Take PC gaming to the next level with Alienware’s out of this world 34″ curved gaming monitor. Explore this impressive screen in our Alienware QD-OLED review.
Computer monitors are all too often taken for granted. Whether it’s for work or play, productivity or entertainment, there’s a fair chance that we all use a monitor of some sort on a daily basis. Often for hours on end too! These screens have come a long way, especially over the last couple decades. Reminisce back to your childhood PC and its analogue monitor, hefty CRT design and box-like 4:3 aspect ratio.
Compare that to the sleek, modern, high-fidelity screens that are now widely available. With resolutions upwards of 4K, absurdly-smooth refresh rates, and more accurate colours than ever before, it’s no wonder that many consumers are starting to get the most from their monitor.
It’s hard to believe just how much PC monitors have evolved even in the last couple decades.
Entering the market as one of the most immersive and impressive PC monitors ever made, Alienware have extended their range of gaming peripherals into the curved monitors with their new Alienware 34 Inch QD-OLED Gaming Monitor (AW3423DW). Sporting a gorgeous curved QD-OLED panel with a 21:9 ultra-wide aspect ratio, futuristic Alienware design, and multiple built-in features to alleviate the burn-in issues posed by OLED screens, this is one monitor made to please even the pickiest of PC perfectionists.
So at an RRP for $2299.00, is this screen a worthwhile investment for your dream setup? Or should you instead just sit back and monitor this one? Find out in our review.
As expected for any Alienware product, the QD-OLED Curved Gaming Monitor is nothing short of eye-catching. In fact, the design is so distinct, it’s genuinely difficult to take your eyes off! This is apparent even during unboxing, where you’ll be greeted straight away by the hulking great 34 inch screen and its sturdy and solid mechanical stand. Weighing in a whopping 10.37kg with the stand attached, it’s immediately obvious that this monitor is certainly no lightweight. But it’s not just size that matters – multiple other design aspects set the AW3423DW apart from its competitors.
You can even use it to browse your favourite website. *hint hint*
When viewed directly in front, the user sees little but the screen and stand, which are minimalist to not detract from the screen itself. Surrounding the panel is a bezel that varies from ~2cm at the bottom of the display, to ~5mm at the top of the display, similar to most other monitors of this size. The panel is covered in a glossy finish that seems to cut down most glare and reflections, allowing for an impressive viewing angle.
Most users will be situated directly in front of the screen, but there’s plenty of room to move and still view all areas of the monitor with notable clarity. For example, whilst using this monitor, I had it situated on a living area completely surrounded and lit by natural light from all angles. Never at any moment was there any issue with glare – the panel itself does a superb job of cutting down obtrusive reflections.
The screen is clear and colourful from all angles, particularly in the most vibrant games.
As strange as it seems, the monitor somehow looks even more impressive from the rear of the unit. Without needing to focus on the screen, the design of the back of the QD-OLED Gaming Monitor and its stand are immediately recognisable as Alienware technology. The simple curves, matte finish, and RGB Alienware branding are a delight, which seems almost a shame to put this monitor up against a wall or in the corner of a room.
This aesthetic design, however, requires a significant amount of space, with the depth of the unit in excess of 30cm, meaning users will require adequate desk space to allow it. This is not a monitor that’s been designed to be shoved into a cramped office or the corner of a games room – like an alien, it needs space.
There’s no doubt that the design of the AW3423DW is impressive, but you’re not buying a PC monitor just to look at everything but the screen. So does the screen itself achieve a viewing experience as elegant as the design of the monitor?
Beginning with its 34 inch curved panel, the QD-OLED screen sits at a QHD resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an ultra-widescreen 21:9 aspect ratio, offering a design that wraps around the viewer. Without delving into a technical essay, the Samsung-developed “QD-OLED” technology (standing for “Quantum Dot Organic Light-Emitting Diode”) in Alienware’s monitor is beginning to enter both the TV and monitor market, capable of achieving unmatched luminance and greater, more realistic colour range.
Alienware are the first to utilise this technology in a gaming monitor, and it certainly shows! Capable of 1000 nits of brightness, almost 3x the amount compared to my usual gaming monitor (the LG 27″ Ultragear), the AW3423DW provides brighter, more vibrant colours, and true blacks perfect for playing darker, moody games, like those in the survival horror genre.
Horror has never looked so good.
Depending on the game and user preference, multiple different display options are available. At the press of a button using the monitor’s on-screen controls, the user may swap between a higher contrast 400HDR setting, and a higher brightness 1000HDR setting for more vivid gameplay. Try it out on each game to see which feels more suitable.
Of course, for a monitor of this price, you’re also treated to a 175Hz refresh rate and near-instantaneous 0.1ms response time, ideal for fast-twitch gaming. With NVidia G-Sync Ultimate certification, the highest standard set by NVidia for gaming monitors, players need not worry about immersion-breaking screen tearing or sluggish inputs. Of course, you’ll need to also have a PC capable of keeping up with the monitor in order to get the most out of its capabilities.
There’s no shortage of ports and connectivity options either, as can be seen in the image below, making the monitor feel like an extension of any PC.
Ports include the following:
- Power Connector (1)
- 5 x USB 3.2 Type-A ports (5, 7, 9, 10)
- 1 x USB 3.2 Type-B port (8)
- 3.5mm Headphone port (6)
- 2 x HDMI ports (11, 12)
- 1 x Display port (13)
- 1 x Line-Out port (14)
But what about burn-in?
The biggest concern with OLED displays is undoubtedly burn-in, whereby the organic display becomes permanently discoloured when left on a static image for an extended amount of time. This is a common occurrence in OLED devices like TVs or mobile phones, both of which mine have previously succumbed to burn-in.
In order to alleviate this issue, Alienware have introduced a “pixel refresh” mode that immediately begins upon switching off the screen. This takes between 5 – 10 minutes and reduces the impact of static images, significantly reducing the likelihood of burn-in. This feature is necessary, though can be frustrating if using the monitor for productivity, as it will regularly prompt you to run a pixel refresh if kept on the same window for too long.
Pixel refresh can also be run manually at any time if you’re concerned about the screen.
In addition to the lengthy pixel refresh, a more instantaneous solution called “pixel shift” occurs every few minutes, unbeknownst to the user. This actually moves every single pixel one position, and can only be noticed if you’re watching with incredibly close attention. If these two features weren’t enough peace of mind, Alienware thankfully includes a 3 year warranty, specifically covering burn-in for any unlucky users that might be affected.
After using the monitor daily for 3 weeks both for gaming and working from home, there were no signs of burn-in. Though it’s the screen’s longevity which would really put it to the test – come back to this review in 3 or 4 years and we’ll let you know how it really fares.
Credit must be given to the stand, which is overshadowed by the gorgeous panel, but is just as impressive. Users can effortlessly adjust the height, angle, and direction of the monitor smoothly and seamlessly. Cables can be stealthily threaded through the stand in seconds, and a snug cover slotted over the rear of the monitor to hide the messy jumble of cords underneath. As somebody who battles regularly with an overabundance of cables, this is the perfect solution and requires little to no effort to make the unit look as polished as possible.
Messy cables? This monitor has them covered. Literally.
Setup and dismantling is thankfully incredibly easy too, taking less than a couple minutes. The monitor easily and firmly attaches to the stand, making this a foolproof process for even the clumsiest of us. Though with the sheer size and weight of the monitor, this is unlikely to be one you’ll consider moving around too frequently unless absolutely necessary.
During setup, you’ll also notice that included in the box are several cables and cords to get you started. These should provide most users with their desired option to be able to connect their device immediately (without an unplanned trip to Officeworks). Included in the box are:
- Power Cable
- Display Port to Display Port cable
- Mini Display Port to Display Port cable
- HDMI cable
- USB 3.2 upstream cable
Finally, it’s worth noting that although this is a PC monitor, it’s still compatible with consoles provided they can connect to it. I tested the monitor with my PS5/Nintendo Switch/Xbox One X, all of which worked perfectly and connected immediately.
Bored of your TV? Plug your console into the monitor for instantly more vibrant colours.
After playing some Xenoblade Chronicles 3 and The Last of Us: Part I, it was easy to notice just how crisp and vibrant the colours were, though don’t expect the consoles to magically assume the ultra-wide resolution. Instead, you’ll be left with black bars on either side of the screen with empty space. Not a brilliant look, but the excellent picture is worth it if you can ignore this slight inconvenience.
The Alienware QD-OLED Curved Gaming Monitor is a literal game-changer, enhancing any possible gaming experience through its unmatched colours, instantaneous response, and immersive detail. This combination of impressive tech, usability features, and futuristic, sleek design, is truly befitting of any Alienware product. At $2299.00, which may appear steep for a mere monitor, the price tag is well and truly justified for those who want only the best from their games. If money is no expense, this should be a serious contender for occupying your desk top space. Alienware has well and truly set the standard for all other gaming monitors that will follow.
So, why should you purchase it?
- Unmatched colours and detail
- Far superior brightness to other gaming monitors
- Near instantaneous response time
- Sleek and visually-pleasing Alienware design
- Wide viewing angle and low-glare screen
- Built-in functions to reduce likelihood of burn-in
But why shouldn’t you purchase it?
- If $2299.00 is well above your price range
- Don’t have a decent PC rig? This monitor might be a bit too up-market
- Your setup is lacking space for such a large monitor
A review unit was kindly loaned by Alienware Australia for the purpose of this review.
If you enjoyed our review, check out our Alienware R13 Gaming Desktop review here.