Loaded with features including multiple game modes and lighting effects. AMD FreeSync enabled. Solid performance. Three-year warranty.
Expensive. Some ports are difficult to access.
- Bottom Line
The 38-inch Acer XR382CQK curved-screen monitor offers accurate colors and stellar gaming performance. It's expensive, but its extensive feature set and humongous screen are worth the price.
The XR382CQK ($1,299.99) is not only the newest member of Acer's impressive stable of gaming monitors, it's also the biggest. Based on a 38-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel, this display uses AMD's FreeSync adaptive synchronization technology to eliminate screen artifacts and provide ultra-smooth gaming action, and it delivers accurate colors and solid grayscale performance. It comes with numerous digital video ports, USB-C connectivity, a four-port USB 3.0 hub, advanced color settings, and lots of gamer-friendly features, including multiple game modes and lighting effects. It's our Editors' Choice for extra-large-screen gaming monitors.
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Design and Features
Like the same-size LG 38UC99-W, you'll need lots of room on your desktop to accommodate the XR382CQK, as it measures 23.1 by 35.3 by 12.1 inches (HWD). Alternately, you can hang the 24-pound cabinet on a wall using an optional VESA mounting kit. The black, bezel-free cabinet is supported by a metal, V-shaped stand that gives you 5 inches of height, 40 degrees of tilt, and 60 degrees of swivel adjustability, and has a built-in cable organizer. The bottom edge of the cabinet has a strip of 12 LEDs that can be lit up in white, red, blue, green, or orange, or you can have them change colors randomly to add ambiance to your gaming experience. They can be configured to create a breathing effect, a ripple effect, flash randomly, or remain fixed.
The WQHD+ (3,840-by-1,600) panel has the same 2,300R curvature as the LG 38UC99-W (which means that if you put several of these monitors edge to edge to create a complete circle, the circle's radius would be 2,300mm). The curve is more pronounced than the Acer Predator X34 (3,800R), but slightly less so than the Acer Predator Z35 (2,000R). The panel supports AMD's FreeSync anti-tearing technology and delivers a peak brightness of 300 cd/m2, a 21:9 aspect ratio, a 1,000:1 native contrast ratio, a 75Hz refresh rate, and a 5-millisecond pixel response. The embedded 7-watt speakers are loud, and offer decent bass response.
Connectivity options are abundant. At the rear of the cabinet are two HDMI ports, one of which doubles as a Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) port, a DisplayPort Input, a USB-C upstream port, a headphone jack, and a DisplayPort output that allows you to daisy-chain multiple monitors. All of these ports are down-facing and can be difficult to reach without physically upending the cabinet. In contrast, the four USB 3.0 ports that are also in the back all face outward and are easily accessible.
The right side of the rear cabinet holds a power button and a tiny, four-way joystick and three function buttons for accessing and navigating the settings menus. There are three picture presets optimized for gaming (Action, Racing, and Sports), as well as Standard, Movie, Graphics, ECO, and User modes. Picture settings include Brightness, Contrast, Black Boost, Sharpness, and Blue Light to help ease eyestrain. Color settings are plentiful; in addition to Gamma and Color Temperature, you can use the RGB Gain and Bias settings and the 6-Axis-Hue and -Saturation settings to fine-tune colors and calibrate the screen. Other settings include Aim Point aiming reticles to help you get a bead on the enemy, Picture-in-Picture (PiP) and Picture-by-Picture (PbP) settings, a Daisy Chain setting (Clone or Extend), and ambient light settings, where you can adjust the monitor's lighting effects.
Acer covers the XR382CQK with a three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight. Included in the box are a USB-C cable, a DisplayPort cable, an HDMI cable, a Quick Start guide, and a VESA mounting plate for use with an optional wall-mounting kit.
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The XR382CQK rocked our gaming performance tests. Fast motion in our Crysis 3 (PC) and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Sony PlayStation 4) tests appeared fluid and relatively artifact-free, although I did notice minor screen tearing in Crysis 3 every so often. Enabling FreeSync eliminated the tearing and made gameplay appear noticeably smoother in both games. The panel's 12.3-millisecond input lag, as measured using a Leo Bodnar Video Signal Lag Tester, is relatively short, but not as short as our leader, the BenQ SW2700PT (9.5 milliseconds).
Out-of-the-box color accuracy was quite good. As shown on the chromaticity chart below, red, green, and blue color measurements (represented by the colored dots) line up nicely with their ideal CIE coordinates (represented by the boxes). Moreover, colors appeared well saturated and uniform in the DisplayMate Color Purity and Uniformity tests and while displaying scenes from Marvel's Deadpool on Blu-ray. Grayscale performance was also solid; the panel cleanly displayed every shade of gray from the DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test and provided excellent shadow and highlight detail in my test photos. Additionally, color quality and luminance remained steady even when viewed from an extreme top, side, or bottom angle.
The XR382CQK consumed 54 watts of power while set to Standard mode. That's a bit higher than the LG 38UC99-W (49 watts) and the slightly smaller BenQ XR3501 (50 watts). But there's an ECO mode that reduces consumption to 43 watts (the LG and BenQ monitors do not offer an ECO mode).
No question, the Acer XR382CQK will put a big dent in your wallet, but its performance and generous feature set justify its lofty price. Its massive 38-inch IPS panel delivers crisp, accurate colors and very good grayscale performance, and its sharp curve makes you feel closer to the action than with a traditional flat panel. Both the XR382CQK and the LG 38UC99-W delivered excellent gaming performance in our tests, and both offer neat gamer-centric features, including support for FreeSync technology and multiple gaming presets. However, the XR382CQK has a few features that the LG 38UC99-W lacks, such as a DisplayPort output, aiming reticles and cool lighting effects, and a three-year warranty (the LG 38UC99-W has a one-year warranty). It's also $200 less expensive. All this makes the XR382CQK our new top pick for extra-large-screen gaming monitors.
By John R. Delaney Contributing Editor
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, John spent six years in retail operations for… More »
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