The Acer Predator X38 is one of the most intriguing gaming monitors I’ve seen in a long time. It has a massive 37.5-inch screen. It’s curved, but so gently you can barely notice it when you’re sitting in front of it. It offers a refresh rate of 144Hz out of the box and can be overclocked to a more than respectable 175Hz. And it has 90% DCI-P3 color gamut and Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate.
But if you want all the bells and whistles, you’ll have to be ready to pony up. The X38 costs a whopping $1,799. Can any monitor be worth that?
Acer Predator X38 – Pictures
Acer Predator X38 – Design and Features
The first thing I noticed upon taking the monitor out of the box is that it’s surprisingly light. It’s not a featherweight, but at 20.8 pounds you can stick it to many VESA mounts without too much trouble.
But make no mistake, the monitor is huge, with a smooth 2300R curvature. It’s just curvy enough to show off the sides without feeling like it’s wrapping around your head. Under the panel you will find an audio jack, a DisplayPort 1.4, 4 USB 3.0 ports and two HDMI 2.0 ports. Unfortunately, there is no HDMI 2.1 available.
Despite the name, the monitor measures 37.5 inches at 3840 x 1600 resolution. Out of the box, it can support a 144Hz refresh rate or 175Hz when overclocked. It has an Agile-Splendor IPS display that can support 178-degree viewing angles and Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate.
The monitor is VESA certified for DisplayHDR 600. If you are unaware, this certification means the monitor can achieve at least 600 cd/m brightness, local dimming, etc. 600 is fine, but it might be a little disappointing for those hoping for the DisplayHDR 1400 offered in something like the Asus ROG Swift PG32UQX or even 1000 in the Acer Predator X35.
The X38 sits on a sturdy stand that offers a generous tilt (approximately 35°) and can be raised and lowered 5.12″. This, plus the two easily accessible USB ports on the left side of the monitor, make plugging in cords a breeze. (And that’s quite rare for such a large monitor!)
In the box, you’ll find the monitor, a DisplayPort cable, a power cord, an HDMI cable, and a USB 3.0 cable.
Acer Predator X38 – Performance and gaming
There’s a lot to like about this monitor, and it starts with its size and shape. The X38 is only large enough – that is, it is massive, but not comical. The curve is particularly great – it’s shallow enough that you hardly notice it at first, but it does make the whole experience more immersive.
I much prefer this sizing to something like a TV format, which would have my eyes rolled up while trying to watch the upper quadrants. The X38 is still taller than you might expect, at 19.2 inches tall, but it’s still quite manageable. Response time is also impressive, with a refresh rate of 144Hz out of the box using DisplayPort – and can be overclocked to 175Hz.
The monitor also performed well using Lagom’s LCD tests, with relatively bright contrast levels, although the darkest blacks and brightest whites were often indecipherable, despite monitor adjustments. There was also a small, but noticeable, amount of banding in the gradient tests and very slight pixel walking in the inversion tests.
The base is huge and bothered me enough that I decided to try it out with a VESA mount. Not all VESA mounts will work under the weight of the monitor, but mine held the X38 steady and removed the 11-inch spikes the X38 sits on. The 7-watt speakers can work in a pinch, but they’re muddy enough that you don’t want to rely on them.
Switching between user modes refreshes your brightness, which can be irritating. Luckily, there’s an automatic brightness toggle in the OSD. However, I found its brightness scaling still a bit on the dark side. Its blue light blocking feature was easy to activate and consistently helpful – I found myself toggling between 80% and 70% all the time.
The power button has a slightly raised bump so you don’t inadvertently activate it when trying to establish OSD functionality. Unfortunately, I hit him once too many times, but your luck will vary.
There’s no two ways around this, input switching was a total pain. Switching between computers was time consuming, both manually or by input switching, and often it didn’t register when a device was first turned on. Plus, unlike its smaller cousin the XV28, the USB-C port doesn’t supply power, meaning if you’re using something like a MacBook for work, you’ll also need to plug it into the wall.
The X38 sports Nvidia G-Sync through its HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort inputs. There’s far less reason to want HDMI 2.1 on an Ultrawide that already has G-Sync, but again considering the price you’d be forgiven for wanting absolutely everything. Likewise, I found the HDR600 more than serviceable, and the variable SDR/HDR backlight helps with contrast levels, but still for many HDR600s it won’t be enough at this price.
The X38 may be aimed solely at gamers, but it excels just as much for video or photo editing. That’s partly down to the gargantuan size, but the X38 is shockingly color accurate. I haven’t come across many monitors of this size with 98% DCI-P3. (Only the Dell U3219Q 4K comes to mind). Even Apple’s outrageously expensive Pro Display XDR falls short of the X38’s numbers, and it costs significantly more. This color accuracy can easily justify the price of the monitor if you’re a creative looking for color accuracy.
Finally, I never heard the fan, which is pretty impressive considering how long I’ve been using it at maximum brightness.