Acer Predator XB252Q 240Hz Monitor Review

Grayscale, Gamma & Color

Grayscale Tracking

The XB252Q defaults to its User picture mode when changes are made to any of the image controls, including the brightness slider. It offers adequate, if not impressive, out-of-box accuracy, but a few tweaks will improve things.

Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.

The first three charts are almost identical. Whether you choose the uncalibrated User mode, sRGB preset, or Action gaming mode, the white point is a bit warm with visible errors starting at 50% brightness. In actual content, it’s not a big deal, and we suspect most users will be satisfied. If you have the means, or if you’d like to try our settings from page three, there are some gains to be had that leave only 10% brightness with a visible issue. That translates to a slight blue push, but you’ll be hard-pressed to see it in test patterns or real-world material.

Comparisons

Only the ViewSonic manages to average less than 3dE in its default state. The other screens all have slightly visible issues, though only the Monoprice exhibits significant problems. Gaming monitors are not known for hyper-accurate color, so that means a third-place finish for the XB252Q in the pre-calibration test.

After adjustment, the entire group is well below the visible error threshold and leaves Acer in fifth place. You won’t see a problem with any of the screens, even if they were all lined up together. This level of performance is typical for the category.

Gamma Response

The first three gamma charts all indicate a contrast control that is set too high. The detail clip is severe and can easily be seen in our 11-step grayscale pattern. The top two brightness levels, 90 and 100%, look almost the same. That means highlight detail will look flat and washed out. Luckily, we were able to reduce the contrast slider 10-clicks without significant penalty. Dynamic range is still good with a sequential contrast ratio just under 900:1. Making this change increases gamma a bit with tracking close to 2.4 when the preset is on 2.2. This makes the picture a tad dark, but we increased brightness to compensate. There’s plenty of headroom after all. All of this has a positive effect on color accuracy, which you’ll see in the next section.

Comparisons

Gamma tracking rides above the 2.2 standard but values stay in a tight range of only .15; good enough for a second-place finish in the first comparison. With an average value of 2.36, the XB252Q is a tiny bit too dark, but upping brightness takes care of that minor aberration. Most importantly, color saturation tracks well at all levels; we’ll show you those results now.

Color Gamut & Luminance

For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, please click here.

The XB252Q nails the outer gamut points (100% saturation) almost perfectly but is a little over-enthusiastic at lower levels. Not only do the saturation measurements exceed their targets, luminance is past the neutral point as well. This is all due to the contrast slider, which is set too high by default. Reducing it 10 clicks fixes gamma tracking and color in equal measure. Luminance levels have dropped a little too far, but that doesn’t translate to actual content. Color detail is excellent, and all hues look natural and vivid, as they should. The only head-scratcher here is a slight hue error in magenta after calibration. It’s not a big deal, but typically secondary colors line up better after grayscale adjustments.

Comparisons

Our tweaks have taken the average color from 3.58 to 2.59dE. It’s a modest gain but one you can see with the naked eye. The XB252Q trails a bit behind the other screens, but we’re picking nits. Users would be satisfied with any of the displays here.

While a last-place finish in the gamut volume test might be of concern, it should be noted that four of the panels exceed the correct sRGB volume. Acer comes quite close to an ideal 100%, just like its main competitor, the PG258Q.

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  • Lucky_SLS
    These 240Hz r for the Hardcore Henry of e-sports gamers,
    Bring out the HDR and FreeSync 2 beauties !!!
  • dstarr3
    The last time I had a TN panel was 15 years ago. I should give them another shot, they probably look a lot better today than they did the last time I had one.
  • BulkZerker
    Where's the freesync version?
  • AgentLozen
    I'm happy to see that engineers keep pushing the limits of panel technologies. It's a shame that this monitor couldn't have ran at a higher resolution or used a better display technology. Subjectively, can you see the difference between 144Hz and 240Hz?

    DSTARR3 said:
    The last time I had a TN panel was 15 years ago. I should give them another shot, they probably look a lot better today than they did the last time I had one.


    I'm using a Dell TN at home. After a little calibration, I think it looks great. Sometimes I notice the shoddy viewing angles and I sometimes wonder if it would look a little nicer with 8-bit color, but I'm satisfied otherwise. If you're in the market for a gaming monitor and you don't have bionic eyes that are sensitive to minor color inaccuracy, I'm sure this monitor would be great for you.
  • joz
    Maybe I'm showing my age...

    But when did Acer become a premium product supplier? They used to sit right above "EMachines" when it came to jokes (and spec sheets) about their products performance and quality.


    That being said, I've been perfectly happy with my XB27.
  • dstarr3
    496490 said:
    I'm happy to see that engineers keep pushing the limits of panel technologies. It's a shame that this monitor couldn't have ran at a higher resolution or used a better display technology. Subjectively, can you see the difference between 144Hz and 240Hz?
    DSTARR3 said:
    The last time I had a TN panel was 15 years ago. I should give them another shot, they probably look a lot better today than they did the last time I had one.
    I'm using a Dell TN at home. After a little calibration, I think it looks great. Sometimes I notice the shoddy viewing angles and I sometimes wonder if it would look a little nicer with 8-bit color, but I'm satisfied otherwise. If you're in the market for a gaming monitor and you don't have bionic eyes that are sensitive to minor color inaccuracy, I'm sure this monitor would be great for you.


    I actually do have "bionic eyes," lol. I do a lot of photo editing that relies on color-accurate, calibrated displays, and I can pretty reliably detect inaccuracies, which is why I ditched TN panels 15 years ago. But that being said, I don't really need critical accuracy when playing games. I think I'd be alright with a super-high refresh rate at the expense of super-accurate color in games. So long as it looks, like, not obviously way off, I'm sure I'd be fine with it. The viewing angles might be problematic, though.
  • ubercake
    How can Acer use the same panel as Asus and provide a monitor with the same specs, but in reality so much lower contrast? $70 difference.
  • AgentLozen
    DSTARR3 said:
    I think I'd be alright with a super-high refresh rate at the expense of super-accurate color in games.


    That's what I'm trying to describe. There's never been a time when I was like, "Does Mercy have brown hair or blonde hair?" The picture is pretty good especially after a little calibration. I'm speaking from the experience of my Dell TN.
  • dstarr3
    299576 said:
    How can Acer use the same panel as Asus and provide a monitor with the same specs, but in reality so much lower contrast? $70 difference.


    If I had to guess, binning. The panels roll off the line, some are better than others, Asus pays the premium for the best ones, Acer takes the rest.
  • Lucky_SLS
    ^ wait, that's there even in monitor panels? I thought binning is only for cpu.
  • egyptiankang
    299576 said:
    How can Acer use the same panel as Asus and provide a monitor with the same specs, but in reality so much lower contrast? $70 difference.


    You can pick up the XB252Q for $430 if you are near a Micro Center guess it's just the Asus Rog tax.
  • dstarr3
    2381310 said:
    ^ wait, that's there even in monitor panels? I thought binning is only for cpu.


    I don't know for sure if there is such a thing as binning with monitor panels, but binning is absolutely a manufacturing procedure that extends beyond CPUs. Wristwatches, for example. A wide variety of watches use mechanisms that were built on the same assembly line, but the ones that roll off the line and keep better time go in more expensive watches.
  • Lucky_SLS
    ^ yeah, I know abt binning, but just wasn't sure abt screen panels though. Mostly cuz I don't know how they are manufactured. [mechanical engineer here ^_^]
  • extremepcs1
    I'll stick with my 16:10 IPS.
  • Rekta1981
    1440p sure but not 1080p
  • AgentLozen
    extremepcs1 said:
    I'll stick with my 16:10 IPS.


    God pulled a week of all-nighters on a 16:10 IPS when he designed the world. The art assets are all made in MSPaint and He wove it all together in assembly.
  • sztepa82
    The article starts with "In the battle for gaming monitor supremacy, there’s Acer and Asus, and then there’s everyone else." WAT.......

    I didn't bother to read any further
  • Lucky_SLS
    ^ but that's pretty much true imo. LG, all though a good panel maker, doesn't have many high end monitors and no g sync to be particular. View sonic has just entered the market and BenQ is just now slowly including g sync ones in its portfolio.
    So yes, Asus and acer are the front runners.
    Samsung monitors till now have ghosting issues.
  • AgentLozen
    I'll trade you 10 units for a copy of Noma's Virus.
  • SilentMarket
    299576 said:
    How can Acer use the same panel as Asus and provide a monitor with the same specs, but in reality so much lower contrast? $70 difference.


    Because Acer doesn't get the TÜV Low Blue Light certification, it doesn't pay for a better filtering technology, which means a bad blue light filter and intense eyes drain.
    This monitor hurts my eyes so bad in dim light that I had to returned it.
    While Asus PG258Q is fine in the dim light.