Review: Acer Nitro XV271 Z 27″ Gaming Monitor

During my Desk Setup review, I noted that I was looking for a new monitor. The challenge that I had was that my 16″ MacBook Pro had a display that was so good, it destroyed almost any other external monitor that is currently available including Apple’s infamous Pro Display XDR which is their $5000 USD monitor that you have to spend an extra $1000 USD on top of that to get a stand that should really come with the monitor. So as a result, I made a conscious decision balance what features that were important to me with price. So the feature set that I settled on was:

  • 120 Hz or higher refresh rate. Because once you experience 120 Hz like I have on my 16″ MacBook Pro, you’ll never go back to 60 Hz.
  • HDR support
  • 24″ – 27″ widescreen
  • Full HD (1080p) resolution

So one trip to my local computer store and some consultation, I was able to put my money down on the Acer Nitro XV271 Z 27″ Gaming Monitor.

This is a 27″ full HD monitor that supports a refresh rate of 280 Hz which is insane. But on top of that it satisfies all the things that I was looking for in a monitor. But adds a few extras such as:

  • Support for AMD FreeSync Premium
  • 1 ms response time
  • Built In Speakers

Let’s start with the design. I really like the fact that it is not like other gaming monitors with lots of flashing lights, or having over the top graphics. It’s understated which means that it fits into more environments than a typical gaming monitor would. I also like the fact that top, left and right bezels are slim. That fits in with my MacBook Pro which has very slim bezels. Then there’s the stand:

The entire stand swivels so that you can get the right position that works for you. I should also mention that the monitor adjust up and down and tilts as well to aid in that. Though in my case, to get it to where I wanted it, I still had to use the monitor stand that you see in this picture. Finally, if you want to run the monitor in portrait mode, you can do that by rotating the monitor into that position.

One thing that I appreciated is that the back of the stand has a clip that allows you to make your cables neat and tidy.

On the right side are all the controls for the monitor. Including a handy joystick that makes it easy to navigate through menus and to make quick changes.

Overall, the build quality is great. It doesn’t feel cheap in any way.

From an input perspective, you get DisplayPort, HDMI, and audio out. And what’s cool is that you get both the DisplayPort and HDMI cables in the box. Though I will admit that I used my own HDMI cable because I wanted a shorter one to make cable management on my desk neater. I also used a much longer power cable to accommodate my FlexiSpot Electric Height Adjustable Standing Desk as that raises and lowers.

For my use case, I plugged it into my 16″ MacBook Pro via HDMI and turned on HDR support for the monitor as well as enabling it on the MacBook Pro. I also set the refresh rate to 120 Hz so that it matched the MacBook Pro’s display. I then ran it for a couple of days to get my impressions. The net result what that I was impressed to a point. Here’s the highlights:

  • I will get the speakers out of the way first. They sound flat with very little if any definition to any audio that you wish to play through them. In short, they won’t impress anyone. Acer might have been better off leaving them out of this monitor.
  • The display is rated for HDR400 which means the maximum brightness that it will display while running HDR content is 400 nits. While that’s not competitive with OLED screens or mini LED screens like the one in the 16″ MacBook Pro, it actually doesn’t do a bad job of displaying HDR content. So if you want to consume HDR media, or have better visuals for games, this monitor is capable of doing just that. Having said that, this monitor lacks P3 wide color gamut support which would really help with HDR content. Instead it has BT.709 color gamut support which has a slightly narrower range of color reproduction.
  • Like most IPS panels, it offers good viewing angles, but at the cost of a mediocre contrast ratio. Which is less than ideal for dark room viewing. 
  • It has an excellent low input lag and outstanding response time, resulting in clear motion, and there is very little motion blur.
  • I did not notice any flickering during testing and it was very easy to look at. I am assuming that this is due to a blue light filter that this monitor has as part of the deal.
  • Often in large monitors that do full HD, pixel density is lacking. What I mean is that text for example doesn’t look as sharp as it should. In the case of this Acer, it has decent pixel density as I did a number of articles and this review on that monitor and I didn’t have any complaints.
  • From the “edge case” department, I did notice that this monitor supports Apple’s True Tone feature. The net result is that the color temperature of the Acer monitor was almost exactly the same as the built in display of the MacBook Pro. Though I will note that it is driven by the ambient light sensor in the MacBook Pro. Which implies that If I use the MacBook Pro in clamshell mode with an external keyboard connected to this Acer monitor, I will lose this feature.
  • The anti-glare coating works really well in my environment.

The only thing that I didn’t try was gaming as I am not a gamer. Which is ironic given that this is a gaming monitor. But the main reason why I didn’t bother testing this is that any game that I have been known to play is on the Steam platform and the Steam client is still an Intel App. Which means that due to the emulation required to have it work on my M1 Pro based MacBook Pro, any game I play wouldn’t really push the monitor to its limits so that I can get an idea of what it is like as a gaming monitor. I may do a follow up on this if games start to appear that are native to Apple Silicon. But you don’t buy Macs to play games on, and game makers tend to ignore the Mac platform, so I am not holding my breath on that front.

The price that I paid for this monitor was $329 CDN. Given the feature set and nothing to really complain about other than the quality of the speakers, that’s a fair price. And it works in my use case. Thus my recommendation is simple. If you ignore the gaming monitor part, this is a monitor that is worth looking at if you need a monitor that has good viewing angles, some degree of HDR support, and a high refresh rate, and you don’t want to spend four digits on. Just ignore the speakers and you’ll be good to go.

2 Responses to “Review: Acer Nitro XV271 Z 27″ Gaming Monitor”

  1. […] start with the monitor and the computer. This is the Acer Nitro XV271 Z 27″ Gaming Monitor and the 16″ MacBook Pro. This configuration works way better for me than having the monitor […]

  2. […] might have noticed in my desk setup article is that I have connected my 16″ MacBook Pro to my Acer monitor and my UPS via a big white adapter. That adapter is the […]

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