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Today we are testing the gaming monitor Acer Predator X25 for 77,000 rubles. Why you ask, do they want so much money? Behind 360 Hz IPS, NVIDIA Reflex Analyzer technology and a rather unusual design. Let's figure out whether all this makes sense, and most importantly - who and why might need 360 Hz.

Design


The monitor comes in a box made of plain cardboard complete with a small power supply and a full set of cables. The model itself is fully consistent with what Acer is promoting throughout the Predator series: there is backlighting, and a combination of various materials and shapes, but on a 24.5-inch monitor, all this, exclusively for our taste, looks somewhat redundant.
However, all this does not affect the assembly. The monitor sits on a powerful 3-point stand, and the case itself is quite thick.


At the front, we have a "frameless", sophisticated design, and at the back - an ideal candidate for a place in the computer club: a large rounded panel with a pattern that simulates ventilation slots, and lighting around the entire perimeter. This is an LED strip covered with a plastic cover. Its brightness is quite enough to illuminate the wall behind the monitor, and from the modes, there are all the colors of the RGB palette, as well as different options for working, starting with a "rainbow" and ending with a constant glow. Naturally, if you wish, you can adjust the brightness or turn off all the bulbs completely.

As for the materials, then, as is now accepted, the front part is assembled from glossy plastic, the sides are decorated with brushed metal, and the back cover is molded from rough plastic. But you can't find fault with the assembly: even though the monitor is relatively thick, nothing bends or creaks here, and all the panels are tightly fitted to each other.

But what raises practical questions is the design of the bottom frame. The fact is that one unusual function has been added to the X25: light sensors that adjust the matrix to the current conditions in the room. Typically, these sensors are used in professional designer models, but physically they are installed on top of the case. In the X25, they were taken out under the matrix, and for this, a small shelf was built from the lower frame. And she, as you know, catches and reflects the light from the matrix itself, which at first distracts from the game. However, the effect is not so noticeable when a bright light is on in the room.

Ergonomics and functionality

We pass from controversial to definitely good: ergonomics with functionality. There are no questions about these two points to the Predator X25. The leg is stable, does not slip, centers the panel well, allows you to rotate it around its axis, and switch the monitor to portrait mode. There is a VESA mount, and there is a hole for neatly routing power and signal cables behind the display.
With the inputs and outputs, everything is fine too. We have two HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.4, one 3.5 mm headphone output (with a rather weak built-in amplifier), USB Type-B for connecting to a PC, and four USB Type-A. Note that two USBs here are on the left side, and it is convenient to use them, and two more (along with all other ports) are located below. Getting to them is more difficult, but the ability to rotate the screen to portrait mode saves you. The X25 also has a pair of built-in 2W speakers. It is clear that they are unlikely to be useful for games, but listening to YouTube without headphones or watching the morning news is quite a working option.
Acer has put a joystick and four buttons with quick functions to control the display. You get used to them quickly, especially since the menu here is both graphically and logically done more than competently.
It was divided into seven sections. In the first, the brightness and contrast levels are set, the blue filter is turned on (designed to reduce eye strain and make the picture "warmer"), and there are also functions responsible for lightening dark areas of the image (a popular thing among cyber sportsmen), variable SDR and HDR backlighting as well as automatic and maximum brightness/luminance. The second sub-item allows you to work with color. RGB levels are set here, gamma is set separately for HDMI and DisplayPort ports.
The third section is devoted to adjusting the sound volume. Fourth - G-Sync parameters, NVIDIA Reflex Latency Analyzer, and ULMB mode. In the fifth, we adjust the matrix overclocking level (Off, Normal and Extreme) and get the opportunity to display the sight on the screen (useful, say, in CS: GO when shooting from sniper rifles without raising the sight, but it is strictly prohibited in tournaments) or information about at what sweep frequency it is currently working.
Closing the list is the OSD and System items, where we control the OSD itself and various system functions. Here you can adjust the effects and brightness of the backlight, turn on quick start (the monitor will start immediately without showing the brand logo for a few seconds), turn off the automatic selection of video inputs. In general, with the menu, ergonomics, and how the monitor is connected to the system, everything is in order.


The matrix

Now let's move on to the main thing - the matrix. This is the AU Optronics AUO M250HAN03 1: 8-bit Fast IPS panel of the new generation, and its main feature is the high sweep frequency of 360 Hertz. Yes, yes, and we really hope for your savvy and lack of comments in the spirit of "the human eye does not see more than 16 GB of RAM."
Despite the high speed, and hence the target orientation to games, the matrix's color rendering is really good. According to our measurements, it covers 95.2% of the sRGB space and is calibrated at 0.19 by ΔE 00Out of the box, however, the indicators are like everyone else's: the spread ranges from an average of 2.88 to a maximum of 6.48.
The maximum brightness of the matrix is ​​400 cd / m22, which is quite enough for both works in home lighting and in the bright sun outside the window. At the same time, the uniformity of the backlighting is not bad: we did not notice any obvious highlights. As for the Glow-effect (overexposure at the edges when the gaze deviates), then it is, and in general, it is the norm for IPS with a matte anti-reflective coating. But in our case, the Glow effect is striking. On the right side, parasitic yellowish shades are clearly visible, and on the left - blue. Acer itself, however, claims that this is a marriage of a particular test sample.
Regarding the matrix response: for IPS, it is more than good, although it loses in this regard to traditional TN.


Acer Predator X25 (Off / Normal / Extreme / ULMB):
Acer itself offers to reduce the response and use the ULMB-mode when a black frame is inserted between frames, that is, the monitor starts to blink actively. But many people get tired of this, and in the case of the X25, turning on ULMB leads to a decrease in frequency to 240 Hz, and at the same time to a decrease in brightness by 30 percent.
By the way, since we have touched upon the subject of flickering, we note that the backlight of the X25 does not use SHI modulation: the frequency of its operation is far beyond the limits of human perception. In other words, the eyes don't get tired of it.
Almost all gaming displays are now equipped with G-Sync modules, but in the case of 360 Hz models (including those from Acer), G-Sync has a new feature called Reflex Latency. This feature allows you to measure the input lag of the system, that is, the time that elapses from the moment you press the mouse button until the result is displayed on the display. It doesn't work hard. First, in the monitor menu, activate the NVIDIA Reflex Latency Analyzer item, and then in the GeForce Experienceturn on system performance monitoring. Next, a mouse is connected to the monitor itself, which supports the new technology, and that's it - you can start measuring. And this is done simply: using the display menu, we display a square in which the G-Sync module will record sharp changes in brightness or, more simply, catch the flashes of shots, and launch a conditional CS: GO, shoot - and in the upper corner of the screen will appear delay time.
 
What does it do? General information and nothing more. For example, with the Logitech Pro X Superlight, I got 7-11 ms. Your figure may be completely different: say, 40 ms. What to do about it? Nothing. Reflex Analyzer will not tell you where to dig, it will only indicate the problem.
 
And ideally, I would like this system not only to signal to you that something is wrong in the computer or in the game settings but also to point out the specific culprit of the lag (CPU, memory subsystem, video card). But so far we have what we have. The only thing you can do without getting into the complex technical aspects of dealing with system latency is to enable optimization in GeForce Experience. True, the maximum that it will give is to reduce the previously trained personnel to a minimum and turn off the "energy-saving" video cards. All this can be done by yourself and without the Reflex Analyzer.
 
In addition, one more question arises here. Will this feature be used? We in the editorial office had a long discussion on this matter. On the one hand, the thing is interesting and can be useful to those who do not understand the issue at all. The system will make it clear that the PC is not working optimally, and the person will either go to read the forums or find a specialist who will do everything for him.
 
But let's look at things objectively: potential buyers of the Acer Predator X25 are most likely professional e-sportsmen or those whose level of play is already very close to becoming one. That is, those who need a 360 Hz monitor, minimal latency, mice weighing 60 g for 13 thousand, and other similar devices. Such people and without any Reflex Analyzer will feel any, even the most minimal input lag.
 
In addition, most of these players have a clean OS at hand, in which any background software is killed in the bud, and only the game itself and TeamSpeak with Discord are installed from the applications. Thus, any input lag associated with the software part automatically disappears - only hardware remains, and Reflex Analyzer is not able to show exactly where the jamb is, as we have already said.

Speed

Well, now let's try to answer the question of whether 360 Hz is needed at all. For this, we will make a small lyrical digression.
Once upon a time, I switched from a 75Hz monitor to 144Hz, and the difference was enormous. The picture has become much smoother, the reaction to actions in the game has reached a new level of responsiveness, and the effectiveness of my shooting in Quake Live has grown by a decent 15-20%. My next step was going to 240Hz ( Alienware AW2518HF ). Again, the difference was palpable, and it certainly cannot be attributed to the placebo effect: the response to actions decreased, and in general, it became even more comfortable to play. 
Unfortunately, the transition to 360 Hz was not so obvious anymore. At first, I didn't feel any difference in games at all. However, when I went back to my 240Hz and launched Quake Champions, I caught myself thinking that something was wrong. The game didn't seem to run smoothly enough. I tried all the settings, reinstalled the OS, downloaded the game over again - to no avail.
Then I assumed that I somehow got used to the X25 during the initial tests and now 240 Hz seems uncomfortable to me. It's a crazy idea, but I decided to check this thesis: I took the Acer out of the box again, and ... everything became normal. However, this is not the end of the story either. Exactly one day later, I started Quake again and again did not notice the differences between 240 and 360 Hz - only after half an hour of warming up and endlessly changing monitors, I finally came to the conclusion that there is still a slight difference, but looking for it with my eyes is almost useless. In Rocket League there are no differences at all, but in CS: GOand Quake Champions, it is expressed not so much in the picture (smoothness, according to the sensations, is added by five to ten percent), but in how the mouse behaves. At 360 Hz, it is more pleasant and easier to work with, it seems more responsive and sharp. This is explained by the fact that the monitor draws more frames per second, which means that we can see the result of our actions with the mouse faster than with a frequency of “only” 240 Hz. However, as usual, "there are nuances."
If we directly compare IPS at 360 Hz with TN at 240, then even with the same input lag of 7-11 ms, TN with its honest 1 ms turns out to be faster: in the same Quake and Overwatch, it has much fewer loops and ghosting. Yes, IPS can also be extended to 1 ms, and for this, there are three Overdrive settings in the menu at once, but, as is usually the case, higher pixel rates are achieved here due to increased voltage, and this has a negative effect. In Overdrive Extreme mode, the loops, of course, disappear, but a huge number of overshoot artifacts appear, which ruin the picture into pixels. Therefore, it is better to stay within the normal range and operate in the IPS standard response mode.

Conclusion


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