The Acer K3 K273 has enough contrast and color coverage to handle everyday computing tasks, from browser-based work to office apps, and its decent aesthetics and low price make it an affordable everyday choice for most people. It has its limits, however.
The Acer K3 K273 monitor tries to deliver quality for a wide range of everyday situations despite its attractively low price of $169 in the US and £159 in the UK.
A quick look at the datasheet shows you’re getting a decent amount of hardware for the low price. The 27in diagonal is large enough to see most typical home, office and bedroom settings. On the inside, the Acer uses IPS technology, a 75Hz refresh rate and even built-in speakers.
Our current budget pick is the BenQ BL2780T, a 27in rival that currently costs $320 in the US and £221 in the UK due to significant price increases since it launched back in 2019. Can the Acer K3 K273 compete with its older and more expensive rival – and earn a place on our best monitor chart?
Design & Construction
Simple but attractive
Light for panel 27in
Acer’s low cost means this panel isn’t flashy, but it doesn’t go the other way and end up looking ugly either. Its base is a smooth, discreet curve of glossy black plastic with a matte front, and around the display the bezel is barely thicker than the BenQ.
Acer makes it look middle-of-the-road with a weight of 4.5kg. That’s impressively light for a 27in panel, and is around 2kg lighter than the BenQ. If you struggle with mobility or want to move the Acer around to different spots, that’s a big help.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
The K3 is easy to build, too. The stand simply snaps into the back of the screen using a tool-free mechanism, and the base attaches with a tool-free screw.
Although the monitor is easy to deploy, it is less useful in some other practical areas. It has 20 degrees of tilting movement backwards and forwards and supports 100mm VESA mounting, but that’s it for adjustment. The BenQ offers more tilt movement with left and right swivel, 90 degree pivot and 140mm height adjustment.
The Acer K3 is not suitable if you want a panel with the flexibility of movement.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
The build quality isn’t great either: the plastic on the back is too easy to move, and the screen has a noticeable flex. That’s not bad if you want a screen to sit on your desk, but it’s not ideal for frequent redeployment.
The Acer might not rival the BenQ for adjustment options and build quality, but the K273 is light, looks good and is easy to build – at $169/£159 that’s about as much as anyone can ask.
Specifications & Features
Full HD resolution
The Acer 27in has a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, which is completely conventional at this price. If you look closely you can definitely see the individual pixels, but they’re not large enough to be distracting and the resolution is high enough to provide decent space for everyday workloads.
IPS technology on the inside should help the Acer deliver decent color quality, but this spec doesn’t really come as a surprise. It has 8-bit color rather than 10-bit color, so you won’t get the depth you get on pricier monitors, and the matte coating keeps irritating reflections at bay. The K3 also has AMD FreeSync with a peak refresh rate of 75Hz.
If the mention of AMD FreeSync has whetted your gaming ambitions, though, don’t worry. That 75Hz refresh rate is barely higher than the 60 Hz you’ll find on even the cheapest screen, and it makes day-to-day animations a little smoother but doesn’t add a huge boost to games. This screen is only suitable for casual games, entry-level sports and mainstream single-player titles.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
Around the back, you’ll find an HDMI input alongside a VGA socket – an ancient port that may still be useful with older or entry-level hardware. There is also an audio jack. There are no USB or DisplayPort options here, though, and the speakers are terrible – too quiet and very tinny.
A joystick and three buttons around the back navigate the Acer screen display. The menu is basic, it responds slowly and the buttons are stiff, but you can easily get around this OSD to adjust mainstream image settings.
In terms of display specification, there’s little between the Acer and the pricier BenQ, at least on paper – the BenQ also has a 1080p IPS display with 8-bit colour, and its slightly slower 60Hz refresh rate won’t make any difference in . use in real life. But the BenQ has DisplayPort with its added adjustment options and stronger build quality.
A good contrast
Out of the box, the Acer achieved a brightness level of 204 nits, which is reasonable for everyday home and office use in the absence of a very strong light source, and that figure was paired with a black point of 0.2 nits – another good result that creates suitable dark areas in photos and videos.
Those figures combine for a contrast ratio of 1,020:1. That’s a good figure for any affordable IPS panel, and means the Acer can handle everyday tasks with decent depth and vibrancy – websites, Office apps and everyday media files will look good.
The average Delta E of 4.09 is mediocre, and the panel did 84.4% of the sRGB color gamut. These results are fine for everyday use, and ensure that this screen will produce the most shades needed in daily situations with acceptable accuracy.
But it’s not good enough in width or accuracy to handle color-sensitive creative workloads, and the BenQ is much better, with wider sRGB rendering and better accuracy.
Mike Jennings / Foundry
There are other areas where the affordable Acer can’t handle anything beyond basic tasks. Its backlight strength dropped by 20% on the right edge and was almost as bad elsewhere. That doesn’t hinder everyday use, but it does mean that this screen isn’t uniform for creative work. Don’t look to the alternate screen modes for help, either: the sRGB mode delivers a minor Delta E enhancement but the rest will mostly adjust the brightness level without any other enhancements.
If you want to use this display for everyday computing duties, you won’t have to fiddle with display settings and modes. Out of the box, the Acer is acceptable, but if you need a screen for content creation, you’ll have to spend more.
And, if you want to play games on this panel, stick to odd, slow or single-player games rather than eSports – the Acer has significant ghosting and the 75Hz refresh rate isn’t good enough to guarantee crisp gameplay, by a long shot too much. clear blur throughout.
Price & Availability
The Acer may have its faults, but it’s still perfectly serviceable for everyday office and home use and is one of the most affordable 27in IPS panels you’ll find anywhere: it costs $169.99 in SA and £159.99 in the UK from Acer and Amazon , albeit at an inflated price. If you want to buy the Acer, search for model number UM.HX3EE.006.
Note that there is also a K3 K243, a smaller 23.8in model for £119.99 in the UK.
The Acer is significantly cheaper than the BenQ, which costs £221 in the UK and $320 in the US. That display might have more adjustment options, better build quality and a wider color gamut, but many people don’t need those features in an everyday screen – so the Acer is a good way to save up save some cash.
Another affordable option is the Huawei MateView SE which comes with a choice of stands and prices start at £139.99 but is not available in the US.
Check out our chart of the best monitors for more options.
The Acer K3 K273 doesn’t have the color quality, gamut coverage or refresh rate capability to work well with more demanding content creation tasks or the latest fast-paced games, but it has the contrast and colors to perform normal computing tasks . looks good
Combine that with its 27in diagonal, good looks and low price, and you have a rock-solid everyday display.
Look at that pricier BenQ and other similar options if you want better colors or more adjustment, but consider the Acer K3 K273 if you need solid work performance without spending loads of money.