Acer 34-inch ultrawide (XR341CK) monitor review

The Acer XR341CK is an 86cm (34 inch) ultrawide monitor offering a resolution of 3440x1440 in a 21:9 aspect ratio. The screen is subtly curved (3800R) and can reach a 75Hz refresh rate.

I had spent six years using a simple 58cm (23 inch) HD monitor that cost only €150. Improvements in monitors over the years, coupled with a larger desk, meant I felt it was time to upgrade.

Various places on the internet were favourable towards ultrawides. I admit there was some bias towards serious gamers — I am a light gamer at best — but I remained intrigued.

Alas, while I enjoyed the Acer ultrawide at first, as I suspect I would have any new and larger monitor, I have come to discover some issues.

Firstly, and perhaps most pronouncedly, the screen suffers from noticable IPS glow or mura (often incorrectly called backlight bleed). This wasn't a surprise as IPS panels are known to potentially suffer from this. However, it's significant enough to distract during videos and on dark backgrounds like a terminal.

Secondly, on some occasions, switching on the game mode would cause a high-pitched squeal that would persist until turning game mode back off. I have not used game mode with any regularity, partly for this reason.

Thirdly, the monitor is very slow to turn on (13.5 seconds) and almost as slow to adapt to changes in input or resolution. Long ago I developed the habit of turning off my monitor whenever I went away, even to the bathroom, meaning the delay occurs multiple times per day. Furthermore, though a minor nuisance, the monitor cannot be turned off while the input is changing.

The screen came with no dead or stuck pixels. However, one developed after a couple of months. Fortunately the pixel density is high so it's not too noticable; it's most visible when scrolling a webpage with a white background but even then I don't see it most of the time.

There are, of course, the usual issues with ultrawides. Video is mostly 16:9 leaving you with black bars on the sides that only serve to highlight the IPS mura. Some games and programs, in varying degrees, do not work well with the aspect ratio.

Overall, I'm not convinced that this monitor, and perhaps most ultrawides, are worth the price. In retrospect, it may have been wiser to spend an equivalent amount of money on a good 4K 16:9 screen.