Review of the Acer B326HK 32″ 4k monitor


Probably too brief?

I only noticed this monitor in Verkkokauppa a couple of weeks ago and from all the reviews seemed to be a relatively good monitor at a reasonable price for the size. To my suprise (these things never happen to me) the price fell 100€ the night before I bought it. The bad part was that I actually believed reviews where they said the included DisplayPort cable was crap and to buy a new one. The TL;DR version is that the replacement cable (at 25€) didn’t really work and the one that came with the monitor did. It might be that DisplayPort is a bit twitchy, especially if the cable isn’t seated quite right. But in any case if you have a 4k monitor and the image starts blinking check the connections and try swapping the cable.

All that matters is size

All that matters is size

As for the monitor, this thing is huge. And I mean huge and it is also 4k, and it also has an IPS panel. That probably covers the essentials. Over the last few months there are now quite a few 4k monitors in the 24 – 28″ size range, but I was a bit wary of getting one mostly since Windows doesn’t really have the same level of HiDPI/Retina support that the Apple now has, plus many of them are TN panels (worse colour reproduction). I was hoping to get something bigger to even out the scaling vs small UI issues. As it turns out it probably wasn’t as big of a problem as I thought. Not that it matters since a monitor this size with this resolution (3840 x 2160) is pretty much perfect. In the end I am running it with 150% scaling in Windows 8.1 to get something resembling a reasonable size UI. For all intents and purposes I have have a giant Retina quality display without losing the benefit of size. I still fit quite bit more on the desktop than a standard 24 or 27″ screen (1920 x 1080 or 2560 x 1440) resolution. So I am very happy I didn’t settle for something smaller.

Sharp vs. blurry

Sharp browser text vs. blurry scaled iTunes

The only down side at the moment is the hit and miss support for HiDPI in Windows applications. Things like Firefox and Thunderbird are absolutely perfect, as are most of the Microsoft built in applications. Some however are not (iTunes, Spotify, and Skype for example). Lightroom is sort of HiDPI aware, but it scales some parts a bit strangely (small icons). But the upside is that you get the full resolution for the images, just like on the Mac. An application in Windows has to declare that it understands HiDPI. If it does, then it has to scale its own UI to the DPI setting you select. If it doesn’t then Windows will scale the UI for it. Unfortunately that really does just mean scaling, so instead of getting ultra-crisp text you get fuzzy, blurry text. I’m guessing that the move to Windows 10 and Universal Apps will solve most of this as Metro apps can now run in a window, and are fully HiDPI aware. In the end the traditional desktop apps will just die out. I think Microsoft also has some tweaking to do in the OS itself since when I first installed the monitor Windows decided that I needed 250% DPI scaling and drew huge icons and windows. Obviously the 32″ part never rang any bells. I still haven’t decided if I stick to 150% or go down to 125% still. I think the lower value might be a bit too small though. I prefer the cleaner fonts to tiny ones.

One thought on “Review of the Acer B326HK 32″ 4k monitor

  1. Pingback: Windows 4k revisited | Kevätkartano

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