Alienware’s 34-inch curved QD-OLED gaming monitor (AW3423DW) was the first and may be the only true gaming quantum dot OLED (QD-OLED) gaming monitor.
A few other companies are offering repurposed 4K 45-in plus flat faced 138 Hz TVs as a gaming monitor. Alienware is curved, has quantum dot display, G-Sync and is 27% faster. Samsung, which makes the panel for Alienware announced its clone in September, and MSI showed a rebranded Samsung prototype at Computex, and again in September.
The AW3423DW has incredible contrast only an OLED panel can provide and peak brightness of 1000 nits making it a certified HDR display*.
The 3440 × 1440 screen has a 0.1ms response time which eliminates any display ghosting—the trail of pixels behind a moving object (also known as motion blur). A typical LCD response time is under ten milliseconds (10 ms), but with QD-Display, you reduce that time two orders of magnitude to 0.1ms**. And, it has a great wide angle viewing range of 178-degrees.
The monitor also has a fast 175Hz refresh rate, which gives amazingly smooth gameplay. The standard for gaming monitors has been 144Hz, which is faster than the repurposed TVs that are marketed as gaming monitors. It also comes with Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate which eliminates tearing and stuttering—a critical feature when dealing with super high refresh and response time monitors, also it has 178 degrees vertical viewing so you don’t have sit just right to see the full color quality. You can swivel the monitor 20-degrees either way, tilt it -5 to 21 degrees vertically, and raise or lower it 4.3 inches (10.9cm).
The OLED screen with quantum dots gives the ultimate (at least for now – Editor) in wide color gamut with DCI-P3 and sRGB color spaces, with DCI-P3 offering a wider color range than sRGB. The QD-OLED monitor can cover 99.3% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and gives 149% coverage of the sRGB color space.
That color gamut is matched with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio: A true HDR display must have high contrasts and ultra-bright colors. QD-Displays can produce over a billion colors that helps to represent luminance of the brightest white and the darkest black. You really haven’t seen black on monitor till you’ve seen an HDR monitor with quantum dots. But with the super high contrast ratio you can also see shades of grey in dark areas. And it is BRIGHT—250 cd/m² (typical) ; 1000 cd/m² (peak). It’s both bright, and comfortable. It has Dell’s ComfortView Plus (TÜV Rheinland certified – Low Blue Light Hardware Solution), and an ambient light sensor, AlienFX Lighting.
The monitor has two HDMI (ver 2.0) ports plus a DisplayPort (ver 1.4) port, as well as two SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen1) downstream ports (located at the front bottom, one with BC1.2 charging capability at 2A). There is also a SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen1) upstream port in the rear. The monitor has an audio line-out port (in the rear), and a headphone-out port (at the bottom). The monitor draws a scant 43 watts
The Alienware 34 AW3423DW has set a new standard for response time, contrast, HDR and Performance.
What do we think?
If you’re looking for a super-fast gaming monitor that will match your reflexes and take advantages of AMD’s Boost, Intel’s Game Fast, or Nvidia’s Reflex, the Alienware QD-OLED Gaming Monitor is the monitor for you. If you want a brilliant HDR raytraced image, then this is what you’ve waited for. I’ve wanted this kind of monitor for years. Now I want it wider (49-inches will do ***) and with more lines (2160 would be nice). I know that’s coming, but probably not for two years. Therefore, investing $1,299 in a monitor isn’t such a reach if you get to use it for five years (that’s $0.71 a day). Also, it makes an amazing TV screen, and you can run your console on it too.
The problem with a monitor like this is you must see it next to an ordinary monitor to appreciate it. I tried to take photo of it next to a regular monitor, but my camera skills (and patience) aren’t good enough. When you do see the difference you will likely say what everyone who has seen this on in our labs says, “WOW”.
I’ve been playing Sniper Ghost Warrior on it and seeing everything in the dark caves and seeing ass well in bright desert. For combat, the monitor’s speed is a life saver. For long distance shots, the contrast ratio is difference between success and failure. (JP)
* The 1000 cd/m² is only for a very small area of the display – it’s certified to DisplayHDR 400 True Black. That level certification is based on a 10% sustained patch or a 100% ‘flash test’ at 400 cd/m². The 1,000 is probably for a 1% patch – Editor
** Of course, the display technology is only part of the issue of blur – the other is the way that the eye works and the way that blur is seen because of ‘hold addressing’. This is a big topic, but there is a good resource here that explains it. As far as we know, Dell doesn’t have any technology such as black frame insertion to overcome this blur. – Editor
*** Just after Jon sent this article through for scheduling, MSI teased a new 49″ curved QD-OLED that it plans to show at CES. Jon hoped it would have 2160 lines of vertical resolution, but that is extremely unlikely in my view. The reality is that the 34″ format is a 21:9 version of a 27″ QuadHD 2560 x 1440 16:9 display. Going to 49″ would just mean, effectively doubling the width to 5120 x 1440. Changing the resolution would mean a completely new and finer pixel design and that’s not likely to happen without a big announcement from Samsung Display. – Editor