Acer Predator Review 1

Buying a PC monitor used to be a simple affair. Hunt for a nice size, make sure it’s HD and you’d usually be set for a good few years. Times have changed drastically since then, with all sorts of features and functions now being crammed into ever-changing panels and chassis, all tempting you to take a closer look at what’s beneath to define some value. The Acer Predator Z35 doesn’t demand you to take a closer look however; its appeal is out front and centre, and it’s hard to miss.

In fact overlooking Acer’s new addition to their gaming range of PC Hardware would be more of a challenge than not. The Z35 is a behemoth, measuring at a staggering 35” across an ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio display with smooth, curved glass. The entire thing stands on a bulky but attractive metal stand, bolted in with a single screw at the bottom and ready to stand unopposed on your desktop. Or cabinet. Or just wherever the damn thing will actually just fit.

Acer Predator Review 2

The stand itself is all metal, with attractive black, grey and red accents riding up to meet the equally appealing design on the back. The massive Predator logo is a bit outlandish, but the Z35 screams professionalism at every other corner. It isn’t thin by any measure, with cooling vents at the top sucking out unwanted hot air while the rest of the finish hugs the curved display on the other side. The Z35 manages to do well to hide its ports too, with a single HDMI and DisplayPort being smuggled into the bottom rear for out of sight connections.

The four USB connectors are a little less inconspicuous, but stand to serve a purpose on a monitor of this calibre. There’s even one for charging a device of your choosing. Neat.

Although if you’re planning to swivel and spin this Z35 to your heart’s content, you’re barking up the wrong tree. The sheer width of this gigantic screen makes vertical rotation simply impossible, with the stand only allowing a small range of tilt. Vertical height can also be adjusted to a degree, but it’s sorely limited when compared most other monitors you’ve likely ever used. Thing is, everything else about the Z35 fits under that description too.

Acer Predator Review 3

Rotate to the front and your eyes will be confronted by the sheer enormity of it all, with the curved VA-panel screen wrapping around your peripheral vision and forcing your focus forward. It gives off the sensation of being behind a control desk, drowning out the world around you like no other monitor you’ve ever used before. The curvature is slight enough for passers by to maybe not notice, but the effect of it is unmistakable when in use. The VA-Panel does well to reproduce colour to an accurate degree, but lacks some of the deeper blacks that an IPS panel offer. Still, it’s a head above the likes of TN – with a consistent 178 degree field of uncompromised viewing, which only serves to bolster the screen curved nature.

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The Z35 boasts a resolution of 2560×1080, which fills its 21:9 aspect ratio from (thick) bezel to bezel. The resolution could be equated to two normal HD displays being used next to each other, but achieves a much more pleasant effect on the singular display. Being 35’ in size, this display however struggles to fill all its spaces quite effectively with the pixel density not quite managing to maintain a clear cut image in bright situations. Individual pixels are visible at times, diluted further by a grainy anti-glare film used on the surface of the display. Clarity is lost above all, and it’s just a real shame when the panel itself manages to push out such vibrancy in its colours.

Acer Predator Review 4

Diving into the plethora of options available via the On Screen Display does help sharpen the image a little with a bit of work, and opens up users to the raw power of the Z35. Standard features are accessed via the row of buttons along the right bottom side of the screen (as awkward as ever to control), including switch for sRGB colour ranges, Gamma ranges and easy reading options. Further exploration yields a couple of colour and brightness presets that sway the vales wildly from one side to another – either burning your cornea with white light or forcing you to squint at the image. As always, manual adjustment is preferred over anything else here, especially with the lack of any real, properly turned gaming presets.

What is available though are some interesting gaming features. The same on-screen crosshair and framerate counters I used on the Asus ROG Swift were replicated here, along with slots for three programmable gaming modes. In these modes I was able to predefine brightness, colour and gaming option settings, as well as set the refresh rate to my particular taste. The Z35 lists a refresh rate of 144Hz on the box (which is nirvana for competitive FPS players), but in truth is able to push well above that.

Acer Predator Review 5

Simply setting the Z35 to extreme allows it to hit peaks of 200Hz in refreshing, which is absolutely absurd. It conflicts somewhat with the in-built Nvidia G-Sync chip which just struggles to keep up, but it’s the type of ridiculous feature you’d expect from a gaming monitor of this stature. In practice, it’s likely that you’ll probably never use it – with the already high 144Hz now being an acceptable refresh rate for many top-tier gaming enthusiast and competitors.

And a difference it does make. With Nvidia’s magical G-Sync in tow (again, exclusive to Nvidia driven systems above a certain class), everything on the Z35 is silkier than you’ve probably ever experienced . It’s truly a matter of seeing to believe, and I struggled to even go back to a normal 60Hz after packing the monitor back in its box. The effect of the double refresh rate is mostly felt in games though, with a layer of fluidity I didn’t know existed before trying. It takes a lot more power to lock games at this refresh rate, which makes G-Sync almost mandatory to eliminate any jitter from dropped frames – which were aplenty when running through the streets of New York while playing The Division.

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Acer Predator Review 7

One thing I did note however, through no fault of Acer, is just how many games seems to lack proper support for 21:9 as an aspect ratio. And it didn’t seem to matter from what budget bracket either. Nearly all games I tested on the Z35 supported the native resolution, but a handful would have their image cropped to fit in a 16:9 aspect ratio – for no reason at all. This included the likes of Metal Gear Solid V and Ori and the Blind Forest, but wasn’t an issue for The Division or indie hit Firewatch. It should also then go without saying that the Z35 is squarely positioned as a monitor for PC gaming. Don’t expect consoles to fill every pixel when hooked up (in honesty, this should be the last thing you think of using a console with.)

However with that comes the illusion-breaking reality of the Z35’s biggest issue. Abroad, this high-class monitor isn’t cheap, retailing for $1099. It’s feature rich and up there with the best of them in terms of competitive pricing, but that doesn’t mean it’s all fair locally. If you looking to try and snatch a Z35 up on local shore, you’ll be looking at no less than R23,999 – which is a staggering amount of money for a display of any sort. For comparison’s sake, that’s close to the price of an entire PC that should be capable of running games more than smoothly on this display, and that sounds far more like smart spending to me.

It’s hard to cut it that way, but despite all it’s alluring features the Z35 is crippled by a price that simply puts it out of reach of so many. Making matters worse is the many alternatives on the market that offer the same box-worthy, quotable features for less, leaving behind curved screens but delivering on high refresh rates and more dense pixel counts that appeal to the market these monitors aim for. The Acer Predator Z35 is a spectacular monitor to use, but its got a price that is just simply too hard to swallow.

 

Last Updated: February 12, 2016

Acer Predator Z35
Summary
The Acer Predator Z35 is a great monitor with an incredibly immersive curved screen, hampered by some sub-par display quality and a price that simply doesn’t afford for any mistakes at all. It’s beautiful, just not practical.
7

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • Pariah

    Conclusively proving once and for all that size doesn’t matter. Good job Sandy!

    • miaau

      Well, “Me thinks not”, he says, adjusting what does not at all look like a bunch of rolled up socks, as he gets up from chair.

  • HvR

    Damn R24k, pulling the spine right out of the credit card and hitting your wallet with it.

    • Pariah

      If I got a 50% raise right now I’d still have to save for 6 months to buy this thing…

      • Commander Admiral Chief

        If I were so inclined to to MAFFFFS on a Friday afternoon, I’d calculate your salary.

        I’m guessing it is in the line of those things you feed elephants in a circus?

        • Pariah

          Oh you’d probably get it wrong, because the entire raise wouldn’t be used for savings. I’d want to actually spend some of that money too. 🙂

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            50% increase would really hit the spot right about now

          • miaau

            Yeah, as the article said, buy a kick arse PC for that first

          • miaau

            OR: If you had R24 000 RIGHT now, a gift, where would it go?

            It has to be spent on something, not saved for children or buy shares on JSE or something like that..

            I think I might, silly as it may sound. Damn. Um. Wow, this is hard.

            Buy another, much bigger TV (I have a 42 inch), wall mount that sucker. Yeah. But is that what I really want? I am happy with my TV. This is more difficult than I thought.

            Or a killer small trip on the overpriced but ever so interesting Rovos Rail?

          • Pariah

            Or you know. Book a 10 day Mediterranean cruise for the Mrs and I, and save up for the plane tickets separately. Yup. That.

          • miaau

            Cool idea. Hmm. I like that.

            Mrs and I and toddler, seems ok.

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            Bike kit

          • miaau

            Bicycle or Motor?

            And what type?

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            Motor bike, kit was badly damaged last year with my accident.

            Need R9k for for replacement. Shark SKWAL helmet, jacket, gloves, pants

    • Ghost In The Rift

      FATALITY!!!!!! Corporate Moguls WINS!!!

  • Hammersteyn

    $1099? Ask Geoff to lose the zero and they’ve got a deal

    • Pariah

      Careful how you word that, they might just drop it down 1 digit, making it $1999.

  • ALL THE HHHHGGGHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      Wow, more than 7 N’s?

      You must like it

      • There are exactly 7 H’s though (between the G and N) xD

        • Commander Admiral Chief

          Of course, how else would we know it was him?

          • Check for stardust trails

          • Pariah

            All teh lulz

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            I’d forgotten about that. Thanks for reminding me

      • yebo!

  • In the words of the Virgin Mary, come again? How much?!

  • Great review by the way!

  • miaau

    Utterly ridiculous, unless you are a pro-gamer and this is equipment for the day job.

    How many of these do they expect to ship to the home market?

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      15

      • Pariah

        They were that ambitious? O_o

        • Commander Admiral Chief

          Indeed, can you believe it?

  • Pieter Kruger

    From now on please mention price in the very 1st paragraph……

    • miaau

      Yeah, I guess you could have a case of getting quite excited by the prospect of this cool piece of kit. until…….

      Well, I had a good laugh now, anyway, thanks!

  • Ghost In The Rift

    I’m just waiting for the decent affordable monitor review, wonder when that will happen, think Charlie Sheen would cure him self by then. Oh well the wait is on….

  • Aaron Martinez

    “but lacks some of the deeper blacks that an IPS panel offer.”

    What kind of retarded statement is this? Everybody knows that IPS panels offer horrible black levels. The contrast ratio of a VA panel is 2x-3x better than any IPS panel. Sitting this Z35 next to my LG 34um97 and the difference is night and day! Also the VA panel offers ZERO backlight bleed or IPS glow like the LG does (don’t get me wrong, I still love my LG panel).

    This is just lazy/uninformed writing.
    I know this site is titled lazygamer, but I didn’t expect you to take it literally!

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