Alienware AW3420DW Review
Our review monitor, the Alienware AW3420DW straddles the line between high-end gaming and excellent design to bring superb gaming performance to the living room.
- Superb image quality
- Low response time (2ms)
- Unbelievable ultrawide design
- Wildly costly
- Needs more ports
The 34-inch Alienware AW3420DW is enough proof that ultrawide monitors are finally going mainstream. Built on the success of its predecessor, the Alienware AW3418DW from last year, this new gaming monitor in pretty much every aspect. It keeps the 34-inch display size, gets a better 21:9 aspect ratio and the 3,440 x 1,440 resolution make it even more exciting. To that, it adds attractive RGB lighting and convenient menus that you’ll find enjoyable to use.
In the last few years, Alienware has revamped its gaming portfolio designs, and the AW3420DW sports the company’s new Legend design, much like the flagship Alienware Area-51m and 15m laptops, and the same aesthetic language is found on the premium Aurora R9 desktop.
The rear of the monitor stand is a masterpiece of design, featuring an oval-shaped RGB light ring accented with an RGB head etched to the back of the display. While you can’t really justify the idea of placing lighting effects on the back of a monitor, not that you’ll be looking at it on a daily basis, but it does exude some affluent lighting effects on the wall behind it.
On the right side of the monitor is where you find all the buttons. You have a tiny stick that lets you open the full settings menu, there are also three other buttons around the back that you can use to access some quick settings or navigate the main menu. Also, you can control the RGB lighting through the Alienware Control Center software, available once you connect the monitor to your PC via USB.
Finally, on design, Alienware did a good job with bezels. They’re not so thick, in fact, they are less noticeable but they’re certainly there. All this follows on Alienware’s refreshed designs that we’ve seen in recent years, but we just wish they’d narrow down on the bezels here. After all, Alienware is owned by Dell, and if they can have infinity display on their premium laptops line, why should its premium gaming monitors have some thick bezels?
All ports are protected by a light shield that easily slides in and out of place. Here you find power, HDMI and DisplayPort on the right-hand side of the stand, and the opposite side holds two USB-A ports, alongside a special USB port to connect the monitor to your PC for lighting control. It is the same port that enables the rest of the USB ports on the monitor.
There are additional ports on the bottom of the monitor, including quick-access USB-A ports and a headphone jack. This small space is illuminated too, making it super easy to plug a peripheral in, even in a dark room. You’ll love the many USB ports here, but they can’t be as many as to satisfy all our needs.
Still, for a pricey monitor as this, being limited to just a pair of two display inputs is a bit underwhelming. We expected a second DisplayPort at the very least, and better still, even a USB-C connection port.
First things first, the Alienware AW3420DW looks sleek, and that can’t be disputed. No matter what content you’ll be viewing on the screen, may it be a work spreadsheet or the latest game, this monitor simply exudes class.
Playing Resident Evil 2 remake is exciting, as the monitor makes zombies – the slow, shambling, groaning type – incredible again. You are easily immersed in the shuffling lumps of bloody meat battering down, and the tumble through broken windows and lunge from the shadows is brought to life than before. And in a game that’s certainly opposite in terms of tone and color palate, Scavenger looks amazing, with all its blue them and fluid movement. Simply put, no matter what game you throw at this monitor, it looks amazing.
The amazing gaming performance is not only due to the 120Hz refresh rate, but it has been pushed down to just 2ms, meaning even the most fast-paced online games, you won’t be held back by a mediocre monitor. Here, you have excellent picture quality and fast performance – all you have to deal with is a high price tag.
In addition to its gaming prowess, the Alienware AW3420DW is a G-Sync panel, which makes lots of sense at such a high resolution. In some games like Metro Exodus, you’ll be getting around 50 fps, but thanks to G-Sync, everything feels like you’re playing at the native frame rate. G-Sync, for as long as you have a compatible Nvidia graphics card, is basically like cheating and that’s how we all love it.
When not gaming, this monitor will let you do some work on the side. With an Ultrawide resolution, you’re able to open two large browser windows side-by-side without ever having to alt-tab on your PC. You really save big on time, and at this point, we easily recommend an Ultrawide monitor to anyone that often has lots of work that needs to be done at their computer.
Overall, the AW3420DW is a premium Ultrawide monitor that’s super powerful, delivers excellent picture quality – even though the ludicrous price locks out most users shopping on a tight budget. More affordable 34-inch alternatives include the LG 34GL750-B and the ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q, sure, you’ll spend less but you lose on the high resolution and short response rate – respectively with either alternatives. So, if you want the best of the best and don’t care about price, Alienware AW3420DW makes a convincing statement for itself.
The 34-inch AW3420DW seems like a dream Ultrawide monitor on paper, and it lives to its character as one of the best gaming monitors out there with a high resolution, resounding color accuracy and a premium design. The limiters and guardrails here are on price, but its worth every coin you spend, as we’ve not seen some of our favorite PC games look quite as good as they do here.
If you’re still looking for a high-refresh-rate, huge-format gaming monitor that stays bright, and has spectacular image quality, we recommend going with the Alienware AW3420DW as one of the biggest and baddest of all the 34-inch gaming panels out there.