If you're looking for the best monitor for PC gaming now, the Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED Gaming Monitor (AW3423DW) is probably it. Yes, it's expensive, but it's an OLED screen, after all. More importantly, it offers spectacular visuals, including truly bright and impactful HDR in games and videos, as well as gaming-centric features like a 175Hz refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility.
- QD-OLED panel, 3,440 x 1,440 pixels
- 175Hz refresh rate, 0.1ms grey-to-grey response
- 2x HDMI 2.0, DP 1.4, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, headphone jack
- Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate
The Alienware uses Samsung's new and exciting Quantum Dot OLED technology, which claims to offer higher peak brightness and deeper, more vibrant colours than current OLED screens. This monitor is also the only QD-OLED screen available in Singapore, as Samsung has yet to launch its QD-OLED TV here. Long story short, the Alienware lives up to these claims. HDR performance was excellent. The bursts of light and colours in Tetris Effect: Connected looked as spectacular on the Alienware as on my OLED TV. Far Cry 6 also looked stunning with HDR enabled. The curved nature of the monitor contributes to the immersion in games, though the 1800R curvature is relatively gentle. Peak brightness is over 1,000 nits. This is unusual for monitors, especially an OLED screen.
While the Alienware is ideal for PC gaming, it's less so for console gaming. Its ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio isn't supported by the latest consoles like Microsoft's Xbox or Sony's PlayStation 5. You'll either get stretched images or black bars. The same applies for movies, which are formatted for 16:9 displays. So even though HDR movies look great on the Alienware monitor, you'll have to get used to black bars at the sides. At least these black bars are truly dark, unlike the greyish blacks you get with LED monitors. I also had to manually enable HDR on a Windows PC before I could enjoy HDR content, unlike HDR TVs, which do this automatically. But this forced me to learn a shortcut key (Windows logo key + Alt + B) for toggling HDR on/off.
Another caveat, especially for those with sharp eyes, is the colour fringing around the edges of text. This is due to the unconventional subpixel layout used by the QD-OLED panel, which can lead to fuzzy-looking text. Personally, I noticed this only with my face close to the screen, and it's not visible at all if you increase the text scaling and turn on ClearType. Also, the maximum 175Hz refresh rate comes at the expense of colour (8-bit only). If you want the best colours (10-bit), the monitor will run at 144Hz, which is still plenty fast and responsive for me. There are no built-in speakers, but a headphone jack is present. I have no complaints about the ports, which include two HDMI 2.0 and one DisplayPort 1.4 port. You'll need to use the DisplayPort for Nvidia's adaptive refresh rate G-Sync feature.
Currently priced at S$2,299 on Dell's website, the Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED Gaming Monitor is expensive. And despite its premium pricing, I wouldn't describe it as the perfect all-round monitor. For its 34-inch size, I would have liked a 4K resolution instead of the Alienware's 1,440p resolution. Console gamers will be better off with an OLED TV, like the LG C1 instead. I also found Alienware's on-screen display menus to be clunky and less than intuitive. Not to mention having to install an app just to change the RGB backlights. However, the Alienware is perfect for PC gamers who are willing to splurge for the best gaming gear. Its brilliant HDR performance and vibrant colours with true blacks are impeccable for a monitor. Alienware is also confident enough about the monitor to offer a 3-year warranty, including for any OLED burn-in. Get it now from Dell, Lazada or Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Dell.
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