People who own televisions have been able to bask in the glory of OLED technology for some time now, but gamers have been largely relegated to the ancient world of LCDs as the primary type of display to use for a variety of factors. That might be starting to change however, as Alienware has announced what is seemingly the world’s first OLED panel on a gaming display, the AW3423DW. OLED panels offer colors that are crisper and more vibrant than LCDs due to intrinsic differences between the two technologies, so its arrival in the gaming space is a pretty big deal.
The monitor itself appears to look almost exactly the same as the existing model, the AW3420DW, but with a few small changes on the exterior and an entirely new interior. It’s still a 34″ ultrawide monitor with 1800r curvature, with a 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, but instead of an IPS panel it’s now sporting a Quantum Dot OLED panel with an insane 0.1ms grey-to-grey (G2G) response time and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. OLED panels are generally known for their fast response times and excellent contrast ratios, and we see those advantages reflected in the spec sheet.
The AW3423DW also has a refresh rate of 175Hz, which is higher than the 120Hz offered by the previous model, and it appears to be first high refresh OLED panel in existence. Also, TFT Central notes that although the Alienware monitor is being pitched as the “world’s first” OLED gaming monitor, Samsung will be announcing a similar panel this week at CES. No other information on that panel is available at this time.
As far as its Quantum Dot technology goes, Dell/Alienware says it’s superior to the White OLED technology used by TVs for a few reasons. From the press release, “Quantum Dot Display Technology enables a slim panel design and delivers a superior color performance with a higher peak luminance and greater color gamut range vs WOLED (White OLED).” The release goes on to say it achieves this feat, “by taking the impressive qualities of OLED (such as true blacks & infinite contrast ratio) and enhances color performance by directly converting blue light into the primary colors of red and green through a Quantum Dot pixel layer. This results in higher color uniformity, wider color coverage and increased brightness.” It should also be noted that this isn’t the first OLED gaming panel Alienware has offered, as it previously included the technology on some of its gaming laptops, and other manufacturers such as Lenovo and Razer also include an OLED panel as an upgrade option for certain laptops.
Despite being a gaming monitor with an aesthetic to match, Alienware says the OSD will let you switch to a “Creator Mode” if you need to do work that requires color accuracy. For those types of tasks the panel seems well suited for it, as it offers a wide colour gamut covering ~149% sRGB and 99.3% of the DCI-P3 color space. TFT Central notes that it appears the panel will offer some kind of sRGB emulation mode to achieve this, but it’s not clear exactly how that will work based on the limited information released thus far.
The AW3423DW includes support for Nvidia’s G-Sync variable refresh rate technology. It qualifies for Nvidia’s “G-Sync Ultimate” rating, which ought to make this one of the better-performing displays on the market for gaming and HDR content. It sounds like it will live up to the task, as its spec sheet lists a 1000 cd/m2 peak brightness, which is a bit higher than most OLEDs on the market currently. It offers both DisplayPort 1.4a and HDMI 2.0 connections, but only DisplayPort can hit 175Hz as HDMI 2.0 is limited to 100Hz at this resolution.
Alienware says the monitor will arrive stateside in March, but no pricing information has been released yet. Given the fact that the previous model hovered around the $1,000 mark, and the current 38″ version is $1,500, it seems safe to assume it’ll probably land somewhere around $2,000, at least.
One major question for a PC display is how well it will handle static elements. OLED panels are more susceptible to burn-in than their LCD equivalents. The AW3423DW has a three-year warranty that covers burn-in, but we would recommend anyone considering an OLED display take steps to avoid displaying static menus on screen. It may be wise to hide menu bars and the Windows Task Bar on such a panel, even if you normally wouldn’t do so.
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