Acer Predator X38 review: The best ultrawide for gaming removes the need for multiple displays

Acer's Predator X38 ultrawide monitor doesn't make you choose between work and play.

Acer Predator X38 Review
(Image: © Acer)

Windows Central Best Award

The Acer Predator X38 is a gaming-focused ultrawide monitor that undoubtedly has the right specifications and features to take on the best displays available today. It's enormous at 37.5 inches, its 3840x1600 resolution is crisp, and the 2300R curve sucks you in. Not only does it boast high-end gaming performance, it's also suited for productivity, photo, and video work thanks to its size and color reproduction. This is a single monitor that can replace all your other monitors, but is it really worth the price? I've been using the Predator X38 for a few weeks for everything PC-related to see what it's all about.

Tech Specs

Acer Predator X38 at a glance

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The Predator X38 comes assembled out of the box; all you have to do is remove the protective foam, plug it in, and power it on. It's not the lightest monitor at about 20 pounds with the stand attached, but at this size it's not too cumbersome. Here are the exact specs that make up the monitor.

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Screen size37.5 inches
Resolution3840x1600 (UWQHD+)
Panel typeIPS
Aspect ratio21:9
Refresh rate144Hz
OC: 175Hz
Response time1ms
Colors1.07 billion
Brightness450 nits
PortsHDMI 2.0
DisplayPort 1.4
Four USB-A 3.0 down
One USB-B 3.0 up
3.5mm audio
SpeakersDual 7W
VESA100mm x 100mm
DimensionsWith stand:
35.3 x 23.3 x 11.4 inches
(89.66cm x 59.18cm x 28.96cm)
Weight14.2 pounds (6.44kg)
With stand:
20.9 pounds (9.48kg)

Yeah, it's big

Acer Predator X38 dominates your desktop

The Predator X38's main portion is made up primarily of plastic, with a vented back cover that doesn't add any RGB lighting. The stand has an aluminum frame with some plastic casing, but it all feels sturdy. Two arms on the stand spread wide enough to keep everything stable, and it's refined enough to not take up much room on your desk. For a monitor this large, that's important. There's lots of room between the arms to tuck away gadgets and accessories.

The stand allows the display to tilt back about 45 degrees for easy access to ports. Along a ledge near the bottom of the monitor are DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, two USB-A 3.0 down, one USB-B 3.0 up, and a 3.5mm audio jack. A dedicated gap in the stand lets you pass cables through to keep them managed.

For easier accessory access, there are also two more USB-A 3.0 ports on the left side of the screen. The stand swivels about 45 degrees left and right, plus it has height adjustment. It falls to sit just inches from the desk, and raises enough that I haven't felt the need to use a separate riser. Bezel is narrow enough that you really don't notice it on a screen this size, and the monitor is relatively thin considering everything that's packed inside.

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Just above where the stand attaches to the monitor is a vent with a fan behind it. Yes, the monitor requires its own cooling system, which isn't out of the ordinary for something like this. You can hear the display's fan in a silent room, but otherwise it shouldn't be any louder than the laptop or desktop you're using. No whine and no big changes to RPM. Be sure to enable "Deep Sleep" within the monitor's settings so the fan turns off when the display isn't in use.

Acer has also tucked a couple of 7W speakers in the Predator X38. As far as monitor audio goes, they're above average. There's not much bass and overall sound is a bit hollow, but it's still perfectly workable for podcasts or music while you work. An ambient light sensor is built into the top of the case for automatic brightness adjustments.

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The on-screen display (OSD) menu is primarily controlled by a joystick on the bottom right of the back panel. There are also three slim shortcut buttons (which can be customized) and a power button. There are a number of preset picture modes to choose from, including the standard gaming, eco, movie, and graphics settings.

Getting into the main menu, you have access to picture, color, audio, gaming, OSD, and system settings. Here you can adjust the refresh rate from 144Hz to 160Hz or 175Hz, you can adjust backlight, blue light, and auto brightness, and you can adjust the sRGB color for SDR, DisplayPort, and HDMI. Moving through the menu is quick and intuitive, and I appreciate the customizable hot keys.

High-end in every way

Acer Predator X38 performance and color

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There's no need for a multi-monitor setup once you start using the Acer Predator X38.

Acer went with an LG LM375QW2 IPS panel in the Predator X38, the same panel that resides in LG's own 38GL950G ultrawide gaming monitor. It's also similar to the panel in the LG 38WN95C-W without quite as many features. Nevertheless, it was an excellent choice that allows the monitor to be used for both work and for play. The 2300R curve is just right at this width, and the matte finish eliminates essentially all glare.

I can enable automatic brightness during the day and let the monitor do its thing while the lighting in my office changes. At night, the blue light filter comes on so I don't ruin my eyes. The ability to place three or four windows next to each other while working is an enormous boon, and there's absolutely no need to have a multiple-monitor setup. The Predator X38 does it all.

Using a standard light bleed test showed no bleed from the LED backlight. There is some IPS glow depending on the angle at which you're viewing the monitor, but facing it straight on eliminates anything noticeable. With a monitor this wide, that's a good thing. The backlight is flicker-free for easier viewing.

I primarily work with word processing, web browsing, photo editing, and email — general productivity stuff — and it all looks crisp and clear on the 1600p vertical resolution. Testing factory calibrated color reproduction with a Datacolor SpyderX Pro, the Predator X38 manages 100% sRGB, 90% AdobeRGB, and 96% DCI-P3. It also hits the Delta E<2 standard for any photographers and videographers out there who need exact color reproduction.

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The Predator X38 is cut out for office work, but it really shines once you start gaming.

Though it's perfectly capable, Acer's Predator line isn't intended for office work. I almost felt guilty subjecting it to such boring fare. The X38 has a 1ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate as standard, overclockable up to 160Hz or 175Hz as needed. Whether or not you do need the boosted refresh rate depends on your PC, as it takes quite a bit of power to hit those frames at what is essentially a 2K+ resolution in most modern games. If you're working with a gaming PC that's more on the budget side of things, this monitor's specs and price are no doubt overkill. Check out our collection of the best graphics card options if you're in need of an upgrade.

Testing with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X processor and AMD Radeon RX 6800 graphics card gets plenty of games close to hitting the monitor's overclocked ceiling, and the results are terrific. The monitor is equipped with the required processor for true G-Sync, but even without FreeSync to pair up with my Radeon GPU, games are stunning. VESA Certified DisplayHDR 400 is included for better movie watching and more vivid gaming in compatible titles.

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I've been using the Predator X38 for weeks, allowing me to test a number of different games. Valheim, a third-person survival game, translates well to ultrawide with its wide view of the surrounding countryside and any present danger. It's a gorgeous game anyway thanks to stellar lighting effects, and the view on the X38 when the sun comes up while sailing is incomparable.

First-person shooters look just as impressive, providing engagement that standard 16:9 gaming monitors don't come close to touching. Metro Exodus and its dark, grimy world was particularly gruesome on the X38. Playing some Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition proves that seeing too much of the surrounding area is never an issue in RTS games. And as for racing titles, DiRT 5 might be the game I love most on the X38. I'm not usually one who enjoys a rally, but the wide view gives it an entirely new feel.

The monitor hit 453 nits brightness in testing. Combined with the matte finish, I've had no problems working during the day with sun streaming in. And with the blue light filter, gaming at night doesn't need to sear your eyes. One thing I would have liked to see is a motion blur reduction setting.

Prodigious Price

What you'll dislike about the Acer Predator X38