Acer XFA243YS Review: 1080p 165Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor

The Acer XFA243YS is a 24" 1080p 165Hz FreeSync gaming monitor with a flat-screen VA panel and an ergonomic design.

Bottom Line

The Acer XFA243YS is a decent budget gaming monitor as long as you don’t mind some ghosting and screen tearing (or VRR brightness flickering when using FreeSync in some games). For smoother performance, we recommend going with an IPS model instead.

Design:
(4.8)
Display:
(4.0)
Performance:
(3.5)
Price/Value:
(4.0)
4.1

The Acer XFA243YS is a cheap high refresh rate VA gaming monitor with plenty of features, such as variable refresh rate, Motion Blur Reduction and a fully ergonomic stand. Let’s see how it performs!

Note that the full name of this monitor is Acer Nitro XFA243Y Sbiipr – not to be confused with the Acer Nitro XF243Y Pbmiiprx with an IPS panel.

Image Quality

The Acer XFA243Y S is based on a VA panel with a high 3,000:1 static contrast ratio, which provides you with deeper blacks than that of IPS monitors, which usually have a contrast ratio of ~1,000:1.

Additionally, VA monitors don’t suffer from IPS glow, making for an overall more immersive viewing experience, especially in dark rooms.

Now:

You might notice some gamma/saturation shifts when looking at the screen from certain angles. This isn’t a big issue for everyday use, but it’s the main reason photo and video editors go with IPS technology with wider viewing angles.

Further, the Acer XFA243YS doesn’t support a wide color gamut as it only covers the basic sRGB color space.

There are budget gaming monitors around this price range with around 90% DCI-P3 gamut coverage (~125% relative sRGB gamut) for more vibrant colors.

The colors on the Acer XFA243YS still look decent as they’re not over-saturated, so the SDR image will be closer to the creator’s intent with ~100% sRGB coverage.

Moving on, the monitor has a peak brightness of 250-nits. For most users, that’s more than enough under normal lighting conditions. If you plan on using the screen in a particularly bright room, it might be too dim even at its highest brightness setting.

The 1920×1080 Full HD resolution results in a decent pixel density on the 23.8″ viewable screen of the monitor. You get 92.56 PPI (pixels per inch) for a decent amount of screen real estate and fairly sharp details and text.

On 27″ sized screens, 1080p resolution has 81.59 PPI, making 24″ 1080p displays noticeably sharper in comparison.

HDR is supported as well, but while the Acer Nitro XFA243Y can accept the HDR10 signal and display it, it lacks proper hardware (wider color gamut, higher brightness, local dimming, etc.) for a noteworthy HDR viewing experience. Therefore, it’s simply ‘fake’ HDR and you should just disable/ignore it.

Performance

freesync and gsync

As expected from a cheap VA gaming monitor, there’s noticeable ghosting behind fast-moving objects, particularly in dark scenes as the pixels take too long to change from dark to bright shades. Some users won’t be bothered by this, while others will be repulsed, so it comes down to your personal tolerance.

For fast-paced competitive gaming, we highly recommend getting a high refresh rate gaming monitor with an IPS panel, which has significantly faster response times.

There are three response time overdrive modes: Off, Normal and Extreme. The Extreme mode can add overshoot, so we suggest sticking with the Normal mode.

Input lag performance, on the other hand, is not an issue with around 4ms of delay, which is not perceptible.

The Acer XFA243YS monitor supports variable refresh rate (VRR) via AMD FreeSync Premium and NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible. Although it lacks official certifications, VRR is supported up to 165FPS for tear-free gameplay on compatible GPUs.

VRR allows the monitor to change its refresh rate dynamically and synchronizes it with the GPU’s frame rates in order to prevent screen tearing at no noticeable input lag penalty. The supported range on this monitor is 48-165Hz, but below 48FPS, LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) kicks in to prevent tearing (47FPS = 94Hz, etc.).

Sadly, as it’s the case with most VA panel high refresh rate displays, some games will exhibit VRR brightness flickering. It’s mostly noticeable in games with fluctuating frame rates, around the 48FPS LFC threshold, and in in-game menus and loading screens. In case you experience it often, we recommend disabling VRR as screen tearing is not that noticeable at 165Hz (at least in comparison to 60Hz).

Alternatively, you can use VRB (Visual Response Boost), which uses backlight strobing to reduce perceived motion blur. However, ghosting will still be noticeable and you get reduced brightness and screen flickering, which is invisible to the human eye, but might bother those sensitive to flicker.

The backlight of the monitor is otherwise flicker-free (unless VRB is enabled) and there’s a low blue light mode available.

Features

Acer XFA243YS Monitor OSD Menu

At the rear of the monitor, you’ll find a power button, three hotkeys for different shortcuts and a directional joystick for quick and easy navigation through the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu.

Useful gaming features include Black Boost (improves visibility in dark scenes), crosshair overlays, a refresh rate tracker and various picture presets.

Besides the standard image adjustment tools (brightness, contrast, color temperature, etc.), the Acer XFA243YS also offers some advanced settings, including 6-axis hue/saturation, gamma and grayscale.

For the best image quality, we recommend keeping the ACM option (dynamic contrast) disabled and Super Sharpness at its default setting.

Design & Connectivity

Acer Nitro XFA243Y S Monitor Design

The stand of the monitor is a bit wobbly, but you get full ergonomic support with up to 120mm height adjustment, -5°/25° tilt, +/- 90° pivot, +/- 180° swivel and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.2 and two HDMI 2.0 ports, all of which support 1080p 165Hz. AMD FreeSync works over both DP and HDMI, while G-SYNC Compatible is only supported over DP (with a GTX 10-series or newer GPU).

There’s no audio jack, built-in speakers or USB ports.

Price & Similar Monitors

The Acer Nitro XFA243Y S price ranges from $120 to $180. For $120, it offers excellent value for money provided that you’re not sensitive to black smearing and VRR brightness flickering (or screen tearing).

In this case, you should also consider the AOC C24G1A. It has a slightly curved VA panel with a slightly faster response time speed and a wider color gamut.

You might’ve also noticed the similarly named Acer Nitro XFA253Q Zbiipr model with a 250Hz VA panel, but we don’t recommend it as these 240Hz+ VA displays simply don’t have fast enough pixel response times for such high refresh rates, excluding some high-end models, such as the Samsung G7, Neo G7, etc.

If you’d rather have a faster response time and smooth VRR performance, we recommend investing in an IPS monitor, which can be found on sale for $150, such as the BenQ EX240.

Conclusion

All in all, if you’re not sensitive to ghosting and screen tearing (or occasional brightness flickering if using VRR), the Acer XFA243YS is a decent budget gaming monitor thanks to its high contrast ratio and a fully ergonomic stand.

Specifications

Screen Size23.8-inch
Resolution1920×1080 (Full HD)
Panel TypeVA
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate165Hz
Response Time (GtG)Not specified
Response Time (Visual Response Boost)1ms (MPRT)
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync (48-165Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0
Brightness250 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio3000:1 (static)
Colors16.7 million (8-bit)
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • High contrast ratio for deep blacks
  • Plenty of features, including VRR and MBR up to 165Hz
  • Fully ergonomic design

The Cons:

  • Moderate ghosting in fast-paced games, particularly where dark pixels are involved
  • Prone to VRR brightness flickering

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Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.