Acer's leader of the ultra-wide brigade

Acer's leader of the ultra-wide brigade

The Acer XR341CK is the latest screen to join the ultra-wide curved monitor brigade.

These pricey monitors have an ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio that offers more horizontal screen real estate than a typical 16:9 display. This makes them invaluable for tasks that require multiple open windows, such as video editing.

They are not ideal for watching videos, which are mostly formatted for 16:9 displays. However, this is less of an issue for computer games because most modern games can adapt their screen resolutions for these ultra-wide monitors.

Hence, Acer is targeting gamers with this monitor. This is evident the moment you switch it on and are greeted by a row of LED lights at the bottom edge of the display.

Like the glowing backlights on gaming keyboards, these LEDs can change colour. They can also be set to pulse and flash.

Minus these LEDs, the monitor does not look flashy. It has a black finish and a silver base that requires a fair bit of desktop space. A separate laptop-style power supply is required to power the monitor.

I like the Acer's thin bezel, which measures around 11mm in width. It has a good number of ports, including four USB 3.0 ports at the rear, a mini-DisplayPort, a DisplayPort and two HDMI. It comes with built-in speakers.

The on-screen display control buttons are small and located at the bottom right edge of the monitor. They are not the most intuitive to use and I often found myself pressing the wrong buttons.

But the monitor does have an interesting picture-in-picture mode that displays the video output from another connected device.

Gamers with an AMD graphics card will appreciate the monitor's support for AMD FreeSync.

Like Nvidia's G-Sync technology, AMD FreeSync reduces screen tearing and judder in games by synchronising the monitor's refresh rate with the frame rates produced by the graphics card.

The screen uses in-plane switching technology, which results in excellent viewing angles.

To assess this monitor, I ran a number of tests using a Spyder4 colourimeter and its companion app.

The Acer scored an excellent 4.5 out of five for colour accuracy. Its brightness was measured at 259 nits, which is lower than its specified maximum of 300 nits but is more than bright enough for me.

The monitor did well in the colour gamut tests, with 100 per cent coverage for the sRGB colour space and 81 per cent for the Adobe RGB colour space.

Verdict: If you are looking for a 34-inch gaming monitor, the Acer looks like the best choice from the limited field of candidates.

Tech Specs
Price: $1,499
Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 pixels
Aspect Ratio: 21:9
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Response Time: 4ms
Panel Type: In-plane switching
Connectivity: DisplayPort, mini-DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, 4 x USB 3.0 downstream, 1 x USB 3.0 upstream

Features: 5/5
Design: 4/5
Performance: 4/5
Value: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

This article was first published on September 9, 2015.
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