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Acer KG281K Review: Affordable 4K FreeSync Gaming Monitor

Introduction

The Acer KG281K is a cheap 4K monitor that’s particularly good for Xbox One S and Xbox One X thanks to its FreeSync support over HDMI. Here’s what you should know about this gaming monitor.

Image Quality

Based on a TN panel with 160°/170° viewing angles, a 1ms response time speed, dithered 10-bit color support, and 4K UHD resolution, the Acer KG281K  28″ monitor delivers vivid details and a smooth performance.

However, when it comes to color quality and viewing angles, it falls behind other panel technologies such as IPS and VA.

With TN panels, you get less accurate colors than that of an IPS as well as a lower contrast ratio in comparison to VA. On the other hand, you do a quicker response time speed for virtually zero ghosting and motion blur in fast-paced games.

Other panel-related specs include a 330-nit peak brightness, a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and a 60Hz refresh rate which is all standard for a 4K monitor at this price.

Performance

When it comes to 4K PC gaming, you’re going to need quite a powerful system to smoothly run 4K at ~60FPS with decent settings in newer video games which is why we recommend a 1440p gaming monitor instead for PC gaming.

For 4K console gaming, a 4K monitor will provide you with significantly lower input lag and quicker response time which makes for a more responsive competitive gaming experience.

However, you can still get a 4K TV with low input lag which may not be as fast as a monitor, but it offers more immersive gameplay due to its bigger screen and better colors/contrast.

In the end, it comes down to personal preference depending on whether you mainly play fast-paced competitive games or more graphically-oriented games.

Overall, the Acer KG281K delivers an exceptional performance without any issues whatsoever and low input lag of ~10ms.

Features

Moving on, the monitor features a flicker-free backlight and a low-blue light filter, so you won’t have to worry about eye strain or headaches.

There are six OSD (On-Screen Display) buttons at the bottom bezel at the right side for powering on/off the monitor and navigating the OSD menu.

Five of those hotkeys can be used as shortcuts for certain functions such as entering the menu, changing the input source, adjusting the volume and brightness, etc.

Other available features include Picture in Picture, Picture by Picture, 6-axis hue and saturation, gamma, color temperature, Aim Point (custom crosshairs), Black Boost for better visibility in dark areas of video games, and Overdrive which increases the response time speed.

Finally, the Acer KG281K 4K monitor supports AMD FreeSync with a 40-60Hz variable refresh rate range. By connecting a compatible graphics cards or an Xbox One/S/X to the monitor, you get a dynamic refresh rate which eliminates screen tearing and stuttering for good within the 40-60FPS range.

Note that FreeSync works over both HDMI and DisplayPort, but once you enable it, the ‘Extreme’ overdrive preset is unavailable. Luckily, there’s no ghosting at the default overdrive setting, so this won’t be an issue.

Design & Connectivity

Acer Kg281k Amazon

Connectivity options of the Acer KG281K monitor include two HDMI 2.0, a DisplayPort 1.2, a headphones jack, and dual 2W integrated speakers. Moreover, the monitor is VESA mount compatible with 100 x 100mm holes, but the design is tilt-only (-5°/15°).

Price & Similar Monitors

The Acer KG281K price amounts to around $350 which is a bit steep considering that you can get the ASUS VP28UQG, which offers all the same specs and features, for ~$50 less.

On Amazon, you will also find the Acer CB281K which is the same monitor as the KG281K but with a fully ergonomic design and HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) support.

However, due to the monitor’s low color and contrast quality, HDR basically just over-saturates the colors for compatible content. Moreover, it can’t run both HDR and FreeSync simultaneously.

If you want better picture quality, we suggest getting a 4K IPS monitor such as the LG 27UK650 with HDR, IPS, FreeSync over HDMI, and an ergonomic stand.

Conclusion

While the Acer KG281K monitor is on overall decent gaming monitor, there are better and cheaper alternatives available, unless you find a better deal (under $300) on it.

Acer KG281K Specifications

Screen Size28-inch
Resolution3840×2160 (UHD)
Panel TypeTN
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate60Hz
Response Time1ms (GtG)
Adaptive SyncFreeSync (40Hz-60Hz)
Speakers2x2W
PortsDisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other PortsHeadphone Jack
Brightness330 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
VESAYes (100x100mm)

What We Loved

  • Crisp image quality
  • Quick response time and low input lag
  • Plenty of features including FreeSync over HDMI
  • Integrated speakers

What We Didn’t Like

  • Tilt-only design
  • There are cheaper and better alternatives for the price
Acer KG281K Review
  • 8.5/10
    Design - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Display - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Performance - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Price/Value - 8/10
8.4/10

Summary

The Acer KG281K is a good 4K FreeSync monitor for competitive console gaming. It delivers a smooth performance and a solid picture quality, but there are better alternatives out there at this price range.

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