Acer XR382CQK Curved Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Review



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Fantastic from every angle.

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The world of ultra-wide gaming monitors keeps expanding, and with continued advancements in GPU technology, someday we’ll reach the dream of massive 21:9 displays with 4K resolutions and high refresh rates. Until that day arrives, the Acer XR382CQK (See it on Amazon) finds a middle ground between 1440p and 4K with a 3840 x 1600 resolution on a massive 37.5” screen. The feature set and dimensions are unique, with the exception of the similarly-priced LG 38UC99-W, but is the extra screen real estate and impressive resolution worth the hefty $1,200 price tag? Let’s find out.

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Acer XR382CQX – Design and Features

Measuring just under three feet wide, the Acer XR382CQX will require a substantial amount of space on your desk. The curved display is mounted on a sturdy metal stand, and Acer has mercifully included a convenient handle at the top for moving this giant monitor around.

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Screen dimensions notwithstanding, the simple metal legs on the stand are only marginally larger than what you’ll find on your average 16:9 monitor. I had no issues finding space for a full-sized keyboard and mouse on the same desk.

The top and side bezels on the XR382CQX are very thin, while the lower edge of the monitor features a textured plastic finish. Under that same lower edge, Acer has placed a row of LED lights which are easily customized in terms of hue and brightness via the on-screen display menu. The lighting can be further customized to produce a breathing effect, to flash occasionally, display a ripple effect, or just a standard fixed ambient light. I found most of the effects distracting, but the simple fixed lighting added a nice glow to my desk. There are also two 7w speakers under the monitor, and while they offer “DTS Sound,” they’re still subpar compared to a headset.

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The 2300R curvature on the Acer XR382CQX is fairly pronounced, and coupled with the huge display, leads to very immersive gaming experiences. The screen filled my entire field of view when sitting a comfortable distance from the monitor. An anti-glare coating covers the screen, but I never noticed any loss of clarity as a result. There’s an impressive number of I/O ports on this monitor, including two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, a DisplayPort out for daisy-chaining additional monitors, a USB-C port, and headphone jack. The inclusion of USB-C is nice, and you could even hook up a MacBook Pro to this monitor. Unfortunately, all of those ports are down-firing and a bit difficult to access. On the bright side, there are four USB 3.0 ports on that back too, and they stick straight out so they’re easy to access.

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Under the hood, the XR382CQX benefits from an in-plane switching (IPS) panel. IPS panels generally provide more accurate color reproduction and clarity compared to the more common TN panels, and as I’ll discuss in my testing analysis, the results pay off. Acer included a few gaming presets for picture setup, including racing, action, and sports modes, but overall the standard settings with some very minor tweaks worked best. The menu is accessed via an extremely useful joystick just behind the lower right side of the monitor. Navigating through the menus was surprisingly effortless and the available options for tweaking colors—including a sRGB mode—and gamma were impressive.

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As mentioned, this monitor offers a 75Hz refresh rate which can be attained using either an HDMI or DisplayPort connection at a resolution of 3840 x 1600. From a framerate standpoint, this places the XR382CQX behind the 100Hz refresh rate of the Asus ROG Swift PG348Q or the 120Hz Alienware AW3418DW. But considering the larger screen size and increased resolution, 75Hz feels like a fair trade-off. FreeSync adaptive refresh is also available on this monitor, if you’re using a compatible AMD graphics card.

Acer XR382CQX – Testing

I used Lagom’s LCD test pages to get some readings on how the Acer XR382CQX performed in regards to factors like contrast, gamma, response time, and black levels. This monitor handles contrast very well, with clear separation of colors across the spectrum from dark to light tones. Moreover, black levels were very impressive for an IPS monitor—even the darkest tones in my testing stood out perfectly in front of a black background. White tone saturation was adequate, however the lightest tones did tend to get lost in a white background.

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The latter could be caused by the slightly off gamma readings presented by this monitor. I found that moving the gamma setting in the on-screen display up to 2.4 from the standard 2.2 did actually make things look a bit better. That said, this small aberration didn’t translate to any significant visual issues while gaming despite a slightly darker overall feel to the brightness of the monitor. Acer rates the XR382CQX as having a 5ms grey-to-grey average response time, and according to my testing this appeared to hold true. Overall response times were excellent across all but the darkest transitions which hovered just over the 10ms mark.

…this curved panel looks fantastic from just about any angle.

Viewing angles on IPS panels are generally great, but this curved panel looks fantastic from just about any angle. Granted, it’s unlikely you’ll view a screen this large and curved from a side-view, but there was absolutely no color loss when looking at the XR382CQX from the top or sides. Likewise, color reproduction on this monitor is fantastic whether the sRGB mode is engaged or not. Using Blur Buster’s test site, I did notice a small amount of ghosting, or artifacts left behind fast moving objects. Unfortunately, there’s no blur reduction technology baked into this particular monitor (though it does have AMD FreeSync, as stated previously), but ghosting was rarely noticeable while actually playing games.

Acer XR382CQX – Gaming

Clearly, even with a refresh rate cap of around 75Hz, a 3840 x 1600 resolution on a huge ultra-wide screen will require some fairly decent hardware for optimal performance. My rig utilized a GTX 1080 Ti for playing games and as a result I had very little trouble hitting 75 frames per second even on the highest or ultra settings in most games—the sole exception being Far Cry 5 which still runs beautifully at 60fps. The results are wonderful as the Acer XR382QCX looks incredible running pretty much anything, but first-person shooters certainly take on new life with such a large, curved display.

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Overwatch and Far Cry 5 were both fantastically immersive, allowing me to use my peripheral vision while running around and gunning down bad guys. That said, the 75Hz refresh rate can still feel like a bit of a hindrance while playing a super-fast competitive shooter like Overwatch. Still, it’s a decent tradeoff as the XR382CQX sits smack in the middle of QHD and 4k resolutions, allowing for slightly higher frame and refresh rates compared to a 4K monitor.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds also benefited greatly from the increased screen real estate, really throwing me into the game and allowing me to keep my eyes scanning across an entire field for enemies. Colors looked lifelike and the jump from a 27-inch 16:9 monitor to this huge 21:9 display was jarring, in the best way possible.

I’ve spent an incredible amount of hours reviewing ultrawide monitors over the last year, and the Acer XR382CQK is easily one of the best I’ve used. While I’m not ready to say it’s necessarily better than the Alienware AW3418DW or Asus PG348Q, its unique resolution and excellent feature set it apart, especially if you’re rocking an AMD GPU.

Purchasing Guide

The Acer XR382CQK has an MSRP of around $1,100 but you can usually find it for less than $1000 on Amazon:

 

The Verdict

If you’re looking for an ultrawide monitor with a tiny bit more resolution than the usual 3440 x 1440 — and you’ve got a video card that can handle it —the Acer XR382CQX is a gorgeous, immersive panel that’s excellent for gaming. You’ll have to come to terms with playing at a sub-100Hz refresh rate, but considering its resolution you should expect that.



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