Alienware AW2723DF gaming monitor review: 240Hz heaven
The Alienware AW2723DF might not have a catchy name, but does that really matter when the monitor itself is so darn good?
Alienware has been around for years now. Its various laptops, desktops, and design aesthetics have become staples of the PC gaming market. However, their recent foray into providing everything for your setup hasn’t been all smooth.
Expensive gear matches the brand’s overtly expensive lineup. However, despite costing $649, and a new coat of paint – alongside a bounty of tools at its disposal – the Alienware AW2723DF might be one of the best gaming monitors that we have tested.
- Screen size: 27-inches
- Panel type: IPS
- Resolution: 2560×1440
- Brightness: 600 nits (peak)
- Contrast ratio: 1000:1
- Refresh rate: 240Hz/280Hz overclocked (via DisplayPort)
- Response time: 1ms
- Color gamut: 100% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3
- Connectivity: 2 x HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, USB-B Hub (USB 3.2 Gen 1 downstream with Battery Charging 1.2, 3 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 downstream, USB 3.2 Gen 1 upstream)
- Price: $649
Despite a reputation for having mildly gaudy looks, Alienware has somehow managed to strike a smart balance with the AW2723DF. The futuristic-gamer aesthetic blends well into the new smooth and less ostentatious design. It still looks like something you’d game on, but it isn’t overt in its appearance.
What we didn’t expect to find soothing is the backlight that emits from some LEDs at the back. Similar to the look that Samsung and Philips have opted for, it provides a soft light for those late-night sessions. Usually, gaming RGB products tend to feel a little much on the eyes after a while, but here, it comfortably fell right into place during a few late-night sessions with Resident Evil 4 Remake over the weekend.
We’re also big fans of the matte, eggshell finishes to the plastic, giving the monitor that elegance often missing from gaming monitors. We think that’s the word to describe this with and it’s utterly bizarre to be saying it about an Alienware product. It’s an elegant device, one that feels like a small push against expectations.
As with most modern monitors, it was particularly easy to set up. Within about five minutes of opening the box and making room on the desk for it, we were right into Windows. It still did require us to change the monitor refresh rate, but this isn’t anything out of the norm.
The AW2723DF is packed full of features. Some feel a little half-baked, like the included arm for your headset. It’s just an odd addition and one we didn’t make use of. We’re currently using a pair of Audeze LCD-GX headphones for our gaming purposes and they’re particularly heavier than other headsets we have on hand. Leaving these for hours or days at a time is asking for a snap of the monitor’s fragile-looking headphone holder.
Alienware monitor tools and settings
We’re also unsure about the monitor’s software-level tools. Built into the monitor are several tracking tools like on-screen framerates, and being able to isolate a part of the screen to assist with aiming.
However, the massive crosshair and multiple colors it can render the screen are lost on anyone not getting this for esports reasons. Even during testing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, we didn’t see much need for it outside of extreme edge cases.
We’re not berating the feature by any means, as it’s quite cool that Alienware is making the Swiss army knife of gaming monitors. However, it’s such a niche use case, we wonder why it’s one of the first options you see.
We did appreciate having a monitor-level refresh rate indicator, which is normally measured in Hz. It’s a nice little addition that gives you more reassurance that you are getting the performance that you paid for.
Color and HDR
Where the monitor shines is in the colors and vibrancy of the screen. As we mentioned, we’ve been playing Resident Evil 4 Remake, and despite its gloomy atmosphere, the game just pops while being played. It consistently impressed with just how good games look on this monitor.
The HDR, however, still feels like a “make-do” situation as we’ve seen on other monitors. We’re in a particular position where we’ve seen true HDR-calibrated monitors. Once you’ve looked into the void of an Eizo monitor calibrated properly and worked in the color correction space, you begin to notice the shortcomings of many gaming monitors.
HDR on Windows isn’t the best. Even when forcing on the HDR or using Windows AutoHDR, the screen always feels a little darker than intended. Rated at DispalyHDR 600 by VESA, HDR should be 1000 nits or above. These variations and lower HDR ratings aren’t bad per se, but are effectively loopholes in the system.
Here, it does the job it needs to for the audience it’s supposed to serve. We wouldn’t want to use this for HDR color grading or color-accurate work in Lightroom or Capture One, but in a rather expensive pinch, it could do a decent job.
Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates on Esports, Gaming and more.
Resolution and refresh rate
What is great is the combination of resolution and refresh rate. We’re of a firm belief that unless you’re going all out with a GPU, 1440p is a sweet spot for gaming on PC right now. You get extra fidelity in your games and can achieve much higher frame rates in the process.
On a personal level, 240Hz has never been something to take much note of. Most of our time is spent in single-player games, or titles locked at 60FPS for balance purposes. The few times we’ve played multiplayer titles at higher than 144FPS, we’ve rarely noticed the difference. Though, those who are more esports minded will certainly notice the change.
Here, the Alienware AW2723DF is no different. We could certainly tell while playing Magic: The Gathering Arena and using Windows, as both the game and operating system overcompensate with too much motion blur.
We’re sure those who can tell the difference between the refresh rates will tell the difference. However, the few esports titles we took for a spin didn’t make this exceptionally clear to us. It’s certainly a smaller jump than 60Hz to 144Hz. However, a quick check-in with Blur Busters quickly showed us the light of higher-refresh rate monitors, especially the difference between 144Hz, and 240Hz.
A bugbear we have with Alienware is something that’s still persistent on multiple monitors. An embedded USB hub is available on the back and uses a USB-B cable to bridge the connection between the PC and monitor.
The lack of using the much more robust USB-C is something we hope manufacturers start moving towards in the future. Having yet another type of hyper-specific data cable, rather than a universal one is frustrating, especially if you misplace the USB-B cable somewhere.
Alienware AW2723DF gaming performance
We adored our time gaming on the Alienware AW2723DF. The vivid colors, despite the HDR issues, made this exceptionally smooth. Thrusting it into various gaming scenarios never presented a struggle.
Even when using variable refresh rates in games where available saw us never skipping a beat, as the monitor actively looked its best at all times.
Of course, with that 240Hz refresh rate, and the potential for the panel to hit 280Hz on powerful systems, this monitor is an absolute joy in almost any gaming scenario.
Once we set it up and calibrated it properly, we found it to be a great partner to take while exploring Destiny 2’s new areas or tackling the constant barrage of enemies from our beloved selection of retro FPS games.
It’s also GPU agnostic. With both AMD Freesync and Nvidia’s G-Sync onboard, it’ll be able to slot straight into your setup without much issue.
Verdict – 4/5
We’re huge fans of the Alienware AW2723DF. It provided a luxurious gaming experience and a boatload of tools for those who need them. Alienware’s new look for their products is something we want to see continue too, as we’re going to miss the rounded edges once it’s taken back.
While it might seem a little costly at $700, we do think that if you can afford it, this should be a contender for your next monitor.
If you click on a product link on this page we may earn a small affiliate commission.