Tristan GreeneEditor, Neural by TNW
Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him
The overwhelming value prospect of cheap 1080p TVs has resulted in a drought of decent computer monitors in my home. My primary screen doesn’t even have HDR. Since moderation isn’t my thing, the biggest over-correction I could think of was to add a huge, curved Alienware AW3418DW.
Alienware’s 34-inch curved gaming monitor is an elegant chunk of technology, but we’ll need to lay down some specs before we go any further.
- Screen: 34-inch Ultrawide (21:9 aspect ratio) LED
- Refresh rate: 100hz (120hz overclocked)
- Resolution: 3440 X 1440 WQHD
- Viewing angle: 178 degrees
- Front ports: power cable connector, line-out port, USB port with Power Charging, headphone jack, USB 3.0 port
- Rear ports: USB upstream port, (2x) USB 3.0 port, HDMI port, Display Port
- Dimensions: adjustable height 442.44mm – 560.89mm (17.42 inches – 22.08 inches), width: 813.45mm (32.03 inches), depth: 319.09mm (12.56 inches), weight (without stand, for VESA mount): 7.27kg (16.10 lb)
First off, this thing used to be prohibitively expensive at $1,600. Now, under a grand, it makes a bit more sense for those of us who already have high-end PC systems. And, bonus: if you’re considering upgrading from a regular TV to a curved 1440p gaming monitor, you may want to consult a physician to make sure the smile-muscles in your face can handle it. It’s a breakneck transition that’ll leave you wondering how you ever lived without a high-end gaming monitor.
And, even if you’ve got a top-of-the-line flatscreen monitor, you’ll probably notice a huge difference in immersion the moment you boot up one of your favorite games on this curved beauty. For me, this meant restarting Grand Theft Auto V and enjoying it with the same wide-eyed enthusiasm as I did when I played it for the first time.
There’s only a handful of gaming monitors that compete with the AW3418DW. Some boast better specs in one area or another. But I think Alienware’s is the best overall package — so long as you don’t need speakers, asit doesn’t have any built in.
If you do need speakers, consider Acer’s 34-inch Predator curved gaming monitor. I think the Alienware monitor has better aesthetics and a slightly crisper, brighter image. But the Predator has impressive 7w speakers that sound phenomenal for built-ins. In the end though, I’d rather have the Alienware on my desk and a decent headset on my ears.
As far as the aesthetics go, I’ve reviewed a lot of Alienware gear and I’ve never said this before: I’d pick this monitor over the others in its class because of its subdued, professional appearance. Yeah, that’s right: it’s an Alienware product that doesn’t insist upon itself. I like that in a monitor. I want my attention on the screen, not distracted by extraneous crap. To that end, the monitor does have LED lighting (don’t freak out gamer-types, it’s there), but it’s on the backside where all you tend to see is the glow from it.
More important is the functionality of the monitor. Most high-end monitors have robust mechanisms for adjusting the screen position and Alienwnare doesn’t disappoint. The full range of movement includes a 5.1-inch height span, 5-degree downward and 25-degree upward tilt, and a 40-degrees side-to-side rotation in either direction. Adjusting the monitor is smooth and easy. You just grab it and move it. This level of flexibility means I can find the optimum ergonomic viewing angle. That’s helped lower my neck and back pain after hours at my desk.
There are six navigation buttons on the bottom of the monitor, these control the various settings such as brightness, G-Sync, overclocking, and blue-light filter. Power users can essentially adjust expert-level settings manually, and there are even various settings such as “FPS” and “RPG” designed to adjust the screen for the best genre experience, but none of these matter. This monitor is fantastically tuned, right out of the box. I checked the monitor with a free color correction and screen calibration tool, the only suggestion I received boiled down to setting the color tone a bit warmer. I declined to do so because I prefer it cooler to offset my dark walls. Your mileage may vary (but probably not much).
Alienware made a top-notch monitor that takes about five minutes to install and start gaming on out of the box. It clicks onto its stand with a minimum of effort and has a removable cable casing. It couldn’t be easier. You can fiddle with settings to your heart’s delight, or simply game on a well-tuned display and get lost in the curve.
And that, graphics lovers, is where the Alienware wins my vote. The harsh curve of the screen is designed to make you feel silly for ever believing you’d be better off with two flat-screen monitors than one gloriously curved Ultrawide. There’s a pretty large sweet-spot for viewing. I was able to sit as far away as about 3 meters (9 feet) and still feel total immersion. I love how natural it feels to glance around while gaming. There’s something to be said about having more visual real estate to work with when it comes to FPS gaming, and this monitor allows you to enjoy that advantage to its fullest.
Outside of gaming, it’s a designer’s dream. I might suggest Dell’s larger Ultrawides for those whose interests lie in the workplace or creator’s environments more than gaming – caveat: I haven’t reviewed the Dell-branded models. But, otherwise, I found it excellent for photography editing and revolutionary for my day-to-day work. The Ultrawide stance is also perfect for my production workflow as a musician, effectively giving me enough room to keep all those glorious little plug-in windows maximized while I work out of my DAW.
The brilliance of this monitor can’t be over-stated. It’s obvious Aliewnare set out to make something worth marveling at. And there simply isn’t anything to gripe about here. It doesn’t have speakers. That’s the only complaint I can think of.
This is a fantastic monitor that makes your favorite games feel more immersive, no matter the game. And if you use it with modern titles – especially on a system that takes advantage of Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, you’ll get one of the brightest, smoothest game play experiences possible. I tested this monitor with an Alienware Aurora R8 running Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics, and as a display for an Alienware M15 laptop. In both instances it showed off Battlefield V, Grand Theft Auto V, and Rise of the Tomb Raider at ultra or very high settings without a single observable instance of screen tearing or noticeable delay.
At launch the AW3418DW retailed for about $1,600. Today it can be had from Dell for $979.99 and on Amazon for only $859.00.
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