Acer Predator XB241H is a 24-inch, 1080p and 144Hz gaming monitor which comes under the price bracket of $350. The monitor itself comes loaded with features like G-Sync which makes it a good buy for the price.
Apart from all this goodness, you also get 2 speakers that can function at 2w. When it comes to connectivity, you have HDMI & Display Port which you can use to connect your PC to the monitor. Let’s dive deep and take a look at what this monitor has to offer us in terms of display, features, and performance.
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Acer Predator XB241H Gaming Monitor Review
The monitor uses a TN panel for the display which produces a response time of 1ms. Now, TN Panel isn’t the best display panel money can buy but it is not that bad. The colors do look a bit washed out but you can set them up to your liking in the Acer eDisplay Management utility.
You can tweak the colors easily by turning down the brightness a bit and then turning up the contrast just a few notches. There are other things you can play around with like color temperatures and gamma which will help you get the best color production on the monitor that you can gain yourself.
Anyway, the display doesn’t produce the best colors but as mentioned, you can tweak it and make it better. The best part about the monitor is the G-Sync support which many gaming monitors actually compromise with. But to be able to use G-Sync to its full potential, it is required that you have an NVIDIA GPU in your computer. G-Sync helps you eliminate annoyances like screen tearing and more to make your gaming experience better.
Coming to the viewing angles, you will find that the monitor doesn’t respond very well if you try looking at it from different angles and this is a common trait in the TN Panels. You will see a color and contrast shift when the panel is viewed from different angles.
Now, it’s not all that bad if you use it in the default configuration out of the box without tweaking anything. It doesn’t look the best but the display is quite decent and if you have been using a TN panel monitor already, you might not even see any change here.
The TN Panel used in this monitor is one of the best panels out there with a contrast ratio of 1000:1 and the brightness can easily go up to 330 cd/m2. The blacks aren’t that deep on the panel but you can lower the brightness to up to 120 nits to get the best possible results.
The monitor isn’t designed for creative work like photo editing or video production due to the color accuracy being disappointing. This monitor is a great choice if you are only going to be using it to play your games on and when it comes to games, this thing actually works like a hot knife cutting through a slab of butter. The gaming experience is flawless and immersive.
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Design, Build & Connectivity
Coming to the design, I am actually surprised at how good this monitor looks out of the box. Yes, it does have a few things that make it show its gaming traits but they don’t work in an inverse way to make the monitor look bad.
The design is quite slick and beautiful. The bezels aren’t thick and the stand is amazing. The stand feels sturdy and it has features like height adjustment, tilt, pivot, and swivel.
The stand itself takes a bit of real estate on your desk but it is very stable. You can adjust the height of the monitor without going through the hassle of moving from your seat. You can use the pivot and swivel functions just as easily. Acer has done a good job with the stand here.
The swivel and tilt functions are very smooth. Height adjustment is good and it can go up to a height of 21.5cm and the lowest height of 6.5cm which is good.
The outside surface of the monitor is thankfully matte black which makes it hard for the scratches and dust to make themselves visible.
Coming to the connectivity part of the monitor, you have a Display Port 1.2 and an HDMI 1.4 port on the monitor. The other one is a power intake which is used to power the monitor. Now, to gain the best possible results with the monitor, make sure you are connecting your monitor to your PC using the Display Port 1.2 port. This port will work great for G-Sync which will help you reduce screen tearing and smudges.
You can also use the HDMI 1.4 port but that won’t let you take full advantage of the monitor and it won’t run with G-Sync at all.
People seem to be complaining about the lack of an HDMI 2.0 port but to be honest, do you really need it on this monitor?
This is a 1080p monitor and it doesn’t support HDR anyway. G-Sync doesn’t work over HDMI so there’s that so I won’t count the lack of an HDMI 2.0 monitor as a downside here.
The monitor also has a single 3.5mm audio jack on the monitor which you can use to connect a headphone or anything else you need.
OSD & Controls
The buttons for controlling the OSD settings are located on the lower right size of the monitor on the bezel. They aren’t very discreet and you can easily ignore them while gaming.
All of the buttons are designed in the same way and feel very same so you might tap on the wrong button while changing some settings in the dark. Anyway, tapping on any of these buttons will bring up the OSD menu which has a bunch of things for you to set and change. You can see options like
- Game Mode on/off
- Overdrive Off/Normal/Extreme
- Volume up/down
- Input select
- Main menu
The Game Mode lets you choose between three presets of your settings that you can program. You can quickly choose any of the three presets on the go. But when the Game Mode is enabled, you will not be able to toggle other settings in the OSD menu. You need to turn the Game Mode off which is kind of a hassle.
The first thing that you will see in the main menu is the Acer eColor Management which lets you choose from five preset selections i.e. User, ECO, the default Standard, Graphics, and Movie.
Sadly, you can’t really modify the existing profiles but you can choose User and change the settings to your liking. Let’s say you chose the Graphics mode and lower down the brightness a bit, it will change the profile back to User but with the settings of the Graphics mode. There is an option to save your settings which is a good thing by Acer here.
Other OSD menu options such as Brightness and Contrast, along with Blue Light, Dark Boost and Adaptive Contrast are also there. We suggest that you turn off Adaptive Contrast since it behaves weird. There’s also an option to eliminate Blue Light and it goes an extra mile to provide you options to set the intensity. You can choose from a different set of percentages like 50, 60, 70 and further.
The Dark Boost feature will help you spot elements in the darker areas in the games and even this feature offers three different level of intensities which means you can choose from and use the one that you like.
Coming to Color, you will see options for Gamma, Color temperature, saturation and more. The default setting of Gamma is set to 2.2 but you can set it as 1.9 which will help you gain some depth of color instead of seeing washed out colors on the screen.
There’s also a setting named Gaming inside the OSD menu which trades off accuracy for better colors on the display.
The monitor also features ULMB or Ultra Low Motion Blur which is added to the monitor by NVIDIA and just as the name suggests, this helps reduce the motion blur on the monitor caused by the high-speed motion and graphics being shown on the screen. ULMB works by strobing the backlight of the monitor in order to lower down the image persistence on the display panel.
With ULMB turned off on the Acer Predator XB241H, the brightness was measured up to 330 nits while enabling it can lower down the brightness to 130 nits. This is about 60% reduction in the brightness but it is still plenty and elements on the screen are perfectly visible while gaming.
Interestingly enough, ULMB doesn’t work with G-Sync enabled and both of them are NVIDIA technologies here. But NVIDIA has less to no control over it as G-Sync completely works in the opposite way of ULMB. Also, it’s not just NVIDIA. Monitors with AMD FreeSync also show the same limitation.
AND, there is one more thing that you need to know while using ULMB, the monitor’s refresh rate goes down to 120Hz while ULMB is enabled and it doesn’t work on 144Hz. But the difference between 120Hz and 144Hz isn’t that significant but this might be a shocker to a niche of users out there.
Read more about : Acer R240HY Review: A Visual Treat for Your Eyes!
Performance & Gaming
When it comes to performing, the Acer Predator XB241H is a monster. The monitor can be overclocked to a refresh rate of 180Hz and this when coupled with 1ms response rates gives you a great visual experience and having better refresh rate in games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will help you have an extra edge over your enemies in the game.
Let’s not forget that the monitor comes loaded with G-Sync which helps you enhance your monitor’s high refresh rate. The display vibrancy and colors aren’t as good as an IPS panel, but the monitor is still much better than many other monitors out there and the reason for that is that the monitor is using a top of the line TN Panel to display content. The TN Panel also helps Acer keep the price under control and make this monitor accessible to a wide range of consumers.
Let’s talk about the overclock function of the monitor. When you look into the OSD menu, you will find a setting named Overclock which will let you set the monitor’s refresh rate to a maximum of 180Hz. A monitor that can work on 180Hz under $350, this is amazing for a lot of reasons!
You won’t be able to feel much difference between the 144Hz refresh rate and 180Hz refresh rate but having extra horsepower isn’t a bad thing, right?
The best part about this is that you won’t be seeing any kind of screen tearing or artifacts on the display panel. There was no ghosting at all while testing the monitor which is a great thing.
Yes, you will see a bit of overshoot and undershoot when you set the monitor to Extreme. What this means is that the monitor will display a trail of light and dark in a fast-moving object. You can easily choose between G-Sync or ULMB but since I have to trade off display brightness while using ULMB, I’d rather go with G-Sync for my gaming needs.
G-Sync is a proprietary tech by NVIDIA and the main purpose of this tech is to synchronize the refresh rate of the monitor to the frame output that your NVIDIA GPU is sending to the monitor. Now, this helps in eliminating the screen tearing and stuttering which is a good thing.
The monitor is a great piece of gaming hardware that you can buy. Also, if you have never used a monitor with a refresh rate of anything above 60 or 75Hz, this thing is going to blow you away for sure. The Acer Predator XB241H monitor is also loaded with features like 180Hz overclock refresh rate, G-Sync, ULMB and more. This monitor is truly one of the best gaming monitors that money can buy out there for sure!