Alienware AW3423DW review – The ultimate HDR OLED gaming monitor

I’ve been ready a protracted, very long time for a gaming monitor just like the Alienware AW3423DW to reach in the marketplace. For a number of years now, even the perfect PC screens have left me wanting with their dime-a-dozen IPS and VA panels, whereas all I needed was an LG OLED in a measurement appropriate for my desk. Now, after having spent simply over a month with this ultrawide QD-OLED show, I can fortunately report that the way forward for gaming screens appears vivid, very vivid.

Before I dive into what makes the QD-OLED panel contained in the AW3423DW such a gamer changer, let’s take a second to speak about its design and different common options. Assembling the monitor is a toolless and pretty easy affair, requiring you to mix its massive boomerang-style ft with its surprisingly heavy stand, earlier than slotting on the show.

While placing it collectively was simple, shifting the AW3423DW from its field to my desk was a contact harder. Its 10kg weight doesn’t sound like a lot of an issue, however the 34-inch ultrawide panel is 7kg itself, which means it may really feel unwieldy to deal with. This isn’t a problem when you’ve bought it the place you need it, however it’s definitely price maintaining this in thoughts and exercising an additional diploma of warning when transferring the monitor.

On the topic of cables, the Alienware AW3423DW contains a good quantity of connectivity. Turning the monitor round, you’ll discover 4 USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports, along with one DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0 inputs. It’s a minor gripe, however I want that Alienware had opted to supply two DisplayPort connections as an alternative, as HDMI 2.0 isn’t able to working the panel at its native decision and refresh price. Alternatively, HDMI 2.1 may clear up this drawback, however would undoubtedly push the worth of the show up additional.

Alienware AW3423DW gaming monitor

Alienware AW3423DW Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 Asus ROG PG32UQX LG C2
WRGB OLED (42-inch)
Resolution  3440×1440 5120×1440 3840×2160 3840×2160
Refresh price 175Hz 240Hz 144Hz 120Hz
Response time 0.1ms 1ms 4ms 0.1ms
HDR DisplayHDR True Black 400 HDR10 DisplayHDR 1400 Dobly Vision
MSRP  $1,300 $2,500 $3,700 $1,400

After plugging all the things in, I excitedly booted up my gaming PC, turned on the monitor, and sat there with bated breath. And then, as I booted into Windows, I grinned because the QD-OLED show seemingly breathed new life into the colors of my desktop wallpaper, with fantastic vibrancy and stark contrasts which might be merely out of attain for different display screen applied sciences.

For these unfamiliar with QD-OLED, it describes a show that makes use of a quantum dot (QD) layer to reinforce its natural LEDs (OLED). In a nutshell, by combining these two applied sciences, you inherit all some great benefits of OLED akin to per-pixel illumination and a theoretical infinite distinction ratio whereas eliminating two of its greatest drawbacks: low peak brightness and burn-in. Rather than diluting colors with a white sub-pixel such as you’ll discover on OLED TVs, QD-OLEDs as an alternative use the quantum dot layer to transform blue mild into the specified colors.

Alienware AW3423DW gaming monitor

None of this was misplaced on me as I gazed upon the HDR hellscapes of Doom Eternal. The Alienware AW3423DW painted the ruby crimson blood, our bodies, and giblets of my demonic enemies in shades I didn’t know had been attainable on a gaming monitor. The remainder of the sport’s color palette positively popped, too, and has by no means seemed higher to my eyes.

This is partly as a result of stonkingly large color gamut of the AW3423DW, which covers 99.3% of the DCI-P3 color house and its DisplayHDR True Black 400 certification. However, it isn’t till you play one thing with pitch black shadows like Resident Evil Village or Shadow of the Tomb Raider that you just admire how transformative the display screen’s distinction ratio is for video games.

Gone are the washed out greys we’ve turn into accustomed to on IPS and (to a level) VA panels, and of their place is pitch black. Much as this provides to the atmosphere of a horror recreation, it permits the 1,000 nits peak brightness to shine too as stark contrasts amplify the perceived brightness of highlights akin to flames, torches, and the solar.

Alienware AW3423DW gaming monitor

Suffice to say, merely video games in each SDR and HDR on the Alienware AW3423DW is superior in each sense of the phrase. That mentioned, I haven’t even talked about how nice it feels to play with a 0.1ms response time, or how the 1,800R curved 21:9 panel made open world video games like The Witcher 3 or Red Dead Redemption really feel a lot bigger and immersive. I truthfully can’t advocate anything apart from the AW3423DW for anybody who’s inquisitive about HDR gaming on PC.

While I want I may proceed to unabashedly sing the praises of the AW3423DW’s display screen, it does have some flaws. Even in 2022, assist for ultrawide resolutions isn’t a given, with video games like Elden Ring solely supporting 16:9 choices, leading to giant black bars showing alongside the picture. This doesn’t hassle me an excessive amount of, as somebody who watches a good quantity of 4:3 content material, however it’s definitely one thing to remember.

However, what does hassle me is how severely the distinction ratio of the AW3423DW suffers when it’s utilized in a brightly lit room. The anti-reflective coating does assist to maintain pesky reflections at bay, however it comes at the price of diluting the show’s colors. This is especially noticeable when darker shades of color or black, which turn into extra washed out and gray when mild is shone straight on the show. To be clear, it nonetheless appears nice, however it appears much more spectacular in a lightweight managed room (as does all HDR content material).

Alienware AW3423DW gaming monitor

Finally, let’s discuss value. The Alienware AW3423DW is an costly gaming monitor at $1,300 USD however chances are you’ll be shocked to study that it truly presents shockingly good worth. Looking at its opponents, it’s considerably cheaper than the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 and Asus ROG PG32UQX, and even beats the 42-inch LG C2 by a cheeky $100. This is much more shocking contemplating that that is the primary and solely QD-OLED show in the marketplace at this time.

Speaking plainly, the final time I loved taking part in and tinkering with a show this a lot was after I upgraded my residence setup with an LG CX OLED final 12 months. There actually is nothing prefer it on the market, and I can’t anticipate the know-how to make its method into a less expensive, extra normal 16:9 type issue. If you’re trying to find the very best gaming monitor for HDR gaming, look no additional than the Alienware A3423DW.

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