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Acer Predator XB323QK review: A top-notch 4K gaming monitor

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
700
inc VAT

The Acer Predator XB323QK is a practical next-gen gaming monitor with a stunning panel

Pros 
Impressive 4K panel
Practical stand
USB-C
Cons 
No local dimming
No VRR (yet)
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The Acer Predator XB323QK is an intriguing 4K gaming monitor and not quite the bombastic next-gen-ready display I was expecting. Acer has sacrificed one or two top-end features in favour of practicality and a (very slightly) lower price tag. It’s a high-end gaming monitor, make no mistake, but it definitely has a serious side and it caters more evenly for both PC and console gamers than many of its competitors.

This might sound like a risky thing to do – jack-of-all-trades monitors rarely work well in practice – but this Acer treads the line adeptly. It might not be the last word in HDR gaming, but with a gorgeous panel and a raft of useful features the XB323QK is still a cracking monitor for just about anyone with the cash to blow and a PC or next-gen console that can handle it.

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Acer Predator XB323QK review: What do you get for the money?

The Acer Predator XB323QK costs £700 at the time of writing, although it has been more expensive in the past. This makes it the second cheapest “next-gen” gaming monitor I’ve tested so far (the Samsung Odyssey G70A is £643). For the cash, you’re getting a 32in IPS monitor with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, a refresh rate of 144Hz, a quoted response time of 2ms G2G (and 1ms MPRT), a DisplayHDR 400 certification and support for both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync.

The panel is one of Acer’s “Agile-Splendor” IPS units, which supposedly have response times between 1ms and 2ms and have DCI-P3 gamut coverage at 90% or more as well. In other words, these panels are built to be highly responsive and vivid.

The ports can be found on the rear and along the side of the display. You’ll find two HDMI 2.1 ports and one DisplayPort 1.4 port for video duties, plus a total of four USB-C 3.0 ports for your peripherals and a USB-B 3.0 port to enable them. There’s also a USB-C port capable of delivering 65W of power to a connected device and a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

The stand cannot rotate into portrait mode but it does have 130mm of height adjustment, 45 degrees of swivel left and right and 25 degrees of backwards tilt. You’ll find HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-B to USB-A and USB-C cables in the box.

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Acer Predator XB323QK review: What does it do well?

Surprisingly for a gaming monitor, the Acer Predator XB323QK is packed with practical touches. The stand offers greater adjustability than the £850 Asus ROG Swift PG32UQ – I’m particularly happy with the 130mm of height adjustment. You won’t need to prop this monitor up to maintain good posture. 

The abundance of ports is similarly thoughtful. Sure, you can’t use the USB-C port to carry a video signal, but having the option to fast-charge a connected device is great, and I’m pleased it doesn’t come at the expense of a full-blown USB-A hub and suite of video ports. Side-mounting two USB-A ports, as Acer has done here, is a good way to score some extra points, too.

On a somewhat less practical note, I feel the urge to mention the RGB lighting on this monitor. The rectangular strip on the rear panelling is eye-catchingly bright and fully customisable via the OSD. If RGB is your bag, this monitor delivers with more impact than many I’ve tested. It helps that this it’s already a striking product: the various design choices are a little bit jarring (the spindly legs look a bit odd attached to the thick stand) but there’s no mistaking the XB323QK for anything other than a gaming monitor. 

The panel is the most important aspect of any monitor and the XB323QK performed well in the sweeping majority of our tests, delivering vibrancy and colour accuracy out of the box. The monitor produced 120% of the sRGB colour gamut (around 85% of the DCI-P3 gamut, which is a little under Acer’s claims but nothing to worry about) in its default mode, with an average Delta E of 1.44 when compared against DCI-P3. A Delta E of below 3 tells us that any discrepancies in colour reproduction are barely visible to the human eye.

Better yet, the XB323QK has a dedicated sRGB mode that produces 97% of the sRGB colour gamut with an average Delta E of just 0.51 – a phenomenal result. In short, this is a cracking panel that’s equally comfortable delivering vibrant colours for gaming as it is more muted tones for office work and photo editing.

Elsewhere the XB323QK’s Agile-Splendor IPS panel continues to impress. Viewing angles are excellent, as you’d expect, and I’m pleased to report that this monitor also has superb motion handling. Even with overdrive set to level two (of three) I noticed remarkably little motion blur, which bodes well for console or PC gamers with a penchant for shooters. 

The XB323QK is also bright, producing a peak luminance of 417cd/m² on test. That’s enough to earn its DisplayHDR 400 certification, although unfortunately it’s not enough to help this monitor deliver anything resembling decent HDR.

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Acer Predator XB323QK review: What could be better?

There are two reasons for this. The first is that the XB323QK produces a low contrast ratio: I measured 912:1, which simply isn’t high enough for HDR. This is unfortunately a characteristic of the IPS panel technology. The second is that the XB323QK lacks local dimming, which means it can’t deliver the kind of deep, dark shadows you’d expect from a HDR-compatible monitor – although it is at least bright and colourful.

I have one other complaint about the panel itself: it doesn’t currently support variable refresh rate (VRR) technology. It has adaptive sync support via AMD and Nvidia’s technology, yes, but PS5 owners will miss out on the chance to enjoy varying frame rates and smooth, tear-free gaming. I am hopeful this will be rectified in a future software update.

My remaining niggles are fairly trivial. For example, I should note the XB323QK is very large and very heavy (it weighs 13.5kg), which means you will need room and manpower to get it set up. It doesn’t have a huge footprint, thankfully, but its wingspan is considerable and the chunky stand makes it quite deep.

The onscreen display controls are similarly unwieldy, although not quite as bad as some (Asus in particular makes some seriously questionable choices here). I’ve never been fond of jabbing at buttons and the sheer number required to navigate the OSD here is a little confusing at first. It’s something you get used to but, as always, I would have preferred a joystick.

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Acer Predator XB323QK review: Should you buy it?

If you value local dimming and VRR and don’t want to spend more than £700, consider the Samsung Odyssey G70A. You’ll be sacrificing screen real estate and practical features (such as USB-C), but the G70A handles colours and motion with similar aplomb and might suit discerning gamers better.

The bottom line, however, is that the Acer Predator XB323QK is a thoroughly impressive gaming monitor. It’s big, impactful and pleasingly practical, and it delivers a surprising amount for your money compared with rival 32in 4K gaming monitors. I have no reservations about recommending this monitor to anyone who perhaps isn’t fussed about HDR and just wants a top-notch panel for their PC and console.

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