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Acer Nitro XV282K review

The Acer Nitro XV282K is an expensive gaming monitor, but it can look great

acer nitro xv282k
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

While the Acer Nitro XV282K is pretty pricey, it’s nevertheless a solid gaming monitor with robust picture options — depending on which presets you use.

Pros

  • +

    Gorgeous HDR mode

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    Straightforward design

  • +

    Works well with console or PC

Cons

  • -

    More expensive than similar monitors

  • -

    Most presets look terrible

  • -

    Annoying setup process

The Acer Nitro XV282K is a gorgeous gaming monitor, although you might not know it at first glance. If you hook up this 4K, 144Hz display to a powerful PC or current-gen console, you can simply activate HDR mode and bask in the vibrant colors, deep blacks and sharp images. If, on the other hand, you use the other modes, you’d better be ready to do a lot of legwork.

In fact, most of the XV282K’s preset modes are downright ugly, with little contrast and not nearly enough saturation. That’s fairly damning in a $900 machine (most of its competitors are in the $700 range), especially when you consider that the XV282K also has weak speakers and an obnoxious setup process.

On the other hand, these drawbacks are easy to overlook when you’re in the middle of a 4K game, running at a smooth 60 fps (or more), feeling immersed in the rich palette and smooth framerate. Once you have the XV282K set up just the way you like it, it’s quite good — I just wish it were a little easier to get there.

The XV282K isn’t necessarily one of the best gaming monitors you can buy, but it might be right for your particular setup. Read on for our full Acer XV282K review.

Acer XV282K review: Specs

Screen Size: 28 inches

Resolution: 3840 x 2160

Refresh Rate: 144 Hz

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI, 3.5 mm audio, USB-A, USB-B, USB-C

Dimensions: 25.1 x 17.6 x 10.6 inches

Acer XV282K review: Design 

acer nitro xv282k

(Image credit: Future)

As gaming monitors go, it doesn’t get much simpler than the Acer XV282K. The display itself is a flat rectangle with a 28-inch screen. There’s a small power indicator light on the bottom-right and an Acer logo in the bottom-center, but there’s no other adornment. On the back, there are four navigation buttons and a control nub. The buttons all feel identical, so trying to differentiate them isn’t as smooth as it could be, but they get the job done.

You can customize quite a few things about the monitor, including about 5 inches of height adjustment, 40 degrees of tilt and a vertical orientation option. Adjusting the monitor is pretty effortless, although setting it up was another story. The stand consists of two pieces: a circular base and a cylindrical support rod. The screw from the rod doesn’t fit neatly into the base, and the base is a little heavier than it looks. As such, there’s no great way to set it up without a second person handy, and even then, the process involves some trial and error. Hopefully, you’ll have to do it only once.

Port-wise, the XV282K has a respectable variety: a power port, two HDMI 2.1 ports, a DisplayPort, a USB-C port, a USB-B port, two USB-A ports and a 3.5 mm audio port. However, the ports are all on the underside of the monitor, and quite hard to access. If you intend to hook up gadgets to the monitor, consider doing so during the initial setup process; you’re not going to want to move them afterward.

The Acer XV282K also has built-in speakers, but you probably won’t want to use them. They have a metallic, muddy quality that I could only tolerate for a few minutes before I plugged a pair of headphones in.

Acer XV282K review: Screen 

acer nitro xv282k

(Image credit: Future)

The screen is probably the biggest draw of the Acer XV282K. At 28 inches, it’s big enough to command attention, but small enough to fit on a desk. With 4K resolution and a 144 Hz refresh rate, it can support anything from a high-end gaming PC, to a PS5, to an Xbox Series X, to a 4K streaming media player. Since the whole monitor isn’t obnoxiously bulky, even with the stand, it’s easy to imagine the XV282K being a good fit for a wide swath of console and PC gamers.

Here's how the XV282K stacks up to some of its competitors in terms of benchmarks:

Acer XV282K screen benchmark comparison
Brightness (nits)sRGB Spectrum (%)Delta-E
Acer Nitro XV282K (Standard)1851370.31
Acer Nitro XV282K (HDR)2481360.22
Asus TUF VG28UQL1A (sRGB Mode)2471020.27
Asus TUF VG28UQL1A (HDR)2331020.27
Acer Predator XB232QK (Standard)1081380.29
Acer Predator XB232QK (HDR)1531380.30

Numerically speaking, the Nitro XV282K stacks up favorably against its close competitors, both from within Acer and without. In HDR mode, it had better brightness and color accuracy than the other two models, while the sRGB spectrum was just a tiny bit lower than the Acer Predator XB232QK (full review pending). In particular, the Delta-E of 0.22 in HDR mode was impressive, as closer to zero is a better result.

From a qualitative perspective, however, it’s difficult to get past just how terrible most of the XV282K’s presets look. With a few simple menu selections, you can activate one of eight different display presets, which range from Action to Racing to Sports to a customized User profile. You can adjust all of these settings to various extents, but by default, most of them border on unusable. The majority of the XV282K’s presets are low contrast, low saturation washouts that would have looked disappointing on a ‘90s CRT monitor. If you’ve ever left a colorful magazine page out in the sun for too long, you have a reasonable approximation of how the XV282K looks on most presets.

That’s why I was absolutely shocked when I activated the monitor’s HDR mode and found that it was beyond gorgeous. With HDR active, the colors were rich, vibrant and accurate, and the contrast subtle enough to distinguish all sorts of blacks, grays and browns. I have an OLED TV at home, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the XV282K’s HDR settings gave it a run for its money, particularly with a powerful gaming PC hooked up.

If you have a PC or console capable of HDR output, the XV282K will serve you well. If not, you can still coax some good color out of it, but be prepared to do the legwork yourself.

Acer XV282K review: Performance 

acer nitro xv282k

(Image credit: Future)

Luckily, I tested the Acer XV282K with two systems capable of HDR output: a Dell XPS gaming PC, and a PS5. As such, I had the HDR mode active the whole time, and was absolutely blown away by some of the visuals. In Nioh Remastered on the PS5, I activated the 120 Hz mode, and the monitor rendered each katana stroke and arrow strike with stunning fluidity. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on the PS5 felt similarly smooth, although some of the dark areas were just a touch too dark, even with my avatar’s torch active.

It was with PC games where the monitor really shone, though. I tested the system with  Age of Empires IV, Doom Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077 and Final Fantasy XIV, and each game looked gorgeous. Whether it was the lush European landscapes of Age of Empires, the rocky red hellscapes of Doom Eternal or the bustling cities of Final Fantasy XIV, the XV282K rendered them all in stunning 4K at a smooth 60 frames per second. (Your mileage may vary, depending on how powerful your rig is.)

Cyberpunk 2077 is where the monitor excelled, though. As a cyberpunk locale, Night City has subtle colorations: lots of blues, grays, browns and blacks. Far from looking drab, though, the XV282K brought the setting to life, giving it just as much visual richness and vibrancy as the more colorful games. The monitor can display 136% of the sRGB spectrum, and it puts every percentage point to good use.

Acer XV282K review: Interface 

acer nitro xv282k

(Image credit: Future)

The Acer XV282K has an unremarkable, utilitarian menu system. One button brings up presets; one button brings up a full menu; a control nub helps you navigate, and so forth. You can choose presets, control color and brightness options, switch among inputs and even monitor your refresh rate. 

Once I had the system set up the way I liked it, I didn’t see much reason to dive back into the menu system, but it’s fairly navigable. If you don’t have an HDR-capable system, however, just be aware that you’re going to spend a lot of time in the menu system to adjust saturation and contrast manually.

Acer XV282K review: Verdict 

acer nitro xv282k

(Image credit: Future)

Before you buy an Acer XV282K, you should keep a few important caveats in mind. It’s expensive, it’s difficult to set up, and a lot of its display modes simply don’t look very good. However, in HDR mode, it runs like a dream, and that’s important for both gamers and graphic designers.

While it’s worth considering cheaper alternatives, such as the Samsung Odyssey G7 (opens in new tab) ($800) or the Gigabyte M28U ($650), the XV282K is a good gaming monitor, even if it’s not quite an excellent one.

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.