ConceptD is a new sub-brand of Acer, under which seven laptops, two workstations and three professional monitors have already been released. All these products are intended for creative people with special requirements for quality, capabilities and computing performance of equipment, including those involved in the production of photo and video content, as well as working with CAD systems and AI. For monitors, the manufacturer has determined the minimum performance threshold — now a 27-inch IPS-type matrix with a resolution of the 4K standard plus a high refresh rate (an exception was made only for the 32-inch solution), which was not previously something necessary or mandatory in the Pro segment. However, time flies unnoticed, and 120-144 Hz, it is likely that very soon they will be taken for granted, moreover, with a monitor of any class.
The solution we received for testing belongs to one of the most advanced and expensive series of ConceptD CP7 monitors. In addition to the advanced multi-zone FALD backlight (which, by the way, there is no official information about), the manufacturer claims factory calibration accuracy for it at the DeltaE level.
⇡ # Reference information
The very concept of ConceptD was laid down by the manufacturer in early April 2019 at a special press conference, where the first ready-made solutions were shown to journalists, the number of which increased significantly by the end of the year. True, some of them are still hard to find on store shelves — and this also applies to the monitor we are considering.
If we proceed from the main technical characteristics, and also do not forget about the price category, then the competitors of the ConceptD CP7271K — do not be surprised — are the top models from the gaming lines of Acer and ASUS itself. For them, of course, manufacturers do not declare such an accurate factory calibration or Pantone certification, but the matrices themselves and their binding in the products are identical, which is easy to verify by examining the test results from previous materials (1, 2), and then comparing them with those what you will see in this article.
|Acer ConceptD CP7271K|
|Matrix coating||Semi-matte (Haze)|
|Standard resolution, pix.||3840×2160|
|Matrix type||Borderless AHVA (IPS Type)|
|Backlight type||FALD QD-LED, 384 zones|
|Max. brightness, cd/m2||600/1000 (peak in HDR mode)|
|Contrast static||1000 : 1|
|Number of displayed colors||1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC), 99% AdobeRGB, 93% DCI-P3|
|Vertical refresh rate, Hz||24-144 (Adaptive-Sync/AMD FreeSync/G-Sync Ultimate)|
|GtG response time, ms||four|
|MPRT response time, ms||Not|
|Maximum viewing angles
|Video inputs||1 x HDMI 2.0;
1 x DisplayPort 1.4
|Additional ports||3.5mm audio output;
4 x USB 3.0
|Built-in speakers: number × power, W||2×4|
|Screen Position Adjustment||-5 to +35 degree tilt, 180mm height adjustment, 360 degree swivel|
|VESA mount: dimensions (mm)||Yes (100×100mm)|
|Mount for Kensington lock||Yes|
|Max. power consumption
working / standby (W)
(with stand), L × H × D, mm
(without stand), L × H × D, mm
|Net weight (with stand), kg||8.26|
|Net weight (without stand), kg||6.17|
|Estimated price||$2,200, claimed $1,999|
The monitor uses the familiar AHVA-panel (IPS-type) manufactured by AUO, model M270QAN02.2. It is able to captivate the consumer with an extended color gamut (99% Adobe RGB and 93% DCI-P3), 10-bit color representation (8-bit + FRC), uses a 384-zone FALD backlight (Full-Array Local Dimming) with sputtering from quantum dots (QD-LED / Quantum Dots), has a resolution of 4K (3840 × 2160 pixels), provides brightness up to 600 nits in SDR mode, up to 1000 nits in certain areas of the screen with HDR active, and supports a refresh rate of up to 144 Hz (with DP — connection with activated overclocking mode).
The matrix uses a flicker-free backlight (Flicker-Free). It also provides reproduction of up to 1.07 billion color shades, and the standard contrast ratio is the usual 1000: 1 for IPS displays. To get numbers tens or even hundreds of times higher, you need to activate the adaptive backlight system, in which all 384 zones work asynchronously and depending on what is happening on the screen. It is this feature of the model that helps it reproduce HDR content at a much higher level than solutions without multi-zone backlighting do. By the way, due to Acer’s unwillingness to talk about all the technical nuances of their new products, journalists at first talked about using a mini-LED backlight for 1024-1152 zones in the 27-inch ConceptD, but, unfortunately, this was not destined to come true (only 32 inch CP7321K at 60 Hz). So far, we have a solution with a matrix that has been on the market in finished products for more than a year.
Talking about the speed and general gaming characteristics of professional models and any other solutions for working with color (yes, there are simpler monitors among them) is generally rather strange, but the concept adopted for ConceptD displays changes the rules of the game. Not only is the Acer CP7271K capable of overclocking to 144Hz with color compression (subsampling) enabled, or 120Hz in normal RGB operating mode, it delivers about the same level of pixel response as the gaming competition we mentioned, and like they support the NVIDIA G-Sync Ultimate adaptive synchronization system (second generation, with HDR support and active cooling of the board) at the hardware level in the operating range from 24 to 144 Hz. The mode with the insertion of a «black frame» is not used, it is not in the X27 and PG27UQ either, so there is nothing to be surprised here.
The manufacturer installed one HDMI 2.0 port and one modern DP 1.4 port in the ConceptD CP7271K to natively support the transfer of HDR metadata and obtain the highest possible vertical frequency. To work with peripherals, a 3.5 mm audio output and four USB 3.0 ports are provided, and two speakers with a power of 4 W each act as a built-in speaker system. A separate line is the ambient light sensor, familiar to us from the Predator X27 model and automatically adjusting the brightness of the backlight depending on the working conditions. It is disabled by default.
The monitor greets the user with rather large external frames, a familiar case design and a new stand. The control system here is modern, based on a 5-way joystick and physical keys. The ergonomics of the stand are sufficient, and the only thing that upset us a little was the lack of the ability to flip to portrait mode. But the novelty has light-protective curtains — an essential attribute of a professional monitor. However, the gaming X27 also has them.
Among the software features of the model, we can distinguish a slightly modified set of pre-installed e-Color modes, a Dark Boost shadow visibility adjustment system, Blue Light modes to reduce eye strain, sRGB color space emulation (here it is called SDR Color sRGB) and patches / fixes to improve color reproduction when switching to color subsampling mode (at 144 Hz) — for both DP and HDMI connections. At the same time, we did not find the 6-axis color correction familiar to many Acer monitors, emulation modes of other color spaces (as in semi-professional and professional Acer Pro Designer solutions), as well as an advanced Look Up Table of color representation with open access and the possibility of hardware calibration. — for a model of this class, it would be very helpful.
⇡ # Equipment and appearance
Monitor Acer ConceptD CP7271K comes fully assembled in a quality cardboard box, but without any external frills. There is no plastic carrying handle, but there are cutouts reinforced with plastic inserts.
On both sides of the package there are identical photographs of the model, the series and name of the solution are indicated, and a large letter D is printed. Also, six pictograms are applied to the package, briefly describing the main advantages of the model.
By the sticker on the box, you can find out the technical characteristics of the monitor, its serial number and lot number, date (August 2019) and place of production (China).
The package is not the richest — it includes the following:
- power cables of two standards;
- external power supply;
- DisplayPort cable;
- HDMI cable;
- USB cable for PC connection;
- a set of plastic light-protective curtains;
- factory calibration report;
- user’s manual;
- booklet with warranty conditions;
- prospectus with phone numbers of service centers.
If we talk about the appearance of the CP7271K, we can safely mention that the Predator X27 gaming model was taken as the basis, from which the lower RGB backlight strip of the external space was removed, the monitor mount to the stand was visually modified, and the stand itself was changed beyond recognition.
When talking about the new style of the stand, some reviewers (and perhaps Acer itself mentioned it somewhere) talk about a kind of Scandinavian style, thanks to which many ConceptD solutions are remembered for a long time. Indeed, no one has experimented with wood-like surfaces before Acer, and this, frankly, is a very bold step, because it is obvious that not everyone will like the combination of high-tech and retro.
In pictures, presentations, and just looking from afar, it may seem that natural veneer is used in the stand, but, unfortunately (or fortunately, if you think about nature, as well as durability and practicality), this is not at all the case. The manufacturer used the usual color matte film with the appropriate pattern, without imitation of wood texture. At the same time, the film itself is applied to a slightly curved surface of the stand — you can notice this “wave” only at a certain angle or by swiping your hand.
The new stand with a more familiar round shape provides the monitor with good stability and rather modest dimensions, which allows you to move it away from the user. As a cable management system, Acer designers added a plastic hook at the very bottom of the aluminum center column, but this solution does not shine with efficiency, even with a plastic cover that covers the connection area.
Mounting the stand to the monitor is not quick-release — you need to unscrew the four screws with a Phillips screwdriver. The VESA-compatible mount is recessed into the chassis, and behind it is the main heatsink and cooling fan for the 2nd generation G-Sync HDR module manufactured by Intel. Under the mount, we found an interesting detail — all the elements are black and red, and the Predator logo flaunts on the fan …
Complementing the overall cooling system are two miniature fans — in those areas where the speakers of the built-in acoustic system are usually located. We saw exactly the same arrangement of COs in the Predator X27, and in terms of operation algorithms and fan noise, no significant changes have occurred. They begin to rotate as soon as you connect the power cable to the monitor, and after it is forced to turn off, they can easily work for another 10-15 minutes, changing their speed. During normal operation (without HDR), they spin at a consistently low speed and do not emit much howling, but if you are sitting in a quiet room and your work PC is practically silent, then it will not be difficult to hear the C7271K. As for the increased load and HDR mode, in this case, the noise from the fans increases significantly, but the audibility, as before, depends on what is happening in the working area. Thus, to be afraid or not to be afraid of the active cooling system in the monitor is too individual a thing for us to give any advice.
A single hinge integrated into the center column allows the monitor to tilt from -5 to as much as +35 degrees, and a micro-lift built into the center column allows you to raise the case by 180 mm.
At the same time, a turntable integrated into the stand is responsible for the rotation of the case by 360 degrees. He himself is made of plastic, four rubber strips are glued to it around the perimeter, but behind all this it is easy to see the metal inside.
Of the features of the monitor, it should be noted an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the brightness of the backlight. It is located on the upper edge, strictly in the center — perhaps the best place. The element itself is quite sensitive, but its speed is deliberately reduced: until the monitor is sure that the change in ambient lighting is not an accident, nothing will happen. If the changes are stable, then the Acer ConceptD CP7271K will start adjusting the brightness of the matrix backlight to the optimal value. The system works adequately and is almost imperceptible to the eye (in the sense that the brightness changes very smoothly).
To make their solution as professional as possible, Acer decided to use a sun visor that can be disassembled into two curtains attached to the case using factory-installed spring-loaded screws and adjustable in rotation angle, which allows them to even be on the back of the CP7271K, in case such a need.
Those who want to protect themselves from any possible glare will, of course, want to install a top cover. This can be done, of course, only with one position of the two curtains.
In the upper part of the cover there is a slot for the ambient light sensor and a hatch through which the consumer can pass the wire for the measuring equipment (spectrophotometer or colorimeter), and after all the necessary measurements and corrections, close it again.
The visor is made with high quality — and just like the gaming Predator X27. The plastic is quite thick, the inner covering of the two curtains is made of a fabric that looks more like velvet — it allows you to completely forget about reflections. On the other hand, you should work behind any monitor in a room where direct sunlight does not fall on the screen, and there are no objects nearby that interfere with work. So the presence of a visor in the package should not be decisive for you in your choice — this is just a nice addition.
The Acer ConceptD CP7271K monitor features an IPS panel with a semi-matte finish to reduce glare and eliminate the annoying and eye-catching crystal effect.
The only sticker on the back of the case repeats the information from the sticker on the box. From the new one, it becomes known that the monitor was manufactured by Acer itself, without the participation of third-party contractors, whose services are used by many other manufacturers.
All video interfaces are concentrated in the back of the case and are oriented downwards. Due to ergonomic limitations, connecting cables to the CP7271K is not very convenient, but we hope you will have to do this infrequently.
The only thing that definitely will not cause problems is with USB ports. Two of them (plus an output for connecting to a PC) are located on the left side of the ports (if you look at the screen) and are directed backwards, and two more are on an additional interface block installed on the left side.
The built-in acoustic system is represented by two speakers of 4 W each, located behind the ventilation slots in the upper part of the case. The sound quality is average, the maximum volume is low. It would be strange to demand more from built-in acoustics in a relatively small monitor, and therefore most buyers will be happy with what they have.
The case does not lend itself to twisting, does not creak and does not crunch with adequate physical impact. The processing of the edges of the plastic elements does not raise any questions, they are connected precisely, with minimal gaps along the entire length of the joints.
The elements of the body are well painted, some of them are made in the manner of brushed metal, but it is these parts that are prone to the rapid appearance of scratches and clearly visible fingerprints, as can be seen in the photographs presented.
In terms of the overall workmanship, the ConceptD CP7271K exactly repeats the Predator X27 and many other Acer models from completely different price segments, which are connected by the maximum similarity of the used cases (framed or «frameless» — it doesn’t matter).
⇡ # Menu and control
The ConceptD CP7271K monitor is controlled according to the already familiar scheme — using four physical keys and a 5-way joystick located at the rear of the case on the right side. Nearby, on the bottom edge, there is a dual-mode power indicator, glowing orange (in standby mode) or white.
It is impossible to turn it off or adjust the brightness of the glow, but this is not a problem — it does not catch the eye at all.
When you press the joystick, the main menu immediately appears on the screen, but with the help of three control keys you can get to the functions with quick access: switching the signal source, selecting a preset image mode and adjusting the brightness (not in percentages, as usual, but directly in a specific value expressed in nits). In the future, the functions for two of the three buttons can be reassigned at the discretion of the user.
When entering the main OSD screen, the function settings of the three keys are automatically changed, and the user can at any time view the working information on the monitor, select the preset e-Color mode and remove the menu from the screen.
The control logic is simple and clear, and thanks to the 5-way joystick, menu navigation is simplified as much as possible. Its appearance and content in the ConceptD CP7271K is almost 100% consistent with what we saw in the Predator X27, everything is concise and strict, and the highlighting of the working line in red has been replaced with gray. It was necessary to somehow alienate the novelty from the progenitor!
There are seven sections in the menu. The first, Picture, provides access to the settings for brightness, contrast, the Blue Light filter, the function to improve the visibility of extreme dark shades (Dark boost), the choice of the operating mode of the multi-zone backlight system, the ambient light sensor and the automatic adjustment of the black field depth (relevant with the working FALD backlight ).
The second section contains gamma modes (item Relative Gamma), sRGB emulation (off by default), color correction when working with color subsampling (for both interfaces) and color temperature settings.
The third, Audio, contains the only menu item responsible for the volume of the built-in speaker system.
Adjust the overdrive level of the matrix (Overdrive), increase the sweep frequency to the maximum possible 144 Hz (without the ability to select lower values), and also enable and configure the on-screen sight is proposed in the section titled Performance.
This is followed by OSD — with the ability to change the localization language, transparency, and the time until the disappearance of the menu, as well as block it. There is Russian localization with a fairly adequate translation and a good font.
Change the operating mode of the built-in scaler, activate fast power on and deep sleep, reassign two functions for quick access, select the connection interface — all this can be done in the System.
All changes made can be forced into three preset modes from the top column of e-Color presets. This function does without highlighting and is below the last, sixth section.
⇡ # Testing methodology
The Acer ConceptD CP7271K was tested using the X-Rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter in combination with the X-Rite i1 Pro reference spectrophotometer, Argyll CMS with dispcalGUI and HCFR Colormeter software. All operations were carried out in Windows 10, during testing the screen refresh rate was 120 Hz, without the use of color subsampling.
In accordance with the methodology, we will measure the following monitor parameters:
- white brightness, black brightness, contrast ratio at backlight power from 0 to 100% in 10% increments;
- color gamut;
- color temperature;
- gamma curves of the three primary colors RGB;
- gray gamma curve;
- color deviation DeltaE (according to the CIEDE1994 standard);
- backlight uniformity, color temperature uniformity (in Kelvin and DeltaE units) at 100 cd/m2 brightness at center point2.
All measurements described above were carried out before and after calibration. During tests, we measure the main monitor profiles: default, sRGB (if available) and Adobe RGB (if available). Calibration is carried out in the default profile, except for special cases, which will be discussed later. For monitors with wide color gamuts, we select the sRGB hardware emulation mode, if available. Before starting all tests, the monitor warms up for 3-4 hours, and all its settings are reset to factory settings.
We’ll also continue our old practice of posting calibration profiles for the monitors we’ve tested at the end of the article. At the same time, the 3DNews test lab warns that such a profile will not be able to 100% correct the shortcomings of your particular monitor. The fact is that all monitors (even within the same model) will necessarily differ from each other in small color errors. It is physically impossible to make two identical matrices, so a colorimeter or spectrophotometer is required for any serious monitor calibration. But even a “universal” profile created for a specific instance can generally improve the situation for other devices of the same model, especially in the case of cheap displays with pronounced color rendition defects.
In the Acer ConceptD CP7271K monitor, the manufacturer offers seven main e-Color modes, most of which are complemented by sRGB space emulation as an additional setting option. When testing the monitor, we used the Display Port 1.4 interface as it reveals all the advantages of the model to the maximum, does not require additional dynamic range settings (unlike HDMI) and is most suitable when using NVIDIA video cards.
By default, the settings of the main parameters looked like this:
- mode — standard;
- peak brightness — 350 nits;
- contrast — 50;
- gamma — default;
- black enhancement — off;
- color temperature — warm — 50/50/50;
- Overdrive — normal;
- SDR Variable Backlight – on (for most of the testing, we turned it off);
- SDR Colors sRGB — Off
During manual tuning (100 cd/m2 and 6500 kelvin) they took the form:
- mode — user;
- peak brightness — 93 nits;
- contrast — 50;
- gamma — default;
- black enhancement — off;
- color temperature — warm — 49/46/50;
- Overdrive — normal;
- SDR Variable Backlight — off;
- SDR Colors sRGB — Off
The monitor has a fairly accurate factory setting, so no major changes were required. We adjusted the brightness level and brought the color temperature closer to the level of 6500 K. Later, a color profile was created without edits in the LUT of the video card.
⇡ # Brightness of white, black brightness, contrast ratio
The working range of the backlight brightness was checked at the factory settings of the monitor after turning off the adaptive backlight system for greater stability of the results.
|Brightness in menu (%)||White brightness (cd/m2)||Black brightness (cd/m2)||Static contrast (x:1)|
The maximum brightness in this case almost approached the declared level and amounted to 589 cd / m2, and the lower value did not disappoint — only 22 nits. Add to this a stable contrast ratio close to 1100:1, and we get a chic result that makes it possible to comfortably work behind the monitor in any level of ambient light.
Our attempts to get the most out of the monitor led to the coveted 1000+ nits. The measured maximum in a small area of the screen when viewing an HDR movie and switching to the appropriate mode in Windows reached 1010 nits, and the minimum black level with adaptive backlighting was only 0.02 nits, which ultimately allows you to achieve a contrast ratio of over 50,000:1 . This, of course, is not OLED for you, but for an LCD display this is a chic result and, we are sure, not the highest yet. Most likely, in areas with a different color temperature, the monitor, like its competitors, is able to show about 1200-1250 nits without any problems.
⇡#Results with standard settings and activation of SDR Color sRGB
The Acer ConceptD CP7271K monitor is based on an IPS-matrix with an advanced backlight system and the most extended color gamut. The manufacturer immediately reveals these features of the novelty — there is no need to enable any parameters and switch to HDR mode in the operating system. Consumers, whose work is limited by the sRGB color space, can literally switch the new product to a mode with appropriate emulation in just one action and there are no problems when working with color.
The difference between the two display states is shown above. The CP7271K showed itself in the same way as other representatives of the segment of high-speed 4K IPS solutions with a multi-zone backlight system — we did not find anything new. It is capable of a lot, shows a level of color gamut higher than the professional solutions of the previous generation (with RGB or GB-r-LED backlighting) are capable of, and in sRGB mode it has very accurate emulation.
The white point color temperature is set close to 6300-6350K, with no ghosting and with the highest CT grayscale stability in both cases.
The gamma curves are also built very accurately, with no imbalance between the RGB channels. The visibility of extreme shades of gray is normal, there are also no problems with lights, the contrast of the picture is as it should be. Switching to SDR Color sRGB mode affects the curves within the measurement error.
Due to the nature of the monitor’s color gamut, we were not at all surprised by the initial results of the Argyll CMS test. It is difficult to find a reference color profile in conditions where the capabilities of the matrix exceed AdobeRGB in reds and some other shades, and significantly outperform DCI-P3 in other areas. When activating the adaptive backlight system, you can get a slightly higher result, but this will not fundamentally improve the situation.
As for sRGB emulation, in this mode the CP7271K proved to be a real A student with a gold medal. Argyll CMS results only confirmed the high accuracy of gamma, gray balance and gamut control points.
⇡ # Results after tuning
To achieve the ideal result — and so that the operating system understands what it has to work with in programs that support the color management system, we have configured and profiled without editing in the LUT of the video card, which the Acer ConceptD CP7271K monitor does not require.
The color gamut of the model has increased slightly, but you can hardly see it with the naked eye.
The white point has moved to the reference value, and the stability of the CG grayscale has remained at the initially high level.
Adjusting the brightness to the optimum level and making small changes to the RGB gain didn’t ruin the gamma curves. They were preserved in the position in which they were exhibited at the factory.
The adjustments made and the use of the created color profile provided extremely good results. The average deviation of DeltaE94 was only 0.17 units, and the maximum did not exceed 1.1. As such, the Acer ConceptD CP7271K is the ideal working tool for professionals who know what they want and who have high demands on color performance. If the sRGB color space is enough for you, then no additional actions are required, except for turning on the appropriate mode and setting the backlight brightness to suit your lighting conditions.
⇡#Results in Reading mode
To reduce eye strain, Acer offers two different modes: Reading and Darkroom. The difference between them lies in the setting of the color temperature, the initially set brightness (375 and 50 nits respectively) and the gamma curves. The only similarity is that both have the sRGB color space activated. So, according to the manufacturer, it is possible to provide even less visual load and reduce fatigue.
For detailed testing, we chose the Reading mode, since it was in it that we noted for ourselves more serious changes in the picture compared to what can be observed with standard settings and in sRGB mode. In the preset under study, the engineers activated Dark Boost at position 3, Blue Light Filter at 70% with the corresponding RGB settings at 50/50/25. There are no problems with sharpness, and the color gamut practically does not differ from that obtained in sRGB Mode.
The white point is set at 5500K with a perfect gray balance, which is rarely seen in these modes. We recommend immediately reducing the initial brightness of 375 nits to 50-100 nits — depending on the ambient light conditions, for this you don’t need to think about how many percentages to set, since the CP7271K, like its progenitor, has Brightness values immediately indicated in nits ( nit, cd/m2) for the convenience of users, and the installation accuracy is quite high.
On the gamma curves, you can see the rise in the shadows, which occurred under the influence of the Dark Boost parameter. The image contrast has decreased, but this did not affect the contrast ratio values, which are important for many: the black depth remained unchanged at any brightness level, and the final QC figure is still close to 1100: 1, which is 10% higher than the level stated in the technical specifications.
Under the current conditions, it is not surprising that the results of the test for color accuracy were lower than in the same SDR Color sRGB. Strongly visible shadows with increased brightness affected, raising the DeltaE94 deviations to 1.22 on average and 3.9 at maximum. However, many monitors are not capable of this even in standard modes with the declared calibration, and therefore, even for Reading Mode, the Acer ConceptD CP7271K monitor gets a well-deserved rating of excellent.
⇡ # Backlight Uniformity
One of the main features of the model is a 384-zone illumination with quantum dot deposition. This is not the first such solution — there are already five of them on the market, however, one of them with a vertical frequency of 60 Hz. For four others, as practice has shown, this feature does not lead to an improvement in the uniformity of the backlight compared to the standard — end.
In the case of the hero of the review, the uniformity of the backlight was checked after reducing the brightness at the central point of the monitor to the level of 100 cd / m2, bringing the white point to ~6500 K and deactivating the adaptive backlight operation (SDR Variable Backlight). The backlight uneven compensation system is not used in the model under study, and this is an oversight on the part of Acer, because for most professional solutions such a function is in the order of things.
The picture above shows a photograph of a white field with a certain exposure compensation during shooting (in the dark) and further software processing for a more visual representation of the backlight uniformity. From it, you can immediately understand that our copy has some problems with the uniformity of illumination in a bright field: darkened corners, the upper and lower edges of the matrix, as well as uneven color temperature. However, against the background of some of the monitors we tested, it’s definitely not necessary to talk about some kind of horror.
On the gray fields, the illumination unevenness, as always, is much more pronounced and confirms the features we noted earlier.
In the case of the tested instance, the average deviation from the center point was 7.2%, and the maximum 20.2%. The result is average — and very similar to what we saw in the identical parameters of the models ASUS PG27UQ and Acer Predator X27.
But with the uniformity of color temperature, our copy was not so lucky, because the difference between the measured minimum and maximum after adjustment turned out to be almost 1200 kelvin, the average deviation from the center point was 4%, and the maximum was all 14.7%. The result is frankly weak. The surface chart reminded us of what we saw with the two monitors noted above, but the operating range turned out to be twice as large. Alas, this is not the level of a professional display, and buyers need to be careful when choosing a copy in the store.
Now let’s look at the uniformity of the backlight and the different color effects in the case of a black box. We will do this using two photographs taken at different distances from the screen (~70 and ~150 cm), and again with the adaptive backlight system deactivated.
The glow effect in the classical sense of the Acer monitor is expressed at a minimum level, and if 384 backlight zones work independently of each other, it cannot be seen at all, since the edges of the panel remain as dark as possible. When the Variable Backlight system is turned off, it’s easy to see some kind of Glow, but in the form of backlights that are different in size and shape with spurious shades (backlight light leakage) on the right and left. Decreasing the brightness helps to reduce their visibility, but increasing the working distance from the screen gives a much better effect. In this case, the stray shades almost completely disappear and only a few brightened segments remain on the right side of the matrix.
Multi-zone backlighting most likely greatly complicates production, and even if the monitor had a backlight compensation system, as you know, it would not be able to affect the black field. Therefore, it remains to be happy with what is.
⇡ # The work of the adaptive backlight system (FALD Variable Backlight)
As we have already said, the adaptive backlight system, consisting of 384 zones individually controllable, is one of the main distinguishing features of the display compared to the vast majority of professional monitors. It is thanks to her work that the HDR of the CP7271K can be called close to the expected level. Of course, the monitor is far from OLED TVs, but these are completely different technologies, and therefore there is absolutely no point in starting another “holivar”.
The system performs well when displaying HDR content, but on dark scenes with light objects (especially if they are small and there are a lot of them), the so-called HDR Bloom effect is visible — when a contour blurry glow appears around the edges of the object. This is especially noticeable when the object falls on the borders of several zones and each of them has to increase the brightness of the backlight, although everything around should be as dark as possible.
The only reason for such problems is the inability to control the brightness of each pixel, as is done in OLED TVs. 384 zones is great, but now we will wait for them to become several times more, as on the upcoming solutions with mini-LED backlighting. And better — with micro-LED, an alternative to OLED, but based on inorganic light-emitting diodes, without problems with burn-in. Any of these options will reduce the ghosting of objects that go to the boundaries of other zones that should be darkened, but they have to do the opposite.
In certain conditions, this is still better than edge lighting with its own characteristics, but for some users, multi-zone lighting can still upset — especially the speed of work. By default, the Acer monitor is set to Gaming mode, and this is the case when it’s better not to touch anything, because it will only get worse — the zones will react to what is happening on the screen even more slowly, and this will be clearly visible even to the naked eye.
It is also worth remembering that with HDR disabled, local backlighting provides only a decrease in brightness in areas with black or as close as possible to it. On light areas — both large and small — adaptive zones do not react in any way. And you won’t be able to see the highest possible brightness without HDR.
⇡ # Visual evaluation of the image and features of the model
⇡#Gradients quality and response speed
The Acer ConceptD CP7271K uses a 10-bit matrix using the FRC method to expand the number of reproducible color gradations. 10-bit mode is only available for frequencies up to 98 Hz, as with predecessors with an identical matrix. On the other hand, for the vast majority of users, this is neither cold nor hot, since it is not an easy task to surround yourself with real 10 bits per channel. You need software with support for such color, and the content itself. Just by opening TFTTest and a browser with some video, you will never see anything.
In terms of smooth reproduction of gradients (smooth tonal transitions), the novelty, unfortunately, proved to be good only at factory settings with the adaptive backlight system turned on. But here it is worth remembering that the benefits of it can only be observed when viewing HDR content or working with it. In all other cases — for working with photos, videos and graphics — the dynamic operation of 384 backlight zones creates only additional problems, often darkening areas that do not need it at all, providing a rather strange appearance not only for the image on the screen, but also for the dark program interface.
When SDR Variable Backlight is turned off, the above problems disappear, but the monitor suddenly stops displaying a small part of the deep shadows, leaving them with one shade of gray. I noticed this behavior back in the Predator X27, and it has been preserved in the new CP7271K. It’s a pity, it’s a pity that Acer did not find a way out of this situation for its professional and quite expensive solution. After all, you must admit, it is strange that turning off the asynchronous operation of the backlight zones in an incomprehensible way affects the smoothness of tone transitions. It’s lucky that the monitor doesn’t require LUT edits during calibration, otherwise the situation would be even worse.
In the issue of “banding” (difficulties with reproducing tone transitions in shadows, and sometimes not only), the monitor under study could not show a high result, which is becoming a kind of norm for high-speed IPS solutions — no matter what class and price segment they belong to . If you want a better study of complex transitions, reduce the sweep frequency, or better, immediately pay attention to professional solutions with a native frequency of 60-75 Hz. Among them, problems of this magnitude are not observed.
Now let’s move on to the speed characteristics of the model. The new product claims a matrix with a response time of 4 ms, measured using the Gray-to-Gray method, and a vertical refresh rate of 144 Hz, which, as we managed to find out, is best left for fans, frankly, not the best picture with problematic fonts and some «soapiness». It would be preferable to stay at the standard 120 Hz and forget about additional frequency overclocking. We assure you, you will not see the difference between 120 and 144 Hz on a 4K display, and besides, you need to achieve this level of FPS first.
To increase the pixel response speed, the model uses OverDrive overclocking technology (OD parameter in the OSD menu). She has three modes of operation. By default, the manufacturer set Normal.
The monitor is as fast as possible — this is a fact, and it shows the best results with the factory settings for overclocking the panel. When it is turned off, trails on moving objects visually increase, and activating Extreme provokes the appearance of strong artifacts while maintaining the length of the trail at the level of Normal mode. True, even in Normal you can detect artifacts, but many times less. In other words, there is no ideal option among OD presets — and this is worth remembering.
Nevertheless, the pixel response speed and the overall impression of the CP7271K can be compared with what fast modern gaming models from the WQHD and UWQHD segments can offer, and there are simply no differences from the Predator X27. How much such speed is necessary for professional work and for the resolution of the 4K UHD standard, which only top-end hardware costing about $ 2000-3500+ can pull with a high level of frames per second, we do not know (but we can guess). If you are just interested in high smoothness when performing any actions for a PC and a large margin for the future, then such a solution is just what the doctor ordered.
Separately, we note the use of NVIDIA G-Sync technology in the monitor of the second version with HDR support, which operates in the range of 24-144 Hz (but with RGB color format, count only at 24-120 Hz) and allows you to achieve the absence of microlags and picture tearing at a highly floating FPS level .
The absence of frame drops at 120 Hz was confirmed by a special test from the UFOTest package. This monitor has no problem. We did not test at 144 Hz (but we are sure that there will be no problems), since this requires turning on color compression, which, in turn, leads to a sharp loss in the quality of fonts and small elements, and this is absolutely unacceptable for a professional solution and work carried out for him.
⇡ # Viewing angles and Glow—Effect
The viewing angles of the Acer monitor are all right thanks to the high-quality AHVA-matrix AU Optronics, which we are facing not for the first time.
With slight changes in the viewing angle in the horizontal plane, the picture on the screen does not change at all. If you increase the angle to 30-45 degrees, then the image becomes a little less contrast, the saturation of some colors decreases slightly, the shadows are slightly brightened, a very weak spurious tint appears in one or another part of the screen — nothing unusual. With changes in the vertical plane, the picture on the screen deteriorates faster.
An important difference between the novelty and everything that we have seen before (excluding similar solutions) is a much smaller manifestation of the Glow effect. Black highlights are not so strong, the angular Glow is practically not expressed at the usual position of the user in front of the screen. However, the shifting shading hasn’t gone away — and won’t go away until manufacturers start using A-TW polarizers again, which were discontinued about 10 years ago.
The monitor performs best when testing Glow on color images. Here it is almost impossible to see what impressed us the most. In other words, if you are interested in the most stable picture, then the ConceptD CP7271K is the right choice.
⇡#Crystal effect, cross hatching, PWM
The Acer ConceptD CP7271K monitor uses a high-quality semi-matte matrix surface.
The crystal effect on the monitor screen is invisible, anti-glare properties are preserved, the picture is pleasing to the eye. When the viewing angle is changed, the visibility of the FE does not change. The effect of Cross Hatching of the studied monitor model is not peculiar.
There are no problems with the text of the novelty Acer ConceptD. The work on small details and fonts is quite decent. Additional sharpness adjustment is not required, however, the CP7271K does not have any corresponding items in the OSD menu.
According to the manufacturer, the display has Flicker-Free backlighting, which was confirmed during our tests. At any level of brightness, SHI modulation is not used, or its frequency is several kilohertz or even tens of kilohertz. For their eyes, potential buyers can be calm, but only if you follow other simple rules: you need to monitor the brightness of the screen, choose the right distance to the monitor, and so on.
The Acer ConceptD CP7271K uses an external power supply. There are no parasitic sounds from it and the control electronics of the monitor, but the noise from the cooling system based on as many as three fans, which we described in detail in the «Packaging and appearance» section, will always be with you. This is one of the features of using the second generation G-Sync hardware module.
Acer has spent a year to release a new 27-inch 4K IPS solution with a sophisticated multi-zone backlight system. He was identified in the new ConceptD family, where only advanced professional products with the appropriate capabilities and features should fall. In the case of the CP7271K model reviewed today, which was based on the gaming Predator X27 released in mid-2018, something went wrong. This, in general, does not detract from the merits and wide possibilities of the model, but provokes a lot of questions to the manufacturer.
The novelty was presented as a solution for working with color, for which Acer worked closely with the universally recognized world authority in the field of color — Pantone — and received a certificate of conformity for its ConceptD CP7271K high standards. There is a loud statement, but there is no certificate, and it is not indicated under what conditions and how you can be sure of color matching. After all, the color gamut of the display is wider than not only DCI-P3, but also AdobeRGB, and the operating system and any professional products for their color calculations should be aware of the real capabilities of the display. In the case of the novelty, this is possible only in the sRGB emulation mode, which is carried out as correctly and accurately as possible, and the end user can use the standard system ICM profile. For the mode of operation with full color gamut, it is necessary to carry out profiling — otherwise you can not dream of any high accuracy.
Relegating the CP7271K to the professional segment, equipping it with an expensive and in its own way unique matrix for the market, Acer engineers for some reason forgot about the features and technologies that are important for such solutions, giving much more priority to speed and gaming characteristics. It turned out to be a kind of analogue of the Predator X27 — with all its pluses and minuses, without error correction, with a similar price, but in a slightly modified guise. The manufacturer decided to get by with changing the stand to a far from the most versatile option, cosmetic changes in the case (not everyone will immediately find differences) and the OSD menu. The level of factory settings, of course, is somewhat higher for the hero of the review, but this only applies to the white point. As a result, among the two Acer monitors, you should choose the one that you like best in appearance. Otherwise they are equal. Good luck with your choice!
From file server 3DNews.en can download color profile for this monitor, which we got after configuring and profiling it.
- good quality of materials and assembly (the level of the Predator X27, which has been noted more than once today and many other Acer solutions with a similar case design);
- ergonomic stand and VESA-compatible mount;
- more thoughtful than the X27, the system for attaching the stand to the body and not so great its depth;
- USB hub with four version 3.0 ports and their correct location;
- convenient control system based on a 5-position joystick and 4 physical keys;
- built-in ambient light sensor, which works quite adequately;
- built-in speaker system (albeit not very high quality);
- high-speed 144Hz 4K IPS panel with no drop frames;
- support for NVIDIA G-Sync Ultimate class adaptive sync technologies;
- 384-zone adaptive backlight system based on quantum dots, providing the ability to increase the dynamic range of the scene and the contrast ratio to 50,000:1 and above;
- declared Pantone Validated certification — perhaps this is important for someone;
- the most complete support for various top HDR standards (but this is still not the level of OLED TVs) — Ultra HD Premium and VESA Display HDR1000;
- expanded to 99% AdobeRGB and 91% DCI-P3 color gamut;
- very good factory setting and high-quality emulation of the sRGB space in the corresponding mode;
- the highest stability of grayscale CT in all studied modes — many professional monitors will envy;
- a very wide range of brightness changes with a consistently high contrast ratio higher than the declared one by 10%;
- fairly good uniformity of illumination on a bright field in terms of brightness;
- excellent backlight uniformity on a black field (excluding Glow and other effects at a close distance to the screen), and with the active Variable Backlight system, it is close to ideal;
- backlight without flicker (Flicker-Free) in the entire range of brightness changes;
- excellent viewing angles and almost no Glow effect on color images;
- no problems with text and fine details — no additional sharpening is required;
- no noticeable crystalline effect and cross-hatching.
- low result of illumination uniformity in terms of color temperature — the difference between the measured minimum and maximum was almost 1200 K, and the deviations turned out to be large — it does not at all correspond to the declared level of the model;
- parasitic shades on a black field on both sides of the matrix, visible for some reason at a close or normal working distance from the screen — probably does not depend much on the specimen;
- a very high price for a professional monitor based on a well-known matrix, but without professional “chips” (additional emulation modes for different color spaces, backlight compensation system, advanced built-in LUT with free access, support for hardware calibration, and the like — where is all this?) .
Might not suit:
- design — they forgot to hide the relationship with the Predator X27, and at the base of the stand there is no wood expected after the presentation — we have before us not the best film «under the tree» without texture, applied to the plastic base;
- the use of an active cooling system based on three fans with a noticeable noise level (no significant changes occurred against the background of the Predator X27);
- problems with scaling in Windows due to the high pixel density — for the 4K standard, models with a diagonal of 31.5 inches are much better so far;
- the presence of noticeable artifacts on a small number of color transitions with Overdrive overclocking turned on — you have to turn it off and lose speed;
- the quality of tone transitions in the zone of deep shadows deteriorates sharply when the adaptive backlight is turned off — a strange phenomenon that the monitor inherited from its progenitor, the Predator X27;
- The «banding» effect is quite pronounced — unfortunately, fast monitor models with a higher refresh rate suffer from this more and more often;
- the presence of the HDR Bloom effect due to the peculiarities of the multi-zone backlight system — in order to get rid of it, the manufacturer had to do much more of these very zones, but the user will simply have to turn off the adaptive backlight in the monitor menu.