When Nvidia announced that they would be allowing adaptive sync monitors outside of their GSYNC ecosystem to use the sync functionality of their GPUs, I was personally pretty excited. As someone who, until recently, didn’t own a GSYNC monitor purely because of the cost associated with the panels, I was looking forward to seeing how some of the Freesync displays on the market would fare. Enter the Acer XFA240 24” Gaming Freesync monitor. With a refresh rate of 144hz and labeled as one of the few monitors to be GSYNC Compatible, is the Acer worth its salt?
But before we dive into it, the specs:
- Model: XFA240
- Resolution: 1920x1080 (FHD)
- Panel Type: TN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (Widescreen)
- Response Time: 1ms
- Refresh rate: 144Hz
- Adaptive Sync: AMD Freesync (48Hz-144Hz); GSYNC Compatible
- Speakers: Yes, 2x2W
- Ports: Display Port 1.2, HDMI 1.4, DVI-D
- Brightness: 350 cd/m2
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (static)
- VESA: Yes (100x100mm)
- Colors: 16.7 million (6-bit + FRC)
- Cost: $196 on Amazon
When you first unbox the Acer XFA240, you’ll notice right away just how simple it is to set up. You attach the stand to the base thanks to an included screw and simply slot the monitor itself onto the stand – and that’s that. No complicated set up or tools actually needed (the screw can be tightened without a screwdriver thanks to a small tab on the screw itself). If you want to mount the monitor you can definitely do so thanks to its VESA mount compatibility so the 24” display can snugly fit into your set up however you’d like.
The stand itself allows for the monitor to be turned in both portrait and landscape modes, adding some functionality as well for those who work on spreadsheets all day – or simply want to have stream chat up and next to them while hanging out with viewers. The speakers on the monitor are a nice addition, but honestly your gaming headset or desk speakers are going to be night and day better.
Where this monitor really shines is when being used for gaming.
As someone who always prioritizes having the highest framerate possible, the high refresh rate of the XFA240 really caught my eye. All of my monitors currently are shackled to 60Hz refresh rates, forcing me to choose between screen tearing with a higher framerate or using VSYNC/GSYNC to achieve a cleaner image. I hate screen tearing so I sacrifice the higher refresh to get a consistent, clean image when I play.
Thankfully the XFA240 provides the best of both worlds. The 144Hz refresh rate allows for blistering framerates without screen tearing – and it’s made all the better thanks to its adaptive sync capabilities. Being able to GSYNC the XFA240 with my Nvidia 2070 Super actually made it hard to go back to my Acer Predator XB321HK. Playing PUBG, while at only 1080p on the XFA240, felt incredibly responsive thanks to the higher refresh. Going back to my XB321HK for the next game I could immediately tell the difference thanks to it being locked to 60Hz. While GSYNC smooths some of this out, the XFA240’s high refresh rate is definitely a game changer if you’re looking for incredibly responsive gameplay.
The TN panel is a drawback. Visually, next to my Asus monitor with a TN panel as well the Acer looks pretty vibrant by comparison. The TN panel Acer is using on the XFA240 is a cut above other TN panels I've used. However, when I used it next to my XB321HK or my BenQ BL Series monitor – both IPS panels – there is a very clear difference in quality. The color accuracy of the XFA240 is decent, but a step down from the accuracy provided by a high quality IPS panel. However, this is one way Acer is able to sell the XFA240 for under $200, which makes the trade off worth it if you’re looking for a high quality monitor on a budget.
The fact the TN panel on the Acer XFA240 is rated as GSYNC Compatible by Nvidia themselves though says something about the quality of the panel the company is using. Visually it’s a step above other TN panels I’ve used, and when you throw the fact that it’s rated to work with both AMD and Nvidia cards to fully take advantage of the adaptive sync display, the XFA240 is a cut above other panels under $200.
In fact, the Acer XFA240 is the best monitor I’ve used under $200. Having purchased multiple budget monitors over the years (and still using most of them for my various set ups around my house), I really wish now that they were all the quality of the Acer. While the 1920x1080 resolution is a drawback, the headroom it gives to take full advantage of the 144Hz refresh seems like a decent trade-off for the price.
In the end, I don't think I can recommend any other monitor under $200 now other than the XFA Gaming series monitor from Acer. The high refresh rate alone is a selling point as it provides some of the most responsive gameplay if your PC is powerful enough to drive the framerate needed. The fact that it's GSYNC Compatible means you don't need to pay the GSYNC tax to get smooth gameplay from your Nvidia card. The TN panel, while a cut below a high quality IPS panel in terms of color accuracy and vibrancy, it's a step above similarly priced TN monitors. While only 1080p (though Acer does have a 1440p variant though not GSYNC rated like the 1080p panel), for under $200 you're simply not going to find a better performer out there for the money.
- Freesync/GSYNC Compatible panel
- 144hz refresh feels incredible
- Easy to Setup and start gaming
- TN Panel, while better than other TN panels I've used, still lacking compared to IPS displays