Preda­tor X34 Gaming Mon­i­tor De­liv­ers On Pre­mium Price

SmartHouse - - FIRST LOOK | ACER - Writ­ten by Fer­gus Hal­l­i­day

Given what you’re pay­ing per-pixel, it’s some­times easy to lose sight of why you’d want to opt for a ded­i­cated desk­top gaming mon­i­tor over a proper HD TV. Af­ter all, TV’s of­ten de­pre­ci­ate in value a lot quicker than mon­i­tors. They em­body a rare com­bi­na­tion of both less ex­pen­sive and more ex­pan­sive – and ex­pan­sive is of­ten what you’re look­ing for with gaming ex­pe­ri­ences. Thank­fully, Acer’s Preda­tor X34 Curved Gaming Mon­i­tor makes it abun­dantly clear why it’s worth what it is.

A crisp 34-inch back­lit dis­play, the Preda­tor X34 is a slick pack­age that ac­tively works to en­able gaming ex­pe­ri­ences that are as de­tailed and sharp as they are im­mer­sive. Though it is a lit­tle pricey at be­tween AU$1500 and $1800, it pro­vides solid and con­sis­tent per­for­mance pack­aged up in stylish de­sign that’s easy to rec­om­mend.

A dis­tinc­tive and im­pos­ing con­struct of metal and plas­tic, the X34 ar­rives more or less in­tact. It boasts a sleek black frame with an at­mo­spheric un­der­light and a sturdy alu­minum base. It’s got all the right edges in all the right places and blends to­gether black, sil­ver and red tones in much the same style as its pre­de­ces­sors. When it comes to setup, it’s all very ad­justable. The steel han­dle on the re­verse-side makes get­ting it onto your desk quick and easy and you can cus­tom­ize ev­ery­thing from the height and tilt of the mon­i­tor to the colour of the un­der­light. Most of the time, you’ll want to leave it hang­ing com­fort­ably at close to your head height and the process of get­ting the X34 where it needs to be is as easy as it gets. Fur­ther cus­tomiza­tion can be found via the con­trol but­tons on the un­der­side of the dis­play. Acer’s de­ci­sion to use tac­tile phys­i­cal but­tons here over finnicky touch sen­sors didn’t go un­no­ticed and mess­ing with the mon­i­tor’s set­tings was quick and in­tu­itive.

Look­ing fur­ther un­der the hood, the Preda­tor X34 also in­cor­po­rates Nvidia’s G-Sync tech. This spe­cial­ized hard­ware helps el­e­vate the smooth­ness of your fram­er­ate when gaming, work­ing to elim­i­nate the stut­ter­ing and screen-tear­ing you might find in even sim­i­larly-priced dis­plays. It’s a nice fea­ture but you’re go­ing to want to have an Nvidia graph­ics card to get the most out of it.

If there’s any area where the syn­chronic­ity be­tween the de­sign and tech­ni­cal el­e­ments of the X34 fall short, it’s sound. While the DTS-pow­ered speak­ers don’t re­ally sound bad – they’re clear enough – the place­ment of the speak­ers them­selves is a bit of a head-scratcher. Sit­ting on the re­verse side of the dis­play, it doesn’t re­ally lever­age acous­tics as well as it could. It’s not a mas­sive prob­lem, but it cer­tainly doesn’t live up to the pre­mium stan­dard of the rest of the pack­age. In terms of how games looked on the X34, the re­sults were im­pres­sive. The X34 is Ul­tra­W­ide QHD dis­play ca­pa­ble of ac­com­plish­ing a cin­e­matic 21:9 as­pect ra­tio and 10K res­o­lu­tion. It doesn’t mess around – and feels right at home along­side the rest of Acer’s Preda­tor range. Col­ors are richer and pos­s­esed more ‘pop’, shad­ows looked sharper and more dy­namic and the 100Hz re­fresh rate kept it all look­ing crisp as can be through both more styl­ized ti­tles like Overwatch and the more re­al­is­tic en­vi­ron­ments of Bat­man: Arkham Knight.

It’s of­ten hard to imag­ine how a mon­i­tor be­ing curved can make a dif­fer­ence – but it re­ally does. It makes use of your pe­riph­eral vi­sion and head-move­ment in a way that’s as ul­tra-cool as it is ul­tra-com­pelling. The sub­se­quent wrap-around ef­fect al­lowed first per­son gaming ex­pe­ri­ences to feel no­tably more im­mer­sive and this qual­ity even had an im­pact on my ac­cu­racy within those games. Ob­jects and tar­gets fur­ther away in the game look clearer on the sur­face of the X34 in a way that ac­tu­ally does mat­ter. I found my­self ac­tively play­ing bet­ter on this mon­i­tor than I did on my tra­di­tional flatscreen one.

In both de­sign and per­for­mance, the Preda­tor X34 shoots for the moon – and it mostly hits the mark. It’s as stylish as gaming mon­i­tors get and lever­ages the tech un­der­ly­ing th­ese aes­thetic qual­i­ties to de­liver an ex­pe­ri­ence that’s well worth the price.

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