Acer’s HDMI 2.1 Gaming Monitor Is the One You’ve Been Waiting For

Finally, an obtainable HDMI 2.1 monitor!

Key Takeaways

  • Acer’s XV282K KV can handle 4K/120Hz gaming on the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
  • Priced at $899, it’s the most affordable HDMI 2.1 monitor yet.
  • Slashing the price doesn’t compromise the monitor’s image quality. 
Acer's HDMI 2.1 Gaming Monitor

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

Gamers starved for an obtainable, mainstream HDMI 2.1 monitor have a new option to look forward to.

Acer’s XV282K KV is a 28-inch gaming display with three magic numbers: 4K resolution, a 144Hz refresh rate, and HDMI 2.1. These combine to make Acer’s latest gaming monitor an ideal candidate for gamers craving one display to rule them all.

Yet the monitor’s most important number might be the MSRP, which lands at "just" $899. That’s the lowest yet for an HDMI 2.1 monitor. 

Some might call it overkill. I call it a monitor for young professionals.

HDMI 2.1 That Fits on Your Desk

You might wonder why 4K, 144Hz, and HDMI 2.1 matter. The answer can be found in modern game consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. They deliver smooth gameplay at up to 120 frames per second at 4K resolution, but only over HDMI 2.1.

Unfortunately, display technology has lagged behind consoles. Precious few monitors have HDMI 2.1 this year and most that have it, like the Asus ROG Strix XG43UQ and Gigabyte Aorus FV43U, are large enough to replace a TV. Acer’s XV282K KV, with its tame 28-inch screen, can easily fit on a desk. What a concept!

Its size means owners will likely use this monitor with both a PC and console in a gaming den, home office, or small apartment. Acer wisely leans into this with a focus on sharp, vibrant, yet accurate visuals. 

Vibrant games like Valorant and Overwatch seem to leap off the screen with exaggerated, highly saturated colors and exquisite details. Players upgrading from 1080p will be surprised by the intricate detail that becomes visible in character geometry and textures. This is true even for older titles like The Witcher 3. You’ll see every chainmail link and embroidered leather stitching in Geralt’s best armor sets. 

This pairs well with the monitor’s excellent color accuracy and range of well-calibrated gamma presets. These traits may not sound exciting, but they’re a must-have for creative professionals who want to ensure the image they see will look similar on other displays. 

It’s also helpful in games that rely on a more realistic presentation like Microsoft Flight Simulator. The cockpit of a Cessna Citation, and the scenery outside, has a detailed yet subdued look that feels true to life.

Throw in the high refresh rate, which delivers fast response times and smooth gameplay in competitive titles, and you have a monitor that can handle anything you throw at it. Some might call it overkill. I call it a monitor for young professionals. 

Still Some Disappointments 

Well… almost anything.

The Acer Nitro XV282K KV is VESA DisplayHDR400 certified, which means it can accept and display an HDR signal at a peak brightness over 400 nits. That’s great for a monitor and much, much brighter than you’d want for normal use. Yet it’s not bright enough to excel. HDR content will offer a tad more brilliance and more details in bright content, but the difference between HDR and SDR can be hard to notice outside a side-by-side comparison.

Close up of the Acer XV282K KV monitor.

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

There’s nothing special about the monitor’s core display technology, either. It’s an IPS panel lit by LEDs along the edges of the display. Monitors have used this combination of panel and backlight, which is notorious for disappointing performance in dark scenes, for over a decade.

The XV282K KV doesn’t flip the script. Dark scenes in movies can lack detail as the monitor struggles to show subtle gradations between dark gray and pitch black. You’ll also notice the monitor’s edges are slightly brighter than its center. 

Such flaws are disappointing in a display priced near $1,000, but hardly unique. Nearly all monitors suffer from these problems. And while far from perfect, Acer’s new monitor has less obvious backlight bleed than many high-end gaming displays. Gamers on a monitor that’s several years old will see an improvement. 

The number I ultimately return to is the price: $899. That’s great for an HDMI 2.1 monitor and competitive with many current 4K/144Hz monitors that lack it. I worried Acer would have to cut corners to make that price possible, but that’s not the case. The Acer Nitro XV282KV scores well in most areas and absolutely slays in color accuracy, where it ranks among the best of 2021. This monitor’s size, resolution, and image quality will offer rare value when it arrives in stores later this summer.

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