If you’re in the market for a new monitor right now, there’s a lot to consider. Choosing the right size is on of the most obvious, but if you have a monitor die, its likely you don’t want to replace like for like, displays have come a long way in the last few years. You’ll need to analyse your usage and ensure the monitor you choose matches you current and predicted future needs, particularly if you’re looking at a PC upgraded in the short-to-medium term. Its also possible now to replace a dual-screen setup with a single 21:9 display that completely removes the bezel and unlike years gone by, the compromises are now gone for making this transition.
Dell’s gaming arm, Alienware are serious about delivering you the monitor that can do it all, your desktop and gaming needs. Meet the AW3418DW, a 34″ curved gaming monitor that features a fast 120Hz refresh rate (overclocked) with a 4ms response time and a 3440 x 1440 pixel count arranged in that new 21:9 aspect ratio. When curves were applied to TVs a few years ago, it never really made much sense, but on a monitor, it makes perfect sense, the display wraps your vision and makes the experience incredibly immersive.
In 2018 the bezels around the perimeter of the display have basically gone, white makes the experience of watching content, like looking at a fine piece of art, where the content shines and the frame fades away.
When it comes to the design for a product targeting the gaming market, things are never subtle. That’s true in this case with Alienware branding everywhere on this display. As you show off the display to friends and family, they’ll be in no doubt who makes it, with a big ‘ALIENWARE’ stamped across the bottom of the monitor, but behind the display, the branding continues. On the top of the monitor stand, lies the Alienware logo, flanked by another ALIENWARE sticker, this time verical.
While the display itself is sleek and sexy from the front, if you look from above, you’ll notice how deep the display. By TV standards, it needs to go on a serious diet. At the end of the day, most times the back will be facing a wall, so it won’t matter, but if you put thing in an open plan, co-working space, or take it to a LAN, then you may get some strange looks, after the immediate envy dies down. The stand is full of sharp angles and is equally robust to hold the weight (7.27kg) of the substantial 34″ display. If you’ve got a shallow desk, you may want to consider an alternative mount, thanks to the VESA mount standard, you’re able.
Gaming on this monitor is a delightful experience. Powered by a Nvidia Gefore GTX1080, I flipped the switch to enable G-Sync, and fired up some games to try it out. First up was Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). Its fast-paced shooters like this that the monitor should really shine and shine it does. This game looks amazing in widescreen (sure its not the super ultra-wide of the Samsung 49″ CHG90, but the 21:9 means you get to see more of the battlefield. It won’t give you eyes in the back of your head, but it will increase your chances of survival.
In a online multiplayer match, you need every advantage you can get and eliminate every disadvantage. The combination of seeing a larger field of view, as well as being able to throw your mouse around without visual tearing is an absolute treat.
After firing up a few more games like F1 2017, Assetto Corsa, Project Cars 2, the support for this resolution in menus was definitely varied, but in gameplay, it was an absolute delight. This monitor is targeted at gamers and if you buy it, you’ll be incredibly happy with it.
There’s also a lot on the table for non-gamers as well. I spend probably 80% of my time running desktop applications and its perhaps there I wasn’t expecting so much from this display, but its equally impressive. Running applications side-by side thanks to Aero-snap of Windows 10. There is the capacity to snap in the top-left, bottom-left, top-right, bottom-right quarters, but what is missing from the options is the ability to snap 3 apps side-by-side. Given the horizontal real estate available here, this is something I ended up manually resizing windows to achieve. If Windows doesn’t provide this, Alienware, or Dell should deliver a software utility for window management.
The highlights of the 34” monitor include:
- Curved monitor for greater game immersion alongside NVIDIA G-SYNC™ for smooth, tear-free gameplay
- Fast 120Hz refresh rate (overclocked) combined with 4ms response time delivers buttery-smooth gameplay
- 21:9 ratio and 1900 Radius maximizes your field of view
- Ultrathin bezels elevates the game by enabling a seamless multi-monitor set-up
- Performance gaming monitor featuring iconic Alienware design with custom AlienFX lighting (with 4 different lighting zones)
Display modes – out of the box, the screen comes with multiple display presets to choose from, they include Standard, FPS, RTS, RPG, 3 customisable game modes, ComfortView, Warm, Cool and Custom Colour. The first 4 are pretty straight forward, but its perhaps the next 3 user configurable settings that best demonstrate the capability of this display. Imagine you share a computer with others, this lets users save up to 3 user-set configurations, making switching people and preferences, an absolute breeze.
While Windows 10 includes a Night Light mode to make it easier on your eyes well past midnight, increasingly displays are coming with their own modes to protect your eyeballs. Personally I like a software option as its faster to access, still, its a nice inclusion.
After downloading the Alienware Gaming Monitor Control Center application from Dell, you can control the 4 LED lights on the display. You can choose to set a single colour, or create an animation preset and have the LEDs cycle through your favourites.
Price and Availability
A monitor with this feature set is always going to cost a premium, so here’s the price tag, it costs A$2,099. For that price it’d certainly be cheaper to go by 2x 27 or 28″ monitors, but you’re not really moving the needle forward are you. Now that you know there’s great 21:9 screens for gaming, its time you upped your game. You can wait a few years for the price to come down, but they’re here now and if you’re enemies have one, can see more of the in-game environment, then you’ll be at a disadvantage, we can’t have that now can we.
The monitor is available now from Dell’s website directly.
This display is brilliant to use for gaming and for day-to-day desktop applications. Despite being deeper than I’d hope for, this display can seriously replace dual-monitor setups with a single, uninterrupted view into games and productivity. Whether your playing PUBG or watching 12 columns of tweets fly by in Tweetdeck, its a fantastic experience.
You will however pay a price premium for this single-display brilliance, if you can stomach the price tag, it is well worth the price of admission. At this point its worth remember an investment in a great display will do you for multiple generations of PC. However you justify the price to yourself (or the CFO), get it done.
The true sign of a great product comes when you consider sending the review unit back and it invokes an emotional response. That’s exactly how I feel now, that this monitor is one that I really wish was a permanent fixture on my desk.