A Review of the Acer XB280HK bprz 28-inch Ultra HD 4K NVIDIA G-SYNC Widescreen Monitor
The Acer XB280HK was one of the original and awesome 4K UHD monitors to become available to and made for gamers who want to try their luck at 4K PC gaming. Of course, when the monitor was first released back in summer of 2014, the overall 4K PC gaming landscape was much less developed than it is now and 4K monitors were less common than today.
Nonetheless, despite a considerably price decrease between mid-2014 and now in mid-2015, the XB280HK remains an excellent 4K Monitor and an excellent gaming monitor in particular. It may lack some of the more modern features of a few newer 4K displays but it does come with Nvidia’s excellent G-Sync technology and this alone makes it worthy of consideration for those of you who are interested in a gaming PC with 4K display and a reasonable price tag.
Let’s start with the most attractive and distinct feature of this otherwise now rather ordinary 4K monitor: the G Sync technology in the XB280HK. This was the first monitor to include this highly gamer-friendly feature in its design and the addition is still a worthwhile investment on the part of Acer. Few monitors even now include G-Sync and gamers will love GPU/PC display frame rate synchronization addition for their 4K gaming needs. Now that Nvidia has released some really awesome 4K-friendly PC GPUs like the Titan X and GTX 980 Ti, G-Sync is more important to have then ever if 4K gaming is your big thing.
Furthermore, to further boost its 4K gaming chops, the XB280HK is a TN display with an excellent 1-milisecond response time. This does mean a bit of loss in terms of color rendering and off-angle viewing clarity but TN is definitely the way to go over IPS when it comes to gameplay.
Next up is the overall physical design of the XB280HK. With an extremely flexible adjustable stand and some excellent 4K UHD resolution, the monitor’s 28 inch screen is perfect for setup in all sorts of studio, bedroom and other spaces. Furthermore, a built-in 4-port USB hub leaves lots of room for connecting assorted external devices.
Finally, the quality of the on-screen image in the XB280HK is very good. The 4K graphics look delightfully sharp and for the most part, colors render very smoothly and with solid vibrancy for a TN screen. The same goes for grey shades and dark tones. They display relatively well, though not as finely as we’ve seen in other, newer 4K monitors. Overall, the image quality on the XB280HK looks particularly sharp and refined after some careful calibration and delivers very good sRGB coverage along with fairly decent AdobeRGB coverage.
4.2 - 142 Reviews
On the other hand, the Acer XB280HK is definitely not as good as things get when it comes to 4K gaming monitors, at least not any more. There are now other brands with the same once-unique G-Sync technology built into them but with the added bonus of much better connectivity features and the color gamut coverage of the XB280HK has also been beaten by a number of monitors which now cost less.
Furthermore, the overall level of connectivity in this monitor is at best mediocre. While the 4-port USB 3.0 hub is great, the monitor doesn’t even offer a single HDMI 1.4 port, let alone any HDMI 2.0 ports. To make things even worse, there’s only one single DisplayPort 1.2 port, with no second such port or even a Mini DisplayPort 1.2 socket. Thus, you can say goodbye to the idea of a multi-screen 4K gaming setup with this monitor. Your one DisplayPort port will be busy loading the graphics from your PC’s GPU.
Finally, the overall flexibility of the control buttons on the XB280HK is only rudimentary at best, about on par with what you might find on many much cheaper monitors and this is disappointing. There are only five different tactile buttons along the lower right edge of the screen and they in turn bring up a number of icons for different options. However, except for the brightness icon, none of the others clearly indicate what they represent or offer a truly robust array of options. In fact most of the monitor’s options are found in a single sub menu where users can modify brightness, contrast, gamma and color ranges. Even changing the RGB values is hard or simply not possible with this monitor.
The Acer XB280HK bprz is a very decent monitor that has by now become a bit outdated. Its display is good but not incredible and the connectivity of this model is only modest. On the whole, its main outstanding feature is the G-Sync technology but even this doesn’t justify the elevated price of the XB280HK.
Dimensions: (WxHxD): 25.9" x 15" x 2.5" inches without stand/ 25.93" x 21.99" x 9.63" with stand
Screen size: 28 inches, measured diagonally
Screen type: TN
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Colors: 16.7 million (8 bit)
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
Screen Lighting: LED
Response time: 1 ms grey-to-grey
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
OS Compatibility: Windows
Connectivity Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 4 x USB 3.0, Headphone out
In terms of highlights, the Acer XB280HK bprz doesn’t have that many to offer to be honest. Only a couple of things are really worth mentioning here.
First and foremost, there is the G-Sync technology of this model. This is a genuinely powerful feature that still offers plenty of value. Users who own Nivida GPUs for 4K graphics in their PCs might seriously consider the XB280HK bprz for this reason alone. The gameplay experience with G-Sync running is genuinely pleasant and problems like frame stuttering and synchronization failure are completely eliminated from the overall 4K gaming experience. As a result, what you get is one very nicely smooth gaming experience with rendering that becomes particularly clean with things like movement effects, particle motion and character animations.
On the other hand, G-Sync won’t help your monitor at frame rates that go beyond 60Hz. This is because the monitor itself isn’t capable of anything beyond this and as a result games with very high refresh rates might still deliver slightly poor responsiveness.
Next, the 4-port USB hub is a nifty little bonus feature which many 4K monitors don’t offer. Furthermore, all of the ports are of the USB 3.0 variety, thus offering you some enhanced upstream and downstream data transfer capacity. On the other hand, the lack of HDMI and the presence of only one DisplayPort 1.2 slot offset the attractiveness of the quadruple USB 3.0 setup.
Finally, the XB280HK bprz does definitely offer an excellent physical design. We’ve already covered the deficiencies of the manual display control buttons along the bottom of the screen but aside from these, the overall flexibility and adjustability of the monitor stand is excellent and functionality for VESA mounting, pivot, height, tilt and rotation adjustments works great. Furthermore, the monitor’s design itself is nice to look at. A cool mix of matte and glossy black accentuated by a red circle inside the base of the stand make for a handsome looking piece of PC hardware.
The XB280HK bprz offers some decent but not entirely spectacular visual specs. First of all, this is a monitor with 8-bit color and thus only offers a range of 16.7 million colors, as opposed to the now far more common 10-bit color of most 2015 4K displays, which deliver 1.07 billion colors in total. However, despite this, the XB280HK still manages to offer 96% of the sRGB color spectrum and about 70% of the Adobe color gamut spectrum. Not too bad for an 8-bit monitor but still weaker than the color coverage found in many cheaper 2015 4K PC gaming monitors like the Samsung U28E590D.
The overall refresh rate of the XB280HK bprz sits at 60Hz and this will be particularly useful for 4K gaming via DisplayPort 1.2 and the built-in G-Sync technology, which only works with DisplayPort anyhow. However, for gaming at speeds that go beyond 60 frames per second, some judder and tearing might become notable.
In general, the TN panel of this particular monitor performs very well. Color range is good while color accuracy is a bit off, even after the kind of calibration that dramatically improves overall image quality from what it’s probably going to be like out of the box. However, because this is a TN display, off-center viewing will quickly lead to loss of contrast and color vibrancy. Don’t expect the wide angles of an IPS panel here.
The single weakest point of the XB280HK bprz is its connectivity array. This monitor really under-delivers the ports you need for a maximal PC and gaming experience. The only good thing in the XB280HK bprz is its four-port USB 3.0 hub but aside from this, little more than a single solitary DisplayPort 1.2 connection is available. There are no HDMI ports to speak of and even a second DisplayPort option isn’t included, so no gaming with a dual or triple monitor setup with this model.
The Acer XB280HK bprz is currently selling on Amazon.com for $687.13. This isn’t a terrible price but its only excuse is the XB280HK’s built-in G-Sync technology. In all other regards, you can find better 4K monitors for lower prices.
4.2 - 142 Reviews
To summarize quickly: The aspects of the XB280HK bprz which are less than ideal consist of its low 8-bit color range, slightly skewed color accuracy and mediocre connectivity options. Furthermore, for what it offers (and fails to offer) the XB280HK bprz is too expensive.
• Great adjustability
• Very crisp 4K display
• G-Sync built-in
• Very decent brightness
• Only one DisplayPort 1.2 port
• No HDMI at all
• Slightly off color accuracy
• 8-bit color range
• A bit too expensive