Acer Predator XB1 Gaming Monitor Review

4.3
Expert Rating

The Predator lineup of gaming-focused products from Acer continues to grow, this time taking the form of the Predator XB1 ultra-performance gaming monitor that made it onto our annual best gaming monitor list and stand out as the best monitor for xbox one x. With a 2560 x 1440 pixel count and an eye-melting 165Hz refresh rate, the XB1 is down and out the fastest monitor we’ve ever tested – but will those specs be enough to make up for its shoddy menu system and lackluster 2W speakers?

Read on in my Acer Predator XB1 review to find out.

Overview

Price: $744.99 on Amazon 
Available: Now
Model: XB271HU

Summary: The Acer Predator XB1 is a monster of gaming performance, save for a few nagging problem that keep it from ultimate perfection.

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The XB1 has the fastest refresh rate of any monitor, making it almost perfect. 

What We Liked

  • 165Hz refresh rate…need we say more?
  • Bezel-less design is the definition of sexy
  • Plenty of connectivity options

What We Didn’t

  • Same clunky menus we found on the Predator X34
  • Speakers are so bad they might as well not be there

Acer Predator XB1 Specs

Size27"
Resolution2560 x 1440
Aspect Ratio16:9
Contrast Ratio1,000:1
Refresh Rate144Hz ( up to 165Hz overclock)
Response Time4ms
Weight17.6lbs
Device Dimensions
24.2 x 10.6 x 21.7 inches
TechnologyIPS
Ports1 HDMI 1.4, 1 DP 1.2, four USB 3.0, 1 audio-out
Onboard Speakersgreen-check-mark
Price$744.99
Buy Now

Design

Acer XB1 Gaming Monitor
The lack of any visible bezels helps the XB1 ooze style and grace

Like the Predator 17 laptop and Predator X34 wide-screen monitor, Acer hasn’t pulled any punches on the “extreme gamer chique” stylings of the Predator XB1. That said, the XB1 looks right at home as a part of the Predator family, with red-accented wings that flare off the base and a sturdy, highly-configurable stand that allows the user to raise and lower the screen between 14″ of height and pivot left and right 45 degrees.

As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews (namely in our test of the Dell XPS 13), I’m a big fan of the move that many manufacturers have made in recent years toward truly “bezel-less” screens. The Predator XB1 takes this challenge on better than any other device I’ve seen thus far, and while the edges of the screen housing are still visible, they’re so slim (just 2mm across) that unless you’re actively looking for them, you’ll barely notice they’re even there.

Last there’s the quintessential “Predator” logo emblazoned along the bottom of the screen, which I could take or leave. I’m happy that it doesn’t light up or distract from the content on-screen, but it’s also a little too “extreme” for my tastes. This is just personal preference obviously, but still something to consider if you like your gaming monitors a little more minimal.

Hardware

Acer XB1 Gaming Monitor
Don’t bother with the onboard speakers unless you absolutely have to

The 27″ XB1 features a resolution of 2560 x 1440, which should be just fine for anyone who takes their gaming seriously. Personally although I love 4K in practice, oftentimes adding that many pixels to the mix can drastically reduce the refresh times, which is vital if you play a lot of games that demand the absolute most responsiveness possible.

The Predator XB1 wasn’t exactly heavy on connectivity options, but for a strictly gaming-oriented monitor this is a forgivable sin. On the back of the unit we found one DP slot, one HDMI 1.4, four USB 3.0 slots and a 3.5mm throughput jack in case you want to split the audio from your HDMI or DP signal into a separate pair of speakers or headphones.

Speaking of audio, the XB1 also comes with two 2w speakers on each side, though we’re not exactly sure why. They were so distant and tinny (not to mention quiet) that they might as well have not been there at all. Without any bass or volume to speak of, you’d be much better off using an external audio amplifier to get the full gaming experience.

Software

Unfortunately, although the screen itself is beautiful on the outside, once you try and navigate the menus the experience is anything but.

The XB1 shares a lot of the good parts of the Predator brand, but also all of the bad, including its downright frustrating menu navigation system. While I won’t waste too much of your time getting into the gritty of what makes this monitor so difficult to use, the worst of it can be summed up in the fact that you have to press three (separate) buttons just to confirm a selection, let alone how many you had to fiddle with just to get into that menu.

If there’s anything that Acer could improve upon in its next iteration of its Predator screens, it is taking a fresh look at the clunky menus and useless buttons should be #1 on the to-do list.

Color Accuracy

Predator XB1
All tests completed with the Datacolor S5P100 Spyder5PRO

The XB1 is first and foremost a gaming monitor, which is why our color accuracy results weren’t all that surprising when they finally came in.

The XB1 performed in step with its bigger, meatier cousin the X34, scoring an 80% on Adobe RGB and 100% on sRGB. This makes it just good enough for photo work, but also places it well above the curve if you only plan on using it for gaming or watching movies/TV shows.

Performance

At just short of $745, the Acer Predator XB1 is already well in the range of competing with similarly-sized 4K displays that come stock with a significantly higher pixel count. So, why would you choose the XB1 over its UHD competition?

It all comes down to the performance – specifically in games – and on this front the XB1 did not disappoint.

With a maximum refresh rate of 165Hz with overdrive turned on, we fragged and fireballed our way to the top of the scoreboard in every game we used to run the XB1 through its paces. Thanks to the now-ubiquitous addition of Nvidia’s G-Sync anti-screen tearing technology, animations on our characters were silky smooth throughout. Framerates were consistent and we couldn’t find any stuttering, and even the more “pixely” games we tested still looked incredible thanks to Acer’s proprietary Ultra Low Motion Blur technology.

Wrap Up

Acer Predator Top Pick Quote

The XB1 is a welcome, fitting addition to Acer’s growing lineup of Predator gaming-ready products. With a pedal-to-the-medal overclock rating of 165Hz refresh rate, this is a monitor that’s made for screaming performance and won’t accept anything less.

The speakers are terrible and the menu is still a labyrinth of poorly thought out design, but aside from those minor complaints we were hard pressed to find anything about the Predator XB1 we didn’t love.

If you play games with a high FPS and need insane refresh times to compete at the top echelon of multiplayer mayhem, the XB1 could be the perfect pick for you.

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Chris Stobing

Chris Stobing is a writer and blogger from the heart of Silicon Valley. Raised around tech from birth, he's had an interest in PC hardware and networking technology for years, and has come to Gadget Review to contribute his knowledge on both. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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