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.
The Dell AW2721D monitor is decent for HDR gaming. It has good brightness in HDR, but it has a mediocre contrast ratio and bad black uniformity, so it's not well-suited to dark room viewing. It has a local dimming feature, but it's not that effective. That said, it has an outstanding response time, so motion looks clear, and a low input lag that makes gaming feel responsive. Finally, it supports G-SYNC and is FreeSync compatible.
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 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.
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 bezels are very thin and shouldn't be distracting, which is great for a dual-monitor setup.
The monitor itself is of average thickness, but with the stand, it's much thicker and requires a fair amount of desk space.
The Dell AW2721D feels remarkably well-built. It's sturdy, with more heft than other similarly-built Alienware monitors. There's very little flex in the plastic, and the monitor feels stable no matter how you adjust it.
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.
You can download our ICC profile calibration here. This is provided for reference only and shouldn't be used, as the calibration values vary per individual unit even for the same model due to manufacturing tolerances.
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.
Note that the DCI P3 coverage is lower than the advertised 98%. This is normal and is due to the way we measure DCI P3. We measure DCI P3 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 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 shows no signs of temporary image retention, but this may vary between units.
Gradient handling is fantastic. There's some very fine banding in darker shades, but it's hardly noticeable.
There's no visible color bleed on the Dell AW2721D.
The Dell AW2721D has mediocre reflection handling. It uses a semi-gloss coating that doesn't adequately diffuse indirect light, so reflections may be distracting in bright rooms.
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.
|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.
We also tested the response time with G-SYNC enabled and the results were virtually identical. You can see those results below.
|Overdrive Setting||Response Time Chart||Response Time Tables|
|G-SYNC Super Fast||Chart||Table|
|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.
We also tested the response time with G-SYNC enabled and the results were nearly identical. You can see those results below.
|Overdrive Setting||Response Time Chart||Response Time Tables|
|G-SYNC Super Fast||Chart||Table|
The Dell AW2721D uses a flicker-free backlight, which can help reduce eye strain.
This monitor doesn't have a Black Frame Insertion feature.
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 the Gigabyte AORUS FI27Q-X.
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. We don't have the tools necessary to measure the HDR input lag over DisplayPort, but we don't expect the input lag to increase significantly in HDR. The maximum refresh rate with 10-bit over HDMI is 60Hz.
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.
The Dell AW2721D has a few extra features, including:
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.
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 its build quality stands out as well. 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 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 Samsung Odyssey G7 LC32G75T and the Dell Alienware AW2721D are both great monitors that use different panel types, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The Samsung uses a VA panel that can produce deep blacks thanks to its high contrast ratio. The Dell, on the other hand, 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.