The Acer Predator XB3 is a 24.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 resolution gaming monitor for those looking for a superior display that will also fit into a relatively small space – in dimensions, it's the opposite of the huge ultrawide monitors that we've been seeing enter the market.
Despite the relatively small size, Acer has managed to pack plenty of features into this IPS LCD panel: 400 cd/m2 brightness, Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync compatibility, and a typical 1,000:1 contrast ratio. The monitor comes with two integrated speakers as well.
Gamers will be particularly interested in the 1ms response time and 240Hz refresh rate that the Acer Predator XB3 brings with it, which should mean sharp, tear-free, super-smooth gaming action on screen (and decent streaming video performance too).
With a price of under £350 in the UK, it's also at the more affordable end of the gaming monitor spectrum. Note that we're reviewing the XB253QGX model in this review – there are several in the XB3 series, new and not so new, and going up to 27 inches in size.
Acer Predator XB3 review: design and setup
It won't take you long at all to set up the Acer Predator XB3, as you basically need to attach the monitor to the stand and then plug it in. Everything slots in neatly, and you don't need anything in the way of tools. As the monitor is under 25 inches in size, it's a one-person job as well – the monitor is relatively lightweight, tipping the scales at 5.3 kg (that's almost 12 pounds) once you've got the stand attached. If you need to move the monitor after assembling it, you won't have any problems.
The Predator XB3 has a good selection of ports for something this size: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2a, 1x USB 3.0 Upstream and 4x USB 3.0 Downstream. There's a headphone socket here for more private and personal audio, as well as two 2W speakers if you need to crank the volume up. All these ports are tidily hidden away at the back of the monitor, with a couple of USB ports at the side for peripherals.
Around the front the Acer Predator XB3 uses a plain but classy design, with the thin side and top bezels and thicker bottom bezel that we've seen on several other monitors in this category. The bottom bezel houses the downward-firing speakers, with a Predator logo the only real flourish in terms of design when viewing the monitor from the front.
While the monitor won't set any pulses racing when it comes to its aesthetics, it's a perfectly fine-looking display, with black plastic dominating and metal struts at the bottom of the slim base. Tilt, height and rotation can all be easily adjusted – it's more flexible in its positioning than most, so it would suit a smaller desk setup where you need to regularly adjust its position and angle (the 178-degree viewing angles help here).
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Acer Predator XB3 review: features and picture
We've already covered most of the specs of the Full HD Predator XB3, and it's an impressive monitor on paper for sure. Besides everything else it has a 99 percent sRGB colour gamut, 90 percent DCI-P3 colour gamut, a dynamic contrast ratio of 100,000,000:1, and support for VESA DisplayHDR 400. Even when you're not gaming, this is the sort of screen that's going to be able to show off whatever's being displayed very well indeed.
We had no complaints after playing a few games and watching some videos on Windows: colours are natural and well-balanced, with the HDR doing a decent job of managing particularly dark and light areas. Fast-moving action was sharp and blur-free, whether that was Wallander on Netflix or GTA V running on Steam. Brightness impressed too, though it's not the most vivid or vibrant panel we've ever come across, and other screens will give you deeper blacks.
The integrated audio you get with the Predator XB3 is pretty average – one of those setups that will do at a push but which you're probably not going to want to rely on if you're looking for superior-quality sound. It's fine if a little tinny for movies and shows, and does okay for gaming too, though it's better at lower volumes. You wouldn't expect award-winning integrated audio from a monitor like this, and you don't get it.
There's a respectable selection of options via the on-screen menus, covering the basics like HDR, brightness, contrast and colour, but they don't move the needle a huge amount on the quality of the picture that you get back from the display. It's best suited to those who just need a plug and play solution, and don't want to spend a huge amount of time tweaking display settings.
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Acer Predator XB3 review: price and verdict
Based on our testing, the Acer Predator XB3 performs well as a smaller gaming monitor – it's not the brightest or richest display on the market, but nor is it the priciest, and if you're looking for a monitor upgrade that won't break the bank then this might be it. Of course given it's size, it's also more suitable if you're after a gaming setup that isn't going to dominate whatever room it's put in.
Whether it's gaming, watching films, browsing the web, or doing anything else that you would use a computer for, the Predator XB3 scores highly in terms of sharpness, response times, and refresh rates: everything comes across as smooth, clear and well balanced. It works as a general monitor as well as a gaming display.
The design of this Acer monitor has a few gaming flourishes, mostly in terms of the angular stand at the back and the Predator logo on the back, but it's not so flamboyant that you can't use it in a general office setting as well. You don't get any of the cool lighting effects other monitors offer – so if you don't want them, you can save yourself some money.
We don't think the Acer Predator XB3 is going to come top of any best monitor lists this year, but at the same time it's a solid and well-performing display that packs plenty of punch and some eye-catching specs considering its price (and its size). Provided you're not going to miss anything the Predator XB3 doesn't have, it's a gaming monitor buy that we can recommend.
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