Acer Predator X34 ReviewClayMeow -
Price: $1299.99 MSRP
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Acer Predator X34 Introduction:
It has been a little over two years since NVIDIA first unveiled its G-Sync technology and we're finally seeing it become more mainstream. In fact, I was in my local Micro Center a few weeks ago and actually saw a couple on display. These days, you have a variety of manufacturers to choose from, with monitors of all shapes and sizes. One of the manufacturers leading the charge is Acer.
Acer was founded nearly four decades ago under the name MultiTech before being renamed to Acer in 1987. Headquartered in Taiwan, Acer has had its hand in a variety of technology products over the years, but is probably best known in the US for its desktops, notebooks, and monitors. Today, it's the latter we're taking a look at; most specifically, the Predator X34.
Acer's Predator line of products is geared toward PC gaming and consists of desktops, laptops, tablets, and monitors. The Predator X34 is billed as "the world's first curved gaming monitor that completely immerses you in the game universe." It's a 34" behemoth with an ultra-wide QHD resolution of 3440x1440, providing a 21:9 aspect ratio. Let's find out if that translates to the immersive gaming experience Acer promises.
Acer Predator X34 Closer Look:
First thing's first; we need to unbox this beast. When the Acer Predator X34 first arrived on my doorstep, it was enclosed in a giant, plain cardboard box to protect it during shipping, but opening that revealed the actual "retail" packaging, which is a sleek black box that definitely exudes the power contained within. The front and back of the box contain the same imagery – a slightly angled image of the monitor with a swordsman displayed in front of a funky red geometric pattern. The Acer logo is displayed in the top-left corner in a rather unassuming manner, with the "Predator" name and logo much more prominent in the bottom-left.
The slightly angled image of the monitor is once again displayed on top of the box toward the right, although in much smaller fashion. Below it we finally see the actual version contained within: Predator X34 Curved Gaming Monitor. The same unassuming Acer logo is once again displayed in the top-left corner, while a slew of key features are shown below that with their associated icons: 34.0" (87cm); NVIDIA G-SYNC; CURVED 21:9; QHD UltraWide 3440x1440; IPS In-Plane Switching; sRGB; Eye Protect; and dts Sound. Both sides of the box display the exact same information as the top panel and also contain plastic indentations for carrying. The only difference between the two sides is that the right side features the Model/Specs/UPC sticker.
Opening up the top of the box reveals a four-step diagram on the inner box flap that describes how to remove the monitor from within. It's kind of cool, but honestly rather unnecessary, as it's not that hard to figure out on your own. Upon flipping up that flap, you're greeted by a large piece of white Styrofoam that fills most of the space. All the cables and accessories are stuffed within little nooks throughout the top Styrofoam piece, which we'll take a look at in just a little while. Removing the top Styrofoam piece reveals the wrapped monitor below, resting in another large white Styroam piece on the bottom, with a softer piece squished between the front of the monitor and the front of the box to presumably avoid shifting during shipment. The monitor is wrapped in a gray smooth bag to prevent scratches to the screen, with icons shown on the front warning you to not place it over your head or let a baby play with it – you know, just in case you lacked common sense. The legs are also individually wrapped for some extra protection.
Before we get to the monitor itself, let's take a quick look at the included cables and accessories. For cables, you get a power cable and brick, an HDMI cable, a DisplayPort cable, and a USB cable. The latter three cables are listed in the manual as "(optional)," so your bundle may differ, but I doubt it – when you're talking about a $1300 monitor, I think Acer can afford to throw in all the supposedly optional accessories, as the company has seemed to do. Along with the cables, a wall mount bracket is also included with supplied screws. And of course there's the aforementioned manual.
Now back to the action! Upon removing the gray bag, I was immediately taken aback by how massive it was. Upgrading from a 22" monitor to this 34" monster is quite the change, not to mention going to ultra-wide. The curve is subtle, but noticeable, so I was certainly curious to see how it'll be during use. Taped to the right of the monitor was this odd reflective silver foil of sorts. I just couldn't figure out what it was for – until I removed the tape. It actually folds out off the monitor to reveal the model and features, as if Acer prepared all these monitors to be display models in stores. For a split second I thought about being that douche that leaves it attached to show off to my friends (as if a giant monitor taking up my whole desk doesn't show off as it is), but I did remove it, if for no other reason than it would have been a real eyesore in photos.
Now that the monitor is out of its packaging and protective covers, you can get a good look at this beauty from all angles. The monitor is predominantly black, with a silver swatch in the middle of the bottom-front, with the "Predator" logo and name embossed in red and silver. The back is a little more stylized in glossy black, with some sharp lines and aesthetic vents and a shiny, silver Acer logo in the top left corner. The monitor is connected to a sturdy stand that does not allow any swivel, but a decent amount of height and tilt adjustment. The stand itself is a tripod of sorts, which actually looks quite sleek, but does take up a lot of room on a desk – considering the size and weight, I'm glad Acer opted for something sturdy and secure. At the bottom of the stand's vertical section is a red, rounded-rectangular section for wire management.
The Acer Predator X34 contains a plethora of ports, all located on the back. On the left you have your two ports for connecting the display to your PC: DisplayPort and HDMI. As previously mentioned, cables for both connections are provided, but if you want to take advantage of NVIDIA G-SYNC, you must use DisplayPort – which shouldn't be a problem considering every NVIDIA GeForce card that supports G-SYNC features a DisplayPort connection. Moving to the middle of the monitor back, you have the power port and headphone jack.
Moving to the right is a Kensington Security Slot, or K-Slot. This is a popular security system you've probably seen in stores with those steel locking mechanisms to prevent theft. To the right of that are the USB connections. Using the supplied USB cable, you can connect it from a USB 3.0 port on your PC to the Type B port on the back of the monitor (the left-most USB connection) and then have access to four USB 3.0 ports to use for peripherals, flash drives, etc. In other words, the Acer Predator X34 essentially contains a four-port USB 3.0 hub. Nice!
Before we move on to all the modes and settings accessible in the OSD (On-Screen Display), here is a shot of it all set up, eating up most of the real estate on my desk. Whenever you first power up the monitor, you're greeted with the Predator logo and name in the center and NVIDIA G-SYNC in the bottom right before it loads the proper input.