The Dell Alienware AW2521H is an excellent gaming monitor. It's one of the first few monitors released with an extremely high 360Hz refresh rate, which helps deliver an incredible response time with silky smooth motion. It also has an exceptionally low input lag and native G-SYNC variable refresh rate (VRR) support, but it doesn't support FreeSync. It's really well-built and offers great ergonomics, so you shouldn't have any difficulty placing it in an ideal viewing position. It has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, but that comes at the cost of a low contrast ratio, so blacks appear closer to gray when viewed in the dark. The smaller screen and 1080p resolution may be too limiting for office use, but the lower resolution isn't too taxing on your graphics card when gaming.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H is great overall. It's excellent for gaming thanks to its extremely high 360Hz refresh rate, G-SYNC support, exceptionally low input lag, and incredible response time. It's good for office use because it has great ergonomics and wide viewing angles, but the 1080p resolution may be too limiting for some. It has a decent HDR peak brightness, but it doesn't display a wide color gamut and has a low contrast ratio, so blacks appear gray.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H is good for office use. It has great ergonomics and wide viewing angles, making it easy to share your screen with others around you. It gets bright enough to combat glare in well-lit rooms, and it has good reflection handling. However, the 25 inch screen and 1080p resolution may be too limiting for multitasking.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H is excellent for gaming. It has an extremely high 360Hz refresh rate with an incredible response time, resulting in smooth motion. Input lag is exceptionally low and it has native G-SYNC support. Its IPS panel has a low contrast ratio, so it's not ideal for dark-room gaming, but it has wide viewing angles if you want to share your screen with someone else.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H is good for consuming media. It has wide viewing angles, so you can easily watch your favorite videos with a few friends. However, the 1080p resolution may be too low for some people. Also, it has a low contrast ratio, so blacks appear closer to gray when viewed in the dark.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H is very good for content creators. It has great ergonomics and wide viewing angles, making it easy to share your screen with a coworker or client. It performs well in bright rooms thanks to its impressive peak brightness and good reflection handling. However, the 1080p resolution and 25 inch screen isn't ideal if you work with multiple windows opened side-by-side.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H is decent for HDR gaming mainly due to its excellent gaming performance. It has a fast 360Hz refresh rate, an incredible response time, and exceptionally low input lag. It gets decently bright in HDR, but it has a low contrast ratio and fails to display a wide color gamut, so HDR content doesn't look all that different from SDR.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H looks exactly like the Dell Alienware AW2521HF. It has a black body with thin bezels on three sides and a thicker bottom bezel. It has a gamer-oriented design with RGB lighting on the back.
This monitor has a wide V-shaped stand that takes up a good amount of space. Luckily, there's still room between the legs to place stuff. It supports the screen well and there's minimal wobble.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has great ergonomics. Its swivel range is a bit narrow, but you can switch it into portrait mode in either direction.
The back of this monitor has a gamer-oriented design with RGB lighting on the stand and the Alienware logo at the top right. There's a hole in the stand for cable management and there's a quick-release button to remove the stand.
The bezels are thin and aren't distracting, great for a multi-monitor setup.
The screen itself is fairly thick, and it gets much thicker with the stand attached.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has an excellent build quality. It's made entirely out of plastic, and it feels solid throughout. It's well-built, it doesn't wobble, and there aren't any obvious loose parts.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has an okay contrast ratio, and it's actually better than most IPS panels. However, blacks still appear closer to gray when viewed in the dark, and this may vary between units.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video above is provided for reference only.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has impressive peak brightness. It easily gets bright enough to combat glare, and it maintains its brightness very consistent across different content. We measured peak brightness after calibration in the 'Custom Color' Picture Mode with Brightness set to max.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has decent HDR peak brightness. It gets bright enough to make some highlights stand out in HDR games, but it may not be enough for a satisfying HDR movie experience. Like with its SDR brightness, it's very consistent across different content. We measured peak brightness in the 'Custom Color' Picture Mode, and the Brightness setting automatically locks to '100' when in HDR.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has a great horizontal viewing angle, which is expected from an IPS panel. The image remains accurate when viewing from the side, so it's ideal for co-op gaming.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has a decent vertical viewing angle. However, you may notice a loss in image accuracy if you mount it above eye-level.
The gray uniformity is excellent, but this may vary between units. The edges are a bit darker, but there's minimal dirty screen effect in the center. Uniformity is much better in near-dark scenes.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has poor black uniformity, but this may vary between units. There's severe backlight bleed in the corners and clouding throughout. This can get distracting in dark scenes.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has outstanding out-of-the-box accuracy, but this may vary between units. There are hardly any inaccuracies with white balance and most colors. Gamma follows the target curve well, but some scenes may be too dark. The color temperature is on the cold side, giving the image a blueish tint.
The accuracy after calibration is exceptional. Any remaining inaccuracies can't be spotted without the aid of a colorimeter, and the color temperature is almost spot-on with our 6500K target. The gamma is a bit worse than before calibration, as some scenes are over-brightened, but most people won't notice a difference.
You can download our ICC profile calibration here. This is provided for reference only and should not be used, as the calibration values vary per individual unit even for the same model due to manufacturing tolerances.
Update 01/12/2022: We remeasured the SDR color gamut with the refresh rate at 60Hz to see if there was a difference with 360Hz. We measured the Adobe RGB color space before calibration and noticed that the 60Hz refresh rate results in a wider color gamut with 77.9% coverage as opposed to 72.5%. However, we're leaving the results as-is because we don't expect people to use the monitor at 60Hz.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has an excellent SDR color gamut, almost exactly like the Dell Alienware AW2521HF. It has perfect coverage of the sRGB color space used in most content and decent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space used in photo editing.
Update 01/12/2022: We remeasured the SDR color volume with the refresh rate at 60Hz to see if there was a difference. We measured the Adobe RGB color volume before calibration, and noticed that the 60Hz refresh rate results in a better color volume. However, we're leaving the results as-is because we don't expect people to use the monitor at 60Hz.
This monitor has an excellent color volume. It displays bright colors well but struggles with dark colors due to its low contrast ratio.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has an okay HDR color gamut, but it's not considered a wide color gamut for HDR content. It has good coverage of the commonly-used DCI P3 color space, but very limited coverage of the wider Rec. 2020.
Due to the way we measure the DCI P3 coverage, our measurement is likely lower than most other reviewers. We measure it by sending a Rec. 2020 signal, but unlike most reviewers, we limit the colors to the DCI P3 primaries. This results in a lower but arguably more accurate measurement.
The HDR color volume is okay. It's mainly limited by the monitor's low contrast ratio and lack of a wide color gamut.
There are no signs of image retention after displaying a high-contrast static image, but this may vary between units.
The gradient handling is exceptional. There's minimal banding throughout and you shouldn't notice any banding with real content. It's advertised to have an 8-bit panel, but we can achieve 10-bit in the EDID of the monitor, so it may be 8-bit with FRC, but we don't know for sure. The max refresh rate with a 10-bit source over a DisplayPort connection is 300Hz, and 144Hz over an HDMI connection.
There's some very minor color bleed when displaying vertical bands of color, but this shouldn't be noticeable with real content.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H 's reflection handling is good, but it's not as good as the Dell Alienware AW2521HF. It still performs well in most well-lit environments; however, it may be best to avoid placing it opposite a window.
The text clarity is decent. Enabling ClearType (top photo) helps improve the appearance of diagonal lines, as seen on the R, N, G, and S, but makes straight lines less bold, as seen on the T and I.
|Overdrive Setting||Response Time Chart||Response Time Tables||Motion Blur Photo|
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has an incredible response time at its max refresh rate of 360Hz. Motion looks exceptionally smooth and you shouldn't notice any motion artifacts. The recommended overdrive setting is 'Fast' as the other settings have too much overshoot. It performs about the same as the other 360Hz monitors we've tested, but is slightly faster than the MSI Oculux NXG253R.
|Overdrive Setting||Response Time Chart||Response Time Tables||Motion Blur Photo|
The response time at 60Hz is outstanding, and once again, you shouldn't notice any motion artifacts with fast-moving content. The recommended overdrive setting is 'Fast'; it has a bit of overshoot in lighter transitions, but it's significantly less than the other settings.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has a flicker-free backlight, which helps reduce eye strain.
This monitor has a Black Frame Insertion to help reduce motion blur. However, it has a narrow flicker range, and you can't use it with VRR enabled.
Update 01/07/2022: We checked to see if FreeSync works with a newer AMD GPU, and it still doesn't. The Radeon Control Panel reports that it has a FreeSync range between 1-255Hz, but when enabled, there's constant screen tearing, and the refresh rate of the monitor doesn't change. If you're looking for a similar monitor with FreeSync support for your AMD graphics card, check out the Acer Nitro XV252Q Fbmiiprx.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has an incredible refresh rate. Along with the ASUS ROG Swift 360Hz PG259QN, it's one of the few monitors with a 360Hz refresh rate. You can reach a maximum of 360Hz over a DisplayPort connection and 240Hz over an HDMI connection. It has native G-SYNC support, but FreeSync doesn't work on it all and the screen flashes.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has an exceptionally low input lag. It stays low with VRR enabled, which is great for competitive gaming. We measured BFI input lag at its max flicker frequency of 240Hz. We didn't measure the 10-bit HDR input lag because its max 10-bit refresh rate of 300Hz is only achievable over a DisplayPort connection, and we lack the tools to measure HDR input lag over DisplayPort. However, we don't expect the input lag to be a significant increase from the input lag at its native resolution.
Update 08/20/2021: We corrected a mistake in the measured diagonal of the screen.
Dell Alienware AW2521H has a decent size and resolution. The 24.5" inch screen size and 1080p resolution may be too limiting for multitasking, but it's great for gaming as the lower resolution helps achieve higher frame rates.
One of the USB inputs can be used for power delivery, so you can charge your mobile devices, but it doesn't work when the monitor is off.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has a few extra features to help improve the user experience.
There's a joystick and four buttons on the back of the monitor to control the on-screen display.
We tested the Dell Alienware AW2521H, and there are no other variants. However, there are many monitors in the Dell Alienware lineup with various configurations, some of which you can see in the table below.
|Model||Size||Panel||Resolution||Max Refresh Rate||VRR||HDR||Body Color|
|AW2521HF||25"||IPS||1080p||240Hz||FreeSync and G-SYNC||No||Black|
|AW2521HFL||25"||IPS||1080p||240Hz||FreeSync and G-SYNC||No||White|
|AW2720HF||27"||IPS||1080p||240Hz||FreeSync and G-SYNC||No||White|
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Dell Alienware AW2521H doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, such as the gray uniformity, may vary between individual units.
Our unit of the AW2521H was manufactured in October 2020 and you can see the label here.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H is a great 360Hz monitor and very similar to the ASUS ROG Swift 360Hz PG259QN and the MSI Oculux NXG253R. It has an incredible response time and exceptionally low input lag. However, most gamers won't notice the difference between 360Hz and 240Hz panels, which you can get for less, such as the Dell Alienware AW2521HF, or the 280Hz ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM. Also see our recommendations for the best gaming monitors, the best monitors for PS5, and the best monitors for Xbox Series X.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H is better than the Dell Alienware AW2521HF. The AW2521H has a 360Hz refresh rate, it supports HDR, has significantly better gradient handling, and lower input lag. However, the AW2521HF has much better reflection handling and a wider horizontal viewing angle.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H is better than the BenQ ZOWIE XL2546K. The Dell has a higher refresh rate of 360Hz and a slightly better response time, resulting in smoother motion and greater responsiveness. It also has a better contrast ratio, wider viewing angles, and gets brighter to combat glare. The Dell has more features, like HDR support and a USB hub with four USB 3.0 ports.
The ASUS TUF Gaming VG259QM is slightly better for gaming than the Dell Alienware AW2521H. The ASUS has significantly better ergonomics, a bit better reflection handling, a wider BFI flicker range, and it has built-in speakers. However, the Dell has a higher 360Hz refresh rate, better response time, and slightly lower input lag.
The Acer Nitro XV252Q Fbmiiprx is slightly better for gaming than the Dell Alienware AW2521H. The Acer has a slightly faster refresh rate and slightly better response time, so fast-moving objects are a bit clearer. The Acer also has better reflection handling and better ergonomics. The Dell natively supports NVIDIA's G-SYNC variable refresh rate technology, so it's a bit better than the Acer if you have an NVIDIA graphics card, as it supports NVIDIA's Reflex Latency Analyzer as well as variable overdrive, ensuring a more visually consistent gaming experience.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D and the Dell Alienware AW2521H are both great monitors that perform similarly in many ways, but they have different resolutions and sizes. The AW2521H is one of the rare monitors with a 360Hz max refresh rate, while the AW2721D has a max refresh rate of 240Hz, but the difference likely won't be noticeable to most gamers. That said, the AW2521H has a slightly better response time with less overshoot and better reflection handling. On the other hand, the AW2721D has a better color gamut and brightness for HDR, and it feels more well-built.
The Samsung Odyssey G7 LC32G75T is better overall than the Dell Alienware AW2521H, but they have very different features. The Samsung is a 144op, 240Hz monitor with a VA panel. This allows it to produce deep blacks and crisp images. It also has a quicker response time at 60Hz and has FreeSync support. On the other hand, the Dell is a 1080p, 360Hz monitor with an IPS panel. It has much wider viewing angles, a quicker response time at its max refresh rate, lower input lag, native G-SYNC support, and gets brighter.
The Acer Predator X25 bmiiprzx and the Dell Alienware AW2521H are both excellent gaming monitors geared towards competitive gamers. They both have 360Hz refresh rates and 25 inch 1080p screens, prioritizing motion clarity over resolution. In terms of performance, they are very similar. That said, the Dell has a slightly faster response time at the max 360Hz, although they're about even at 60Hz. If you're looking for a 360Hz monitor, you can't go wrong with either of these, and it may just be a matter of preference.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H is better than the Dell Alienware AW2720HF. The AW2521H has a much higher 360Hz refresh rate, it gets brighter, supports HDR, has a quicker response time at 60Hz, and has slightly lower input lag. However, the AW2720HF has better ergonomics and better reflection handling.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H and the MSI Oculux NXG253R are extremely similar overall, but the Dell is slightly better overall. The Dell has a slightly faster response time, it's brighter, and the unit we bought has better accuracy out of the box, but this can vary between units. On the other hand, the MSI has a wider swivel range.
The ASUS ROG Swift PG279QM is a bit better than the Dell Alienware AW2521H. The ASUS has a larger, higher-resolution screen, resulting in a more immersive gaming experience. The ASUS is also better for office use, as the greater screen real estate is better for multitasking. On the other hand, the Dell has a faster refresh rate and better motion handling at the max refresh rate, making it a better choice for fast-paced shooters and MOBAs.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H and the Acer Predator XB273U GXbmiipruzx are very different gaming monitors. The Dell is a 25 inch 1080p monitor with a 360Hz refresh rate, aimed at competitive gamers who want the best possible motion clarity. Meanwhile, the Acer is a 27 inch 1440p monitor, so you get a bit of a sharper image and a little more screen space to work with. It still has a high 270Hz refresh rate, however, and both have incredible response times. The Acer also has a wider color gamut in SDR and HDR.
The Dell Alienware AW2521H has a better response time and higher refresh rate than the Gigabyte M27Q, but the difference might not be noticeable to casual players. The Gigabyte has a larger screen and higher resolution, and it offers more features, like USB-C input and a Picture-in-Picture mode. The Dell has native G-SYNC support, while the Gigabyte has native FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility.