Put together a wish list—the sky’s the limit—of things you’d want in a 27-inch gaming monitor, and you’d probably come up with something like the Acer Predator X27 ($1,999.99). 4K UHD resolution, support for Nvidia’s G-Sync adaptive-sync tech, and HDR support—check. High luminance and an expanded color gamut—check. Add wicked-fast refresh rates, a plethora of input ports, an ergonomically friendly stand, and gaming-friendly features such as multiple crosshair types, and you have an absolute dream-screen gaming display (with a price to match).
I first saw the X27 in action last summer at a demo hosted by Nvidia, which developed the monitor’s G-Sync adaptive-sync technology. I viewed a demo of Final Fantasy XV and was awestruck by this monitor’s ability to capture subtle variations in shading and bring out detail in dark areas, as well as to capture brilliance in bright areas without them looking washed out. This panel’s brilliance and dynamic range set it apart as something special, and my initial impressions have been borne out in both our quantitative and experiential testing.
Now, to be sure, at two grand for a 27-inch panel, the Predator X27 is not for everyone. On top of the monitor’s own stratospheric price, for most users it will require a considerable additional hardware investment in a top-of-the-line graphics card, such as an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 or the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. If you can afford it (and if need be, build a gaming system around it), though, the Predator X27 is without peer, and it earns our pick as our Editors’ Choice high-performance gaming monitor.
At a Glance, Deceptively Plain
From the front, at least, the Predator X27 looks like a typical 27-inch panel, housed in a matte-black cabinet. When affixed on its stand, it measures 22.3 by 14.8 by 24.8 inches (HWD) and weighs 27.1 pounds. Its bezels are fairly substantial, 0.6 inch thick on top and on the sides, and 0.9 inch on the bottom.
The stand comprises a “V”-shaped base that branches upward to support a cylindrical shaft to which the panel is fastened. The ergonomically friendly mount looks stylish and feels solid. It provides up to 4.7 inches of height adjustment, plus or minus 30 degrees of swivel adjustment, and minus-5 to 25 degrees of tilt adjustment. You can snake cables through a triangular hole in the stand’s column. A handle at the top of the shaft provides extra support for carrying the monitor. Also included is an anti-glare hood, which fastens easily to the panel’s top and sides to provide some shielding from ambient light.
The panel’s 4K UHD (3,840-by-2,160-pixel) resolution renders a highly detailed image, though to run it at full frame rates (144Hz when overclocked, up from a standard 120Hz) requires a primo graphics card—I used the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition. Based on the new VESA DisplayHDR standard, the Predator X27 supports DisplayHDR 1000, with a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits and a native brightness of 600 nits.
Indeed, in our quantitative testing using a Klein K10-A colorimeter and SpectraCal CalMAN 5 software, the Predator X27 shone at 643 nits in Racing mode, easily the highest luminance score that I’ve ever recorded. I measured the contrast ratio at 2,800:1, considerably better than its 1,000:1 rating, thanks to a low black level and an excellent score for an in-plane switching (IPS) monitor.
The monitor’s viewing angles, both from the side and above, were wide, typical of an IPS panel, with no discernible dimming or color shift, even at extreme angles.
Controls and Connections
Physical controls consist of four tiny control buttons located in back, in a vertical arrangement along the bottom right-hand edge of the cabinet. Below them is the sort of mini-joystick control common on gaming monitors of late.
These buttons and stick let you select the picture mode (among them, Movie, Graphics, Standard, Eco, and User), as well as bounce among three gaming modes: Action, Racing, and Sports. You can also change brightness, input source, and access the onscreen display (OSD) menu system. Acer calls the OSD system Predator GameView, which allows you to adjust brightness and contrast, as well as enable Dark Boost (which brings out detail in dimly lit scenes), among other settings.
The Predator X27’s input port selection includes one HDMI 2.0 port, a full-size DisplayPort 1.4 connector, a USB hub with one upstream USB 3.0 port and four USB 3.0 downstream ports. Of those downstream ports, two are facing outward on the monitor’s left side. It also has two built-in 4-watt speakers, which provide good sound quality at fairly modest volume.
The rated gray-to-gray pixel response time is 4 milliseconds, and input lag—as measured with a Leo Bodnar Lag Tester—came in at a swift 11.5 milliseconds, not much longer than what I measured on the BenQ SW2700PT, which remains our leader with a 9.5-millisecond input-lag measure.
Acer covers the Predator X27 with a three-year warranty.
Color accuracy for the Predator X27 was very good in our testing. As shown on the chromaticity chart below, with the X27 tested in Standard mode, my color measurements (represented by the colored dots) are in or are very close to their ideal CIE coordinates (represented by the boxes). Better, most of the points are at the outside edge of the triangle, representing a slightly expanded color gamut, which makes for a richer range of colors.
I put the Predator X27 through its paces in rendering HDR videos (selected from the YouTube HDR channel). Colors were bright, and the monitor did especially well in preserving detail in both very bright and very dark areas.
Gaming results, in the HDR-capable titles Hitman and Far Cry 5, were similar, with a vivid, bright image and buttery-smooth gameplay with no significant artifacts. If money were no object, and I had a desktop rig and graphics card worthy of this monitor, I would not hesitate in getting it for video and gaming use.
A Magnificent, Extravagant Choice
We haven’t reviewed anything quite like the Predator X27 before. For example, our most recent Editors’ Choice gaming monitor, the Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ, is a 31.5-inch monitor with a VA panel, WQHD native resolution (2,560 by 1,440 pixels), and support for AMD’s FreeSync adaptive technology. Although it can’t approach the Predator X27’s performance, it comes in at a much lower price: $699 list.
If you’re ready to pull out all the stops in pursuit of the best gaming experience possible, the Acer Predator X27 is a compelling choice as your monitor. Blazingly bright and with high resolution and dynamic range, it provides a beautiful, vivid image for gaming and video viewing alike.
That said, if you balk at the X27’s ginormous price, don’t get too attached to this panel, because the graphics card you’ll likely have to buy to get the most out of it will cost an additional fair percentage of the price of the monitor itself. The Predator X27 is not for everybody, but if you want to combine high resolution, brightness, superb dynamic range, and sizzling refresh rates to get the most out of your gaming system, it’s worth every penny of its stratospheric pricing.
The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is very similar in its specs to the Predator X27, it being a 27-inch monitor with 4K UHD, Nvidia G-Sync, a 144Hz maximum refresh rate, and a 1,000-nit rated peak brightness. We look forward to reviewing it soon. But for now, at least, the Acer Predator X27 rules the desktop as our Editors’ Choice high-performance gaming monitor.