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Fast refresh rate and response time
Pivots between landscape and portrait
Multiple customization options
Doesn’t have good side viewing angles
No USB port
Acer did an excellent job designing the XFA240, creating a monitor that’s all about function over form.
The Acer XFA240 offers some of the higher specs you’d typically see in a more expensive monitor, yet its price is relatively affordable. I tested the XFA240 for 40 hours, examining its design, setup process, picture quality, and sound quality to see how it stacks up against other budget gaming monitors on the market.
The 24-inch XFA240 doesn’t have that ultra-sleek look you get with a lot of the best high-end gaming monitors—the bezel measures about one-half inch in thickness, and it isn’t flush with the screen. All around the perimeter of the screen, the bezel protrudes outward by about 5 mm. The thickness of the bezel, coupled with the device’s overall depth, give the XFA240 a somewhat dated look. However, the monitor’s colors improve the aesthetic, matte black with red trim on the base. This makes the monitor look good at first glance.
In the bottom right-hand corner sit six hard buttons that control the monitor’s features and functions. The far-right button turns the monitor on and off, but there’s also a main power switch on the back. The remaining five buttons control the menu functions, volume, inputs, and modes. The buttons aren't as intuitive as a joystick control, and you have to do a lot of double pressing the buttons to navigate through the different menu options.
One place where the monitor shines is its stand. The ergonomic features are top-notch. The base is round and somewhat large, but the monitor is VESA mount compatible, so you can eliminate the base if you need more desk space.
Like many of the best monitor arms, the XFA240's lets you adjust the height up and down by about six inches (150 mm) and swivel the monitor 60 degrees in either direction. The XFA240 tilts 35 degrees back and five degrees forward as well. Best of all, it pivots a full 90-degrees from landscape to portrait orientation. You could even make the screen sit diagonally and the monitor would remain stable. There’s a little wobble, regardless of how you adjust the pivot, tilt, and swivel features.
The XFA240 comes extremely well-protected in its packaging. Like most monitors, it’s wrapped in that protective foam paper and then encased on both sides in thick styrofoam. There’s virtually no room in the box for anything to move around, so even if the box itself goes through the wringer during shipping, it’s unlikely the monitor will be damaged. The box I received had definitely seen better days, but the monitor and every component inside were still in perfect shape. In the box, you get the monitor, stand, arm, power cable, an audio cable, and a DP cable (sadly, it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable).
Setup takes less than five minutes, and it just requires that you connect the base to the arm, snap the arm on the back of the monitor, plug, and play. Because everything is so tightly packaged in the box, it took me longer to remove all of the components from the box than to actually set up the monitor.
When I first connected the monitor to my tower, I noticed the colors were a bit muted, but after I messed with the settings I had a brilliant HD picture. You can adjust the brightness and contrast like you can on most monitors, but the XFA240 also lets you adjust the black level, which is really great for games that are hard to see. There’s a blue-light filter too, which can help reduce eye strain during long sessions, especially if you wear glasses that don’t have good blue light protection.
The XFA240’s 1920 x 1080 resolution certainly isn’t jaw-dropping, but for a 24-inch screen, it’s not bad. The monitor has FreeSync and G-Sync compatibility, so it works with your compatible graphics card to adjust the refresh rate based on frame rate. That means you won’t have to worry so much about the tearing, flickering, or artifacting that happens when your computer is outputting more frames per second than your monitor is designed to handle.
The XFA240’s 1920 x 1080 resolution certainly isn’t jaw-dropping, but for a 24-inch screen, it’s not bad.
You don’t get the best side-viewing angles with the XFA240. Although the specifications indicate a 170-degree horizontal viewing angle, the screen starts to look muddy and distorted when you view it from the side. The more you angle yourself away from the screen, the worse the view. Fortunately, you can swivel the monitor, but the viewing angle may be an issue for someone sitting next to you and watching you play.
Two speakers sit above the stand connection on the back of the XFA240. The dual two-watt speakers on the XFA240 are a nice addition but they don’t produce ultra-high quality audio. There’s little bass and mid-tone depth, but for a pair of budget monitor speakers, they’ll definitely do the trick. If you’re planning on watching a lot of movies or listening to music, you’ll probably want to connect an external speaker using the audio output jack. For online gaming, you can just use a good gaming headset.
I attempted to use Acer’s Display Widget, which offers screen splitting and picture customization features. However, the Display Widget indicated that the XFA240 was not a compatible model.
That said, the monitor’s OSD has a pretty comprehensive menu for eColor management, as well as blue light filtering, black level adjusting, brightness, and contrast adjustments. There’s a game mode too, and you can save three different custom profile settings, which is helpful because you can create a shortcut for the games you play most often.
The XFA240 retails for $300, but you can easily find it on sale for around $180. Given the monitor’s build quality, speed, and customization options, the Acer XFA240 is a great value.
Another similarly priced 24-inch gaming monitor, Asus’s VG245H (view on Amazon), also has a stand that lets you switch between landscape and portrait. It has some of the same specs, including a 1-ms response time and FreeSync compatibility. The Acer XFA240 is FreeSync and G-sync compatible though and has a much faster refresh rate than the Asus VG245H’s 75 Hz. The VG245H is designed as a console gaming monitor, with two HDMI ports and no DP.
Acer’s XFA240 offers better performance than a typical gaming monitor in this price range.
While it makes some concessions, particularly in its design, its speed and overall image quality render it a worthy contender as a PC gaming monitor.