July 24, 2024

Earlier this month I reviewed the Asus ROG Swift PG32UCDM, a 32-inch QD-OLED gaming monitor that mixes a 4K decision with 240Hz refresh fee, spectacular HDR and fewer downsides than your typical OLED panel – albeit at an eye-watering £1350 asking value. I famous that whereas the Asus monitor was a technical tour de pressure and the very best gaming monitor I might ever examined, it isn’t essentially the very best worth 32-inch QD-OLED. For that, UK patrons must be wanting on the topic of this evaluation: Dell’s £940 Alienware AW3225QF, which makes use of the very same QD-OLED panel and due to this fact ought to supply nigh-identical efficiency – for £410 much less.

Regardless of that huge value delta, the Alienware is much from a compromised price range various – it packs lots of the identical options because the Asus mannequin and even provides on Dolby Imaginative and prescient assist and a curved type issue that swimsuit its expansive proportions.

On this AW3225QF evaluation, I will cowl how the monitor compares to the dearer Asus mannequin, how significant Dolby Imaginative and prescient assist is as a value-add and whether or not the curved display screen provides or detracts from the expertise – in addition to a abstract of the 32-inch QD-OLED panel’s traits for gaming, video and work, provided that we have already coated the panel in some element within the Asus ROG Swift PG32UCDM evaluation two weeks in the past.

Not like many different show varieties, OLED panels can curve – so after being produced by Samsung Show, distributors like Dell, Asus and MSI are free to decide on flat, curved and even versatile configurations (eg the 45-inch Corsair Xeneon Flex). Dell opted for a curved design, in contrast to MSI and Asus, and so that is the primary level of differentiation you are prone to discover – and care about – when contemplating every of those designs.

I’ve used a good few curved displays up to now, however I typically favor flat panels as I do a good quantity of labor in textual content editors, spreadsheets and different productiveness functions the place it is good for straight traces to seem straight. The excellent news is that the Alienware’s 1800R curvature is definitely fairly gentle for a monitor of this measurement, with every nook maybe only some centimetres additional ahead than it could be on a totally flat monitor. That makes the AW3225QF a straightforward monitor to get used to, showing barely extra immersive in gameplay with out making your spreadsheets look noticeably odd. This looks like the best alternative for Dell, who get a pleasant level of differentiation in opposition to their rivals with out making it a deal-breaker for people who favor flat screens.

Dell Alienware AW3225QF seen from the front

I am a fan of the swoop-y curves and white/black color scheme of Dell’s Alienware displays, represented right here by the stand – the again is a little more extraordinary. | Picture credit score: Dell/Digital Foundry

Past the curve, the AW3225QF follows the identical design ideas as Dell’s different new QD-OLED (the 1440p 360Hz AW2725DF, evaluation coming quickly) with a subtly printed white Alienware wordmark throughout the marginally chunky backside bezel, a four-way joystick simply beneath and an influence button with LED indicator method on the best facet of the monitor. (After utilizing plenty of displays with centrally-located energy buttons, I admit to a couple minutes of panic when prodding the joystick did not flip it on and I hadn’t but noticed the separate energy button.)

The again of the monitor is available in Alienware white plastic, and by default has a teal-backlit alien head on one facet and teal-backlit ’32’ textual content on the opposite – simply in case you neglect what monitor measurement you picked. The stand is elegant and succesful, with top, tilt and swivel adjustment and extra of that space-y white/black plastic end, however except you are actually attempting to match a white PC construct I might suggest utilizing a 100×100 VESA monitor arm to filter out some much-needed mousing area in your desk. Fortunately, at six kilos the monitor is not onerous to mount.

Beneath, you get a DisplayPort 1.4 port (for 4K 240Hz with DSC) and two HDMI 2.1 ports (4K 240Hz, although restricted to 4K 120Hz on PS5/Sequence X). Apparently, the primary HDMI port helps eARC to ship high-res multi-channel audio to sound programs, one of many few displays I’ve seen to incorporate this performance – and a intelligent inclusion for a monitor that additionally helps Dolby Imaginative and prescient. Nevertheless, there isn’t any 3.5mm headphone jack or built-in audio system, both of which may have been good for console use.

aw3225qf ports

Picture credit score: Digital Foundry/Dell

Whereas MSI and Asus 32-inch QD-OLEDs embody a USB-C video and information port with as much as 90W USB PD and KVM change performance, the Dell solely features a easy USB-B downstream port that connects a four-port USB hub (one USB-C, three USB-A, all 5Gbps). Which means you do not have an possibility to attach a contemporary laptop computer with audio, video, information and energy over a single cable, which is a little bit of a disgrace and maybe the primary true proof of value financial savings on the Alienware versus its rivals.

The OSD right here can also be just a little extra feature-poor than Asus and MSI’s menus, with solely two anti burn-in controls – to immediate a pixel refresh or full panel refresh – and toggles or changes obtainable for options like taskbar and brand detection. To be clear, these options nonetheless seem like enabled, however there isn’t any person management of them which appears a little bit of a disgrace. As with the opposite fashions utilizing this 32-inch QD-OLED panel, a three-year guarantee that covers burn-in is included with the AW3225QF.

Let’s transfer now to the Alienware’s different distinctive function: Dolby Imaginative and prescient. That is one thing of a let-down in Home windows 11, as whereas Home windows recognises the monitor as having Dolby Imaginative and prescient assist, I wasn’t capable of truly play any native Dolby Imaginative and prescient video recordsdata and solely a handful of video games with Dolby Imaginative and prescient enabled. Streaming Dolby Imaginative and prescient titles in Netflix did work, at the least. The listing of formally supported titles solely features a handful older Frostbite engine video games like Want for Velocity Warmth and Mass Impact Andromeda, they usually did not fairly work as supposed, with Andromeda requiring 4K 60Hz output to work accurately. Fortunately, a firmware replace does at the least permit Dolby Imaginative and prescient mode to be disabled within the monitor’s OSD, so you do not have to take care of Dolby Imaginative and prescient getting used when HDR is enabled – with too-bright outcomes.

On Xbox it isn’t too a lot better when it comes to mainstream sport assist, however does at the least embody the likes of Borderlands 3, Forza Horizon 5 and Metro Exodus, and each sport I attempted labored completely with none problem. In fact, you can even stream Dolby Imaginative and prescient video on the Xbox – and different HDMI units just like the Nvidia Defend – so Dolby Imaginative and prescient assist continues to be fairly a helpful addition on that entrance.

Fortunately, common HDR content material nonetheless appears to be like incredible on PC and different platforms, so whereas the Alienware does not meaningfully achieve something in opposition to its rivals for PC use, watching HDR movies and enjoying HDR video games continues to be demonstrably higher than the overwhelming majority of LCD-based options in the marketplace – in order that’s one thing.

Going into extra goal testing now, the AW3225QF hits the identical highs because the Asus PG32UCDM, with full protection of sRGB in its Creator mode, 99 p.c DCI P3 protection and 97 p.c Adobe RGB protection. Color accuracy in sRGB was unimaginable, with a median Delta-E rating of 1.0 that implies inaccuracies invisible to the bare eye, and HDR highlights are additionally impressively vibrant at as much as 1000 nits. Lastly, pixel response instances are extremely fast at round 0.3ms, however there isn’t any black body insertion function as we noticed on the Asus mannequin. I tended to maintain that mode disabled anyway, however it could have been good to this as an possibility.

benchmark results for dell 32-inch qd-oled: gamma 2.2, colour accuracy and overall rating from SpyderX Elite

This monitor scored extraordinarily extremely in our colourimeter-based testing, with a Delta-E rating of 1.0 which is the bottom we have ever recorded – versus an already nice 1.53 for the Asus equal. | Picture credit score: Digital Foundry

As with different QD-OLED displays we have examined, vibrant environments could cause black pixels to look barely purple or gray, however in darkish or average lighting situations they give the impression of being correctly black as you’d hope – so W-OLED or an LCD-based monitor is likely to be a more sensible choice in the event you’re pressured to make use of the monitor in quite harsh lighting situations. The shiny display screen coating right here can also be efficient at dealing with reflections.

I did not face any points with SDR brightness, which at 250 nits was greater than adequate for my use case, even with largely white content material like net pages maximised on the display screen. This 32-inch 4K monitor defaults to 150 p.c scaling in Home windows, however 125 p.c and even one hundred pc scaling are nice options you probably have good eyesight and need extra display screen actual property.

As you’d anticipate from the specs on provide right here, efficiency is nice in a variety of PC video games. You might have the posh of the crisp particulars and beautiful color copy of a 4K OLED display screen with an esports-grade 240Hz refresh fee and close to on the spot pixel response instances, so a variety of gaming genres are represented at their greatest. As I discussed with the Asus monitor, the bodily bigger measurement was surprisingly good in aggressive shooters like Counter-Strike 2 and Name of Responsibility Warzone, the place the bigger pixels made distant enemies just a little simpler to identify.

benchmark results for dell 32-inch qd-oled in terms of panel uniformity

Panel uniformity can also be wonderful, with extraordinarily low variance in colors or brightness in several areas. | Picture credit score: Digital Foundry

On Xbox Sequence X or PS5, you are unlikely to even be hitting 4K 120Hz in lots of video games, however with full HDMI 2.1 bandwidth obtainable, you are at the least taking full benefit of what the platforms have to supply. And who is aware of, perhaps you may be totally prepared for the PlayStation 6 or Xbox Sequence XXX!

Exterior of gaming, the third-generation Samsung Show QD-OLED panel used right here has an improved subpixel association that leads to sharper textual content with out the apparent color fringing that had been noticeable in older QD-OLED displays, making this a a lot better alternative for net looking, programming, content material creation and so forth. As at all times, OLED is not ideally matched for these use circumstances given that they are extra prone to trigger burn-in than gaming or video content material, however with that three-year guarantee and countermeasures in place, I haven’t got any explicit hangups about utilizing this monitor for work when wanted. I will report again if I do discover any burn-in throughout long-term testing.

All issues thought of then, the Dell Alienware AW3225QF is a straightforward advice for UK patrons, the place its considerably cheaper price than competing 32-inch QD-OLED fashions from Asus and MSI make it the apparent alternative. Elsewhere on the planet, the Dell continues to be a novel proposition properly price contemplating – particularly if you wish to play Dolby Imaginative and prescient content material by way of an Xbox or different HDMI media participant, or notably like curved screens quite than flat ones. Nevertheless, the disappointing Dolby Imaginative and prescient dealing with in Home windows 11, some lacking OSD choices, no BFI and the shortage of a USB-C enter are minor blemishes on an in any other case wonderful monitor.