Acer Predator X35 Overview – Catrachadas

We recently tested the Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ, a monstrous ultra-wide 3440 x 1440 with a massive refresh rate of 200 Hz and adequate HDR support. We weren't afraid to call it the best monitor we've ever tested. Well, as many avid monitor fans would know, Acer has its own version of this display, the Acer Predator X35, and today we're going to stand it right up against the PG35VQ to see how it stacks.

As expected, the Predator X35 has the same specifications as the PG35VQ because it uses the same panel. It's a 35-inch 3440 x 1440 VA panel with a refresh rate of up to 200 Hz, 1800R curvature and G-Sync Ultimate support.

It's also a real HDR monitor with DisplayHDR 1000 certification and local dimming backlight with 512 zones and full array. The prices are also similar: both are expected to cost around $ 2,500 when they go on sale, since neither is yet widely available.

With this type of price tag, this monitor is not suitable for everyone. In fact, there are places like Australia where it costs considerably more. With a $ 4,000 MSRP, this thing costs more than a high-end LG OLED television.

Without a doubt, manufacturers set a high standard for real HDR in a monitor form factor. Since you need an RTX 2080 Ti to take full advantage of the high refresh features of such a panel, let's imagine that this is the type of equipment that only high rollers will buy. But hopefully what we're going through today will show where the monitors are going over the next few years.

For the design, both Acer and Asus are pretty strong in gamer style. If you've read one of our previous reviews, you'll know that we prefer more subtle looks, but there will be some people more interested in huge RGB zones that you can't even see from the front. We prefer Acer's X35 design over the PG35VQ, but they don't differ too much: both use black plastic, both have similar bezels, both have metal stands, both pack height, tilt and pan adjustment; both are equally well done.

The arrangement of the connections is typical for a G-Sync monitor: a single HDMI and a single DisplayPort input as well as some USB connections. That's it. There are no audio jacks, although the X35 does contain some lousy built-in speakers.

The screen display is controlled by a change of direction. It also has Acer's standard features, including cheat crosshairs, a low blue light mode and a dark enhancement mode. As with some other monitors that we recently reviewed, there is no backlight strobing mode for added clarity. This was probably too difficult to work with a FALD backlight.

A blatant problem with the X35 is the active fan. This was previously a function of all G-Sync Ultimate HDR monitors with varying degrees of success. For some reason, while the fan in the Asus PG35VQ is not very noticeable, Acer has decided that pulsing the fan between slow and fast speeds is the best way to go. This means that the fan suddenly snaps into place from time to time. In a quiet room, it sounds like a vacuum cleaner has just been turned on.

We don't know why Acer preferred this fan profile to one that steps up and down when necessary. The PG35VQ and even Acer's previous X27 weren't that uncomfortable. Fortunately, you may not hear the fan spinning when playing game sounds or other sounds because it is not overly loud, but I found this really annoying in a quiet room. Hopefully Acer can fix this with a firmware update.

performance

Response times / overdrive modes

When introducing the service, the response times are considered first. The monitor has three overdrive modes, with the default being Normal at a maximum refresh rate of 200 Hz. Some interesting things to keep in mind here. The dark level performance is really good for a VA panel. Only the transitions from full black suffer from slow reaction times. Basically everything else is very fast, which leads to a dark level average of 8.48 ms. Most other VAs have gray transitions below 40% that run well over 10 ms. However, what we see from the X35 in this mode is more like an IPS panel, which also has poor performance when transitioning from full black.

The overall average from gray to gray is 4.27 ms, which is very similar to the Asus PG35VQ. This means we get a real 200 Hz experience. However, the error rates for my taste are somewhat high, an average error of 9% and especially 20% of the transitions with an error rate of over 15% indicate that you sometimes notice inverse ghosting. We want monitors to have less than 15% of the transitions with errors over 15% according to my 15-15 rule, but the X35 is slightly above here. Not the worst performance, not the best.

Unfortunately there is no better mode than "Normal" for 200 Hz games. Extreme brings the monitor to a gray-to-gray average of 2.72 ms and virtually eliminates smearing in the dark, but leads to strong inverse ghosting. And at the other end of the scale, switching off the overdrive does not lead to errors, but to a gray to gray average of 12.26 ms with a high degree of dark smearing. Although the X35 does not meet the 15-15 rule in normal mode, we believe it is the best balance of the three for gaming.

While we haven't tested the PG35VQ with our new test suite, the results for the gray-gray average between X35 and PG35VQ are very similar in their optimal overdrive modes. This is not a surprise as they both use the same panel. What you can see here is the good performance of the X35, especially for a VA panel in terms of response times and compliance with the refresh rate. However, here you can see again that the error performance is weak.

It is important to note that the monitor performs differently when the FALD backlight is activated. With dynamic backlighting, we now have two elements that control the response: both the liquid crystals and the LED backlight. So here we get some pretty funky response time charts with numbers that can be found everywhere.

My recommendation when using the FALD backlight is to switch from normal to extreme overdrive mode. The results here are not surprising for some particularly slow transitions – it's difficult to get the backlight and crystals together in a good transition – but this is the best balance between performance and error rate. Surprisingly, when using Extreme + FALD there is almost no inverse ghosting or smudging on a dark level, but this is at the expense of smearing in other areas.

Extreme Overdrive mode is also my recommendation for 60 Hz games. The gray to gray average here is 6.30 ms higher than 4.27 ms, as we saw when using normal at 200 Hz, but it is still decent for 60 Hz.

The input latency is fine without killing me. 8.23 ms are slightly faster than Acer's previous X34 monitor, but still show a processing delay of around 5 ms, which is supported by the faster refresh rate. Interestingly, when the FALD backlight is turned on, the input latency increases by approximately 4 ms, which is probably due to the additional processing required to find out what the FALD backlight should do.

Electricity consumption is also interesting. This monitor uses a lot more power than other Ultrawides of similar size, even when the same brightness is displayed. FALD backlighting is not a particularly efficient method of illuminating an LCD screen and consumes 20W more than non-FALD options.

One of the main differences between the PG35VQ and the Acer’s Predator is the color performance. Asus did a good job of calibrating its offering at the factory, while Acer dropped the ball a bit here with the X35. This is a reversal of the situation with the 27-inch G-Sync Ultimate mounts, where we have found that the X27 is better than the PG27UQ.

Standard color performance

Here we have grayscale performance. The CCT curve affects performance even though it follows the sRGB gamma curve well. A DeltaE average of 3.16 is worse than the 2.37 that we get with the PG35VQ. The saturation performance is also not as good as with the PG35VQ. This is due to a significant difference in the standard configurations: Asus clamps the monitor to sRGB in SDR mode as standard, while Acer does not clamp the monitor. Asus manages to immediately achieve a DeltaE below 2.0 in our ColorChecker tests, while Acer is above 2.0.

However, standard configurations are probably not what many users will actually use. For the Acer X35, we therefore recommend using the sRGB-SDR mode and optimizing some other things (see below). By default, the X35 disables FALD backlighting in SDR mode. We think this is the right step to prevent haloing in desktop apps while it is enabled by default on the PG35VQ.

Acer X35 optimal settings: Brightness (200 Nits) 38, Relative Gamma: Standard, Dynamic Backlight: Off, Contrast: 50, sRGB SDR: On, Color: R94, G100, B98, Overdrive: Normal. All other settings are standard.

Unfortunately, these optimizations cannot solve the problems with the CCT curve, so the grayscale performance is poor, especially when compared to the PG35VQ, which achieves a DeltaE average below 1.0 when optimized. However, the saturation performance is improved with a DeltaE average of 1.57, and ColorChecker is decent and just above a DeltaE average of 2.0. It's not perfect, but it's enough for games.

OSD optimized color performance

Then of course we can do a full calibration that fixes any remaining issues, especially the performance of the CCT curve. You can even create multiple profiles, one for the monitor when sRGB is clamped, and one when it is not clamped, depending on your use case.

Calibrated color performance

The Predator X35 is a wide color gamut that offers 90% DCI-P3 coverage. By default, we get delta averages below 2.0 when measuring with D65-P3, simply because the monitor is not clamped. Unlike the sRGB performance, however, I was unable to improve performance through OSD optimizations. To restore the standard, you need to do a full calibration that works well.

For the brightness in SDR mode, we get 480 nits at the top of the diagrams during calibration. This is of course artificially limited, as the monitor in HDR mode can go far beyond that, as we will see shortly. The native contrast ratio of just 2100: 1 is not impressive. Basically the same as the PG35VQ and not nearly as high as some of the best VA panels we've tested. Fortunately, we don't fall off much when we calibrate, so the standard contrast ratio isn't much higher than what we just showed.

The native uniformity is good, the central zone is accurate relative to the center, while there is a slight vignette on the outer edges, which is not unusual for a curved VA panel. However, the performance here is somewhat weaker than that of the PG35VQ, at least when comparing our test devices.

This is a fully HDR-capable monitor with DisplayHDR 1000 certification and local dimming backlight with full array and a decent number of zones. All you see in this checklist is what you pay for $ 2,500 compared to smaller HDR monitors, which are often several thousand dollars cheaper.

The brightness of this monitor is excellent. In a fully white window, over 900 nits are reached, which then rise to up to 1100 nits in a 10% window and decrease slightly in smaller windows. The sustained performance of this panel is slightly better than that of the PG35VQ, as is the flash brightness: the X35 can produce a white full-screen flash with 1140 nit, which will melt your eyes. This thing is seriously bright.

For the contrast with several images, the Acer Predator X35 is at the limits of our test tools, since the FALD backlight essentially switches off the entire backlight when a completely black frame is displayed. This is also at the limit in our best single image contrast test as the local backlight is very good for dimming to dim dark areas. Here, the FALD backlight has a significant advantage over edge-lit semi-HDR panels such as the MSI PS341WU.

In our worst-case test, in which a light zone is measured directly next to a dark zone, we achieved approximately twice the native contrast ratio. So far this is the best result we have ever seen.

Many of these great results are achieved with the FALD backlight with its 512 zones, which isolates light areas well and dark areas really dark. This is how we get the spectacular HDR effect we are looking for. However, it's not perfect: we're still talking about zones spanning thousands of pixels, so halos occur in some situations. This is somewhat mitigated by the VA control panel, and we haven't noticed much inverse haloing, but you'll definitely notice the backlight in desktop apps if, for example, you hover a light mouse pointer over a dark area of ​​an app.

The good news is that, unlike edge-lighting panels, you don't notice a lot of halo when playing or playing HDR video. The backlight responds very well and generally works very well in these applications.

Wrap up

In all tests, the Acer Predator X35 behaves similarly to the Asus ROG PG35VQ, which was to be expected given the similar specifications, the same panel and the fact that both are aimed at the same target group. In many key areas, this means that we are performing very well. The 3440 x 1440 panel is definitely 200 Hz capable with an average response time from gray to gray under 4.5 ms, smearing the dark level is better than average, and while overshoot could be better controlled, the balance is here Games okay.

The Acer Predator X35 also offers excellent HDR performance for gaming thanks to its bright backlight and 512-zone full array.

If you're looking for an Ultrawide monitor that offers a decent HDR experience in today's games – and the HDR gaming ecosystem is better than ever these days – this is the type of monitor you want.

However, there were some key issues where the Predator X35 lags slightly behind the Asus PG35VQ. The active fan is louder and annoyingly increases its fan speed. The factory color performance is not so good. When you spend $ 2,500 on a monitor, we expect a high level of accuracy. The PG35VQ does this, while the Acer X35 doesn't. If there are two monitors that are so similar, it boils down to that.

Conclusion: If you are considering which monitor to spend for $ 2,500, let's go to the Asus ROG PG35VQ. The Acer model is still pretty good – we compare it to the PG35VQ, the best gaming monitor on the market – but if you can get the Acer and not the Asus in your area, or the former is cheaper, then it is Cheaper It is definitely worth considering.

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