Curved gaming monitor from Dell Alienware 34 (AW3418DW)
"The Alienware 34 has serious gaming credibility to make gamers happy."
Overclockable screen, G-Sync capable
Immersive experience with curved design
Generous replacement guarantee
Excellent contrast and good color accuracy
Cumbersome port placement
No USB-C port or speakers
Gaming peripherals don't have to be flashy. However, what this Alienware gaming monitor lacks in flash makes up for the performance. With a response time of 4 ms, an overclockable refresh rate of 120 Hz and G-Sync functions, all check boxes are checked for serious players. The 34-inch size and curved ultrawide screen don't hurt either.
The adult aesthetics of the AW3418DW make a significant contribution to making the premium sticker price of $ 999 – from a whopping $ 1,499 – more palatable. This ultra-wide monitor can grow with you, whether you need it to dive into fast-paced action games or do productivity tasks.
If you don't see the glowing Alien Head logo on the back, nothing screams at the Alienware AW3418DW, which is made for gaming. With minimal black bezels on the front and a shade of dark gunmetal titanium on the back, this monitor feels at home alongside one of Dell's business-oriented 4K displays or competing Lenovo ThinkVision monitors. In fact, the aesthetics of the AW3418DW are not entirely different from those of its business-oriented cousin Dell Ultrasharp U3818DW. This is not a bad thing, since both have stylish designs.
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The Alienware AW3418DW comes in two parts: the 34-inch curved plate and a heavy metal stand with Y-shaped legs. It also comes with its own VESA bracket to which the display panel can attach. If you have your own VESA compatible wall mount or a more compact desk stand, you can use it to save desktop space.
No tools were required to set up the monitor and it only took a few seconds for the monitor to snap onto the stand. The supplied stand offers numerous setting options. It allows the panel to tilt 25 degrees up or 5 degrees down, swivel 40 degrees in either direction, or raise and lower 5.1 inches. The ergonomic design makes this panel a good choice in an office environment as well as in a playroom.
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Adjustable LED lighting strips are discreetly placed on the square spikes on the back of the panel and on the stand. Unlike the competing curved 34-inch ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q monitor, which features an embossed, patterned back, aggressive vents, and a more eye-catching lighting design, the Alienware looks like a much more minimalist piece. That's refreshing given the brand's gaming focus and gaming legacy.
The Alienware vents are located at the top and bottom, and the cutouts near the base of the stand serve as a clever cable management system through which your cables are routed.
The panel feels solid and the bezels on the edges are very minimal, like most modern monitors in the premium range.
To keep the aesthetics of the AW3418DW clean, Dell had to make some sacrifices when configuring the ports. All connections of the monitor are at the bottom. Because you cannot rotate the display vertically due to the large width of the control panel, access to the connectors is difficult.
The monitor has a power connector, a line-out connector, a USB connector for charging, a headphone jack, a USB 3.0 connector and a USB upstream connector.
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At the bottom front you have access to a USB port with charging station, a headphone jack and a USB 3.0 port. These connectors make it easy to quickly connect peripheral devices such as flash drives. Below you will find an unfavorably placed power connector, an HDMI connector, a DisplayPort, a USB-B upstream connector and two USB 3.0 connectors. Given its age, it's surprising that Dell didn't have this monitor with a USB-C port that would have allowed a single cable connection to a compatible laptop like the Dell XPS 13. A USB-C connection would also have negated this. The USB-B upstream port must control the hub on the monitor.
The good news is that the monitor doesn't need a bulky external power supply. The bad news? The supplied cable is a bit short.
The settings of the AW3418DW can be accessed via six menu buttons on the lower right edge of the control panel and via a separate on / off button. This results in a group of seven keys. The buttons are tactile and easy to press. Unlike some home monitors, they are physical buttons and not capacitive touch buttons.
By default, the first four buttons are pre-configured for preset modes, overclocking update rates, dark stabilizer and brightness / contrast controls. The fifth button opens a menu where you can navigate to change any of the settings mentioned, reconfigure the buttons, or even adjust and change the AlienFX lighting on your monitor.
The star of the Alienware AW3418DW show is the 34-inch IPS panel with a wide QHD resolution of 3,440 x 1,440 pixels.
Depending on the game played, there are different modes that you can use to adjust the monitor. Standard works well for most office or home applications, but you also have options for FPS, RTS, and RPG, as well as three customizable settings. Using customizable game settings, you can fine-tune the R, G, B, C, M, Y settings to get the color calibration you want for your game. ComfortView, Warm, Cool and Custom Color round off the default settings.
In general, switching between FPS, RTS, or RGP lightens the panel a bit compared to the standard view, and the color temperature of the panel can also change a bit warmer or cooler depending on the mode for night work to reduce eye strain and FPS for playing. You can also adjust the response times for the presets by navigating through the detailed menu interface.
Although this Alienware control panel does not include an HDR option, you can use the dark stabilization option to make four settings to highlight details in the shadow. While adjusting the brightness would lighten or darken everything on the screen, the dark stabilizer is used to lighten or darken only the darker areas on your screen, which serves as a kind of manual HDR control.
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Although all of the items in the menus are arranged in an easy-to-understand list view, changing the settings can be tedious because you have to scroll through lists and menus. Fortunately, you don't have to repeat your adjustments after you adjust them.
Ready for work, ready to play
The star of the show on the Alienware AW3418DW is the 34-inch IPS panel with a wide QHD resolution of 3,440 x 1,440 pixels. This gives the panel a density of 109 PPI and an aspect ratio of 21: 9. It will delight your peripheral vision and immerse you in the content you are viewing. The curved, ultra-wide control panel also eliminates the need for most users to set up a multi-monitor setup because it shows enough screen space.
To really take advantage of the AW3418DW and really expand the limits of gaming, you need a good graphics card.
The IPS panel offers a bright display with large viewing angles. The screen can be up to 300 nits bright, and players will likely want to reduce the screen to less than fifty percent for most games. In games with darker scenes, enabling the dark stabilizer setting makes a big difference in that some details appear in the background. The panel is of very high quality, and even with brighter settings we could not see any bleeding at the edges or IPS glow.
The individual specifications of the panel are not always the best. There are larger screens on the market and some with higher pixel counts, better 4K resolution, or even faster refresh rates. However, the AW3418DW is one of the few ultra-wide panels with a refresh rate of 100 Hz, which can be overclocked to 120 Hz.
To test the performance of the panel, we used Datacolor's Spyder5Elite colorimeter with the display's default setting. The Spyder5 utility showed that the panel achieved 100 percent of the sRGB, 77 percent of the NTSC, and 80 percent of the AdobeRGB color space. The panel also showed excellent contrast with a ratio of 660: 1 at maximum brightness, which is in the range of the 680: 1 of the Dell U3818DW and the 630: 1 of the Asus PG279Q. Color accuracy is similarly good, and Alienware renders colors more accurately than Dell or Asus in this category.
Compared to its extremely widespread rivals, such as the Asus ROG Swift PG348Q, which has a similar curved WQHD resolution of 34 inches and a refresh rate of 100 Hz, Alienware is the leader because the panel update can be overclocked to 120 Hz. The Asus ROG Swift PG279Q has an incredibly fast refresh rate of 165 Hz, but has a smaller, non-curved and non-ultra-wide 27-inch panel.
Compared to office monitors with a standard refresh rate of 60 Hz, in combination with G-Sync technology from Nvidia you will definitely notice a noticeable leap in performance to 100 Hz. The jump between 100 Hz and 120 Hz is not quite as dramatic, but it is definitely recognizable in action and sports titles like Battlefield V, Call of Duty and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. During our review of various games, we did not see any screen tears.
To use the maximum performance of this monitor and really push the limits of the games, you need a good graphics card. In our setup, we tested the device with an Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti and decided to set the settings in our games to high or ultra-high. And although you can set the response time in the menu for the response time on the display between normal, fast and super-fast, we have found slight ghosting when selecting super-fast.
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In general, most players will likely keep this menu option normal or fast, especially since the AW3418DW already has a 4 ms response time from gray to gray. This is not quite as fast as the Alienware AW2518H's 1 ms response time, but it's a smaller 25-inch panel with a lower FHD resolution. This Alienware AW3418DW strikes a good balance between screen size, performance and aesthetics. It's an all-round winner that's versatile enough to be a desk monitor or the window in your game.
Our test device is immediately well calibrated and after running the Datacolor calibration tool, there was hardly any difference in the display. After calibration, the screen was a bit warmer because Alienware's default setting is a bit cooler. The benchmark results after calibration hardly change. This is good news for those who want to use this ultra-wide panel in a production environment.
When it comes to steadfast quality, Dell puts its money where it is. The attention to detail and design from Dell is not only evident in the construction of the Alienware AW3418DW, but the company also supports its commitment to deliver the best possible product through the generous guarantee.
The AW3418DW comes with a three-year standard warranty, a three-year extended replacement service and a premium panel warranty from Dell. If your screen or part of the monitor is damaged – including dead or permanently lit bright pixels – Dell will begin the warranty claim process by telephone to resolve the issue. If phone support does not resolve the issue, Dell will send a replacement device the next business day.
"Even if only one bright pixel is found, free replacement of the monitor is guaranteed during the limited warranty period," Dell said on its support page. This guideline is far more generous than the AOC guideline, which only covers the LED panel for one year.
Priced at $ 1,000, you'll find monitors with faster 240 Hz screen refresh rates, 1 ms screen response times, and higher 4K resolutions. However, all of these monitors are based on a flat panel design, so you can't take advantage of the impressive experience found on the curved screen of the AW3418DW. They also don't support G-Sync. These functions make the Alienware 34 Curved Gaming Monitor the ideal partner for your high-performance gaming rig.
Is there a better alternative?
While the AW3418DW does not have the best custom specifications on the market, it does tick enough boxes to make the sum of its parts larger than the individual components. Compared to AOC's $ 799 Agon AG352UCG, which offers a slightly larger 35-inch MVA panel, the Alienware offers a better guarantee, a cleaner design, a more accurate IPS panel, and an overclockable refresh rate. If you want to hit the 34-inch ultra-wide gaming form factor, LG's FreeSync-enabled 34UM69G costs $ 305, but offers lower WFHD resolution and no curve of the Alienware.
The Samsung CHG90 is delivered at the same price as the AW3418DW. This display dwarfs your desk at 49 inches and offers a faster refresh rate of 144 Hz. However, the CHG90 uses FreeSync technology, which limits its appeal to players who use AMD graphics. Serious gamers may be courted by Acer's $ 1,200 38-inch XR382CQK, which has built-in speakers and a faster on-screen response time of 1 ms. However, this panel also uses FreeSync instead of Alienware's G-Sync features. The Agon AG251FZ from AOC has a smooth refresh rate of 240 Hz and a response time of 1 ms. However, the flat screen lacks the impressive ultrawide curve of the AW3418DW.
The next competitor to the AW3418DW is the BenQ FreeSync-enabled EX3501R, a display that shares the similar price of $ 900, curved screen, performance, understated aesthetics, and support for the AW3418DW's wide color space. However, the BenQ offers a slightly larger 35-inch panel and HDR support, while the AW3418DW maintains its position with a faster overclockable refresh rate of 120 Hz and G-Sync support.
How long it will take?
The lack of a USB-C port is somewhat unfortunate, as the AW3418DW ships come with a generous three-year warranty, are solidly built, and have a brilliant display that will hold your investment for some time. However, VESA mounting compatibility as well as accurate colors and contrasts make the AW3418DW a solid option for office workers looking for an alternative to outdated monitors on the market today, as long as they don't need built-in speakers.
Should you buy it
Yes, despite the high price of $ 1,000 after discounts, we recommend this monitor for its excellently calibrated panel, premium design, and performance. Not only is the AW3418DW well constructed and solidly built, Dell's generous warranty also gives you the certainty that your investment will last for years to come.