Acer XR342CK highly curved 3440 x 1440 FreeSync monitor
The Acer XR341CK was the first monitor to combine a 34” 3440 x 1440 panel with support for AMD’s FreeSync variable refresh rate technology. Its gentle curve is also enough to give a little subtle extra depth to the gaming and movie-watching experience whilst bringing the edges of the screen a bit closer to the eyes. This, the manufacturers say, makes for a more natural and comfortable viewing experience. The Acer XR342CK steps things up with a significantly steeper curve, making this much more of a feature of the monitor rather than just a subtle addition. The monitor has also undergone some design changes. The central part of the bottom bezel (around the logo) blends into the rest of the bezel more seamlessly. The ‘two stage’ bezel design with extremely thin hard outer bezel and slender panel border is again used. The stand now offers greater ergonomic freedom, allowing users to swivel the screen (30° left and 30° right) as well as adjust its height and tilt it backwards or forwards. The OSD controls have been reworked and now includes buttons at the rear of the screen as well as a joystick (JOG button) for more intuitive control. The ambient light system seen on the previous model also makes a comeback, with a strip of LEDs facing downwards at the bottom of the monitor. These can be set to various colours including blue, green, red, white or orange and can be made to ‘ripple’, ‘breath’ or ‘flash’.
The panel used is a 34” LG Display AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance In-Plane Switching) model with 3440 x 1440 resolution, 60Hz native refresh rate and 1900R curvature. This means the curve is twice as steep as the usual 3800R curvature of the previous model and various other 34” UltraWides from the first generation. The exact specifications of the monitor are not currently known and there is little publically available information on the panel itself (aside from the confirmation of its existence from LG). However; we expect it to be very similar to the previous model in that respect. A 1000:1 static contrast ratio, 178°/178° viewing angles (or possibly and 300 cd/m² typical maximum luminance from a flicker-free WLED backlight are expected. This will use enhanced phosphors, offering 100% sRGB coverage. 10-bit colour (8-bit + FRC) and a smooth very light matte anti-glare screen surface are also very likely. We also expect a 4ms grey to grey response time to be specified, as with the previous model, but this should as always be approached with a degree of scepticism.
Other than the relatively steep curvature, the other feature which will undoubtedly be of great interest is the use of VESA Adaptive-Sync on the monitor. The monitor can therefore be used in conjunction with AMD FreeSync on compatible GPUs. This will probably offer the same 30 – 75Hz variable refresh rate range as its predecessor, although that is not yet confirmed. The full port range is not yet known, but we do know that it will come with DP 1.2a to support the full capabilities of the panel and some integrated DTS speakers. Some of the press shots also show USB 3.0 ports. It’s likely that the port selection is very similar to its predecessor, so a MiniDP input, HDMI port, MHL 2.0 port and 3.5mm headphone jack are likely as well. The included stand appears to connect using 100 x 100mm VESA, too.
The monitor should be available from March for €1099 in the EMEA regions (including the UK). Availability in other regions including the US is expected at a similar time or slightly later. We will update this article with further information as it’s available and will look to review this if Acer can provide a sample. The initial press release, which is very thin on details, can be found here.