ACER Preda­tor Z35P

Computer Shopper - - REVIEWS -

VERDICT

The Z35P of­fers fan­tas­tic vi­su­als and per­for­mance, but it’s sim­ply too ex­pen­sive

THERE ARE A hand­ful of ul­tra­w­ide gam­ing mon­i­tors on the mar­ket, of­fer­ing var­i­ous con­fig­u­ra­tions at dif­fer­ing price points. On pa­per, the Acer Preda­tor Z35P has al­most the same spec­i­fi­ca­tions as the AOC AG352UCG, yet costs around £300 more. Is it worth the ex­tra?

The Z35P gets off to a good start on build qual­ity and de­sign. Fin­ished in a brushed grey alu­minium shell with red ac­cents, it looks great. The bezels are thin, but have an eye-catch­ingly chunky de­sign, which may be a de­sired taste.

TURN OF EVENTS

The metal stand pro­vides plenty of flex­i­bil­ity: it can be ad­justed in height, tilted from -4º to 35º and swiv­elled by 20º. A han­dle makes it eas­ier to pick up. At the back, there are four USB3 ports, one of which pro­vides fastcharg­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties for smart­phones.

The on­screen dis­play is ac­cessed through a set of but­tons found at the bot­tom right-hand side of the mon­i­tor. The in­ter­face is easy to get around and pro­vides plenty of op­tions, in­clud­ing an ‘over­clock’ set­ting that boosts the panel’s re­fresh rate up from 100Hz to 120Hz.

For con­nec­tiv­ity, there’s one Dis­playPort and HDMI in­put apiece, plus a 3.5mm head­phone jack out­put. Two in­ter­nal 9W speak­ers go im­pres­sively loud, with­out dis­tort­ing.

The Z35P also sup­ports Nvidia’s G-Sync tech­nol­ogy, which is fan­tas­tic for those who own a com­pat­i­ble Nvidia graph­ics card. If you have an AMD card, you’ll have to rely on V-Sync, which adds un­wanted in­put lag.

Acer’s 3,440x1,440 VA panel has a 21:9 as­pect ra­tio. Its im­age qual­ity is very good; a small step above the AOC AG352UCG. In sRGB mode, it cov­ers 99.3% of the sRGB colour gamut, and colours look won­der­fully rich and vi­brant. It might not look as good as some IPS dis­plays out there, but it’s cer­tainly one of the bet­ter ul­tra­w­ide gam­ing pan­els we’ve seen.

Colour ac­cu­racy is good, too, with an av­er­age delta-E of 1.69 – that’s good enough for photo and video edit­ing. A strong 2,043:1 con­trast ra­tio and 0.14cd/m2 black level re­flect a panel that’s able to ren­der great tonal depth.

It isn’t the bright­est panel in sRGB mode, how­ever: we mea­sured a max­i­mum lu­mi­nance of 285cd/m2. Switch­ing to reg­u­lar mode bright­ens things up to 340cd/m2, which is fine for sun­lit rooms. Uni­for­mity isn’t great, either, with up to 17% vari­ance from its cen­tre point thanks to back­light bleed and IPS glow. That’s to be ex­pected from a large ul­tra­w­ide mon­i­tor, but it’s some­thing to bear in mind if you’ll be us­ing the dis­play for im­age or video edit­ing as well.

In ‘over­clocked’ 120Hz mode, the Z35P passed all the UFO Frame skip­ping tests. We didn’t no­tice any vis­i­ble gamma shift either, which means you don’t have to worry about los­ing colour ac­cu­racy when over­clock­ing the panel.

To get the best re­sults, you’ll nat­u­rally need a graph­ics card that’s ca­pa­ble of reach­ing 120fps at 3,440x1,440; for most re­cent games, this means the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 and upward, and even then, you’ll likely need to re­duce graph­i­cal qual­ity as well. The good news is that such GPUs sup­port G-Sync tech­nol­ogy, which elim­i­nates tear­ing by lock­ing the re­fresh rate of your mon­i­tor to your graph­ics card’s frame rate.

Ini­tially, we found the Z35P a lit­tle slug­gish. How­ever, en­abling over­drive caused the panel to re­spond a lot faster, mak­ing it much more ac­cept­able for com­pet­i­tive games. Ac­ti­vat­ing the Ex­treme set­ting added a lot of un­wanted in­verse ghost­ing (in the form of pur­ple trails), but di­alling this down to Nor­mal mode min­imised the ef­fect, while still keep­ing things re­spon­sive.

In­put lag could be bet­ter, but for any­thing other than the most in­tense games, we found the panel to re­spond rea­son­ably well. The large 35in curved de­sign also pro­vides an el­e­ment of im­mer­sion that adds to the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence.

BE­COM­ING THE PREY

The Z35P’s gam­ing per­for­mance is im­pres­sive, es­pe­cially if you’re into more ca­sual games. Colour ac­cu­racy and vi­brance are great, and the build qual­ity is stun­ning. There’s really not much to dis­like about the Acer Preda­tor Z35P – apart from its ti­tanic price.

Un­for­tu­nately, this is an is­sue that’s im­pos­si­ble to ig­nore. At nearly £1,000, you’re grossly over­pay­ing for a panel that of­fers only slightly bet­ter colours and an ex­tra 20Hz over the AOC AG352UCG, which even at £600 looks like a bar­gain in com­par­i­son. When it comes to 21:9 ul­tra­w­ide gam­ing mon­i­tors, give this one a miss and go for the AOC model in­stead.

Christo­pher Mi­nasians

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