We’re all used to manufacturers making hyperbolic claims about their products, but it’s rare that a device comes along and genuinely raises the bar. The new 2021 model year Alienware 27 Gaming Monitor, however, does just that.
This is one special display, and it’s been a hot topic in the competitive gaming scene since its release in October 2020. Why? Because it’s one of the first 1440p IPS displays to boast an impressive 240Hz refresh rate.
This breaks new ground for the IPS display market, which was previously only able to offer such lofty refresh rates at a 1080p resolution. Now, fans of IPS displays and their immaculate color delivery can enjoy competitive-level refresh rates without having to compromise on resolution.
Alienware 27 Gaming Monitor – AW2721D Technical Specifications
- 27-inch 1440p display
- IPS Nano Color display type
- 240Hz max refresh rate
- Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate
- 1ms peak GTG response time
- VESA DisplayHDR 600 certified
- 98% DCI-P3 wide color coverage
- AlienFX RGB lighting
- 2x HDMI 2.0 ports, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 4x SuperSpeed USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
The Rise of IPS
For gamers, IPS panels have come a long way in a very short time. Previously, IPS displays were the exclusive domain of the content creator. While lauded for their superior image quality and color accuracy, they were generally unsuitable for gaming due to slow pixel response times and consequently blurry visuals. If you were a gamer, you sacrificed image quality for speed, and bought a TN-type panel.
Then IPS panels made a splash in 2016 with much improved pixel response, spelling doom for all but the very best TN displays. And now, with the arrival of the new Alienware 27 Gaming Monitor, IPS panels are finally overcoming their final major technical hurdle: ultra-high refresh rates.
Devout IPS users that want that elusive 240Hz refresh rate have been stuck with 1080p options for some time. Now they can be liberated from that aging resolution and make the jump to 1440p, which is arguably still the sweet spot for gaming monitor resolutions.
Great for Gamers and Creatives
For hardcore gamers, this display means no more compromises. Games run super fast and look pin sharp, while color reproduction and overall image quality is excellent.
DOOM Eternal is my go-to game for screen testing, with its fast action and detailed visuals. Of course, the Alienware performs incredibly, with a level of brightness and vibrancy to match the best monitors I’ve ever tested. And with Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate built in, each frame is delivered with silky smooth precision. (Although that does mean no FreeSync support for AMD users.)
Pixel response can be tweaked via the on-screen-display (OSD) menu and, as usual, the medium setting (called ‘Super Fast’) performs best. The lowest setting, ‘Fast,’ exhibits slight blurring. And the highest ‘Extreme’ setting causes black overshoot and very distracting halo artifacts.
Excellent HDR performance also benefits supported games and video content, boosting local highlights without washing out the blacks. IPS displays are known for suffering light bleed, where the backlight can be seen leaking through dark areas of the display. But this is almost a non-issue on the Alienware during normal use. And if you have to saturate the screen in blackness to demonstrate a minor issue, then does it even matter?
As for image settings, the Alienware comes factory calibrated and looks great right out of the box in its Standard preset. I was happy to bounce between the Standard and MOBA/RTS presets, the former for TV shows and the latter for the slightly elevated saturation levels that I like for gaming. But creatives will also be happy with the comprehensive OSD settings needed for a professional calibration. Dell’s ComfortView mode also makes the cut, helping reduce eye strain during long periods of screen time.
A Tried and Tested Design
Alienware’s chassis design hasn’t changed for 2021, but for those of you who like the current design as much as I do, that’s not a bad thing. The Lunar Light color scheme, a mix of matte white and black panels, provides a unique flair without being too overstated.
Tasteful RGB accents adorning the power button, as well as the rear of the panel and its stand, are largely inconsequential, but can add a subtle ambient glow in a really dark room.
Super thin bezels all around make for an attractive floating display effect, and would be perfect if placed side-by-side with a second screen. Adjustability is also top-notch, with steep tilt and turn angles, tons of elevation, and the ability to rotate the screen a full 90 degrees in both directions. VESA mounting is also supported, for those with small desks that might have a hard time accommodating the Alienware’s prominent feet.
Meanwhile, while not particularly forward-thinking, the display offers a decent selection of inputs including two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4, and four high-speed USB Type-A ports. It’d be nice to see HDMI 2.1 and USB-C ports join the roster in Alienware’s next run of displays.
Should You Buy the Alienware 27 Gaming Monitor?
Finally, we have a panel that truly does it all. The 2021 Alienware 27 Gaming Monitor is a monster display that’s capable of blisteringly high refresh rates at the popular 1440p resolution, while delivering the immaculate wide color coverage of a modern IPS.
Games look and feel amazing at 240Hz, and its color accuracy is good enough to please creative professionals, arguably making this the new king of the 1440p gaming market.
But cutting-edge tech doesn’t come cheap, and the $1,099.99 price tag is a tough pill to swallow. At the time of writing, however, this display is on sale for $824.99 via Dell.com. It’s still a premium price, but far more reasonable. Dell is known for running such sales frequently, so if you’re in the market for this fantastic display, bide your time and don’t pay over $900.