Dell recently released its show-stopping 34-inch curved Alienware gaming monitor, and it’s a beauty. But if the $1499.99 price tag attached to that screen makes your wallet run for cover, you’ll be pleased to know there is another option.
The Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor is the latest screen in the firm’s slightly more budget-friendly G-Series of peripherals. At $599.99, you still get a massive 31.5-inch curved display, along with a list of premium specs: Freesync 2-HDR support, 165hz refresh, 1440p resolution and more.
Some concessions have certainly been made to achieve that price, but if want to get your hands on a new, large-screen gaming monitor without having to remortgage the house, this is among your best options.
Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor (S3220DGF) Technical Specifications
- 31.5″ TN-type curved display
- 2560 x 1440 resolution
- 165hz max refresh rate
- Freesync 2 HDR
- 3000:1 contrast ratio
- Ports: HDMI 2.0 (x2), DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.0 (4x), Aux Out, Headphone out
When it Comes to Screens, Bigger is Better
You can pour over more technical specs all day, but the Dell 32 monitor’s size is easily one of its most impressive features. With 31.5 inches of viewable picture, this is one physically magnificent display.
If you’ve never tried gaming on a curved monitor, you don’t know what you’re missing. When sitting directly in front of the display, the subtle curve reaches deeper into your peripheral vision than a traditional flat screen. It’s easy to forget the room around you, and it makes a real difference for gaming. Racing games carry a heightened sense of speed, first-person shooters feel more immersive and spotting targets on the edge of your screen is slightly easier.
In addition to increased visibility, the monitor’s screen carries other benefits. The Dell 32 Monitor features a TN-style panel — a type of pixel technology long used in gaming monitors for its quick input response and high refresh rate capabilities. Unfortunately, TN panels are terrible when viewed at an angle, as colors and brightness suffer.
On a flat screen this large, you’d be looking at the far corners of the display from an angle great enough to see the shortfalls of the TN tech, even when sitting directly in front of your monitor. However, since this screen is curved, the entire display is aimed directly at the viewer, which goes a long way towards covering up TN panels’ shortcomings.
FreeSync 2 HDR Support
Packed into the Dell 32 monitor’s large panel is a pixel count of 2560 x 1440 (or 1440p “QHD”). Now, on a screen this large you’d need full 4K to get a pin-sharp image, so this screen looks a little softer than smaller 1440p displays. On the other hand, 1440p is the ideal resolution for gamers pushing mid-tier graphics cards, like the GeForce GTX 1070 or RTX 2060, so it’s safe to assume the vast majority of users won’t notice any drop in quality.
The screen can churn through frame rates at up 165hz, which is about as high as any normal human will ever need. And all of this is kept looking silky smooth via FreeSync 2 HDR variable refresh rate technology, which is compatible with both Nvidia and AMD cards.
Freesync 2 HDR support is significant because it’s relatively new, still quite rare and typically seen on monitors that cost a lot more than $600. It introduces “low framerate compensation,” which ensures your screen stays synced even if your in-game frames drop below the screen’s minimum refresh rate of 48hz. Also, unlike the original FreeSync, FreeSync 2 is capable of supporting HDR while maintaining super low input latency.
HDR support is a touted feature of this monitor. However, with a peak brightness of around 400 nits, it’s not quite capable of delivering the eye-popping flashes of light you might expect from a high-end HDR television, which can be in excess of 1000 nits. This is a shame, but a fair concession considering you’re paying nearly $1,000 less than what Dell charges for its top-of-the-line monitors.
Clean and Simple Design
Once again, Dell has done an excellent job of packaging this display in a chassis that looks sleek and modern, while maintaining a clean, minimalistic aesthetic. At this point, you really get the sense that Dell’s styling department has a firm grasp on the company’s design language.
Gamers will appreciate the thin bezels and matte finish screen that effectively dissipates reflections. The base packs a small footprint, but it’s plenty stable and offers a great range of adjustability. On the underside of the panel the port selection is fully featured, with HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.0 and audio jacks for speakers and headphones within easy reach.
Buttons on the lower righthand side of the display get you into the on-screen menus, which are clean and intuitive. They pack all the options you’d expect from a modern gaming monitor, including custom profiles, an on-screen frame counter, a timer and pixel overdrive settings. The latter lets you crank up the pixels’ response times, lessening motion blur but compromising the picture quality in the process.
Likewise, a Dark Stabilizer option dynamically brightens darker areas of the screen, which is intended to help gamers spot enemies in the shadows. Unfortunately, this also washes out black levels and ruins the overall contrast delivery. I preferred to game with these options turned off.
Should You Buy the Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor?
Absolutely, so long as you temper your expectations a little. This is not the most high-end monitor out there — its TN panel type is fast and responsive, but not quite bright enough for true HDR delivery. Its contrast range is modest, and the 1440p resolution appears slightly soft on this large a canvas. However, 32-inch gaming monitors that excel at all of the above (i.e. 4K IPS-type panels) can cost well over $1000.
The Dell 32 Curved Gaming Monitor sets out to deliver a high-quality big-screen experience at a price that won’t break the bank, and it succeeds. The 165hz refresh rate is spectacularly smooth, input latency is low, and games look amazing on that large curved screen.
FreeSync 2 support is also a huge deal. You’ll struggle to find another screen in this size category that has FreeSync 2 for this price. And now that FreeSync works with both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards, this monitor is an excellent choice no matter what hardware you’re running.
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Photos by Austin Nooe | Slickdeals