In my last video I looked at the Asus PG348Q and found it to be arguably the finest gaming monitor you can buy thanks to its huge, 34in widescreen IPS panel, its 100Hz refresh rate and the inclusion of G-Sync. This time it’s the turn of the Acer Predator X34. It has a near identical spec sheet and costs the same eye watering £1000, but there’s still plenty that sets the X34 apart from its big rival.
For a start it has a far simpler and, in many ways, nicer design. Where the Asus has strange swirling patterns, copper highlights and a ridiculously gaudy light, the Acer keeps things minimal with a striking angular base, a simple glossy black back and just a couple of hints of red to liven things up.
Acer Predator X34a video review
That said, there is slightly more cohesion to the PG348Q’s design. In contrast the X34’s stand is a mishmash of these beautiful solid metal legs with three faux brushed metal discs that make up the rotation mechanism and a rather lacklustre matt plastic section in the middle that doesn’t tie in with the otherwise glossy plastic used on the back. So it’s not quite a slam dunk for the Acer but it maybe just has the edge.
Plus its light show is far more appealing. Nine LEDs shine down from the edge of the screen onto the desk below, and they can be set to one of four colours, one of six brightness levels and the light can be set to pulse or flash. The lights on both models are likely to prove unnecessary distractions for most users but the X34’s approach at least has the potential to serve something of a practical purpose, as it can be used to subtly light up your keyboard, mouse and general desk area.
Moving onto more practical considerations, the X34’s stand offers height, rotation and tilt adjustment, plus it has a cable loop at the bottom and a carry handle at the top. The latter being something the PG348Q lacks.
Just like the Asus, though, the X34 is susceptible to come tumbling off your desk if one of its metal feet moves even slightly off the edge of your desk. The Samsung SE790C’s flatter stand, for instance, offers a more secure footing. At least the Acer arrives fully assembled, so that’s one less thing to worry about when handling this gargantuan £1000 bit of kit. There is still a VESA mount if you do want to use another stand, though.
Video connectivity is just as limited as on the Asus, though, thanks to the limitations of the G-Sync processor. You get just one DisplayPort and one HDMI. You do at least get a four port USB 3.0 hub, though, and the connections are fairly easy to reach, unlike the slightly awkward, hidden away arrangement on the Asus.
Once physically setup, though, it’s the Asus that impresses slightly more. Its menu system is so quick and easy to use thanks to its joystick control. Meanwhile the X34’s onscreen display uses a line of buttons on the underside of the bottom bezel. The OSD lines up nicely with the buttons but the overall layout and hidden nature of the buttons means it’s a far slower, less intuitive process to navigate, plus every now and then you hit the wrong button and turn the whole display off.
What’s more the PG348Q arrives with less need to jump into the OSD in the first place as its image quality is excellent right out the box. The X34, though, requires a bit of tweaking, as the colour temperature is some way off ideal. All that’s required to pull things right is to switch to the user colour mode and drop the blue channel by three or four points, but nonetheless the difference is there.
Otherwise, though, the X34 offers exceptionally good image quality. From its impressive contrast ratio of over 1000:1 to its ability to pick out fine colour gradations with a Delta E of just 0.59, it’s about as good as you can get from an IPS monitor without getting a photography grade panel.
As ever there is IPS glow if you move off axisand there is a smidge of backlight bleed in the corners but neither are any more noticeable than any other IPS display.
Fire up some movies and you of course get the full advantage of that 21:9 aspect ratio screen and the slight wraparound curve that fills in your peripheral vision. The curve certainly isn’t necessary but it is nice to have.
Then of course there’s the 100Hz refresh rate and G-Sync to think about. Like with the PG348Q the 100Hz option has to be enabled manually but once done so it doesn’t reduce image quality or greatly increase power consumption so it’s a no-brainer to keep it on all the time. And of course when gaming it looks fantastic.
It inevitably can’t compete with the fastest 144Hz+ TN panels for sheer instantaneous feel but it’s a noticeable and welcome step up from 60Hz. Add in G-Sync for tear-free images and a smoother framerate and you have a fantastic gaming experience.
What’s more this monitor’s speakers offer impressive power and depth, utterly eclipsing the Asus.
So in the end, is the Acer X34 or the Asus PG348Q the one to get? Well, if you really don’t want the hassle of having to tweak anything then the Asus does offer that slightly better image quality right out the box. Plus if you like it’s more showy design and lighting then there’s no reason not to get it.
Personally, though, I prefer the styling of the Acer, plus I think I might actually use its light unlike with the Asus, and you have the addition of the handle on the top and the slightly easier to reach USB ports. It’s a close run thing but that would be my inclination.
Otherwise, it’s worth remembering that both really are very expensive and you can make big savings if you’re willing to drop either the curve, the 100Hz or G-Sync. For now, though, there simply isn’t anything that comes close to these two monitors if you’re after a huge screen that offers great image quality and gaming performance. So despite their high asking price you’re unlikely to regret taking the plunge.