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Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Bright, crisp image
Great color accuracy
Perfect balance of resolution and refresh rates
Some backlight bleed
The Acer Predator X38 has just about everything you could want in a high-end gaming monitor, but expect to pay a hefty price for it.
Acer provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for our full take.
The Acer Predator X38 is a joy to use. It’s so good, in fact, that I suspect I might have subconsciously dragged my feet when reviewing this ultrawide monitor so I could use it a little longer. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.
The Acer Predator X38 checks just about every important box on my dream monitor list. It’s 37.5 inches of immersive, curved (but not-too-too curved) display real estate at a resolution just shy of 4K. It sports a snappy response time, wide color gamut, high contrast ratio (with HDR400 support), 144Hz (175Hz with OC) refresh rate, and G-Sync support. For a lot of gamers and plenty of productivity-focused non-gamers, that’s all we’ve ever wanted out of a monitor.
The Acer Predator X38 checks just about every important box on my dream monitor list.
Despite the overwhelming number of items in the pros column, there are still some drawbacks that will scare off some potential shoppers. We’ll take a look at the amount of desk real estate that the monitor commands, the way that the curve affects non-gaming activities, and the elephant in the room, the price.
The Acer Predator X38 features an incredibly solid, sturdy construction that inspires confidence from the moment it’s removed from the box. Speaking of which, you might want a friend to help you remove it from the box because this monitor is an unwieldy 21 pounds and stretches out 35.3 x 23.3 x 11.4 inches (HWD) with the stand. It’s quite clear by looking at the monitor that Acer designed it with only the monitor's interests in mind, without much regard for your desk.
The Acer Predator X38 replaced my personal monitor, a 34 inch Dell UltraSharp U3415W, on my desk at home. I assumed this would be a minor change, and I was woefully mistaken. It may be just 3.5 additional inches of monitor, but the more pronounced curve (2300R vs the U3415W’s 3800R), and a much larger stand meant I had to do some serious re-arranging to get everything to fit on my relatively modest, 24-inch-deep desk. Potential buyers should definitely take some measurements if they don’t currently have a monitor this large.
The stand itself, despite its somewhat cumbersome design, is incredibly solid and does a fantastic job keeping the monitor sturdy. There is a handle on the very top of the stand that makes moving and repositioning the device a lot more manageable. The Acer Predator X38 also has a solid amount of height adjustment (5.12 inches), and the spring-loaded design makes adjustment effortless, even on this heavy monitor.
Finally, the nearly bezel-less design leaves precious little to discuss from a design perspective on the front of the display, and I mean that in the best way possible. The display extends nearly to the edge on all sides, with the exception of the bottom where Acer left a small half-inch chin which displays the predator logo. Overall I have to say I’m impressed by how much restraint Acer exercised on the design of this display. So many “gaming” focused products just can’t help but layer on the cheese, but the X38 looks like something an adult with a job might actually use.
I feel very spoiled after using the Acer Predator X38 as my daily work-and-play monitor for a few weeks now. Even coming from my 3440 x 1440 display, the 3840 x 1600 resolution of the X38 was a noticeable upgrade. I didn’t realize how much of a difference it makes having that extra vertical resolution, especially when using the monitor for productivity, and in my case, video editing and motion graphics tasks. It’s a luxury I might not be able to resist when shopping for my next monitor.
The resolution in and of itself was a nice upgrade, but getting that resolution at 144Hz (or 175Hz with an OC) made for an astonishing difference. My personal ultrawide monitor tops out at 60Hz, and I pity future me for when he has to go back. While diminishing returns certainly come into play at very high refresh rates, there is such an obvious, undeniable difference between 60Hz and 144Hz. Acer’s Predator X35 steps this all the way up to 200Hz, but I was less impressed by the leap from 144Hz to 200Hz.
Acer Predator X38 chooses a pronounced, but still comparatively modest 2300R curvature for the display. It’s certainly noticeable, but also quite easy to adapt to. It’s a lot curvier than the mild 3800R found on my personal monitor, but far less extreme than the Samsung Odyssey G9 G97’s 1000R curvature, which is so tight you can practically wear it like a headband.
It has refresh rates and response times suitable for gaming, while still being accurate enough to do color-sensitive work.
The Acer Predator X38 does feature HDR support, although it’s not the most impressive HDR spec you can find. The HDR400 rating means you’ll see a peak luminance of 400 nits in HDR mode–a noticeable bump from your standard SDR display, but quite a ways off from the retina cauterizing photon hose found in an HDR1000 display such as the Acer Predator X35. The X38 finds the perfect balance to my eyes, but some might prefer the extreme contrast of higher HDR grades.
Finally, color reproduction is another point that really sold me. The Acer Predator X38 sports a 98 percent DCI-P3 color gamut with a Delta E<2. In other words, the color accuracy is great enough that any inaccuracies are largely undetectable to anything but a colorist. This is one of the advantages of using an IPS panel. You typically sacrifice contrast and response time in exchange for greatly enhanced color, although advancements in recent years have closed the gap considerably. As a result, the X38 still manages a 1,000:1 maximum contrast ratio and snappy 1ms GtG response times.
It’s really difficult to find a swiss-army knife in the monitor world, and the Predator X38 is the closest I’ve found to date.
And this is why I love this display so much. It has refresh rates and response times suitable for gaming, while still being accurate enough to do color-sensitive work. It’s really difficult to find a swiss-army knife in the monitor world, and the Predator X38 is the closest I’ve found to date.
The Acer Predator X38 has a little bit more than we normally see in monitors, including 4x USB 3.0 ports–2 positioned on the bottom and 2 positioned, mercifully, on the side for easier access. The monitor also comes equipped with a 1 USB upstream port and a headphone jack. In terms of video inputs, you have one HDMI 2.0 and one DisplayPort 1.4.
It’ll be a cold day in hell when I sing the praises of the onboard speakers on a monitor, but the Acer Predator X38 does a fine enough job. The two 7W speakers approximate what you might get out of a middling Bluetooth speaker–serviceable midrange, decent volume, and low distortion. It should tie you over in a pinch, but I wouldn’t recommend watching a movie with them.
It’ll be a cold day in hell when I sing the praises of the onboard speakers on a monitor, but the Acer Predator X38 does a fine enough job.
The Acer Predator X38 is available at an MSRP of $1,690. It’s a lot of money for a display, there’s really no getting around it. And why yes, you could buy an entire gaming PC for that price. Nonetheless, a good display will last you a very long time.
With any luck, it will be around for the better part of a decade. And if you’re reading this review, I’m willing to bet you’re going to spend a large portion of your waking hours staring directly into your monitor. So maybe it’s not completely insane to spend that much on a display. Okay, maybe a little. But, you know, we get it.
If you thought the Predator X38 was expensive, wait until you meet the Predator X35. This ultra-premium display costs $2,500, which is seriously going to cut into your motorcycle budget. It’ll also make for a super funny story to tell your landlord when you can’t make rent. But I’m sure once you explain that it has a maximum contrast ratio of 2,500:1, DisplayHDR 1000, and a 200Hz refresh rate, they’ll let it slide, just this one time.
In all seriousness, the X35 does have a few other tricks up its sleeve, like 512 local dimming zones, 1000 nits of brightness, and even ambient lighting on the back. But you have to slum it with a mere 3440x1440 resolution compared to the X38’s 3840x1600.
Overall the X35 might be a better pick for those that solely use their monitor for gaming and aren’t worried about price, but for everyone else, I’d certainly recommend the X38.
The best of all worlds.
The Acer Predator X38 is a hair away from being the perfect monitor. It may not be the absolute best at absolutely everything, but it excels across the board and does so more convincingly than any monitor I’ve tested to date. Unfortunately, the price point will keep it off many shoppers’ lists, but those who can afford it won’t be disappointed.
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