The Dell Alienware AW3420DW is an impressive ultrawide gaming monitor with a stylish design and native G-SYNC support. It has a curved 34 inch screen to provide incredible immersion when gaming, and its 1440p resolution is great for productivity. However, there are some downsides to its IPS panel, mainly with its low contrast ratio and sub-par black uniformity. As expected of most gaming monitors, it has a high refresh rate, low response time, and low input lag, but its list of extra features is rather short.
The Alienware AW3420DW is a good monitor for most uses. Its large 21:9 screen provides an immersive gaming experience, and it allows you to have multiple windows opened at the same time for better multitasking. It's decent for media consumption as well, but the monitor's low contrast ratio isn't suitable for dark room viewing, and it doesn't support HDR. While the monitor has a decent out-of-the-box color accuracy, it may need a calibration for any professional photo or video editing.
The Alienware AW3420DW is a good office monitor. Multitasking is easy due to the large 34 inch screen real estate, and the 1440p resolution keeps text sharp and legible. Viewing angles are decent if you need to share your work with colleagues, though its mediocre reflection handling and peak brightness may struggle a bit in very bright rooms. Its ergonomics are decent, allowing you to adjust the monitor easily, but it can't rotate into portrait mode.
The Alienware AW3420DW is an impressive gaming monitor. Gaming feels smooth and responsive thanks to its fast response time, low input lag, and G-SYNC support. Its large 21:9 screen gives great immersion in RPGs or atmospheric games, but it doesn't support HDR. In addition, it's not recommended for dark room gaming, as it has a rather poor contrast ratio and sub-par black uniformity.
The Alienware AW3420DW is a decent monitor for media consumption. Its 21:9 aspect ratio is great for watching movies, as most modern movies can fill up the whole screen with no presence of black bars. With a 1440p resolution, images are delivered with great detail, but the monitor's low contrast ratio and sub-par black uniformity makes it hard to recommend for dark room viewing, as blacks tend to look like gray when viewed in the dark.
The Alienware AW3420DW is decent for media creation. Its resolution and size allow you to work with multiple windows opened simultaneously, and it has excellent gray uniformity and gradient performance. However, if you need to share your work, its viewing angles are only decent, and the monitor's peak brightness may be an issue in very bright rooms.
The Alienware AW3420DW is disappointing for gaming in HDR. Although this monitor has a fast response time, low input lag, and G-SYNC support to make it a great gaming monitor, it doesn't support any HDR format. Furthermore, it can't produce dark or saturated colors due to its low contrast ratio.
The Alienware AW3420DW has a gamer-centric, modern design. It's mostly made out of plastic and it has RGB lighting on the back, the stand, and at the bottom of the screen. The screen is curved and the bezels are thin on all sides. The stand has wide-set feet and supports the monitor well.
The stand supports the monitor well and there's almost no wobble at all. The feet are wide-set, so you can still use the space in front.
The Alienware SW3420DW has decent ergonomics. It has a wide range for height, swivel, and tilt adjustments, but it can't rotate to portrait orientation.
The back of the monitor is covered with plain off-white plastic, and there's an Alienware logo that lights up at the top right corner. The stand also has an LED strip, and cable management is built-in. The stand has a quick release feature if you choose to VESA-mount it.
The monitor is fairly thick, mainly due to the curvature of the screen.
Build quality is excellent. Even though the monitor is mostly plastic, it feels solid and sturdy. The stand supports the monitor well and there's very little wobble.
Like most IPS monitors, the Alienware AW3420DW has a poor contrast ratio, resulting in blacks looking like gray. Our measurements were done after calibration, and the calibration process caused a decrease in the overall brightness of the monitor, which also impacts its native contrast. Prior to calibration, it was measured at 800:1.
The Alienware AW3420DW doesn't have a local dimming feature; the video above is provided for reference only.
SDR peak brightness is okay. There's no variation in brightness when displaying different content, and it should be bright enough for a well-lit room, but it may struggle a bit in direct sunlight.
Do note that the peak brightness was measured after calibration and with the backlight set to maximum. Before calibration, the monitor was able to achieve the advertised 350 nits in the 10% window. In other words, you can achieve higher peak brightness, but at the expense of color accuracy.
This monitor doesn't support HDR. If you're looking for an ultrawide monitor that has HDR support, check out the LG 34GN850-B.
The Alienware 3420DW has decent viewing angles. Images remain fairly accurate when viewed from the side, but black levels rise quickly when you move off-center. This is important if you like to share content or play co-op games.
Vertical viewing angles are decent. Images should remain accurate at the top and bottom of the screen even if you sit up close.
The Alienware AW3420DW has excellent gray uniformity. The top left corner and the right side of the screen are darker, but there's virtually no sign of dirty screen effect. In near-dark scenes, the uniformity is near perfect.
Black uniformity is sub-par, which is typical of most IPS monitors. There's backlight bleed at all corners of the screen, as well as some clouding and vertical smearing throughout the screen.
Out of the box, the Alienware 3420DW has an acceptable color accuracy. There are inaccuracies with several colors and with shades of gray; however, gamma follows the target curve well, so most scenes appear at the correct brightness. The color temperature is slightly warmer than our target of 6500K.
After calibration, color accuracy is outstanding. There's still some inaccuracy with the color blue, but it shouldn't be noticeable for most people.
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.
The Alienware AW3420DW has an exceptional SDR color gamut. It covers nearly all of the sRGB color space used in most content, and it has excellent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, which is great for professional photo editing.
SDR color volume is outstanding, but it can't display dark, saturated colors due to the monitor's low contrast ratio.
This monitor doesn't support HDR.
This monitor doesn't support HDR.
The Alienware AW3420DW has no risk of temporary image retention or permanent burn-in.
Gradient performance is very good. There's some banding when displaying dark green, dark gray, and dark blue.
There's no color bleed at all on this monitor.
The Alienware AW3420DW has mediocre reflection handling. It has a matte coating that diffuses light across the screen, though you may still need to raise the brightness if you're in a very bright room.
Text clarity on this monitor is good. With Cleartype enabled (top photo), diagonal lines appear much better, but vertical lines look thinner, such as on the T and I.
|Mode||Response Time Chart||Motion Blur Photo||Response Time Table|
The Alienware AW3420DW has an excellent response time when playing at maximum refresh rate. Most monitors' overdrive level can be adjusted and we recommend the 'Fast' setting, which provides the best performance with the least amount of overshoot. You may still see some artifacts, but it's significantly better than the 'Super Fast' and 'Extreme' settings, which caused visible inverse ghosting.
|Mode||Response Time Chart||Motion Blur Photo||Response Time Table|
Response time when playing at 60Hz is great, just slightly slower than at maximum refresh rate, though most people won't be able to notice it. Again, the 'Fast' setting gives the best performance with minimal overshoot.
The Alienware AW3420DW has a flicker-free backlight to help reduce eye strain.
This monitor doesn't have a black frame insertion feature.
The Alienware AW3420DW supports G-SYNC natively. The VRR range is outstanding and it only works through the DisplayPort connection. Unusually, it also supports Adaptive Sync, allowing for a variable refresh rate when connected to a FreeSync source, but only over DisplayPort.
Input lag is superb. It's slightly higher when playing at 60Hz or when G-SYNC is enabled, but it shouldn't be noticeable for most people.
The Alienware AW3420DW has an excellent resolution and size. Its 21:9 aspect ratio is great for an immersive gaming experience and it's large enough to multitask comfortably.
Update 04/23/2020: There's an additional input panel located under the front bezel. There are two additional USB 3.0 ports, and a headphone jack.
The monitor has a 3.5mm audio line out port, as well as the front headphone jack.
The Alienware AW3420DW has a few extra features, including:
There are controls on the back of the monitor, which includes a joystick and four buttons.
We tested the Dell Alienware AW3420DW and it's only available in this size and resolution. There's a smaller 27 inch monitor with the same outer design, the Dell Alienware AW2720HF, but it has a 27 inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 1080p resolution, a 240Hz refresh rate, and FreeSync support.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Alienware AW3420DW 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 AW3420DW was manufactured in October 2019, and you can see the label here.
The Dell Alienware AW3420DW is a large monitor with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is becoming increasingly popular among gamers. Its overall build quality is better than most monitors in this category, but its performance doesn't really stand out. Additionally, it doesn't have as many extra features as other gaming monitors like the Gigabyte Aorus FI27Q.
The LG 34GK950F-B is better than the Dell Alienware AW3420DW in most uses. The LG has a higher refresh rate, a significantly higher peak brightness, as well as much better viewing angles. Also, it has better out-of-the-box color accuracy and gradient performance, but the Dell has a much better black uniformity and better gray uniformity.
The LG 34GN850-B is a better monitor than the Dell Alienware AW3420DW for most uses. The LG has a higher refresh rate, a significantly faster response time, and it supports HDR. Additionally, the LG gets brighter, it has better reflection handling, and is more color accurate. The LG is a native FreeSync monitor with G-SYNC compatibility, while the Dell is a native G-SYNC monitor that also works with FreeSync.
The ASUS TUF VG27AQ is significantly better than the Dell Alienware AW3420DW. The ASUS has a much higher refresh rate, much better contrast ratio, and it can get a lot brighter. Viewing angles and ergonomics are also much better on the ASUS; however, the Dell has a better build quality, a larger screen, and better text clarity.
The Acer Predator X27 is much better than the Dell Alienware AW3420DW in most uses. Although the Acer has a smaller screen and a 16:9 aspect ratio, it has a much sharper 4k resolution, a higher refresh rate, and it supports HDR. The Acer also has significantly better viewing angles and peak brightness, but the Dell has a better build quality, much better color accuracy, as well as a lower input lag.
The Dell Alienware AW3420DW is better than the Nixeus EDG 34. Build quality and ergonomics are much better on the Dell, and its IPS panel has much better viewing angles. The Dell also has a faster response time and better color accuracy; however, the Nixeus has a significantly higher peak brightness and better contrast ratio.