ACER Nitro VG270UP Review
A gaming monitor for the masses?
Acer are no strangers when it comes to creating some of the best monitors money can buy. I mean, just take their incredibly powerful Predator X27 4K monitor as a prime example. Today, we get to test run one of their impressive new arrivals – the Acer Nitro VG270UP gaming monitor.
This is a monitor that comes to the table with a powerful array of specs that include; a 1440p IPS panel, 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms GTG response time, and a bunch of additional features that are geared towards gamers. That doesn’t just make this a serious contender in the mid-range price category, but one of the stand-out monitors in terms of value for money.
So, with that in mind, let’s waste no further time and jump straight into it.
How We Tested
Here at WePC, we take our reviews extremely seriously. Even though user feedback and product research is a major part of the review process, it isn’t the most important factor. Putting the hardware we review through its paces in our testing facility is by far the most important aspect of any review. Not only does it give us the information needed to review and compare that product properly, but it also lets you know that our opinions are well-informed and backed up by solid research.
Testing monitors is something we’ve done here at WePC since day one, so when Acer decided to send us their VG270UP gaming monitor, we already had all the tools in place to ensure this monitor got the complete rundown. After taking stock photos of the monitor, it gets sent to the review team. The team will put the product through its paces in several different scenarios to ensure it’s been benchmarked in full.
Most of our review team either play games or enjoy dabbling in creative endeavors, which means we understand the important role a monitor plays in your PC’s Setup. The difference between a budget monitor and a high-end one can be huge, and I’m not just referencing its size. That’s why most of our time spent reviewing a product is spent on the physical benchmarking section.
We like to give the most informed and unbiased review of the products we receive. That way, you can be sure what we say is both legit and informed.
One of the most important aspects to consider before making a major hardware purchase is the specifications. It might sound like an obvious thing to say, but you’ll be surprised at how many people just look at the size and refresh rate of a monitor before making up their mind.
The following section will outline all the major specifications this monitor has to offer. If some of the specs don’t make much sense, don’t worry. We’ll be going over everything you need to know further down the article.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the specs:
- Size: 27″
- Refresh Rate: 144Hz
- Response Time: 1ms
- Panel Type: IPS
- Maximum Resolution: 2560 x 1440
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
- Brightness: 350 cd/m²
Size, Weight, & Design
The VG270UP is a 27-inch monitor that offers a sleek design accentuated by a blue-on-gray color scheme. It doesn’t come with any form of RGB lighting, no biggie, but does make up for that in terms of color and picture quality (something we’ll discuss shortly).
As far as 27-inch monitors go, this one feels pretty small – mainly thanks to the monitor’s three-sided borderless frame design. It weighs in at a mere 5.11Kg (middle of the road when concerning 27″ monitors) and has a fairly wide footprint. Overall I actually really enjoy the aesthetic this monitor brings to the table. It ticks both boxes for style, and game feel – if you know what I mean.
We may as well get the elephant out of the room straight away — that stand. Now, even though it might look cool and angular, it is pathetic in terms of stability and robustness. It is a piece of garbage. Never have I used a monitor (of this price) with such a terrible stand. It feels like it’s going to break every time I start typing. The wobble is so aggressive you feel a little queasy after time.
Anyway. Anger aside, the monitor does come with a VESA mount meaning you can destroy that stand at the next possible opportunity.
Resolution, Refresh Rate, & Response Time
So, weight and size out of the way, let’s take a look at the three most important factors when it comes to gaming performance – maximum resolution, response time, and refresh rate.
Even though these three specifications don’t solely define a monitor, they certainly go a long way when it comes to the overall gaming performance of a display. Ultimately, these three areas will let you know whether or not the monitor will excel in a gaming scenario, and also have a huge impact on its price.
Having said that, let’s start with this monitor’s resolution;
The VG270UP offers a WQHD resolution – more commonly referred to as 2560 x 1440. For me, that’s the perfect sweet spot for both gaming and entertainment viewing. A resolution like this is not only going to offer you excellent clarity but decent screen real-estate as well.
For those that don’t quite understand screen resolution, it refers to how many pixels your monitor can physically display. In this case, the VG270UP offers 2560 pixels horizontally, and 1440 vertically – perfect for most modern-day tasks – gaming included.
Be aware, though, if you plan on upgrading your current 1080p monitor to a 1440p alternative, you are most likely going to see a drop in performance when gaming. That’s because increasing the resolution is one of the most taxing factors gaming puts on your GPU.
A monitor’s refresh rate tells us how fast it can refresh the images it’s displaying. It has a direct impact on the smoothness of your gameplay, especially when used in conjunction with adaptive sync technology.
The VG270UP offers a rapid 144Hz refresh rate, which, again, we feel is the perfect sweet spot for a 1440p monitor – especially if you’re looking to take your competitive esports to the next level. If your system can output over 144FPS when gaming, you’ll also be able to utilize FreeSync to further improve the smoothness of your gameplay.
The last piece of the three pillar gaming puzzle is response time. This looks at how fast the pixels in the monitor can change color, usually using the grey-to-grey transition.
The response time is measured in milliseconds (ms), with anything under 5ms being acceptable for both gaming and work type situations. Having said that, if you want the best viewing experience from your monitor, we recommend opting for a 1ms response time. This will theoretically eradicate any possible chance of visual ghosting – something that occurs when the color of the pixels can’t change quickly enough in fast-paced titles.
All that in mind, the VG270UP comes to the table boasting an impressive 1ms (VRB) response time. VRB stands for “visual response boost”. It’s a feature that physically improves the response time of your pixels – therefore leading to fewer visual artifacts.
Taking a brief look at the inputs, the VG270UP doesn’t come with an abundance of options, but everything you need to get up and running.
- 1 x HDMI 1.4 port
- 1 x HDMI 2.0 port
- 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
- 1 x 3.5mm Headphone jack
Unlike many modern monitors, this one does not come with a USB input option. Having said that, it isn’t the end of the world. It still comes equipped with a couple of HMDI and DisplayPort inputs for obtaining silky-smooth 144hz visuals.
With the main bulk of the VG270UP’s specs out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the unique features that separate this monitor from other comparably priced options.
Below we’re going to showcase all the features of this monitor – going into more detail on the standouts. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
The VG270UP comes equipped with FreeSync support – AMD’s adaptive sync technology.
There are two factors that you need to consider when referencing adaptive sync tech, and that is refresh rate and frames per second. Adaptive sync technology is used in today’s monitors to increase the smoothness of the gameplay. This is done by synchronizing the monitor’s refresh rate and the frame rate output of the game you’re playing.
The VG270UP – a 1440p 144hz monitor – requires a relatively powerful PC to run games at the FPS level needed to really utilize the screen tear reduction technology. Your PC is going to need to produce a minimum of 144FPS to feel the real effects of it.
If you possess a PC with that kind of performance power, though, FreeSync is going to offer a new level of smoothness in the heat of battle – something we will discuss further as the article goes on.
Low Blue Light
First up is the OSD or On-screen display for those that aren’t fully up-to-speed on panel abbreviations.
The display can be accessed via the four buttons found at the bottom right rear of the monitor. The “main” control, shall we say, is now a joystick. More and more monitors are making use of the joystick design, and I can’t stress enough how much of a plus this is. Even though most people rarely go into the OSD, it’s still nice knowing that you can easily navigate it if the need arises.
Tapping the joystick will open up the mini OSD menu. This gives you four options to choose from – two of which are fully customizable to your liking. You can move through to the advanced menu by clicking the joystick again, where you have a whole plethora of options to tamper with.
It’s worth mentioning that the OSD buttons aren’t labeled. For me, this isn’t a problem in the slightest. Having said that, I’ve seen some people moaning about this in several different forums. Anyway, I thought it was worth a mention.
All the usual options are available in the Acer Nitro’s VG270UP’s OSD, including; picture, color, audio, OSD, system, and even a gaming tab.
The gaming tab offers a couple of handy features, which include an overdrive setting – allowing users to theoretically increase the response time of the pixels. It also has a FreeSync toggle button to quickly change the adaptive sync settings. VRB mode is also available here. We did touch on this earlier, but to recap, VRB is visual response boost. It’s a technology that helps reduce any motion blur in the display. Using this feature in 144Hz doesn’t yield great results, though. You will have to dial the refresh rate down to 120Hz to see real-world benefits from this feature. You can also equip your display with a customized crosshair via the “aim point” option found in the gaming tab.
Overall, the OSD is a huge plus in this monitor, especially when compared against other similarly priced alternatives.
Blue light is another silent assassin when it comes to your eyes’ well-being. It’s the most harmful color your monitor produces, and like screen flicker, it can seriously damage your eyes over extended periods. The blue light a monitor produces is a suppressor of melatonin, meaning it can physically disrupt the quality and longevity of your sleep. It’s also one of the main reasons why your eyes feel drained after using a monitor for an extended period of time.
Low blue light filter is a technology that massively reduces the levels of blue light in a monitor. Pair this with the flicker-free technology, and you have a pretty solid eye-care package.
Hands On Results
Let’s start off by discussing one of the standout purchasing features of this monitor, the stunning 1440p IPS panel. The 8-bit screen comes to the table equipped with a native maximum resolution of 2560 x 1440 and showcases extremely realistic color recreation and image quality. You’d think a monitor like this (largely tailored and marketed towards gamers) would probably fall a little short in the color accuracy department. Well, you’d be wrong to think that.
This has some of the best color recreations we’ve seen, and I’m not just talking about monitors of this price point. It displays such good color; it’s almost knocking on the door of premium displays for editors.
The contrast ratio isn’t bad either, with a displayed rating of 1000:1. Having said that, it tested higher than that when measured in-house. If you’re looking for extreme levels of black, however, I’d recommend going for a VA-panel over an IPS.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have the brightness, and this monitor is rated at 380cd/m² – not bad for SDR image quality. That being said if you plan on using the VRB mode while gaming, be prepared to sacrifice some of that brightness. The levels drop to over half the displayed brightness when using VRB in extreme mode. Furthermore, when testing for brightness uniformity, we noticed a fairly large discrepancy (around 20%) in certain areas. This was almost unrecognizable while in use, but it was definitely there during the test.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, this monitor doesn’t come with any form of HDR support (yep, not even HDR400). Not a big deal. HDR400 is pretty gimmicky if truth be told. It falls short of the minimum requirements you’d expect from official HDR10 and Dolby vision standards. If you are looking for an HDR panel, I would recommend looking for a minimum of HDR600. Anything less, and you really won’t see much benefit.
So, let’s move onto the in-game performance.
If you were impressed by the colors and image quality, you’ll be blown away by the gaming performance. This thing was awesome! The VG270UP hits shelves with an impressive 144Hz refresh rate and an equally attractive 1ms GTG response time. For comparison, a lot of IPS panels in this price point only offer 4ms – so you’re in good company here.
You will have to enable the visual response boost (VRB) mode to achieve the improved response time. Remember, if you want to reap the full rewards of this mode, you will have to reduce the refresh rate of your monitor down to 120Hz. Not a huge issue, but certainly an area that people might frown upon.
If you’d rather enjoy the smoothness 144Hz offers, simply disable the VRB mode and crank the overdrive up to extreme – you will not be disappointed. I always like to test a gaming monitor on CS:GO mostly because I love that game. But secondly, it’s incredibly fast-paced. You can usually see any screen artifact right off the bat, and to my surprise, there was basically nothing to fault. We put this side by side with the TN panel of the ASUS PG278QR (a high-end alternative), and it was tough to see the difference.
What I will say about using extreme overdrive, however, is that you do start to notice fairly obvious image ghosting. Now, for competitive gamers, this isn’t a huge gripe. If you’re looking for the most immersive experience, however, you will find this a little annoying. We experimented with a number of different setting combinations, and there was really no way around it. You simply have to dial down the overdrive.
Testing it across several different games yielded the same impressive results. Picture quality was crisp and clear, colors accurate, and immersion levels extremely high. It even allows Nvidia GPU users to utilize G-Sync (well, the ones that have a 10-series GTX card anyway).
Flicker-free technology is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a technology that eradicates the flicker that occurs when refreshing the image you’re seeing.
If you’re a gamer, you’ll probably indulge in long gaming sessions that span over several hours. If you’re using a monitor that doesn’t come equipped with flicker-free technology, you are putting additional strain on your eyes that can lead to damage over time.
Annoyingly, flicker-free isn’t visible to the naked eye. You might be reading this section now, thinking that your monitor doesn’t have this problem. When in reality, you might be putting your eyes through a lot of potential damage.
Anyway, that being said, this is just another additional extra that Acer added to this already impressive package.
So, there you have it, our comprehensive rundown of the Acer Nitro VG270UP gaming monitor.
It currently retails at a shade under $300 (at the time of writing this), making it one of the best value-for-money monitors out there right now. We struggled to find a single monitor (in its price range) that delivered similar levels of picture quality, color accuracy, and smooth gameplay. The only real downside to this monitor is the absolutely abysmal stand that it comes with.
All-in-all though, if you’re looking for an affordable gaming monitor that offers stunning visuals and an overall immersive experience, and you can live with the stand, this monitor should be high up on your list of considerations.
Let us know what you thought of the monitor by dropping us a comment in the section below. Better still, head on over to our community hub, where you can discuss everything monitor related with like-minded individuals!
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