Bottom Line

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.

Design:
(3)
Display:
(4)
Performance:
(4.5)
Price/Value:
(4)
3.9
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Introduction

The Acer KG281K is a cheap 4K monitor that’s particularly good for the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X thanks to its FreeSync support over HDMI. Here’s everything 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 smooth performance.

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

With TN panels, you get worse colors than what you’d get with IPS as well as a lower contrast ratio in comparison to VA panels. On the other hand, you get the quickest 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

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

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 1440p 144Hz gaming monitors for PC gaming instead.

Now, if you have the PS4 Pro, you’re limited to 60Hz at 4K UHD, so a lower resolution display is out of the question regardless of its refresh rate.

While the ASUS KG281K does have a fast 1ms pixel response time speed, you can get a 4K IPS display at this price range too; although IPS models have a response time of ~4ms, they are still quick enough to eliminate most of ghosting and motion blur in fast-paced games.

In fact, most casual gamers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the response time of IPS and TN, but they would certainly notice the difference in image quality as IPS panels offer a lot better colors as well as wide viewing angles.

So, unless you’re a really hardcore FPS gamer, we recommend just going with an IPS alternative such as the LG 27UL500 or the Philips 276E8VJSB depending on your budget. They are equally priced, but much better overall.

In case you have the Xbox One S or the X1X, you have more options since Xbox One consoles also support 120Hz at 1080p and 1440p. So, for the best performance in competitive games, you should go with a cheaper 1080p 120Hz display.

If you want a more immersive image quality, the above-mentioned IPS models are the better option here as well. Or, you can get a 1440p 144Hz display for a good balance between image quality and responsiveness.

Visit our best PS4 Pro and Xbox One X gaming monitors buyer’s guide for more information and the best deals.

Features

Acer Kg281k Amazon

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 caused by prolonged use of the monitor.

There are six OSD (On-Screen Display) buttons at the bottom bezel at the right side of the monitor 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 adjusts the pixel 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 console 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.

Using FreeSync with compatible NVIDIA cards doesn’t work meaning that the KG281K is not G-SYNC compatible.

Design & Connectivity

Acer Kg281k Bmiipx Review

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

Price & Similar Monitors

The Acer KG281K price amounts to around $300. If you’re into competitive console gaming, you should also check out the ASUS VP28UQG and the BenQ EL2870U 4K monitors with 1ms GtG response time.

The Acer CB281HK is essentially 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 will just over-saturate or wash out the colors for compatible content. Moreover, it can’t run both HDR and FreeSync simultaneously.

Either way, we highly recommend you check out one of the IPS models we’ve mentioned earlier.

Conclusion

While the Acer KG281K monitor is on overall decent gaming monitor, there are better and cheaper alternatives available.

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)

The Pros:

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

The Cons:

  • Tilt-only design
  • There are cheaper and better alternatives for the price
  • Narrow viewing angles
  • Inferior image quality to IPS and VA panels

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