The super-wide 21:9 aspect isn’t that common in PC monitors, and even less so for gaming. But it’s potentially a very immersive form factor. The Acer Predator Z1 Z301CT presents this aspect with a 30in diagonal, a curved surface, and good helping of features for the serious gamer.
The maximum resolution is 2,560 x 1,080, so this is essentially like a Full HD screen with some extra pixels on either end. The 21:9 aspect ratio goes particularly well with the curved format, with the extra edges on the periphery of vision.
This is a VA panel, which has some good and bad implications for gamers. On the plus side, VA has great viewing angles, better colour than TN, and deeper blacks for a higher contrast. On the downside, VA has similar response time issues to IPS. The Z301CT only boasts a 4ms response. Brightness is a fairly normal 300 Nits (cd/m2), and Acer doesn’t make any claims about contrast ratio, although generally this will be in excess of 1,000:1 with a VA panel, or even more when dynamic systems are enabled.
There are plenty of extras for the ardent gamer, though, other than just the fact that the black and metallic red finish suits the Predator name well. The standard maximum refresh rate is an already commendable 144Hz, but there’s also a very impressive 200Hz overclock available. This goes hand-in-hand with the G-Sync support, so you can really enjoy dynamic high-framerate gaming. Since this screen is not 4K, there’s a good chance that your graphics card can deliver these kinds of frame rates without the need for SLI (or CrossFire, although obviously this wouldn’t work with G-Sync).
There are some more mainstream goodies on board as well. A USB 3.0 hub is always handy on a monitor, so you don’t have to scrabble round the back of your PC to connect peripherals, and this one has the full four ports too. There are some mediocre speakers built in (you will probably be gaming with a headset anyway), and tilt, raise and swivel adjustments are on hand, but not rotation into portrait mode.
There are gaming presets and further menu adjustments for this kind of usage, including crosshairs. However, all this comes at a relatively princely sum just shy of £800. So the price is as wide as the view. Let’s find out if the quality is equally expansive.
Screen size: 30-inch, 21:9 aspect
Native resolution: 2,560 x 1,080
Refresh rate: 144Hz (200Hz overclocked)
Panel type: VA
Contrast ratio: Not stated.
Response time: 4ms grey-to-grey
Display inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort
USB hub: Yes,
Other: Headphone jack, G-sync, built-in speakers.
Retail Price: £799.99 (inc. VAT)