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Reviewed on Sep 21, 2018

Dell Alienware AW3418DW MONITOR REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.0
7.7
Mixed Usage
7.9
Office
8.2
Gaming
7.4
Multimedia
7.5
Media Creation
5.7
HDR Gaming
Size : 34"
Resolution : 3440x1440
Refresh Rate : 100 Hz
LCD Type
:
IPS
Variable Refresh Rate
:
G-Sync

The Dell AW3418DW is very good curved ultrawide IPS LCD monitor with a 3440x1440 resolution. It has very wide viewing angles so the sides of the screen remain accurate when viewed from up-close. The Alienware has a fast response time and very low input lag that will please most hardcore gamers and it also supports NVDIA's G-SYNC implementation of variable refresh rate so it can deliver smooth motion without tearing. Unfortunately, it can't produce deep, uniform blacks and it is not well suited for a dark room.

Test Results
Design 8.0
Picture Quality 6.7
Motion 8.7
Inputs 9.2
Pros
  • Image remains accurate when viewed at an angle
  • Good gaming features like G-SYNC
  • Large, high resolution screen
Cons
  • Mediocre brightness
  • Poor dark scene performance
  1. Update 1/7/2019: The gradient score has been updated, as it was scored incorrectly at the time of the review.
  2. Update 11/6/2018: There was an error with the curve radius scoring which has been fixed. This has not changed the usage scores for this monitor.

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8.0

Design

Curved : Yes
Curve radius : 1900R
Weight (without stand)
:
16.8 lbs (7.6 kg)
Weight (with stand)
:
25.6 lbs (11.6 kg)

The design of the Dell Alienware AW3418DW is good. It has a futuristic sense especially when you look at it from the back. The stand is wide and sturdy and supports the monitor well. The ergonomics are among the best with most monitors of this size. The large size and the curvy profile make the monitor look thick when viewed from the side and it will protrude even if VESA mounted. If you like the futuristic look of the monitor, you are better off not VESA mounting it, as removing the stand takes away some of the futuristic look.

Stand
Width
:
22.1" (56.1 cm)
Depth
:
12.5" (31.8 cm)

The stand supports the monitor well and there is little wobble. Its design blends with the overall futuristic design of this monitor.

6.0 Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
:
5.1" (13.0 cm)
Switch portrait/landscape : No
Swivel Range : -20° to 20°
Tilt Range : -25° to 2.5°

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW has decent ergonomics. You can adjust the height, swivel left and right and tilt up and down, but there is no option to rotate. Nonetheless, the degrees of freedom should be enough to allow you to position it according to your preferences.

Back
Wall Mount : VESA 100x100

When looking the monitor from the back, the modern design with the abundance of straight lines and flat clear planes becomes apparent. The inputs are hidden and there is provision for cable management through the stand.

Borders
Borders
:
0.4" (1.0 cm)

The borders of the Dell AW3418DW are thin. There is a vent that runs along the top border and serves for heat dissipation. The bezel is very thin and the panel starts at the edge of the border. The screen pixels, however, start after a small gap. It is nonetheless a very good monitor for side by side use.

Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
:
11.0" (27.9 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
:
4.8" (12.2 cm)

The monitor is quite thick mainly due to the stand and the curve. Without the stand, this is a relatively thin monitor.

8.5 Build Quality

The build quality of the Alienware AW3418DW is excellent. There are no gaps or loose ends and the monitor feels sturdy.

6.7

Picture Quality

The picture quality of the Dell AW3418DW is decent. As with most IPS monitors, blacks are not deep and will look grayish in a dark room, as its native contrast ratio is low. Unfortunately, it cannot get too bright to fight bright room glare, but it has great reflection handling, good gray uniformity, and a great color gamut that allows it to display an abundance of colors.

6.0 Contrast
Native Contrast
:
981 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
:
N/A

The native contrast ratio of the Dell Alienware AW3418DW is sub-par. A low contrast ratio is expected in IPS panels and results in blacks that appear gray in the dark. The Alienware's native contrast ratio is slightly better than the Dell U3417W.

0 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
No
Backlight
:
Edge

Local dimming is not supported. The video is for reference only.

7.2 SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
:
262 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
:
283 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
:
283 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
:
284 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
:
284 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
:
284 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
:
283 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
:
283 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
:
283 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
:
284 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
:
284 cd/m²
SDR ABL
:
0.000

Decent peak brightness for the Alienware AW3418DW. The monitor is not suitable for a very bright room with a lot of glare. The good news is that the brightness remains constant regardless of the window size.

0 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

HDR is not supported.

7.8 Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Shift from Left
:
47 °
Color Shift from Right
:
46 °
Brightness from Left
:
53 °
Brightness from Right
:
53 °
Black Level from Left
:
75 °
Black Level from Right
:
75 °
Curve Radius : 1900 R

Very good horizontal viewing angles for this monitor. The best we have measured so far along with the ASUS ROG PG348Q. This monitor will display the same image quality at very large side angles.

7.1 Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Shift from Below
:
27 °
Color Shift from Above
:
26 °
Brightness from Below
:
34 °
Brightness from Above
:
32 °
Black Level from Below
:
25 °
Black Level from Above
:
75 °

The vertical viewing angles of the Dell AW3418DW monitor are decent. The picture quality appears uniform at the bottom side of the screen, but if you place the monitor slightly higher than your eye level, you might notice some slight uniformity issues at the top side of the screen.

8.3 Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
:
3.856 %
50% DSE
:
0.127 %
5% Std. Dev.
:
0.480 %
5% DSE
:
0.062 %

The gray uniformity of the Alienware is good. There is some visible issues in the 50% gray image but this is mostly closer to the top edge and should not be distracting in normal use. There is no visible dirty screen effect. In the darker shades, the uniformity is excellent.

5.3 Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
:
2.495 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
:
N/A

The Dell AW3418DW has poor black uniformity. There is clouding all over the image and there is visible backlight bleed in the lower two corners. This is very similar to Samsung CF791.

6.7 Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Game 1,2,3
Luminance
:
209 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
:
75
Contrast Setting
:
75
RGB controls
:
N/A
Color Temperature
:
7070 K
White Balance dE
:
3.77
Color dE
:
3.56
Gamma
:
2.40

The 'Standard', 'Game 1', 'Game 2' and 'Game 3' Preset Modes were all nearly identical out of the box. The 'Game 1,2,3' modes allow you to set values for Dark Stabilizer and 'Red, Green, Blue, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow' saturation that are specific to that mode, allowing you to customize each 'Game' mode for a different use case or game.

The out of the box color accuracy of these modes is decent. White balance dE and color dE are both above our threshold of 3, and that means that most enthusiast users will notice some color inaccuracies. The color temperature is cold, and a bluish tint is apparent. Gamma averages 2.4, and doesn't track our target curve, and the image looks darker than what it should be.

9.6 Post Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Custom Color
Luminance
:
100 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
:
26
Contrast Setting
:
75
RGB Controls
:
96-95-100
Color Temperature
:
6468 K
White Balance dE
:
0.63
Color dE
:
0.60
Gamma
:
2.18

After calibration, the color inaccuracies almost disappear. White balance dE and color dE are very low and it is almost impossible to spot inaccuracies. The color temperature is very close to our target of 6500 K, and gamma is almost perfectly tracking our target curve .

You can download our ICC profile calibration here. We don't recommend using this profile, as the calibration values vary per individual unit, even for the same model, due to manufacturing tolerances.

8.8 SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
:
99.0 %
Adobe RGB xy
:
77.1 %

s.RGB Picture Mode: Custom Color (calibrated)
Adobe RGB Picture Mode: Custom Color

Excellent color gamut for the Dell Alienware. The monitor covers almost all of the sRGB space. However, the wider Adobe RGB color space used in professional printing or publishing applications is not adequately covered. If you are looking for a monitor that covers those needs check out the Acer Predator X27 and our recommendations for the best monitors for photo editing.

9.0 SDR Color Volume
sRGB in ICtCp
:
96.6 %
Adobe RGB in ICtCp
:
82.4 %

s.RGB Picture Mode: Custom Color
Adobe RGB Picture Mode: Custom Color

Excellent color volume coverage for this Dell Alienware. At various luminance values, the monitor can display a wide range of colors of the sRGB color space. However, in the darker shades, it is slightly limited by its low native contrast ratio. The Adobe RGB color volume coverage is confined by the limited Adobe RGB color space coverage and the low contrast ratio.

0 HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
:
No
DCI P3 xy
:
N/A
Rec. 2020 xy
:
N/A

HDR is not supported.

0 HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 in ICtCp
:
N/A
Rec. 2020 in ICtCp
:
N/A

HDR is not supported.

10 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 %

No image retention is visible, which is excellent. Even after 10 minutes of a high contrast static image, no remnants are visible.

8.6 Gradient
Color Depth
:
8 Bit

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW has one of the worst gradient performance that we have measured so far. There is 8-bit banding in all colors, however, this should not be an issue for normal use.

Update 01/07/2019: The gradient score has been updated (7.2 -> 8.6), as it was scored incorrectly at the time of the review.

10 Color Bleed
Pixel row error
:
0.000 %
Pixel column error
:
0.000 %

When displaying large bands of a single color, no bleed can be seen and the colors appear uniform.

8.0 Reflections

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW has good reflection handling. Very similar to the Dell U3417W. The curve helps diffuse point sources across the screen and thus reduce their intensity. The light-matte finish helps diffuse them even further, so this monitor will do well even in a fairly bright room.

8.7

Motion

The motion handling of the Dell Alienware AW3418DW is excellent. It has a very fast response time and great VRR support through NVIDIA's G-SYNC implementation (see our recommendations for the best G-Sync monitors). Unfortunately, it does not support black frame insertion to clear blur and make the image crisper.

9.1 Motion Blur
80% Response Time
:
4.4 ms
100% Response Time
:
10.8 ms
Best Overdrive Setting
:
Normal

Refresh Rate Tested: 120 Hz

Response Time 'Normal'
Response Time 'Fast'
Response Time 'Super Fast'

The Alienware is a fast monitor. The response time is low, and this means only a small blur will trail the image. Response Time 'Normal' is the best overdrive setting as 'Fast' and 'Super Fast' have unacceptable levels of overshoot causing image duplications. In the 'Super Fast' option, the overshoot from 0% to 20% is so much that it clips.

7.5 Image Flicker
Flicker-free : Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
:
0 Hz
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
:
No
BFI Maximum Frequency
:
N/A
BFI Minimum Frequency
:
N/A

This monitor does not use PWM Dimming to lower the backlight and this is good as it makes motion look smoother.
On the other hand, this monitor lacks the option of introducing flicker to make the image crisper. This is a surprise as it supports G-SYNC and we would expect it to also support ULMB which is NVIDIA's implementation of black frame insertion.

8.8 Refresh Rate
Native
:
100 Hz
Factory Overclock
:
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
:
G-Sync
G-SYNC Compatible
:
Yes (Native)
VRR Maximum
:
100 Hz
VRR Minimum
:
< 20 Hz
VRR Maximum With OC
:
120 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors : DisplayPort

Excellent refresh rate. The Alienware AW3418DW supports the G-SYNC implementation of VRR. However, it is only supported through DisplayPort and not through HDMI that has a lower bandwidth. Over HDMI at 3440x1440 resolution the monitor's maximum refresh rate is 50Hz, although, other resolutions such as 1080p can run at 60Hz.

9.2

Inputs

The Dell AW3418DW has an excellent low input lag which remains low even when G-SYNC is activated, and this will please most gamers. The screen is large and has a good resolution for a great multitasking experience.

9.4 Input Lag
Native Resolution
:
5.3 ms
Non-Native Res @ Native Refresh
:
N/A
Native Resolution @ 60 Hz
:
13.1 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
:
6.1 ms
10 bit HDR
:
N/A
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
:
N/A

Refresh Rate Tested: 120 Hz

The monitor has an excellent low input lag, which makes it very responsive. It is suitable for hardcore gaming as it reacts to your input almost instantaneously.

Over DisplayPort the only supported resolutions are (3440x1440, 1024x768, 800x600, 640x480), and only 3440x1440 is capable of refresh rates greater than 60 Hz. This isn't usually a problem though because most graphics cards will upscale lower resolutions to 3440x1440 without you even knowing.

8.8 Resolution and Size
Native Resolution : 3440 x 1440
Aspect Ratio : 21:9
Megapixels : 5.0 MP
Pixel Density : 109 PPI
Screen Diagonal : 34.1 inches
Screen Area : 415 sq inches

This Dell Alienware AW3418DW has an excellent resolution for its size. You are able to easily multitask, and you will see every little detail your game has to offer.

Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort : 1 (DP 1.2)
Mini DisplayPort : No
HDMI : 1 (HDMI 1.4)
DVI : No
VGA : No
DisplayPort Out : No
USB : 4 (USB 3.0)
USB C : No
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 2
Microphone In 3.5mm : No
Digital Optical Audio Out : No
Analog Audio Out RCA : No
Power Supply : Internal

One 3.5mm audio out is for headphones and has adjustable volume, while the other is a line out with fixed volume, which is useful when using external speakers.

Features

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW does not have internal speakers or support for HDR10 but has some neat additional features that you might find useful. The navigating buttons are good and OSD is intuitive, so you will not have any issues.

Additional Features
Speakers
:
No
HDR10 : No
Multiple input display
:
No

This monitor does not have speakers or HDR10 support but has a few neat additional features:

  • Frame Rate counter
  • Timer
  • Display Alignment overlay
    This is useful for lining up multiple monitors.
  • Dark Stabilizer
    This raises the gamma curve to brighten dark shades, which is useful in some games to make dark details more visible. Unlike similar features on other monitors, Dark Stabilizer does not raise the black level.
  • AlienFX Lighting
    The monitor has several LED zones on its body. Each zone can be set to a different color, or all zones can be made to cycle through colors at the same time, using the 'Spectrum' option. The LEDs can also be controlled by AlienFX software on a PC when the USB hub is connected, which allows even more features such as reactive lighting in certain AlienFX supported games.

On-Screen Display (OSD)
Controls

The controls are quite good. There are more buttons than most monitors, and it's easy to navigate the OSD which is designed really well. The buttons are easy to click and give good feedback.
However, we still prefer a joystick like the ones found on LG 34UC79G-B or the Acer Predator X27.

In The Box

  • Manual
  • Displayport to Mini Displayport cable
  • Displayport cable
  • USB Cable
  • Power cable

Differences between Sizes and Variants

We tested the Dell Alienware AW3418DW, which is a UWQHD 3440x1440 IPS gaming monitor. There are 3 other variants of the Alienware lineup with different sizes and characteristics - a selection of which are listed in the table below.

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their monitor doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. Note that some tests such as the gray uniformity may vary between individual units.

Model Size Panel Type Resolution VRR Support
AW2518H 25" TN FHD 1920x1080 G-SYNC
AW2518HF 25" TN FHD 1920x1080 FreeSync
AW3418HW 34" IPS WFHD 2560x1080 G-SYNC
AW3418DW 34" IPS UWQHD 3440x1440 G-SYNC

The monitor we bought was manufactured in June 2018.

Compared to other Monitors

Left: Dell U3417W. Middle: Dell Alienware AW3418DW. Right: Samsung CHG90.
Unlike our other photographs, this picture wasn't taken under a controlled environment, so do not draw conclusions from it.

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW is a good monitor for most usages and especially for gaming (see our recommendations for the best gaming monitors, the best ultrawide gaming monitors, the best 1440p gaming monitors, and the best curved gaming monitors).

LG 34GK950F-B
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The LG 34GK950F-B is a bit better than the Dell Alienware AW3418DW for most uses. The 34GK950F supports HDR, and it has an optional black frame insertion feature for clearer motion. The LG supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology and has a faster refresh rate. The AW3418DW, on the other hand, has native G-SYNC support, great if you want to get the most from your NVIDIA graphics card.

ASUS ROG Swift PG348Q
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW is marginally better than the ASUS ROG PG348Q. The Alienware has a little faster refresh rate and produces a little less blur in fast-moving content. Also, the Alienware has lower input lag and responds slightly quicker to your actions giving you a small edge in gaming. Other than those minor differences, the two monitors are very similar.

Acer Predator Z35P
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW is a bit better than the Acer Z35P. The Acer has slightly better dark room performance, but the Dell looks better when viewed at an angle. The Dell also has a faster response time, so fast-moving objects have less blur trail behind them.

LG 34UC79G-B
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW is somewhat better than the LG 34UC79G-B. The Dell has a better resolution so you can see more detail on your screen and better reflection handling so you won't be bothered if your room has many lights. Its ergonomics make it also easier to position as you prefer. The LG has an optional black frame insertion feature that can clear blur and make the image crisper.

Dell U3417W
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW is better than the Dell U3417W. The Alienware has a much lower input lag, less trail blur, and a faster refresh rate which help it deliver a great gaming experience.

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Unless you're looking for a more immersive gaming experience, the ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q is better than the Dell Alienware AW3418DW. The ASUS has a lower resolution screen, but a higher refresh rate, better ergonomics, and an optional black frame insertion feature. The AW3418DW, on the other hand, delivers a more immersive gaming experience, thanks to the 34" curve, 21:9 screen.

Samsung C49HG90/CHG90
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW is a bit better overall than the Samsung CHG90. The AW3418DW has much better viewing angles, and it has a flicker-free backlight. The CHG90, on the other hand, has a much wider screen, which delivers a more immersive gaming experience and is better for multitasking. The CHG90 also supports HDR and has much better dark room performance.

Samsung CHG70
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

If you have more than one monitor next to each other and will be looking from the side, the Dell Alienware AW3418DW is a better choice as it has better viewing angles. But if you have a dark room and want HDR support, then the Samsung CHG70 is the way to go. The Samsung has better motion handling with a faster refresh rate and a black frame insertion feature to make the image crisper. The Alienware, on the other hand, is larger with better resolution and will display more details on its screen.

Dell U3818DW
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Overall, the Dell Alienware AW3418DW and the Dell U3818DW perform similarly, but the AW3418DW is better suited for gamers, whereas the U3818DW is better for office use. The AW3418DW has a faster refresh rate and better response time, as well as NVIDIA G-SYNC support. The Dell U3818DW has a larger, higher-resolution screen that is better for multitasking, as well as support for PIP/PIB, allowing you to work on two computers at once.

Dell S2719DGF
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW is better than the Dell S2719DGF for most uses, but the S2719DGF is a bit better for gaming. The AW3418DW has a wide-format screen, wide viewing angles, and better black uniformity. The S2719DGF, on the other hand, has a higher refresh rate, better ergonomics, and a faster response time, making it a better choice for gaming.

Dell U3219Q
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Dell U3219Q is marginally better than the Dell Alienware AW3418DW. The Dell U3219Q has a significantly better ergonomics and supports HDR content. The Dell U3219Q also has a better resolution so you can see more of your work on your screen. The Alienware is flicker-free, handles reflections better, and has a lower input lag and support for G-SYNC, which is great for gaming.

Dell S3220DGF
Unavailable
Amazon.com

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW and the Dell S3220DGF have different panel types, each with advantages and disadvantages. The Alienware has an IPS panel with wider viewing angles, which is great for co-op gaming, while the S3220DGF has better dark room performance thanks to its VA panel. The Alienware offers you more space to work on thanks to its larger screen size and better resolution, but the S3220DGF supports HDR, so you can enjoy the latest HDR games.

+ Show more
7.7 Mixed Usage

The Dell Alienware AW3418DW is a good monitor for mixed usage. Its large size and good resolution make it good for gaming use as well as office use, as it allows for multitasking. It has a low input lag that makes it very responsive. If you place it in an average lit room, you will enjoy the picture quality.

7.9 Office

The Dell AW3418DW is a good monitor for office use. The good size and excellent resolution allow you to do more with your screen area and the viewing angles make it easy to share your work with a colleague. The monitor's ergonomics make it easy to position it as you prefer.

8.2 Gaming

The Dell AW3418DW is a very good gaming monitor. It has a low input lag that makes it very responsive to your actions and supports NVIDIA's G-SYNC. Its large screen and high resolution can display every little detail of your favorite game. You can easily position it to your likings, and its thin bezels will not bother you if you expand your screen area by placing a second monitor next to it.

7.4 Multimedia

The Dell AW3418DW is a decent monitor for multimedia. It has a large size and a high resolution that allow you to watch movies and videos in high resolution. It has a high refresh rate so fast action has little blur and it is easy to position to your preference. Unfortunately, its poor black uniformity and low contrast ratio do not make it suitable for a dark room.

7.5 Media Creation

This is a good monitor for media creation. The large screen size and the excellent resolution allow for multitasking. It has a low input lag and responds fast to your actions and handles reflections well when placed it in a room with many light sources. Working together with a colleague will not be an issue.

5.7 HDR Gaming

This monitor does not support HDR. If you are looking for a monitor with HDR support, check out the Samsung CHG70.

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