Top positive review
An amazing value for the money, a must buy for gamers.
Reviewed in the United States on April 10, 2018
This is a review for the black 27" Curved 144 Hz FreeSync variant when priced at $255.
This monitor is an amazing value for the money. Please take any negative reviews about it with a grain of salt. In the following review I'll attempt to be as thorough as possible without giving potential costumers an exceedingly long read.
I've been using it for a little more than a week at the time of writing this review. I read other user reviews, and they seem to complain about aspects like the lackluster speakers. This is a monitor, most don't include speakers at all. Users are somewhat expected to use their own set of desktop speakers or headphones, even more since this monitor is marketed for gaming. The included headphone jack is not amazing, but it will drive most low impedance headphones just fine. It's a nice addition that Acer could have easily omitted.
The curve is subtle and easy to get used to at this size. Mine had no dead pixels upon arrival. I did have to do quite a bit of color tweaking though. The image temperature was set to a warm preset out of the box, and even after setting it to the "Normal" profile, the image displayed was still a bit warm. I have included color correction settings used for my particular display in the pictures included with this review. Take into consideration that all panels are different, and my settings will probably differ from what you'll have to use for proper color reproduction. I did not use a hardware calibrator, but after having owned plenty of factory calibrated monitors, I have gotten pretty good at eyeballing it. Regardless, this is a VA display, and I wouldn't recommend doing any color sensitive work on it. The speakers really are quite bad, but at least they're there for any emergency.
The contrast is stellar. It beat a 49" IPS LG TV handily. Now I want to replace the TV since its contrast is unsatisfactory in comparison to this monitor. I did not notice much backlight bleeding except when in a completely dark room and very dark scenes (black loading screens, etc). I have also included a picture as an example of the amount of backlight bleed. The picture was taken with an exposure time of 1 second, aperture of 1.8, and ISO of 800 in a VERY dark room, So the backlight bleed effect is exaggerated. In person, the effect is minimal and non detrimental to the experience.
Now, regarding the high refresh rate; the monitor includes an HDMI 2.0 cable and a DP cable in the box. It doesn't include or need any drivers. When connecting it to my RX 580, the display was automatically recognized and properly configured for 144 Hz use. I did have to restart my whole computer for FreeSync to be recognized and enabled, but I have not run into any other obstacles as of yet (Remember to enable FreeSync in the AMD Control Panel, and go to every game's settings and tweak the monitor refresh rate and max FPS!). As you would expect from a 144 Hz panel, the movement is buttery smooth and fluid. Input lag is around 10-20 ms, using some DIY tools I built, so it's within acceptable range. My calculation can be wrong, so please excuse any inaccurate readings. However, there was no input lag that I felt hindered my experience. Pixel response times are as advertised; with motion blur being minimal and basically a non-issue. FreeSync works at its range of 48 to 144 FPS, for which I capped all of my games using MSI Afterburner for system monitoring and Rivatuner for the OSD and capping the framerate to 144 to stay within the FreeSync range.
The On Screen Display is average for monitors these days, but still far better than most at this price range. I did find the control stick to be a little stiff and hard to press, but once you setup your monitor your interaction with it should be minimal.
All around it's an amazing monitor and probably quite the upgrade for many people. I absolutely recommend it for anyone who's not yet experienced 144 Hz gaming. (Warning, you get used to it very quickly, and then even 60 FPS will look like crap). The ONLY problem I've had with the monitor is intermittent turning on and off of the display when waking up the PC after sleep or turning it on. I've found a workaround, which is turning off the monitor completely when not in use, making sure AutoSource is turned OFF in the monitor settings, or holding the power button to turn it off and turning it back on when you encounter the problem.
Lastly, the aesthetics are very pleasing and elegant. It does not scream "GAMER!" at everyone who sees it, and that might be a positive thing for many users (it certainly was for me). Sadly, Acer decided to use glossy plastic for the rear of the monitor instead of a matte finish, so that might be a negative if the monitor won't be facing a wall. The monitor stand is plastic with a metal base, which makes it rather sturdy and holds the weight properly with minimal screen wobble. Unfortunately the stand only supports backwards and forwards tilt, with no support for left and right swivel, rotation or height adjustment. This can be forgiven, considering the price. It DOES, however, include VESA mount compatibility. The bezels are nice and thin, with only about 8 millimeters from pixel to edge, with an elegant chin and a chrome Acer logo. The power indicator is a non-intrusive blue LED placed in the lower right corner. The screen is coated matte which prevents reflections and glare, but hurts color accuracy and vibrancy a little bit.
In conclusion, this monitor is a very good sweet spot for performance and features vs. price. I'm actually considering purchasing another two of them, since the curve is nice and the bezels thin. The included pictures for this review were taken with an LG V20 in manual mode, with varying settings to accommodate what was trying to be shown. The wide shot of the desk is to give an idea of the size it takes up in a desk. The second is to represent color and contrast. The third and fourth pictures are references to other parts of the review. All pictures were taken with the monitor at 50% brightness in a somewhat dark room unless stated that it was completely dark (backlight bleed example). I truly hope this review has been helpful, and happy gaming!