Acer's Predator XN253Q X is a 24.5-inch TN gaming monitor with some drool-worthy specs for any competitive gamer out there. However, it might be less attractive to the casual user who places color and contrast on a higher pedestal. I've been using this monitor for the last few weeks during all gaming sessions to see where it excels and where it falls short.
Bottom line: The Acer Predator XN253Q X is no doubt an enticing monitor for those involved in competitive esports gaming thanks to high-end specs. However, the 240Hz refresh rate and 0.4ms response time are likely overkill for most people, especially since they're provided by a TN panel that lacks some color and contrast compared to IPS and VA alternatives.
- Up to a 240Hz refresh rate
- Response time as low as 0.4ms
- NVIDIA G-Sync compatible
- 24.5 inches is great for esports
- Thin bezel, ergonomic stand
- Color and contrast not a good as VA or IPS panel
- Speakers are forgettable
- Price is steep
What I love about the Acer Predator XN253Q X
Graphics cards (GPU) and processors (CPU) are more powerful than ever, and many people are upgrading to 1440p, and even 4K monitors for gaming purposes. However, to get the most out of mid-range hardware — especially in the competitive esports category — 1080p is still a great way to raise frames-per-second (FPS) for a smooth experience. And when you combine high-end hardware with a 1080p display, it had better have some high-performance specs to keep up. That's exactly where the Acer Predator XN253Q X is positioned.
|TN, LED backlight
Down to 0.4ms
USB-A 3.0 up
Four USB-A 3.0 down
|100mm x 100mm
It is sized at 24.5 inches and has a 1920x1080 resolution, with a Twisted Nematic (TN) panel. In the gaming world, there are three main types of display panel to choose from. In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels typically allow for the best color and viewing angle, TN typically offers the best refresh rate and response time at a competitive price, and Vertical Alignment (VA) sits somewhere in between with decent color and performance.
The XN253Q employs the TN panel type, with a lofty 240Hz refresh rate and response time that Acer claims dips down to just 0.4ms. Otherwise, every mention seems to be 1ms. In any case, those are serious specs that will allow just about any hardware to excel. Competitive esports games are usually low impact compared to AAA titles, and this monitor can make the most of low PC requirements. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was buttery smooth running at 200FPS on my PC, and even playing Call of Duty: Warzone at around 120FPS felt great. NVIDIA G-Sync compatibility plays a big role in eliminating screen tearing, and I was able to take advantage with my NVIDIA RTX GPU. If you're running an AMD GPU, you'll no doubt want to check out a FreeSync gaming monitor.
The Predator XN253Q X has some distinct gamer stylings, though it's not so laden with them that it becomes obnoxious. The plastic back has a brushed metal look with arched venting, there's a red joystick for the on-screen display (OSD) navigation, and there's a recessed section along the bottom for ports and power. There are two more USB ports on the side for connecting accessories. The stand is the most stylized part, with a three-pronged metal base, angular cable cutout, and Predator logo on the top and bottom. A headphone holder flips out of the rear stand, though I didn't really use it because of the positioning.
Acer didn't jump onto the curved display bandwagon here, and at this size, it's not an issue at all. Stepping down from a 27-inch curved monitor, 24.5 inches makes tracking enemies in a frenetic first-person shooter much easier. There's hardly any bezel along the top and sides, though there is about a half-inch along the bottom. Overall it's a fetching monitor I wouldn't mind having on my desk.
A lot of TN monitors come from the factory looking washed out, and the Predator XN253Q X was in the same boat (though perhaps less so than others I've experienced). I played a few games without touching anything and wasn't very satisfied, but after adjusting gamma and contrast, it settled into a much more likeable picture. The OSD is easy to navigate with the joystick, and there are a generous amount of tweakable settings within. No issues there.
I eventually used a DataColor SpyderX Pro colorimeter to test reproduction and brightness. The monitor reached 95% sRGB, 73% AdobeRGB, and 76% DCI-P3. As for brightness, it hit a maximum of 427 nits and got down to 76 nits. Since you're no doubt not going to be gaming outdoors, this brightness combined with the matte finish should be more than enough to fend off glare.
Connected with DisplayPort to get the full performance bundle, including 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and G-Sync, the Predator XN253Q showed no evident blur or ghosting while gaming. When pushing high framerates, the monitor makes games feel incredibly easy to control, and it's clear this is where the appeal for the high refresh rate and low response time comes in. G-Sync helps the monitor stay smooth when performance dips (it's often hard to keep steady framerates that high in demanding AAA games), and Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) is available as an alternative for reducing blur at lower framerates.
What I dislike about Acer's Predator XN253Q X
Playing more casual, cinematic games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition just didn't have the same appeal as some other monitors in my office due to the size, contrast, and color of the XN253Q X. This is an above-average TN panel in the two latter terms. Still, darks just aren't as deep, and colors just aren't as vibrant as you'd see from a good VA or IPS monitor. And at 24.5 inches, you might soon be craving a larger picture if you're more into cinematic experiences than high-paced competitive action.
It's always nice to have a stand that can adjust for tilt, swivel, rotation, and height, though I wish the stand was a bit taller. It can be completely removed if you're interested in hanging it on a wall with VESA 100mm x 100mm mounts, but just a few more inches height would make a big difference. I hate looking down at a monitor while playing, and it's not easy to prop it up with the three-prong base design.
Dual 2W speakers are included, but like most built-in monitor speakers, they are easily forgettable. I am firmly in the gaming headset gang, so I'm no doubt a bit biased. For casual listening, when you don't want to don a pair of headphones, they will do, but once you start gaming, you'll want something far more robust.
Should you buy the Acer Predator XN253Q X?
I'm still not exactly sold on monitors with extremely high refresh rates — I'm more on the casual side of things, especially in terms of my PC's hardware — but after using the Predator XN253Q X for a couple of weeks, I can see why competitive gamers can't live without. Games just feel different, and going back down to a lower refresh rate is a noticeable change. This monitor performs exceptionally well, thanks to G-Sync and ULMB. Even though color and contrast are comparatively not as impressive as IPS or VA, it's not something you'll really notice once you're into some frenetic action. For a TN panel, it's likely above what you might expect.
The monitor is built well, the OSD is easy to navigate and offers plenty of tweaks, and additional ports are handy for connecting accessories. I wish the stand reached a bit higher, but at least it supports VESA mounting. There's almost no bezel on the top three sides for a modern look, and the three-prong base doesn't take up as much room on a desk. If you're looking for a new monitor that can deliver a competitive edge, this is it.
The $494 price might seem high for a 1080p display at 24.5 inches, and compared to some other options out there, it is high. For example, the Alienware AW2521HF has an IPS panel, 240Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and both FreeSync and G-Sync compatibility. It costs about $366, making it far more affordable. If you're on a tight budget, be sure to shop around before making a final decision.
And if you're more interested in a casual gaming experience or feel like 144Hz is all that's needed, there are plenty of similarly priced gaming monitors with larger screens and better color and contrast available. If you love the Predator line, check out the XB271HU 27-inch monitor with QHD resolution, IPS panel, 144Hz refresh rate, and G-Sync compatibility for about $500.
High-Performance Gaming Monitor
High-end specs come at a price
The Acer Predator XN253Q X will change the feel of competitive gaming, but be sure you have the PC to reach its true potential.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.