Acer have made a strong start at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. They've announced two new monitors, but the big news is that one of them, the Acer XB270HU, is a 1440p IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate.
All the high refresh rate screens I’ve used so far have all been TN panels, and not even the much-improved TN tech we’ve seen in the latest 4K monitors. That means even the current king of gaming monitors, the 144Hz Asus PG278Q RoG Swift, looks rather washed out compared to any IPS screen you’ll see.
The Acer XB270HU uses IPS technology in this new 144Hz screen to offer consistently clear images up to a 178º viewing angle, with the colour reproduction we’ve come to love IPS panels for. With a 27-inch screen, a native resolution of 2560 x 1440 and Nvidia's G-Sync frame-smoothing technology this could be a dream screen for gaming.
But why haven’t we seen IPS tech in high refresh rate screens before?
Response time is the issue. TN screens, like Asus’ Swift, have a lightning quick 1ms response time, much lower than the 5-8ms you'd expect from an IPS panel. On a high refresh rate monitor you’d likely end up with some severe input lag—not great for games.
How have Acer gotten around this problem? There is a lot of speculation that Acer is in fact using an AU Optronics AHVA panel in the XB270HU. The AU Optronics Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angle panel is designed to be indistinguishable from an IPS screen, with quality viewing angles and excellent colour reproduction, but without the possible input lag.
Their other screen, the XG270HU, is also a 1440p, 27-inch, but instead uses a more standard 1ms TN panel. Acer is introducing this screen with a ‘edge-to-edge’ display to try and eliminate the bezel completely. It doesn’t have the quality panel of the XB270HU or its G-Sync capabilities.
Both monitors are due globally in March this year, with pricing yet to be confirmed.