Acer Predator CG437K review: “A beautiful slab hampered by a few missteps”

The Acer Predator CG437K, also known as the Acer Predator CG7, is an absolute beast. 43in, 4K, 144Hz, HDR1000, 1ms response, you get the idea. This is one monumental gaming monitor.

It’s also ready to roll with just about every major gaming platform. PC, Xbox, PlayStation, the CG7 is fully compatible with them all thanks to a full range of connectivity including HDMI 2.1. Of course, there are downsides. There just has to be.

Size won’t always be a good thing. Then there is the price. The CG7 has been on the best gaming monitor market for a little while, so at $1500 / £1300 it’s an expensive panel. And as we’ll see, it’s not without some flaws either.

Design features

So big is good looking, the Acer Predator CG437K is certainly a looker, all 43 inches. What it isn’t is terribly practical or ergonomic. The stand is certainly beefy. But there’s absolutely no adjustment, not even tilt. Of course, if you plan to use the CG7 remotely as a TV, that’s probably fine. But as a desktop monitor, the size and lack of adjustability could cause issues.

Still, the CG7 certainly isn’t lacking in features. The panel is a 43-inch VA item with a full 4K pixel grid (3,840 x 2,160 pixels), 144Hz max refresh, HDR1000 with local dimming, claimed 1ms response, 4000 static contrast : 1 and 90% coverage of the DCI- P3 range. That’s quite a list.

And yet that’s not all. Connectivity is comprehensive, with HDMI 2.1 giving it the option to be a PS5 monitor or an Xbox Series X monitor, DisplayPort 1.4 for 144Hz 4K PC gaming, and even USB-C, although the latter is limited to one refresh of 60Hz. Acer also includes an infrared remote control for fine-tuning settings, which is particularly handy if the display is being used as a TV and is therefore out of reach. Oh, and there’s Nvidia G-Sync compatibility and extensive adaptive refresh support with both consoles and most top graphics cards.

Review AOC Agon AG275QXL

(Image credit: Future/Jeremy Laird)

Performance

No doubt, it’s a punchy display. It’s rated at 1,000 nits, albeit in HDR mode. Even running in SDR, this thing exudes some serious visual warmth. However, despite claims of sub-2 Delta E numbers across the board, this isn’t an extremely accurate, super-accurate monitor. In SDR mode, the colors are obviously oversaturated, for example.

Color grading in HDR mode is actually a bit better. But HDR brings its own problems. Acer doesn’t quote the number of dimming zones offered by the CG7, but in our testing it’s clearly in the region of just 14-16 edge-lit zones. This means the CG7 doesn’t actually have local dimming at a practical level. The areas are just too big.

That said, the inherent contrast in the VA panel chosen by Acer makes for a reasonable HDR experience. But not very fast. 1ms may be the response request, but like many VA panels the response is quite slow. Even with the pixel overdrive maxxed, there’s still some obvious smearing, as well as plenty of overshoot and reverse ghosting. Reduce overdrive and ghosting improves, but smearing gets worse.

Review AOC Agon AG275QXL

(Image credit: Future/Jeremy Laird)

Worse still, viewing angles aren’t great, and 4K on a 43-inch panel doesn’t offer very good pixel density, which is evident on the Windows desktop in the form of slightly rough fonts. While this isn’t necessarily a major issue for gaming, how do the rest of the pros and cons impact the gaming experience?

There’s definitely a lot to love. The scale of this thing is ideal for strategy games like the Total War series where you get a truly epic view of the battlefield. The resolution and HDR support means graphical titles like Deathloop are pretty stunning too, making it worth it in the best conversation about 4K gaming monitors.

But that’s in static terms. The in-game response is not disastrous. But the smearing and blurring is slightly noticeable and it’s disappointing on what is an expensive gaming monitor. As for latency, well, if you have a high-end graphics card, the 144Hz refresh will ensure fast response. And now that GPUs are widely available and prices have normalized, that’s at least a possibility. But we don’t recommend trying to pair this panel with a mid-range graphics card. There are simply too many pixels to pump.

Review AOC Agon AG275QXL

(Image credit: Future/Jeremy Laird)

Overall – should you buy it?

The Acer Predator CG437K is one of those monitors that does some things very well but also suffers from a few equally obvious flaws – a nice panel held back by a few missteps. With the CG7, it’s the mediocre pixel response that’s the hardest to accept. It’s not absolutely awful, but it’s not what you’d expect from this class of gaming monitor.

Narrow viewing angles and low-spec local dimming don’t really sweeten the deal. More than anything, at this price you’re not far off something like an LG OLED 120Hz 4K TV, which is so much better by most measures that it’s hard to get excited about the prospect of a monitor Defective PC for a vaguely similar price. .

How we tested the Acer Predator CG437K

Our standard routine includes a mix of test and real-world usage images. We look for everything from color accuracy and response to latency, brightness and contrast. We test in both SDR and HDR modes to see how a display performs in each regime. When it comes to gaming, we’re throwing in a range of different genres to gauge a screen’s suitability, dig deep into the OSD menu, and check out all the basic features, from refresh rates to adaptive sync. We also consider performance as an all-around monitor on the Windows desktop, along with ergonomics and connectivity.

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Edward N. Arrington