, it may be a bit thinner than the X27 since there is no FALD backlight, but you'll mostly look at it from the front, where the bezels are moderate, if a little larger than normal.
As with other elements, we get a little RGB LED action at the bottom, but this can be deactivated. The stand can be tilted, tilted and swiveled, but there is no swivel movement, so you cannot use it in portrait mode.
Overall, the stand is very robust, which is great to see. There is no active fan, which means the monitor is quiet, unlike the two G-Sync Ultimate monitors mentioned earlier.
In terms of connectivity, there are two HDMI ports and two DisplayPorts, as well as some classic USB hub promotions. The monitor also requires an external power supply module. The on-screen menu uses a change of direction – that's a check mark in my book – as well as some key combinations. Unfortunately, navigation in the OSD is slow, which surprised us and we don't often find it at this price.
What you'll find in the menu are some nifty features, including the black frame insert mode for more clarity. I personally never use this mode, but I know that some people find it useful. There's also a faint blue light mode that uses the ambient light sensor to automatically adjust settings, a few cheat crosshairs, and some other extras.
In terms of performance, there are some noteworthy features of the refresh rate that make the Acer Nitro XV273K a 120 Hz 4K monitor. While this control panel supports a refresh rate of 144 Hz, it is hidden in the on-screen menu. To use the mode, you need to use two DisplayPort cables, which has a number of compatibility issues. Worst of all, activating the 144 Hz refresh rate disables FreeSync. Not an ideal situation for players who benefit greatly from adaptive synchronization with such a high resolution.
There are some workarounds that shoppers have discovered, but they are quite complicated, and to be honest, the difference between 120 Hz and 144 Hz is not big enough to justify the effort. It's a little annoying that a product that's being marketed at 144 Hz will either be affected at that refresh rate or will take a lot of effort to work properly, but it's at least fairly easy to get 120 Hz up and running on a single cable.
With this in mind, we can understand what Acer was trying to do here. By supporting 144 Hz via Dual DisplayPort instead of a single cable as with the Predator X27, the monitor can be operated with this refresh rate with 10-bit color for HDR without chroma subsampling. So if you want to run with this update, the picture is clearer than with the corresponding G-Sync Ultimate displays, although in most cases without adaptive synchronization.
You won't get ahead with chroma subsampling if you want to work at 120 Hz refresh rate over a single cable and use HDR at the same time. SDR mode is fine, but for HDR display over a single cable with native RGB, you only need to drop to 60 Hz as there is no optimal 98 Hz mode. Another little annoyance.
Taking all these refresh rates and cable calls into account, we recommend that you simply work in SDR mode at 120 Hz using a single DisplayPort cable. It's nice and simple, you keep the adaptive synchronization – the difference between 120 and 144 Hz is small – and the HDR mode of this monitor is not good enough to use and fluff around with chroma subsampling.
The other reason to stick to 120 Hz is the response times. The monitor has two overdrive modes: normal and extreme. However, extreme mode leads to overshoot with many transitions. We recommend using the normal mode, in which the display has a bottleneck of around 120 Hz anyway with an average response time of 7.52 ms between gray and gray. In other words, there is not much to be gained by jumping to 144 Hz.
Due to this response time result, the XV273K is in the charts despite similar panels among the more expensive Asus PG27UQ and Acer X27. We wouldn't say the XV273K is bad and is fine for 120 Hz, but it's nothing special. On the other hand, the input latency is high at ~ 3 ms, which is an ideal result for a gaming monitor.
On to brightness and contrast. In SDR mode we reach a peak of around 430 nits, which is more than sufficient for most viewers. In combination with large viewing angles, especially in the horizontal plane, this is a clearly visible monitor. In contrast, it's typical for an IPS at around 1000: 1. You won't see VA-like numbers, but it's decent enough.
When it comes to gaming monitors, we tend to see color accuracy as a nice bonus. Given that this display is approaching the $ 1,000 mark, it's probably more important than usual. Acer claims the factory calibration is set to a DeltaE average of less than 1.0, and the monitor has a number of color modes for common color scales such as sRGB, Rec.709, and DCI.
We'll go through the out-of-the-box performance quickly. It's nothing amazing, but we can't imagine too many people operating the monitor in this mode. As expected, the gamut is completely unclamped, so we get all of the 91% DCI-P3 coverage that this monitor provides even for sRGB content, which means oversaturation. There is also an incorrect white point, and generally the DeltaE averages are over 4.0, which is not accurate.
When switching to sRGB mode, things improve, but maybe not to the level we would have liked. The monitor still has a slight shade of red in shades of gray, which is noticeable when the monitor is placed next to a properly calibrated display. This behavior was somewhat unusual given the alleged factory calibration and is not close enough to the ideal white point to get our approval. The grayscale DeltaE averages are therefore still around this 4.0 mark.
With our saturation tests you can clearly see that the color gamut is completely limited to sRGB. This is good for most of the content you display. The DeltaE averages for some colors are better than others, but are around 2.5. This isn't perfect and the 1.0 Acer doesn't claim it, but for gamers, we think it's good enough.
The situation is similar with the DCI mode, so we will not go into it in detail. However, if you need a mode with a large color gamut, you should consider this. Unfortunately, correcting the wrong white point requires a software profile.
When calibrating with DisplayCAL you can see the results, which are quite good with DeltaE averages around the 1.0 mark. This combination of sRGB mode and a software profile is fine for developers, especially since the monitor uses an IPS panel with wide viewing angles and decent performance with a wide color gamut.
The uniformity is not surprising and is a typical result for a gaming monitor. The Acer Predator X27's results in terms of uniformity and color performance are better than those of this panel. There may be a higher factory calibration level for a $ 2,000 display.
HDR is not worth touching as we're looking at another fake HDR display. DisplayHDR 400 certification means that the XV273K does not meet two of the three key metrics for good HDR performance. The brightness is too low because it does not reach the peak of 600 nits and there is no local dimming, so the contrast ratio remains around 1000: 1, which is far too low for HDR content. We would not buy this monitor for HDR and would not bother to use the mode as a whole.
The Acer Nitro XV273K is one of these monitors, which is in a unique position since there are not many of them on the market. They have the super expensive G-Sync HDR panels that cost $ 2,000. However, if you're not interested in HDR and just want a 4K high-update monitor, this is basically the XV273K you want to buy or nothing. There is also the XB273K, a G-Sync variant of essentially the same display.
If you want 4K with high update, the XV273K is definitely the monitor you should get. We don't think an adequate HDR is worth spending an additional $ 750. If you consider that this display is relatively cheap at $ 900 and offers almost all other functions of the Predator X27.
Acer offers a great high-end gaming experience in a number of areas. The build quality of the XV273K is great. The IPS panel offers respectable performance figures, including a real refresh rate of 120 Hz. The included sRGB mode is ideal for standard games, and you also get wide gamut support. It also supports FreeSync and is G-Sync compatible certified.
The refresh rate at the upper end of 144 Hz is not as perfect as we would like it to be. Although we believe that 120 Hz will be enough for buyers and this refresh rate still offers a great, fluid experience.
We can give the Acer XV273K our recommendation for those who are looking for a 4K monitor with a high update, although we are still in the early stages of introducing this type of monitor. The problems that cause 144 Hz mode to work well are largely technical limitations that will be addressed in future iterations. We are aware that $ 900 still has a lot of money to spend on a monitor, especially when 1440p high-update displays are available at half the price, but Acer's attempt to popularize 4K 120 Hz games , is commendable.