Acer Predator XB323QK gaming monitor review

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Acer Predator XB323QK gaming monitor: Specs

Screen Size: 31.5 inches
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
Refresh Rate: 144 Hz
Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI 2.1, USB Type-A/B/C
Dimensions: 28.18 x 12.16 x 21 inches
Weight: 31.8 pounds

The Acer Predator XB323QK ($1,199) is a big, beautiful 4K gaming monitor with an equally big price tag. But if you can afford it, this is a great display that’s well-suited to both work and play. 

With a 144Hz refresh rate, a pair of HDMI 2.1 ports and Adaptive Sync/G-Sync support, it’s equally adept at showcasing games running on a beefy gaming PC (I tested it with the latest Alienware Aurora R13) or your PS5/Xbox Series X. Plus, it looks good on a desk, with an understated black-and-chrome aesthetic up front that gives way to an LED-lit party in the back.

The MSRP at launch seems a little high, since you can get similarly-specced 32-inch gaming monitors for hundreds less. Still, the Acer Predator XB323QK is one of the best gaming monitors on the market. Heck, I think it’s one of the best monitors, period — although it seems like overkill to it use it only for spreadsheets and YouTube.

Acer Predator XB323QK review: Price and availability

  • $1,199 MSRP is a hefty price tag, so look for a deal
  • Cheaper in the U.K., at least at launch

The Acer Predator XB323QKNV gaming monitor we reviewed is available for purchase for $1,199 right now via Acer’s website (opens in new tab) or select third-party retailers. However, at the time this review was published, it’s available in the U.S. at a discounted price of $999.

For the moment, folks in the U.K. can also get a deal on this monitor by purchasing one from Curry’s (opens in new tab) for £699, discounted down from a £799 asking price. However, even the standard £799 is a nice bit of savings over the MSRP of the same monitor in the States.

Acer Predator XB323QK with 4K video playing onscreen

(Image credit: Future)

As you’ll read in this Acer Predator XB323QKNV review, this is an excellent display, but $1,200 is a lot to ask, even for a great monitor. Still, if you’re in the U.K. (or anywhere you can get a similar deal), you should be able to get the Predator XB323QKNV for a compelling price.

Acer Predator XB323QK review: Design

  • Good port selection but mostly on the bottom, which is tricky to access
  • Adjustable height and pivot are nice— rotation would have been even better

The Acer Predator XB323QK is big and takes up a significant amount of space on your desk, even though its footprint is surprisingly small). But at a glance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell it’s a gaming monitor—until you turn it on, at which point a rectangular LED light strip on the back lights up with a cool blue glow. You can customize this color, or switch it off entirely, to suit your tastes.

Acer Predator XB323QK on desk w/ rear showing

(Image credit: Future)

Spin the monitor around and you’ll find a chrome Acer Predator logo staring back at you, affixed to a stand that allows you to adjust the height of the display up and down by just over 5 inches. 

I appreciate how sturdy the Acer Predator XB323QK’s stand feels, since the display also has a 30° adjustable tilt (-5° to 25°, so it tilts farther up than down). You can also pivot it roughly 30° to either side. This gives you a lot of room to adjust the device to fit your needs: a nod to ergonomics that I wish competitors would copy when building premium monitors, such as the Apple Studio Display.

The only thing missing from the Predator is an option to rotate the display on its side. You can’t spin it sideways into portrait mode when you’re playing a classic vertically scrolling shooter, such as Ikaruga. If you’re into that sort of thing, the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U is a similarly-specced 32-inch 4K gaming monitor that can spin up to 90° into a portrait orientation.

The Acer Predator XB323QK sits on a V-shaped stand that’s easy to snap together, and it took me less than 5 minutes to set up the Predator XB323QK once I had it out of the box. If you’d rather mount the Predator on a wall or monitor arm, you can use the 100 x 100 mm VESA mounting holes on the back of the display. 

(Image credit: Future)

You turn the Predator XB323QK on and off via the power button underneath the display on the right-hand side, alongside five nearly identical function buttons that control the display’s menus. Unfortunately, the power jack and most of the ports are also located on the bottom of the display, which can make it tricky to see what you’re doing when hooking up your PC or console. 

On the lower left-hand edge of the display, you’ll find a pair of USB-A ports, but the rest are underneath the lip of the monitor. Once you squat down and peer under there, you’ll find a decent array of inputs: two HDMI 2.1 ports (which means they’re capable of displaying 4K gameplay at 120Hz from consoles), one DisplayPort, one USB-C, one USB-B and two USB-A ports, as well as an audio out. The Predator is also capable of transmitting power via the USB-C port even when turned off, which is a handy feature. 

The base of the stand is a simple V-shape with a rectangular cutout that you can use to help route cables off your desk and out of the way. The speakers built into the display won’t blow you away with their aural fidelity, but they’re good enough for playing games when you haven’t (yet) hooked up other speakers or a headset. They get pretty loud, too—during testing I rarely found a good reason to crank the volume higher than about 30%, although when I did, the metallic quality of the sound really came through.

Acer Predator XB323QK review: Screen

  • Games look great, screen gets nice and bright (400 nits)
  • 8 display modes and a slew of features

The 31.5-inch 144Hz 4K (3,840 x 2,160) screen on the Acer Predator XB323QK is an Agile-Splendor IPS panel with a 1ms response time that you can set to one of eight display modes: Action, Eco, Graphics, HDR, Racing, Standard, Sports and User mode. 

Acer Predator XB323QK w cyberpunk 2077 on screen

(Image credit: Future)

As you might guess, Racing, Standard and Sports are supposed to be tuned for optimal performance in those sorts of games. I tested all three, and they work well enough, though I could do without the superimposed crosshair in Action mode. Luckily, you have some room to modify these modes, even though only User mode gives you full control over the display settings.

Anecdotally, I think the screen on the Acer Predator looks great in HDR or User mode. Colors aren’t always the most vibrant, but they look accurate and the screen gets bright enough to ensure you’ll never have trouble making out details. The size is compelling too, especially if you (like me) sit close to your desk and like the idea of having a display that dominates your view.

When we pointed our colorimeter at the Predator and ran it through the screen’s many different modes, we got some readings that back up my experience. In Eco mode, which is the default, the Predator XB323QK achieved 138% of the sRGB color gamut (100% is most accurate) and 97.7% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, with a Delta-E value of 0.29 (closer to 0 is better).

Average brightness (nits) sRGB color gamut DCI-P3 color gamut Delta-E
Eco mode (default) at Max Brightness 359 138.1% 97.8% 0.29
User mode (brightness maxed) 378.6 137.6% 97.4% 0.21
Standard mode at Max Brightness 287.0 137.4% 97.4% 0.31
Action at Max Brightness 229.8 103% 73% 0.34
Racing mode at Max Brightness 262.6 138.6% 98.2% 0.22
Sports mode at Max Brightness 149.6 139.1% 98.6% 0.21
Graphics mode at Max Brightness 372.4 139% 98.5% 0.29
HDR mode at Max Brightness 379.0 136.9% 97% 0.31

That’s not bad, and it’s roughly in line with competitors, such as the Gigabyte Aorus FI32U (127.9% sRGB color gamut, 90.6% DCI-P3 gamut). We tested the display capabilities of all eight modes on the Acer Predator XB323QK and while there’s some variation in results, especially in the 3 genre-oriented display modes, they’re generally the same.

Acer Predator XB323QK NV gaming monitor w/ website and solitaire game onscreen

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Acer advertises the Predator as being capable of achieving up to 400 nits of brightness, and our display testing bears that out. When we switched the Predator to User mode and cranked the brightness up to max, the Predator achieved an average brightness of 378 nits that topped out at 407 nits in the center of the screen. That’s brighter than the Gigabyte M32U gaming monitor (max average brightness: 323 nits) and the aforementioned Gigabyte Aorus FI32U, except when you feed HDR content to the two Gigabyte monitors. When that happens, they both get brighter (480 and 505 nits, respectively) than the Acer Predator XB323QK. Switching the Predator over to its own HDR mode doesn’t move the needle, as it gets no brighter (405 nits) than in User mode.

Acer Predator XB323QK review: Performance

  • Games look great, across both PC and console
  • Compelling 4K video performance

The Acer Predator XB323QK is built for games, and everything I played looked great on its 31.5-inch 4K display. The yellows and reds of traffic in the gray and blue streets of Cyberpunk 2077 looked striking, but not too vibrant. Whenever I cranked my view skyward the bright blues of the virtual sky and the sharp neon of billboards reaching toward it looked appropriately bright and eye-searing. 

Acer Predator XB323QK rotated to the side w/ Total War: Warhammer II playing onscreen

(Image credit: Future)

I noticed no ghosting or frame sync issues when playing Forza Horizon 5 in 4K at a rock-solid 60 fps. The Predator was also able to hold steady framerates of up to 144 fps in the few games I could get my rig to run that fast, including Total War: Warhammer II. Playing through Death Stranding on PC is a delight on this monitor, as the details on character models look sharp (digital Guillermo Del Toro really shines) and the cool greens, blues and grays of the hills and valleys that Norman Reedus trudges through appear accurate. However, they’re not so vibrant that they throw off the muted visual design of the game. 

Acer Predator XB323QK NV gaming monitor w/ Death sTranding running onscreen

(Image credit: Future)

In Total War: Warhammer II, the crisp definition between individual units was impressive, and the sort of thing that a 32-inch 4K monitor really excels at showing.

Acer Predator XB323QK gaming monitor w/ 4k video onscreen showing island off the coast of italy

(Image credit: Future)

A 4K video flyover of Italy showed me islands that looked so sharp and real, I thought I could make out individual people. The cutscenes in games looked good enough that I briefly mistook a CGI view of the Earth for a real one. 

Acer Predator XB323QK review: Interface

  • Simple no-frills OSD
  • Customizable hotkeys are nice

The Acer Predator has a no-frills on-screen interface (OSD) that you control via five buttons laid out in a line underneath the right-hand side of the display, just left of the power button. You can customize two of the buttons (via the monitor’s “Hot Key Assignment” feature) to let you quickly access controls for other features, such as VRB (Visual Response Boost) or display gamma. This is a nice touch, though in truth I found their default brightness and volume too useful to ever change them.

The cutscenes in games looked good enough that I briefly mistook a CGI view of the Earth for a real one.

There are notches on the display to show you where these buttons are, but no further clues inscribed as to their purpose. Plug away at them for a few minutes, however, and you’ll quickly figure out how to navigate your way around the simple nested menu system, which is divided into categories such as brightness, volume, inputs and display settings. 

Here, you can play around with the display’s many calibration options and performance settings, including switching between the aforementioned eight display modes. These are pre-configured bundles of settings that you can quickly switch among or tweak to your liking. The OSD gives you control over display features such as adaptive sync, HDR, Over Drive (used to overclock your refresh rate) and ProxiSense, which you can configure to automatically dim the display when you walk away, or remind you to take breaks at customizable intervals.

You can also manage features such as power delivery via the USB-C port while the display is off, or customize the color and animation of the LED on the back of the Predator. 

Acer Predator XB323QK review: Verdict

The Acer Predator XB323QK is a great 4K gaming monitor. It’s easy to put together, with an understated matte black aesthetic and a simple, functional design. The adjustable height and pivot is useful, and while accessing the ports on the underside of the display can give you a crick in the neck, you get enough inputs to hook up your favorite gaming PC or console(s). The screen looks great, and the variety of modes gives you some fun options to play with when fine-tuning picture quality for your next gaming session.

However, whether it’s a great gaming monitor for you is a trickier question to answer. There’s no question that you get what you pay for with the Predator XB323QK, but a $1,000+ price tag makes it a bit unreasonable for all but the most passionate and well-off PC gamers. If you like what the Predator XB323QK is offering and can afford one without too much trouble, it’s should serve you well for years. 

But if you’re on the fence about shelling out around $1,000 or more (at least, here in the U.S.) for a 32-inch 4K gaming monitor, you can save a bit of money by going with a strong competitor, such as the Gigabyte M32U. It’s a 32-inch 4K 144Hz gaming monitor that’s competitive with the Predator, but (at least at the time of this review) you can get one at retailers such as Best Buy for hundreds of dollars (~$749) less than Acer’s new monitor.

Of course, the Gigabyte doesn’t come with a customizable LED backlight or eight different display modes. Whether features like that are worth the extra cost is ultimately up to you.

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