Alienware's 34" Ultrawide Monitor Is What I'd Buy If I Had A Spare $2100

All images: Kotaku / Alex Walker

The last time I had a couple of grand spare, it was tax time and I badly needed a new laptop. I do not have $2100 to blow on tech right now. But if I did, and given the fact that I'm only rocking two tiny 23" screens at home, I've got a pretty good idea of what I'd get.

The Alienware AW3418DW is a bit of a monster, in every sense of the word. Currently retailing for $2099 through the official Dell site, the AW3418DW is basically the 1440p variant of the Alienware's existing 34" G-Sync curved widescreen monitor, which runs at a maximum res of 2560 x 1080 with a maximum refresh of 160hz - pretty bloody good for an IPS panel.

The 3418DW is no slacker either: you're getting a 1440p IPS screen with G-Sync that runs at a base refresh rate of 100Hz and a maximum of 120Hz. That's not as stratospheric as the 144Hz or 240Hz gaming monitors out there, but being having an IPS panel means the Alienware provides substantially better colour reproduction and image quality than the myriad of TN-based offerings.

As you'd expect for something this large, the AW3418DW arrives in a massive, TV-esque box. Setup is vastly less daunting than it seems though: after unclipping the plastic holds at the bottom, the entire box lifts off, unveiling how few parts are actually inside.

And when I say that, I mean that as a positive. It took me longer to plug my mice into the back of the monitor than it did to actually put the stand together. The entire stand plugs straight into the back of the panel: no screws required, no fiddling about. It's the easiest monitor I've had to put together in a long time, and exactly the kind of hassle-free experience you'd want if you were dropping $2100 on a single piece of tech.

Given how easy installation is, it was surprising that there wasn't a little more room at the back of the monitor. There's a ridge just underneath the area where the power, DisplayPort, HDMI, USB, audio and other ports are located, which actually made it initially difficult to plug everything in.

But that was the biggest, and really only, pain setup wise.

Beyond the extra cables, setup is incredibly hassle-free.

As is the case with modern curved monitors, it's relatively easy to identify information in your periphery thanks to the 1900R curve (about 100R more than the recent quantum dot Samsung monitors). The USB ports at the back are 3.0, gracefully, and out of the box the monitor covers 99% of the sRGB range, which helps for those working with the Adobe suite.

Weight wise, the whole unit stand included comes in just under 12kg (but ~7.3kg without the stand). The bezels are pretty minimal as well, and the inbuilt menu lets you control the RGB lighting at the back (although my setup at work, as seen in the first image, didn't really do that justice).

The appeal of the AW3418DW, cost aside, is actually pretty straightforward. Gamers have been pleading for a large screen with a high refresh rate without having to compromise on poor viewing angles, bad blacks, average colour reproduction, and the other bells and whistles you want from widescreen gaming.

And for the most part, the AW3418DW lives up to that ideal. The 4ms gray-to-gray response time is perfectly acceptable for an IPS panel, and playing at the overclocked 120Hz rate is just as nice as the performance from my aging 23" EIZO Foris monitor. (The EIZO Foris is only a VA-based panel, so the colours and angles aren't as nice as the Alienware, but it's also a hell of a lot smaller.)

Something worth calling out, although it's not new to the AW3418DW, is the design of the base. Dell likes to do with two stars that stick out diagonally from the base, rather than the three-pronged setup of the ASUS monitors or the circular stand/hinge setup of the older Samsung quantum dot offerings. It's good. It offers plenty of stability and made rearranging my desk a lot easier, although ideally you'll be replacing one of your existing monitors with this beast.

Another common design feature is the in-built menu, which is accessed via the bottom right of the screen. Five buttons let you flick through various settings, including a range of presets, response time settings, dark stabiliser levels, the level of overclocking (from 100Hz to 120Hz), the RGB AlienFX lighting, brightness/contrast levels, basic audio settings, and other OSD customisations.

Pretty minimalist, as far as components go.

The only real kicker - and something anyone looking to upgrade their PC this year will probably be considering - is the lack of HDR support. That's really the only one major thing that the AW3418DW doesn't do, which is understandable given that the larger-size, HDR-ready panels have only gone into production over the last couple of years. Sure, you could buy a large 4K screen today with HDR support, but you sure as hell wouldn't have a high refresh rate for gaming.

Personally: I'd take the higher refresh rate over HDR support. A monitor like this will still be used for PC gaming and PC productivity primarily, and the lack of HDR support there will be noticed less. You'll spot it in movies and TV more, and particularly if you like to have a console plugged into the monitor at the same time (something streamers might want to take note of).

But at this point I'm really just searching for gripes. Once calibrated, it's a solid all-round ultrawide monitor that handles gaming just as admirably as juggling multiple Chrome/Firefox tabs with Photoshop and Premiere on the side. The only kicker is the price - but then again, if you're paying $2100 for a monitor, I'd be comparing all other options against the AW3418DW.

Those with money to burn or a burning curiosity can check out more on the official Dell Australia site. If a 1440p screen is too much and you'd rather a 2560 x 1080p model, the 160Hz AW3418HW is there too.


Comments

    The HDR variants of these need to hurry up and release.

    Last edited 10/04/18 1:51 pm

    You made an entire article on this monitor and somehow forgot to mention that it has G-Sync :P

    Possibly the most important feature of the monitor, and why it is so expensive.

    Also, it's unfortunate that the Australia price tax difference is so huge. $1,150 USD = $1500 AUD. And yet the asking price is $600 more than this. Ouch, Dell...

    ASUS PG348Q ROG Swift 34" is now selling for about $1400... used to be about $2000. It'd probably be a tough sell to justify the extra $700...

    Last edited 10/04/18 2:11 pm

      It's in the photo! But thanks, I've made a quick update. And you're right, if this was a bit closer to parity it'd be a substantially better offer.

        :D Thanks Alex

        Yeah, it's a shame. It's the best 34" out there though! If you're willing to pay the price ;)

      FWIW, this monitor isn't $1150 USD, it's $1500. Plus tax. They have two different versions of the monitor which differ from each other by a single letter and about $400; this is the better of the two.

      Source: I am in the US and I own one. I got it on special with them for $950 and it was an absolute steal at that price.

    If you dont mind switching IPS for VA you can get korean monitors with all other specs the same for like $700 delivered on Ebay

    I got the X34 which is also 99-100% RGB so great for content creation, the only tip I would say is to buy a desk swing arm as the base is so deep that the screen sits uncomfortably close to your face. I think the X34 is like $1100-1200?

      Yeah, the X34 is well priced (among this bracket of monitors). And great advice on the mount; the base was one of the biggest issues I had with some of the other Predator monitors. It's just too bloody big for what it needs to be.

    No offense - but is this just an advert?

    I have an X34 and I'm struggling to understand what I'm getting for 700 or whatever extra

      Slightly nicer in terms of styling, gaming performance but perhaps not $700 nicer for most people as you (and the discussion above) pointed out. Hence why I went with the "if I had money to burn" angle, because as nice as the Alienware is ... $2100 is a hell of a lot.

    I bought one of these earlier this year, fantastic monitor replacing some aging crap I had. I found when I was reviewing that it at least had less QC issues than similar competitors and 120hz and G-sync was something I wanted.

    One thing of note, while the RRP is $2,100 and seems exorbitant. I was able to get it for $1,799 by just asking a sales rep. Also at boxing day sales you could get it for $1,679 pretty close to others and very reasonable for what it offers considered.

    Just my $0.02 take it as you will.

    For $2100 I'd get the LG 38WK95C 38" instead of this one...
    Granted, the LG doesn't have G-Sync.

    I love my X34. 20Hz extra is not even close to worth the $750 premium. Considering the X34 is nicer to look at AND comes from a company that doesn't market their systems based on how easy it is to cheat with them, I'd say you'd have to be an idiot to buy this.

    But that's just my 2c.

      I also love my X34 and I'd like to point out that it has the same base 100Hz refresh rate and the same 120 Hz OC as this so I REALLY can't see where that extra money is going...

        Really? Perhaps you have a later version than mine as mine is oc 100hz. Still that's more than fine for everything.

    I am using this at the moment the AOC Agon AG352UCG at the moment.
    http://agon.aocmonitorap.com/au/product_ag352UCG.php

    Spec wise it is a little different.
    100hz G-Sync 4MS
    3440x1440 AMVA Panel
    I love this thing, the res works well with a single 1080ti and it only cost $1100 or so.

    Granted it isnt IPS, which to me doesn't matter for a gaming panel and while some other options have faster refresh times, I feel this is quick enough while giving a higher res.
    I have only played a few games that dont make use of the aspect ratio too, so I guess I have been lucky there.

    Better option - Acer X34P, exactly same panel and specs, is only $1700.

    I own one - although I'm missing the ULMB feature of my old Z35. Should have went for the Z35P instead

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