The Acer Predator X38 is my kind of proposition when it comes to researching and testing the best gaming monitor: go big or go home. It's a big beautiful beast, and it is stacked with gaming specs and chops to make sure it performs beautifully too. And it does.
Now admittedly the 'big' might not be as gargantuan as the 49-inch ultrawide monitors and curved gaming monitors we know are in the market, but a 38-inch curved panel is beastly and still offers an excellent amount of gaming immersion, as well as screen real estate for work and productivity.
It isn't a budget purchase, unfortunately, and is at the other end of the spectrum compared to its Acer Nitro XV340CK cousin. But it's seriously good, and if you are looking for one big monitor to be a go-to, one-and-done solution, then the Acer Predator X38 is ready and waiting to take up that challenge. And boy, does it deliver when doing so.
As a short note, before we dive in, there are still a couple of different variants of the X38 seemingly available out in the wild - ours was the Pbmiphzx model.
Coming from Acer's predator line, this beast has more of a 'gaming' aesthetic draped over it. However, that's not to be dismissive of it as I quite like the angular lines and flourishes - even though you won't see much of that once it's in place. But if you do have more of an open layout, I think it'll be right at home in many gaming-focused or gaming-first setups. It really is an Acer monitor with that famous look - but bigger.
However, with much of the angles and lines hidden, what you might see is the stand. This is pretty chunky and takes up a bit of desk space but it also offers a large amount of adjustability for the screen too - something that you might not expect from such a big screen. Where some ultrawide can remove such flexibility from the equation, the X38 had loads of movement on the stand from up and down height, to angled movement, to tilt, and so on. It's also strong and stable, and the space it takes up also means its stable as heck too.
However, personally, as with the Nitro I tested earlier this year I negated the need for the stand by mounting it onto a monitor arm (it's VESA mounting compatible at 100mm x 100mm). This is a great benefit for such a beastly screen, though still something I'd expect, and certainly at this price point.
The massive screen is, of course, the main feature - when is it not in ultrawides particularly?
This X38 has a 38-inch Agile-splendor IPS panel that oozes Acer pedigree and offers strong starting specs of a 0.3ms GtG response time, and a 175Hz refresh - plenty fast enough for such a sizeable ultrawide monitor. To this, add G-Sync Ultimate to ensure you have the smoothest images, DisplayDHR 600 to offer punchy and vibrant colours and this UWQHD+ resolution, 2300R curved beauty starts to take real shape and offer a bundle of gaming goodness. The 3840x1600, 21:9 resolution is further complimented by a 98% DCI-P3 colour gamut too.
In terms of being relentlessly sensible and objectively functional, you're well set on ports too with one HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.4 and a USB 3.0 hub consisting of four ports. USB-C connectivity would have been nice though.
Chuck in some half-decent speakers, and some useful Acer monitor presets which aren't too baffling and enable me to find my setting pretty easily, and a fulsome feature set proves to be on offer - though it should be at this price.
The first thing I noticed and grew to love when using the X38 is the gentle curve of 2300R - it's just nowhere near as harsh or aggressive as those new waves of ultrawide curved screens going for the 1000R measure. At 2300R, it's a relaxed curve, and one that softly wraps around you - however, the immersion doesn't really get impacted by this as there's just so much screen to take in; your eyes are really blessed. I think the sweet spot might just still be under the 2000R mark - 1800R or 1900R - but it then depends on desk space, setup, screen size, and so on. And preference, of course.
However, compared to those slightly smaller 34-35 inch models which might have that stronger curve, I came to really value the extra inches of screen, as well as the extra height and width. All of this makes it a great monitor for work, ensuring there's plenty of space no matter the task.
But, as I've said, the Acer Predator X38 has gaming at its forefront, and it's easily one of the best gaming monitor experiences I've had in a long while.
Any and all games are served brilliantly with the Predator X38. Teaming a massive ultrawide resolution with speedy specs really does cater for most needs and gaming approaches or preferences: on one hand, you get the immersion and incredibly expansive experiences in strategy and RPG games, but on the other, you can equally get nippy, responsive experiences in shooters and online play.
From Dawn of War III and Troy: Total War, where the X38 treats me with expansive views and ensures I can see an incredible amount of my conquests, to the open landscapes of Red Dead 2 where I can really soak up America's Big Country, and from Apex Legends where the X38's HDR and colour performance ensures everything punches and is vividly bright, to revisiting The Witcher (yes, the first one, don't @ me) was a joy, where the X38 enhanced my enjoyment enough to make me forget about the weird controls I've had to get used to, this monitor provided me with joyous experiences across the board.
Away from gaming, it's brilliant for work. I've loved switching from two flat screen 27-inch monitors, to a single, but large, ultrawide, ensuring I don't miss out on the functionality of that dual-screen amount of space, while also tidying up my setup by the measure of a few cables.
Overall - should you buy the Acer Predator X38?
The X38 could really be a one-stop solution for a gaming and work monitor for a lot of people. It just does both excellently, providing awesome experiences in both no matter what you throw at it. It looks perfect when on a gaming desk, and has the chops to perform well in pretty much all types of games, while also being a perfect work monitor given its screen space and curve.
For those looking for more, you could always consider the similarly priced Samsung Odyssey Neo G9, and for those who might not want to go this full-on with an ultrawide, there's the AOC CU34G2X both of which offer excellent experiences for their price tags. And the price tag will be a hurdle for folks when looking at the X38: it is a big investment of course. But I would say that given its pedigree and overall competency in all fields, that four-figure price tag is largely justified - though, in autumn 2022, it might be too much for many.
Overall, for me, the Acer Predator X38 really is hard to beat; I'm going to stick with the X38 for as long as I'm allowed to use it - it's simply a truly terrific do-it-all screen for gaming and work.
How we tested the Acer Predator X38
The X38 became my main, and only, monitor for work and for PC gaming for many weeks. It was fully incorporated into my setup for both work and play: I greatly enjoyed the screen real estate, and accessing multiple windows, programs, and tasks for the former, and then immersed myself fully in Total War: Troy, Dawn of War III, Red Dead Redemption II, and The Witcher 1 for the latter.
Reviewed with a Razer Blade 15 laptop supplied by Razer.