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Dell Alienware AW2720HF Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Mar 13, 2020 at 07:46 am
Dell Alienware AW2720HF Picture
Test Methodology v1.1
7.5
Mixed Usage
7.7
Office
8.2
Gaming
7.1
Multimedia
7.2
Media Creation
5.4
HDR Gaming
Size 27"
Resolution 1920x1080
Max Refresh Rate
240 Hz
LCD Type
IPS
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync

The Dell Alienware AW2720HF is a good monitor with impressive gaming performance and a sleek, modern design. It features a 240Hz IPS panel to provide smooth gameplay, and it has native FreeSync support to reduce screen tearing. Unfortunately, its sub-par contrast ratio and awful black uniformity aren't ideal for dark rooms, and the lack of HDR support is disappointing. Overall, it's a good monitor for gamers who prioritize motion handling over a detailed, high-resolution image.

Our Verdict

7.5 Mixed Usage

The Alienware AW2720HF is a good monitor for most uses. Its 27 inch screen is great for gaming, media consumption, and productivity; however, its 1080p resolution may be too low for some. Response time and input lag are superb, and its 240Hz refresh rate delivers images with fluid motion. Sadly, it doesn't perform well in dark rooms and it doesn't support any HDR format.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
7.7 Office

The Alienware AW2720HF is a good office monitor. Its ergonomics and viewing angles are great, and it's well-suited for bright rooms due to its impressive peak brightness and reflection handling. There's plenty of screen real estate for efficient multitasking, but text doesn't look as sharp with its 1080p resolution.

See our Office recommendations
8.2 Gaming

The Alienware AW2720HF is a great gaming monitor. It has a low input lag, a fast response time, and a high refresh rate to provide a smooth and responsive gaming experience. Its FreeSync support helps to minimize screen tearing and the 27 inch screen is great for immersion, but dark room performance is disappointing due to the monitor's sub-par contrast ratio and bad black uniformity.

See our Gaming recommendations
7.1 Multimedia

The Alienware AW2720HF is a decent monitor for media consumption. Although the 27 inch screen is great, the picture won't look as sharp or detailed due to the lower 1080p resolution. The monitor handles reflections well and its wide viewing angles are great for sharing content, but its sub-par contrast ratio makes blacks look like gray when viewed in the dark.

See our Multimedia recommendations
7.2 Media Creation

The Alienware AW2720HF is a decent monitor for media creation. It has a large 27 inch screen that lets you have multiple windows opened at the same time, but its 1080p resolution may be a bit too low for some. With its wide viewing angles, you can easily share your work with colleagues, and the monitor's great ergonomics lets you adjust the monitor to your optimal viewing position effortlessly.

See our Media Creation recommendations
5.4 HDR Gaming

The Alienware AW2720HF doesn't support HDR.

See our HDR Gaming recommendations
  • 7.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.7 Office
  • 8.2 Gaming
  • 7.1 Multimedia
  • 7.2 Media Creation
  • 5.4 HDR Gaming
Pros
  • 240Hz refresh rate.
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • FreeSync support.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Terrible black uniformity.
  • No HDR support.

Check Price

27" Alienware AW2720HF
SEE PRICE
B&H

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved No
Curve Radius Not Curved
Weight (without stand)
10.1 lbs (4.6 kg)
Weight (with stand)
18.2 lbs (8.2 kg)

The Dell Alienware AW2720HF has a gamer-oriented design that's identical to the Alienware AW3420DW, but in a smaller 16:9 form factor. The stand supports the monitor well and there's RGB lighting on the back and the stand.

Design
Stand
Width
18.3" (46.4 cm)
Depth
10.0" (25.3 cm)

The stand is made of plastic and supports the monitor well. There's very little wobble when nudged.

8.3
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
4.9" (12.5 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape Yes, Both Ways
Swivel Range -30° to 30°
Tilt Range -20° to 5°

Ergonomics are great. It allows for all manner of adjustments and the monitor can rotate to portrait mode in both directions.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back of the monitor is plastic and the Alienware logo at the top right corner lights up. There's a small cutout in the stand that serves as cable management, and the stand has a quick release feature if you want to VESA-mount it.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.3" (0.7 cm)

The bezels are thin, which is great for multi-monitor setups.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
8.9" (22.5 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
3.0" (7.6 cm)

The monitor has an average thickness, though the stand takes up considerably more space.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is excellent and it's identical to the Alienware AW3420DW. It feels sturdy even though it's all plastic, and the stand supports the monitor well, with very little wobble.

Picture Quality
5.8
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
877 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
N/A

The Alienware AW2720HF has a sub-par contrast ratio, though this is typical of IPS panels. This makes blacks look more like gray when viewed in the dark.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

The Alienware AW2720HF doesn't have a local dimming feature; the video above is provided for reference only.

7.8
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
326 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
333 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
335 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
335 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
335 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
335 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
333 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
335 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
335 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
335 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
335 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

SDR peak brightness is good. There's virtually no variation in brightness when displaying different content and it should be bright enough for most well-lit rooms.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene
N/A
HDR Peak 2% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 10% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 25% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 50% Window
N/A
HDR Peak 100% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 2% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 10% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 25% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 50% Window
N/A
HDR Sustained 100% Window
N/A
HDR ABL
N/A

This monitor doesn't support HDR.

8.4
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
45 °
Color Washout From Right
47 °
Color Shift From Left
50 °
Color Shift From Right
53 °
Brightness Loss From Left
47 °
Brightness Loss From Right
50 °
Black Level Raise From Left
70 °
Black Level Raise From Right
70 °
Gamma Shift From Left
55 °
Gamma Shift From Right
58 °

The Alienware AW2720HF has great horizontal viewing angles. Images should remain accurate even when viewed from the side, which is good for sharing content or co-op gaming.

6.3
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
29 °
Color Washout From Above
35 °
Color Shift From Below
21 °
Color Shift From Above
37 °
Brightness Loss From Below
35 °
Brightness Loss From Above
39 °
Black Level Raise From Below
20 °
Black Level Raise From Above
52 °
Gamma Shift From Below
27 °
Gamma Shift From Above
35 °

Vertical viewing angles aren't bad. There's some black level rise and color shifting at moderate viewing angles, but it shouldn't be an issue unless you sit very close to the monitor.

8.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.697 %
50% DSE
0.104 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.155 %
5% DSE
0.035 %

The Alienware AW2720HF has excellent gray uniformity. The sides are slightly darker, but there's almost no dirty screen effect and uniformity is nearly perfect in dark scenes.

2.4
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
4.406 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

Black uniformity is terrible. There's clouding throughout the screen and flashlighting in the top left portion of the screen.

7.3
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
RPG
Luminance
103 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
24
Contrast Setting
75
RGB Controls
100-100-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6224 K
White Balance dE
2.48
Color dE
3.85
Gamma
2.39

Before calibration, the Alienware AW2720HF has decent color accuracy. There are inaccuracies with most colors and shades of gray. The color temperature is warmer than our 6500k target and the gamma doesn't follow the curve at all, causing most scenes to appear darker than intended.

9.6
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Custom Color
Luminance
101 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
29
Contrast Setting
73
RGB Controls
95-99-100
Gamma Setting
No Gamma Setting
Color Temperature
6542 K
White Balance dE
0.53
Color dE
0.53
Gamma
2.17

After calibration, color accuracy is outstanding. Any remaining inaccuracies shouldn't be noticeable.

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.

8.7
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
97.2 %
Adobe RGB xy
76.5 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

The Alienware AW2720HF has an excellent SDR color gamut. It has almost full coverage of the sRGB color space used in most content, and good coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, which is used by professional photo editors.

8.9
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
96.1 %
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
82.1 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Custom Color

Color volume is excellent, but it can't display dark colors well due to the monitor's mediocre contrast ratio.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
N/A
DCI P3 xy
N/A
Rec. 2020 xy
N/A
DCI P3 Picture Mode
No HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
No HDR

This monitor doesn't support HDR.

0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
N/A
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
N/A
DCI P3 Picture Mode
No HDR
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
No HDR

This monitor doesn't support HDR.

10
Picture Quality
Image Retention
IR After 0 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 2 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 4 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 6 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 8 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 10 Min Recovery
0.00 %

There are no signs of image retention on the Alienware AW2720HF.

8.0
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
8 Bit

Gradient performance is great, though there's some fine banding in almost all colors.

9.9
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.000 %
Pixel Column Error
0.021 %

There's no visible color bleed on this monitor.

8.0
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
5.2 %
Indirect Reflections
4.3 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
0.9 %

The Alienware AW2720HF has impressive reflection handling. It has a matte coating that diffuses light well, making it suitable for bright rooms.

7.0
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB

Update 03/26/2020: Upon further comparisons, we found that the text clarity was more in line with other 1080p monitors of the same size. The scoring has been changed accordingly.

Decent text clarity. With ClearType enabled (top photo), diagonal lines look thicker and more fleshed out, such as on the R and N.

Motion
9.7
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Fast
Rise / Fall Time
3.0 ms
Total Response Time
5.8 ms
Overshoot Error
0.8 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
3.1 ms
Dark Total Response Time
7.1 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
1.0 %

Mode Response Time Chart Motion Blur Photo Response Time Table
Fast Chart Photo Table
Super Fast Chart Photo Table
Extreme Chart Photo Table

The Alienware AW2720HF has an exceptional response time when playing at maximum refresh rate. The overdrive level can be adjusted on most monitors and we recommend the 'Fast' setting, which gives you the best performance. The 'Super Fast' and 'Extreme' settings caused a significant amount of overshoot, leading to the appearance of artifacts.

7.9
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
Fast
Rise / Fall Time
3.9 ms
Total Response Time
17.3 ms
Overshoot Error
6.8 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
4.1 ms
Dark Total Response Time
21.0 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
9.2 %

Mode Response Time Chart Motion Blur Photo Response Time Table
Fast Chart Photo Table
Super Fast Chart Photo Table
Extreme Chart Photo Table

Response time at 60Hz is good. It's slower than at maximum refresh rate, but it isn't noticeable. For the best performance with the least amount of overshoot, we recommend the 'Fast' overdrive setting.

10
Motion
Image Flicker
Flicker-Free Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

The monitor's backlight is flicker-free, which can help reduce eye strain.

0
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
No BFI
BFI Maximum Frequency
N/A
BFI Minimum Frequency
N/A

This monitor doesn't have a black frame insertion feature.

9.6
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
240 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
240 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC
Compatible (NVIDIA Certified)
VRR Maximum
240 Hz
VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors DisplayPort, HDMI

Update 03/23/2020: Our review initially stated that this monitor wasn't G-SYNC Compatible. It is in fact officially certified as G-SYNC Compatible.

The Alienware AW2720HF has an outstanding refresh rate and unlike the Alienware AW3420DW, this is a monitor with native FreeSync support. It works over HDMI as well as DisplayPort, and it has a wide VRR range.

Inputs
9.6
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
2.8 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
14.3 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
3.0 ms
Variable Refresh Rate @ 60Hz
15.1 ms
10 Bit HDR
N/A
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
N/A

Input lag is exceptional. Although it's slightly higher when playing at 60Hz and when FreeSync is enabled, most people won't notice it.

7.1
Inputs
Resolution And Size
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Megapixels 2.1 MP
Pixel Density
82 PPI
Screen Diagonal 27.0 inches
Screen Area 310 sq inches

The Alienware AW2720HF has a decent resolution and size. The 27 inch screen provides an immersive gaming experience and plenty of space for productivity, but the 1080p resolution is a bit low for this screen size. However, the lower resolution is less demanding on the graphics card, which helps to achieve higher frame rates.

Inputs
Inputs
Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort 1 (DP 1.2)
Mini DisplayPort No
HDMI 2 (HDMI 2.0)
DVI No
VGA No
DisplayPort Out No
USB 4 (USB 3.0)
USB C No
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Microphone In 3.5mm No
Digital Optical Audio Out No
Analog Audio Out RCA No
Power Supply Internal

There are a good amount of inputs on this monitor. It includes a USB hub with four USB 3.0, one of which is powered, so you can use it to charge your devices even if the monitor is off.

Features
Features
Additional Features
RGB Illumination
Controllable
Speakers
No
HDR10 No
Multiple Input Display
No

The AW2720HF has a few extra features, including:

  • LED Bias Lighting: RGB lighting on the back of the the monitor and on the stand. This can be customized through the AlienFX software.
  • Display Alignment: Helps with alignment in a multi-monitor setup.
  • Timer: Displays a timer on screen.
  • FPS counter: Displays an overlay showing current frame rate.

Features
On-Screen Display (OSD)
Features
Controls

Like the Dell Alienware AW3420DW, the controls are located on the back of the monitor, at the bottom left corner. It includes a joystick and four additional buttons to navigate the on-screen menu.

Features
In The Box

  • Power cable
  • DisplayPort cable
  • HDMI cable
  • USB to USB-B upstream cable
  • User guide

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

We tested the Dell Alienware AW2720HF and it's only available in this size and resolution. The Dell Alienware AW3420DW has a similar design, but it's an ultrawide monitor with a 1440p resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and native support for G-SYNC instead of FreeSync.

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Alienware AW2720HF 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 Alienware AW2720HF was manufactured in December 2019, and you can see the label here.

Compared to other monitors

The Dell Alienware AW2720HF is one of the few 240Hz monitors with an IPS panel on the market, as most of them have had TN panels so far. Its build quality and ergonomics stand out, but it lacks HDR support and doesn't perform as well as the Acer Nitro XV273X, which is also a 240Hz IPS monitor.

You can also see our recommendations for the best gaming monitors, the best ultrawide gaming monitors, and the best 240Hz monitors.

Acer Nitro XV273X
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Acer Nitro XV273X is a significantly better monitor than the Dell Alienware AW2720HF in most uses. While they both have an IPS with a 240Hz refresh rate, the Acer has better contrast ratio and black uniformity, as well as better viewing angles and color accuracy. The Acer also supports HDR; however, the Dell has a much better build quality and ergonomics.

ASUS TUF VG27VQ
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Dell Alienware AW2720HF is much better than the ASUS TUF VG27VQ for most uses. The Dell has a much higher refresh rate and faster response time, and ergonomics are also significantly better. Viewing angles and reflection handling are better on the Dell, but the ASUS has much better contrast ratio and black uniformity due to its VA panel.

MSI Optix G27C4
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Dell Alienware AW2720HF is significantly better than the MSI Optix G27C4. The Dell has an IPS panel with wider viewing angles and better color accuracy, as well as a higher refresh rate and faster response time. However, the MSI has a VA panel with much better contrast ratio and black uniformity, though the latter is still poor.

ViewSonic Elite XG270
SEE PRICE
B&H

The ViewSonic Elite XG270 is better than the Dell Alienware AW2720HF for most uses, although they have a lot in common. They both have a 1080p resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate, but the ViewSonic has a higher peak brightness and better contrast ratio. The ViewSonic has a black frame insertion feature and HDR support, while the Dell has a much better build quality and ergonomics.

BenQ EX2780Q
SEE PRICE
B&H

The BenQ EX2780Q is marginally better than the Dell Alienware AW2720HF. The BenQ has a higher resolution, better contrast ratio, and significantly better black uniformity. Also, the BenQ supports HDR, but the Dell has a higher refresh rate, a faster response time, and its ergonomics are much better, as it can be adjusted however you like.

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