Originally published 4 January 2022, last updated 17 February 2022
For the CES 2022 event in January, Dell announced the launch of the World’s first OLED desktop monitor for gamers. Or at least they are claiming it is the first, Samsung also announced a similar model the same week at CES with their Samsung Odyssey G8QNB which they are claiming is the first. Anyway, the new Alienware AW3423DW 34″ in size with a curved ultrawide format, a 3440 x 1440 resolution and uses a Quantum Dot OLED (QD-OLED) panel that delivers a true 0.1ms G2G response time and 175Hz refresh rate. It’s the first time we will see OLED technology used in the monitor space with a high refresh rate, and aimed at the gaming market instead of the professional market.
Check out our full review of the Dell Alienware AW3423DW here!
The first high refresh rate OLED desktop monitor
We reviewed in May 2021 the LG UltraFine 32EP950 OLED Pro which was a very expensive high-end OLED monitor aimed at the professional, video production and HDR content creation market. It offered some exceptional performance thanks to its OLED panel for things like pixel response times, colour accuracy and black depth / contrast ratio, but this screen was firmly aimed at that pro market. It carried a very high price tag as a result. It also only had a 60Hz refresh rate and so even for those with the money to spend, it didn’t really offer anything appropriate to gamers.
The AW3423DW will be the first OLED desktop monitor with a high refresh rate, which reaches up to 175Hz impressively. Along with the near-instant response times of the OLED panel (0.1ms G2G quoted – which is realistic from this technology), this high refresh rate will bring about significant improvements in motion clarity, frame rate support and gaming experience. Enter now the Dell Alienware AW3423DW which IS aimed at gamers.
Dell say in their press material that “Quantum Dot Display Technology enables a slim panel design and delivers a superior color performance with a higher peak luminance and greater color gamut range vs WOLED (White OLED) by taking the impressive qualities of OLED (such as true blacks & infinite contrast ratio) and enhances color performance by directly converting blue light into the primary colors of red and green through a Quantum Dot pixel layer. This results in higher color uniformity, wider color coverage and increased brightness” [note that WOLED is what is used in the OLED TV market, which is not as well suited to desktop monitor usage as true RGB OLED structure).
Dell Alienware AW3423DW Specs and features
Spec wise the AW3423DW is impressive. It is 34″ in size with a 21:9 aspect ratio and a curved (1800R) ultrawide format. There is a 3440 x 1440 resolution, 0.1ms G2G response time (realistic on OLED), 1 million:1 static contrast ratio (realistic on OLED), 250 cd/m2 brightness, 178/178 viewing angles, 1.07b colour depth and a wide colour gamut covering ~149% sRGB and 99.3% DCI-P3.
The screen comes factory calibrated with a dE <2 target listed in the spec. The Dell press material says that “For content creators and game developers who require precise color-critical work, the new Creator Mode feature [is available]. This OSD menu option allows you the flexibility to choose between the native (DCI-P3) and the sRGB color space, depending on your work needs, and the ability to adjust the gamma settings.” This implies that an sRGB emulation mode is featured, and Dell have perhaps listened to market feedback that users also want access to other controls when using those modes. More testing to be done when the screen is released.
Also importantly Dell list a “flicker free” ComfortView screen which should mean no unnecessary flickering caused by OLED-protection features or the likes. This should also help reduce blue light output, although both remain to be confirmed in practice through testing. here is also an ambient light sensor built in to the screen.
High Refresh rate at 175Hz with NVIDIA G-sync Ultimate
The refresh rate is 175Hz natively over DisplayPort, and can reach up to 100Hz over HDMI at the native screen resolution (3440 x 1440). The screen is built with a Native NVIDIA G-sync module, giving excellent and reliable variable refresh rate performance, along with other benefits like super-low lag. This also means the screen carries the ‘NVIDIA G-sync Ultimate’ certification. We expect the screen to support FreeSync (over DisplayPort at least) too for AMD graphic card users, like most modern G-sync module screens, but this has yet to be confirmed through testing and Dell do not specifically list this.
Excellent HDR capabilities including 1000 nits peak brightness
The AW3423DW should offer excellent HDR performance as well, largely thanks to its pixel-level dimming from the OLED panel. This can deliver “true blacks” and basically infinite contrast ratio (Dell quote 1 million:1) and avoids blooming and halo issues that locally dimmed LED backlights cause, no matter how many dimming zones they might have. It should be far better than the vast majority of desktop “HDR” monitors.
Impressively Dell quote a 1000 cd/m2 peak brightness spec as well, which puts it beyond typical OLED TV’s which are commonly 700 – 900 cd/m2 max. This is also then backed up with the HDR-related colour enhancements with a 10-bit colour depth support and a wide colour gamut (99.3% DCI-P3 coverage quoted). The screen also conforms to the VESA DisplayHDR True Black 400 certification standard.
Connectivity and Ergonomics
For connectivity Dell provide 1x DisplayPort 1.4 and 2x HDMI 2.0 for video which are restricted due to the use of the Native G-sync module. There are also 4x USB 3.2 ports, an audio output and a headphone jack available. The stand provides tilt, height (110mm) and swivel adjustments but no rotate. Dell also include their familiar “Alien FX” RGB lighting system with 4 zones – back, loop, downlight and power button.
What about warranty and burn in?
According to the press material, “the new Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED Gaming Monitor comes with improved OLED reliability and a 3-year premium warranty, including coverage for OLED burn-in, for additional peace of mind.” – so it looks like they are covering concerns of image retention and burn in at least to some /extent. More details when we have them.
Update: Availability and Pricing
The AW3423DW is available on the official product pages and to order from Dell direct now in some regions at what is considered a very reasonable price given the technology:
Alienware UK have stated that it will land in the UK on 22nd March but the UK product page has yet to appear. They also confirmed a £1,099 GBP (inc VAT) retail price for the UK when it does.
Check out our full review of the Dell Alienware AW3423DW here!
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