Is this the place all of it begins? Is the brand new Alienware 34 AW3423DW QD-OLED the gaming monitor that sparks an OLED revolution on the PC? The one we’ve been ready years for? Please, please, let it’s so.
As you’ll see, this monitor isn’t good. But it’s dramatically higher than any LCD-based monitor by a number of gaming-critical metrics. And it’s a real thrill to make use of. Of course, that’s getting forward of ourselves. First, we have to cowl off the fundamentals.
By many measures, this isn’t actually a radical show. The 34-inch 21:9 proportions, the light 1800R curve and the three,440 by 1,440 native decision are all comparatively routine within the present gaming monitor market. Ditto the 175Hz refresh price. It’s no slouch, this new OLED panel, however there are LCD screens with a lot greater refresh charges out there for much much less money.
Ah sure, the sordid matter of cash. The AW3423DW weighs in at $1,299 within the US (UK pricing hasn’t landed but). Depending on the way you slice it, that’s both a tonne of money for a gaming monitor or surprisingly affordable for one thing on the vanguard of recent expertise. After all, that is the primary true PC gaming panel primarily based on OLED expertise.
And not simply any outdated OLED equipment. Many OLED TVs, together with the LG units which have turn out to be so standard amongst players, use WRGB subpixel substructure to spice up brightness at the price of diluting color saturation. WRGB will also be problematic for PC functions that assume an RGB subpixel construction for positive management of rendering, together with for fonts. That downside isn’t actually related for gaming. But the underside line is that WRGB OLED panels include downsides.
That’s why this new Alienware is doubly thrilling. Not solely is it OLED, it’s additionally Samsung’s sizzling new QD-LED tech, which mixes the best RGB subpixel construction with quantum dot expertise to supply each glorious color saturation and an excellent brighter panel. Net consequence? Alienware is claiming each a powerful 99.3 % protection of the demanding DCI-P3 color area and totally 1,000 nits brightness, albeit that brightness stage can solely be achieved on a small portion of the panel, not throughout your complete display screen.
Alienware 34 AW3423DW specs
Screen measurement: 34-inch
Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440
Brightness: 1,000 nits peak HDR
Response time: 0.1ms
Refresh price: 175Hz
Viewing angle: 178° H&V
Contrast ratio: 1,000,000:1
Features: QD OLED panel, 99.3% DCI-P3, Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0, USB hub, AlienFX lighting
Price: $1,299 | £TBA
Common to all OLED tech are two vital benefits over any LCD panel, specifically distinction and response. Put merely, each pixel in an OLED panel is its personal gentle supply, which may be turned fully off, basically delivering ‘true’ black ranges and roughly infinite distinction. There’s no want for any of that sophisticated, problematic native dimming to cease the sunshine from leaking via an LCD panel. OLED is the true HDR deal.
OLED can also be far quicker than LCD. By how a lot depends upon the way you measure issues. The quickest present IPS screens are quoted at round 1ms for grey-to-grey response. But that solely measures a part of the transition between colors. The full change takes for much longer. By comparability, Alienware is quoting this OLED panel at 0.1ms. And that’s possible for the total transition. It’s a minimum of an order of magnitude quicker.
Anyway, if that’s a fast refresher as to why this factor guarantees to be so good, what’s it truly like? First impressions are literally disappointing. Fired up in SDR mode, the Alienware 34 AW3423DW QD-OLED seems to be a bit uninteresting and dingy. What occurred to that 1,000 nits declare? Then there’s the mediocre pixel density that comes as a consequence of the mix of 34-inch diagonal and three,440 by 1,440 native decision. Oh the horror, is that this factor a dud?
Don’t panic. Unlike LCD screens with claimed HDR functionality, this OLED display screen must be in HDR mode to do its factor. And that applies to SDR content material, too. Alienware has offered two HDR modes, HDR 400 True Black and HDR Peak 1000. The latter allows that most 1,000 nit efficiency in small areas of the panel however truly seems to be much less vibrant and punchy more often than not.
Instead, it’s the HDR 400 True Black mode that usually offers the very best outcomes. That consists of SDR content material. For SDR content material to look its greatest, it’s important to bounce into the Windows Display Settings menu and crank the SDR brightness up, after which it’s way more zingy throughout. That’s truly useful as a result of it signifies that after getting the AW3423DW arrange correctly, you’re all completed. There’s no want to change modes for SDR and HDR content material.
But let’s get again to gaming. Boy, it is a particular show. In response phrases, it’s unbelievable. No matter how violently you tear your mouse throughout the mat, every thing on-screen stays so crisp and clear and sharp. That unbelievable in-game response is backed up by check animations like TestUFO. We’ve by no means seen the little alien spacecraft look so blur-free.
Comparison of the blur-free UFO on the Alienware AW3423DW versus an ordinary IPS panel.
As for the colors and distinction, this panel is absolutely the bomb. There’s a lot depth, saturation and readability to the in-game picture because of that per-pixel lighting. All of a sudden, each LCD monitor ever looks as if you’re wanting via a filter, like they’re all only a tiny bit watery and translucent.
Want examples? With many supposedly HDR-capable panels, Cyberpunk 2077 truly seems to be greatest in SDR mode. Not with this Alienware. In HDR mode, shafts of daylight positively pop in outside scenes, whereas the deep, inky blacks distinction dramatically with neon gentle sources indoors. It actually is one thing particular.
Heck, even sometimes underwhelming titles—in visible phrases—like Call of Duty: Warzone look nice because of the quantum dot-enhanced saturation and speedy response. The slight softening of the picture that it’s important to put up with just about any LCD panel when flying round maps in on-line shooters and different fast-paced video games merely isn’t there.
If all this sounds a bit hyperbolic, it doesn’t truly imply that every one LCD screens at the moment are terrible. In reality, in relation to refresh charges and due to this fact latency, LCD screens with 360Hz-plus refresh are clearly faster. Latency is historically a weak level for OLED, and whereas we didn’t sense any subjective situation with this 175Hz monitor, there’s little doubt that in case your gaming enjoyable and success hinges on having the bottom doable latency, there are quicker screens out there.
Latency isn’t the one OLED-related situation, after all. Burn-in is the good concern and that leads to some quirks. For starters, you’ll sometimes discover your complete picture shifting by a pixel or two. The panel is definitely overprovisioned with pixels by about 20 in each axes, offering loads of leeway. It’s a bit just like the overprovisioning of reminiscence cells in an SSD and it permits Alienware to stop static parts from “burning” into the show over time.
The different anti-burn-in measure is an ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) system. Look fastidiously, and also you’ll see the general panel brightness various a bit in response to what’s on the display screen. A big shiny object, for example, will trigger the panel to dim barely with a purpose to management total energy consumption and defend the panel. It’s not terribly intrusive, however it’s one thing to concentrate on. Alienware reassuringly gives three-year cowl for the chance of OLED burn-in.
If time will inform if that ever proves a major downside, what we will say for certain, at this value level, is that there are higher general-purpose panels with superior pixel density, greater decision, and extra desktop display screen real-estate. The lack of USB-C connectivity can also be a limitation for broader usability. If you need a actually massive show, a 120Hz OLED TV for related cash is likewise clearly higher worth.
What’s extra, it’s value noting you’ll be able to solely obtain the total 175Hz with the one DisplayPort enter. The two HDMI sockets are restricted to 100Hz. It’s simply one of many explanation why this factor ain’t a fantastic selection for pairing with the newest video games consoles. It’s actually solely optimised to be used with a PC. But for many sorts of gaming on that very platform, that is pretty much as good because it presently will get. Put merely, the Alienware 34 AW3423DW units new requirements for distinction, HDR efficiency and response.