Design and Features
The X25 has nearly identical specs to the other 360Hz displays we’ve looked at, the Asus ROG Swift PG259QN, with a 24.5-inch IPS panel, G-Sync, and an HDR400 certification from VESA. It also comes with Nvidia’s Reflex Latency Analyzer built-in, which allows you to measure the mouse-to-monitor latency of your system (so you can play with settings to get it as low as possible). $700 is a bitter price to swallow for a 1080p gaming monitor, but if you’re a truly competitive esports player, it may be worth it for the best refresh rate money can buy – especially on an IPS panel, which will have better colors and viewing angles than their cheaper TN counterparts.The display has a distinct “gamer” design, with an embellished tri-legged stand that’s height, swivel, and tilt adjustable (and has a handy headphone hook on the back). It uses a frameless bezel design, though the bottom bezel is thick, and it sticks out from the monitor in a rather pronounced fashion. The rear of the monitor sports some RGB bias lighting, which you can adjust from the monitor’s OSD or through Acer’s RGB Light Sense software. If you use the software, you can sync the lights with your music or games, while the OSD just offers some basic light patterns like breathing, waves, and twinkles.Speaking of the OSD, I found it a bit more confusing to navigate than most monitors I’ve reviewed. While it does have the joystick-style controls common on high-end monitors, it also has a row of buttons. You have to press the joystick twice to bring up the full menu, and use one of the buttons to exit, which feels annoyingly clunky. That said, the OSD is packed with settings, from the usual dark boost and blue light filters to automatic backlight control that adjusts the color temperature based on the surrounding light. The Nvidia G-Sync Esports mode automatically flips on a number of settings for serious esports play, but you can also adjust them individually through custom user modes.
The monitor only provides one DisplayPort connection, though it has two HDMI ports alongside it and four USB ports – one dedicated to the Reflex Latency Analyzer, and two on the side for easy access. The power cable uses a large brick, which may make cable management a bit difficult, but there’s at least a hole in the stand to route your cables out the back.
To see how monitors perform, I run them through a suite of tests in CalMAN Ultimate with an X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter, alongside a few by-eye tests using Lagom’s LCD test patterns. The Acer Predator X25 hits most of its advertised specs, with about 231 nits of brightness in standard content and 458 nits of peak brightness in HDR – though with no wide color gamut and only a 817:1 contrast ratio, HDR isn’t going to offer much over SDR on this display. Color accuracy, on the other hand, was stellar in the monitor’s Standard mode: gamma adhered to the 2.2 curve quite closely, and in CalMAN’s ColorChecker analysis, almost every color achieved a deltaE value under 1, which is considered indistinguishable from the shade the monitor is attempting to target. (The only exception was pure white, which achieved a deltaE of 2.9 – which is still considered unnoticeable to most people.)
While this display doesn’t have very deep blacks, each shade of black was clearly distinguishable from its closest neighbors in Lagom’s black level test pattern, which means you’ll be able to make out detail in shadows – though serious gamers may want to turn on Dark Boost to make those hidden enemies even more visible. Gradients showed little noticeable banding, and viewing angles are as great as you’d expect from an IPS panel – though black uniformity left a bit to be desired, with some random glow around the edges and one very noticeable bright spot along the bottom. This isn’t an issue during bright content, but in dark areas or scenes with letterbox bars, it may be bothersome.
To test response time, Lagom’s patterns use a series of animated squares that shift between two shades of grey. The slower a display switches from one shade to another, the more flickering you’ll see in the pattern – and the more likely you are to see ghosting on moving objects in-game. Like other super-high-refresh displays, though, the Predator X25 has a fantastic response time, with barely any flickering in any of the squares – and very little noticeable ghosting on Blur Busters’ UFO test. You can adjust the amount of ghosting you see with the monitor’s Overdrive setting, though I found the default Normal was ideal – turning Overdrive off introduced some very minor ghosting, while turning it all the way up to Extreme introduced too many artifacts from the monitor overshooting its target color. Feel free to play with these settings to see what you prefer.
The Predator X25 also offers the Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) backlight strobing feature, though it only works when the refresh rate is 240Hz or lower, and with G-Sync turned off. I personally don’t find it to be worthwhile with these caveats, though it does work better than many strobing implementations I’ve seen, with fewer image duplication artifacts.
As someone who uses a larger 1440p ultrawide for my day-to-day PC gaming, esports displays always look a bit diminutive next to my usual monitor. But as soon as I jump into a game, I’m reminded how much I love these super-smooth panels. The nearly flawless motion is something you have to experience to truly understand. Darting around the battlefield in Overwatch feels effortless, and you can see every enemy clearly no matter how fast you’re flicking your wrist around – something plenty of monitors, even at 144Hz, can’t claim due to slow response times. The fluid, clear motion gives you a sense of control over your character that keeps your head in the game kill after kill.
Keep in mind you’ll need top-end hardware to hit that framerate, even on lower-fidelity esports titles. And the more graphically intense your game, the lower your ceiling will be. Playing Call of Duty: Warzone, for example, I never broke the 144Hz threshold, even with settings turned down. Depending on how you split your gaming time, you might be served just as well with a 240Hz gaming monitor or one with a lower refresh rate, though 360Hz does offer you more room to grow in the future.
After all, while going from 240Hz to 360hz is a noticeable improvement – I even ran an ABX test myself to be sure – it’s a more modest improvement than, say 60Hz to 144Hz (and certainly more modest than 144Hz to 240Hz). All other things equal, I’d take 360Hz every day – but unfortunately, all things aren’t equal just yet. At 24 inches and 1080p, the rest of the monitor feels a bit dated, and is rather cramped when it comes to desktop work. So it’s not something I’d recommend for the average gamer – you need to be a pretty competitive esports player to really take full advantage of what this monitor’s offering, especially when it comes to overlooking its sacrifices. If you’re planning on using this monitor for movies, desktop work, and other tasks, you’d be better off stepping down in refresh rate to get some extra size and resolution.
Finally, I won’t get into too much detail about Nvidia’s reflex latency analyzer, since we’ve already done that here. But suffice to say it’s a handy tool as well, allowing you to fine-tune certain settings to ensure you’re getting the least amount of lag possible. Again, though, this is more suited to serious esports enthusiasts, and average gamers may find this an unnecessary expense added onto an already pricey package.
Best Gaming Monitors
The Acer Predator X25 is available for $699 at Best Buy.