The Dell Alienware AW2721D is an impressive 1440p gaming monitor. It has a 240Hz maximum refresh rate, an exceptional response time that results in minimal motion blur, and an incredibly low input lag that makes gaming feel responsive. It also has native G-SYNC support and is compatible with FreeSync to reduce screen tearing. It uses an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, but that comes at the expense of a lower contrast ratio, so blacks look more like gray when viewed in the dark. There's a local dimming feature to improve black levels, but it's not very effective. While it supports HDR and gets fairly bright for HDR content, its low contrast ratio means that the HDR experience is only decent. On the plus side, it gets bright enough to use in well-lit rooms, although it has mediocre reflection handling, so you may have issues with glare if you place it in front of bright lights.
The Dell AW2721D is a great monitor for mixed usage. Gamers should be pleased with its exceptional response time, incredibly low input lag, and VRR support. It also has a high resolution and wide viewing angles that are great for productivity. Its wide color gamut and high peak brightness make images look crisp and clear, which is great for viewing and creating media. It supports HDR, although the HDR experience is only decent, and its low contrast ratio and bad black uniformity make it less suited to dark rooms.
The Dell AW2721D is great for office use. Its high 1440p resolution and large size are well-suited to multitasking, with enough space to open multiple windows side-by-side. It also has wide viewing angles, which makes it easier to share content with a co-worker. Despite getting quite bright, its reflection handling is mediocre, so direct light can be distracting. That said, it has great ergonomics, allowing for many adjustments to suit your ideal viewing position.
The Dell AW2721D is an impressive gaming monitor. It has a 240Hz refresh rate and an exceptional response time, resulting in clear motion. It also has an incredibly low input lag, so gaming feels responsive. It supports G-SYNC and is FreeSync compatible. Unfortunately, its IPS panel has a mediocre contrast ratio, so blacks look more like gray in the dark.
The Dell AW2721D is a great monitor for multimedia. Its high 1440p resolution makes images look crisp, and it's a good size for watching movies and TV on your own. Its wide viewing angles are good for watching with a friend. It performs well in bright rooms thanks to its high peak brightness, but it has mediocre reflection handling, so direct light sources might be distracting. On top of that, it has a mediocre contrast ratio, so it's not the best option if you prefer to watch in the dark.
The Dell AW2721D is a great monitor for media creation. Its large screen size provides plenty of space, and its 1440p resolution makes images look crisp and clear. It has wide viewing angles, making it easy to share content with another person, and great ergonomics, allowing you to adjust it to your ideal viewing position. It also has an outstanding color gamut, including great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space used by professional content creators.
We tested the Dell Alienware AW2721D, which is only available in a 27 inch size. There are similar monitors under Dell's Alienware label, and you can see the differences between them below.
|AW3821DW||38"||IPS||3840 x 1600||144Hz||Yes|
If someone comes across a different type of panel or their Dell Alienware AW2721D doesn't correspond to our review, let us know in the discussions and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, like gray uniformity, may vary between individual units.
Our unit was manufactured in September 2020. You can see the label here.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D is an impressive and versatile gaming monitor that's well-suited for a variety of uses. It has one of the widest color gamuts and one of the highest brightness in HDR among the gaming monitors we've tested, and it has better build quality than some of its direct competitors, like the ASUS ROG Swift PG279QM. For more options, check out our recommendations for the best gaming monitors, the best 1440p gaming monitors, and the best monitors.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D and the ASUS ROG Swift PG279QM are very similar, each with strengths and weaknesses. The Dell has a better vertical viewing angle and better ergonomics, and it's brighter in both SDR and HDR. The ASUS, on the other hand, has better reflection handling and a wider color gamut, and it has built-in speakers.
The Samsung Odyssey G7 C32G75T and the Dell Alienware AW2721D are both great monitors that use different panel types, each with advantages and disadvantages. The Samsung uses a VA panel that can produce deep blacks thanks to its high contrast ratio. The Dell uses an IPS panel that has great viewing angles at the expense of contrast ratio. Both have a low input lag and exceptional response times, although the Samsung includes a black frame insertion feature. The Dell gets much brighter in HDR, but it's limited by its low contrast ratio. The biggest difference is that the Samsung is a curved monitor while the Dell isn't.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D and the Dell S2721DGF are both great gaming monitors with similar performance. That said, the AW2721D has a higher max refresh rate and slightly better picture quality overall. They have similar response times, although the S2721DGF experiences less overshoot. The S2721DGF has much better reflection handling and better ergonomics, but the AW2721D feels better built, gets significantly brighter in SDR and HDR, and has much better accuracy out-of-the-box, although this can vary between units. The S2721DGF may represent a better value to some people.
The ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q and the Dell Alienware AW2721D are both 27 inch, 1440p gaming monitors with native G-SYNC support. Although the Dell has a higher refresh rate and lower input lag, casual gamers might not notice the difference. The Dell supports HDR, whereas the ASUS doesn't, and it also has more USB ports.
The Dell Alienware AW2723DF is the replacement for the Dell Alienware AW2721D, and there are a few differences. The main difference is that the AW2723DF has native FreeSync support and G-SYNC compatibility instead of the native G-SYNC support on the AW2721D. This doesn't make much of a difference unless you have an NVIDIA graphics card, in which case, the AW2721D can take full advantage of it. Other than that, the AW2723DF has an overclockable 280Hz refresh rate and better motion handling, especially at lower refresh rates.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D and the LG 27GP850-B offer similar performance all-around, but there are some differences between them, so which one is better depends on your needs. The Dell has much better ergonomics, so it's easier to place in an ideal viewing position, and it seems to have much better build quality. If those don't matter to you, the LG has better reflection handling, a better response time, and an optional black frame insertion feature to improve motion handling.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D and the Samsung Odyssey G5 S27AG50 are different types of gaming monitors. The Dell is meant for high-frame-rate gaming because it has a 240Hz refresh rate with a 1440p resolution, and it has native G-SYNC VRR support. The Dell has a faster response time, but there's also more overshoot, and motion handling is fantastic between each. The Samsung is meant for high-resolution gaming because it has a 4k resolution with FreeSync support and HDMI 2.1 inputs, making it a good choice for console gaming. The Dell gets brighter, but the Samsung has better reflection handling. Also, while they each have local dimming features, they both perform terribly.
The Acer Predator XB273U GXbmiipruzx and the Dell Alienware AW2721D are both great monitors, but the Acer performs a little better overall, especially when it comes to gaming. The Acer has a higher overclockable refresh rate, as well as faster response times at both its max refresh rate and 60Hz. It also has a wider color gamut and better reflection handling, as well as a USB-C port with power delivery and DisplayPort Alt mode.
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 Dell Alienware AW2721D and the Gigabyte M27Q perform similarly overall. They're both great 27 inch 1440p gaming monitors, but the Dell feels noticeably better built and offers more adjustment options. The Dell also has a higher refresh rate, gets brighter in HDR, and has a faster response time, although there's less overshoot with the Gigabyte. That said, the Gigabyte may represent a better value to some people.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D is better overall than the Dell Alienware AW2521HF, although they have different sizes and resolutions. The AW2721D is slightly bigger at 27 inches with a 1440p resolution, while the AW2521HF is a 25 inch 1080p monitor. The AW2521HF has a slightly better response time with less overshoot and much better reflection handling, but the AW2721D supports HDR, gets brighter, and has a wider color gamut.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D is a bit better for gaming than the Dell Alienware AW3821DW, mainly because the AW2721D has a higher 240Hz refresh rate. The AW2721D also has a quicker response time, even at 60Hz, which results in smoother motion, and it has better ergonomics as you can rotate it into portrait mode. However, the AW3821DW delivers a more immersive gaming experience thanks to its larger 38 inch screen, and it has a higher 3840x1600 resolution that delivers crisp images.
The LG 32GP850-B and the Dell Alienware AW2721D are very similar overall, but the LG is better for gaming. The LG has an optional black frame insertion feature, better reflection handling, and a better response time. On the other hand, the Dell has better ergonomics, a slightly faster refresh rate, and better vertical viewing angles. Another factor to consider is the supported variable refresh rate formats. The Dell is a native G-SYNC model, supporting variable overdrive when connected to an NVIDIA graphics card, while the LG natively supports FreeSync.
The Gigabyte AORUS FI27Q-X and the Dell Alienware AW2721D are both great overall monitors with similar features. They're each 27 inch, 1440p screens with a 240Hz refresh rate. The Gigabyte has native FreeSync support, G-SYNC compatibility, and it has a quicker response time. However, the Dell gets much brighter, especially in HDR, and it has native G-SYNC support, but FreeSync also works on it. Choosing one over the other can really depend on which graphics card you have.
The Razer Raptor 27 165Hz and the Dell Alienware AW2721D are great 1440p gaming monitors with some differences. The Dell has a 240Hz panel with native G-SYNC support, and it has a much quicker response time, while the Razer is a 165Hz monitor with FreeSync support. The Dell gets much brighter, but the Razer has better reflection handling. The Dell has better ergonomics, making it easier to place in an ideal viewing position. The Razer has a USB-C input, which the Dell doesn't have, meaning that you can connect compatible USB-C devices with it.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D is a different gaming monitor than the Dell G2722HS. The AW2721D has a high 240Hz refresh rate with a 1440p resolution and native G-SYNC support, while the G2722HS is an entry-level model with a 165Hz refresh, 1080p resolution, and native FreeSync support. Because of these differences, the AW2721D is much better overall as it has much better ergonomics, gets brighter, and supports HDR, which the G2722HS doesn't. However, the G2722HS has a quicker response time at 60Hz, so motion looks smoother with lower-frame-rate games.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D and the HP OMEN 27c are both great gaming monitors. They each have a 1440p resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate, but the Dell has native G-SYNC support while the HP has native FreeSync support. They also have different panel types; the Dell has an IPS panel with better viewing angles, and the HP's VA panel has a higher contrast. The Dell offers better picture quality, as it gets brighter, displays a wider range of colors, and has much better motion handling. It also has much better ergonomics. On the other hand, the HP has much better reflection handling, so intense glare isn't as distracting.
The Dell AW2721D has a sleek, gamer-oriented design, similar to previous Alienware monitors. It's mostly white with black accents and has thin borders. It also has four RGB lighting zones, including the downlight beneath the panel, the power button, the Alienware logo on the back, and the stand. It's heftier than similar-looking models like the Dell Alienware AW2720HF due to the more premium materials used in the stand.
The Dell AW2721D feels very well-built. It's sturdy. There's very little flex in the plastic, and the monitor feels stable no matter how you adjust it. It feels a bit more solid than other Alienware monitors too, but not enough to be a significant difference.
The Dell AW2721D has great ergonomics. The swivel range is a bit limited, but it allows for a lot of height and tilt adjustments. It can also rotate into portrait mode in both directions. The back of the monitor is made of plastic with an Alienware logo in the top right corner that lights up. There's a cutout in the stand for cable management.
The stand supports the monitor well, with very little wobble. It's capped in plastic, but most of the structure is metal, so it feels heavier and sturdier than previous Alienware monitors.
There are four buttons and a joystick located on the back of the right side of the monitor. These are used to navigate the on-screen display.
The Dell AW2721D has a passable contrast ratio, which is typical for an IPS panel. Blacks look more like gray when viewed in the dark. Note that the contrast ratio can vary between units.
The Dell AW2721D includes an edge-lit local dimming feature, but it's not especially effective. There are quite a few dimming zones, so there's not as much blooming as other edge-lit monitors, but there's still blooming along the whole height of the screen, and transitions between zones are fairly noticeable. There are also noticeable differences in uniformity when the vertical zones are lit up. That said, these issues are less noticeable with real content.
Note: While we've received reports that some people experience better local dimming on Mode 0, we chose to test local dimming using Mode 1 because it was the brightest and offered the best compromise between increased contrast and transition visibility. That said, we don't expect using a different local dimming mode to significantly affect the score.
The Dell Alienware AW2721D has excellent SDR peak brightness, higher than the advertised 450 cd/m2, so you shouldn't have issues using the monitor in well-lit rooms. With local dimming disabled, the brightness is more consistent, and it gets up to 575 cd/m2 in the sustained 100% window, which is significantly brighter than what you get with local dimming enabled.
We measured the SDR brightness after calibration in the 'Custom' Picture Mode, with Brightness set to max, and local dimming (Variable Backlight) set to 'Mode 1'.
The HDR peak brightness is good. Small highlights are significantly brighter than in SDR, reaching well above the advertised 600 cd/m2.
We measured HDR brightness in the 'Gamer 1' Picture Mode with Smart HDR enabled, Brightness set to max, and local dimming (Variable Backlight) set to 'Mode 1'.
The Dell AW2721D has good horizontal viewing angles. The image remains mostly accurate when viewed from the sides, so it should be fine for sharing content or co-op gaming.
The Dell AW2721D has impressive vertical viewing angles, which is great if you're sitting up close or have the monitor raised. There's some slight color washout at extreme angles, but for the most part, colors and black levels remain accurate.
The Dell AW2721D has excellent gray uniformity, although this can vary between units. The sides and bottom are slightly darker, but there's almost no dirty screen effect, and dark scenes look even more uniform.
Black uniformity on the Dell AW2721D is bad, although this can vary between units. There's noticeable backlight bleed in the corners and edges of the screen. Local dimming makes clouding look more prominent in sections that are lit up.
The Dell AW2721D has great out-of-the-box color accuracy. There are slight inaccuracies in most colors and shades of gray, but they're hard to notice. For the most part, gamma doesn't follow the curve, so most scenes appear brighter than they should. The color temperature is a bit cooler than our 6500k target, giving the image a blue-ish tint. Note that accuracy may vary between units.
After calibration, accuracy is incredible. Any remaining accuracies shouldn't be noticeable without the help of a colorimeter. Gamma follows the curve closely for the most part, and the color temperature is much closer to the target.
The Dell AW2721D has a remarkable SDR color gamut. It has nearly perfect coverage of the commonly used sRGB color space and great coverage of the Adobe RGB color space used by professional content creators.
SDR color volume is exceptional. Thanks to its remarkable color gamut and high peak brightness, it displays colors in a wide range of luminance levels. Unfortunately, its mediocre contrast ratio means it struggles to display dark, saturated colors.
The Dell AW2721D has a great HDR color gamut. It has amazing coverage of the more common DCI P3 color space, but its coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 is only decent.
The HDR color volume is great. It displays bright colors well thanks to its good HDR peak brightness, but it can't display darker colors due to its low contrast ratio.
The Dell AW2721D has mediocre reflection handling, worse than the ASUS ROG Swift PG279QM. It uses a semi-gloss coating that doesn't adequately diffuse indirect light, so reflections may be distracting in bright rooms. If you're looking for something with better reflection handling, then look into the HP OMEN 27c.
Text clarity is good. With ClearType enabled (top photo), diagonal lines look sharper, as seen in the R and the N, but straight lines aren't as bold, like in the T or I.
Gradient handling is fantastic. There's some very fine banding in darker shades, but it's hardly noticeable.
The Dell AW2721D has an exceptional 240Hz refresh rate with a wide VRR range. It has native G-SYNC support and is FreeSync compatible, but FreeSync only works over a DisplayPort connection. Unfortunately, you can only get up to 144Hz with 10-bit color at native resolution. You can get higher frame rates in 10-bit if you lower your resolution or by going down to chroma 4:2:2. If you don't need the native G-SYNC support and prefer something with native FreeSync, then check out this monitor's replacement, the Dell Alienware AW2723DF.
|Overdrive Setting||Response Time Chart||Response Time Tables||Motion Blur Photo|
The Dell Alienware AW2721D has an exceptional response time at its max refresh rate of 240Hz. The recommended overdrive setting is 'Fast' because it gives you the best performance, with minimal overshoot.
|Overdrive Setting||Response Time Chart||Response Time Tables||Motion Blur Photo|
The response time at 60Hz is excellent, although not as fast as at the max refresh rate. The best overdrive setting with the least amount of overshoot is the 'Fast' setting. If you play low-frame-rate games and care about the 60Hz response time, then look into the Dell G2722HS.
This monitor doesn't have a Black Frame Insertion feature.
The Dell AW2721D uses a flicker-free backlight, which can help reduce eye strain.
The Dell AW2721D has an exceptionally low input lag. It's a little higher at 60Hz and with VRR enabled, but it shouldn't be noticeable for most people.
The Dell AW2721D has a 1440p resolution and high pixel density, resulting in a crisp image. The 27 inch screen provides plenty of space for multitasking and makes for an immersive gaming experience.
This monitor has a USB hub with three USB 3.0 inputs, but it lacks a USB-C inputs. If that's what you want, then check out the Razer Raptor 27 165Hz.
There are no issues using this monitor with a recent M1 MacBook Pro. HDR works perfectly. The variable refresh rate feature works well, but there's a bit of flickering at low refresh rates, and there are no issues when putting the computer to sleep or closing the lid. It wakes up quickly, and windows return to their original position.
The Dell AW2721D has a few extra features, including: