If you’ve still not had a chance to experience a real, large gaming OLED display, then jumping in front of Alienware’s AW3225QF QD-OLED monitor is akin to submerging your eyes in a warm bath of color. It’s a pleasant feeling, the kind of thing you hope to get from an ultra-premium device. Like a massage, the first time staring at the popping colors of Alienware’s latest curved screen starts with a period of intense stimulation, followed by a sensation of laxity that you simply wish could keep going forever.
Put simply, the gentle 1700R curved screen is a beauty. Or, with a bit more metaphor, the monitor is a pure Goldilocks expression of “this one’s just right” in terms of size, performance, and quality. The 32-inch monitor ticks all the boxes save for one. At $1,200 MSRP, you’ll have to stretch the wallet to experience its visual joys. If you’re not in it for the top-tier 240 Hz refresh rate meant for playing twitchy competitive shooters online, you would still have an excellent monitor with a beautiful display. You would just be paying a pretty penny for that viewing privilege.
This particular QD-OLED monitor first reared its head during CES, and while Gizmodo had a bit of alone time in front of it while I got stomped online playing Halo: Infinite, the real treat is getting to hunker down with it on a more personal level. There’ve been quite a few “world’s first” OLED TV, desktop, and laptop monitors clamoring for gamer’s attention this past month, but what’s helped Alienware’s 32-inch stand out is that it seems to have everything packed into one. It’s a curved screen supporting up to a 240 Hz refresh rate at 4K, 3840 x 2160 resolution. There’s the stated 0.03ms response time typical of most OLEDs.
In layman’s terms, that’s pretty much everything we’d want from a high-fidelity gaming monitor. It’s big, but not too big that it’s hanging off the sides of your desk. It’s bright, boasting 1,000 nits of peak brightness in HDR, but regular preset settings are more than fair without burning your eyeballs out of their sockets. What you expect from regular OLED, you can anticipate with Alienware’s latest monitor, but it also has two HDMI 2.1 ports, a DisplayPort, and several USB ports in the rear. Not to mention, there’s a handy quick-access USB-C port right under the monitor that supports power charging and another regular USB as well. All that’s not exactly necessary, but it’s great quality of life features we’ve come to expect from Alienware.
What’s most obvious from the QD-OLED is just how sharp everything looks. The blacks are nice and deep, resulting in sharper contrast overall. As expected from any organic screen, the colors are nice and vibrant. Objects do pop and there’s a crispness to the edges that makes everything rather distinct in motion or when stationary.
You can hook up this monitor to a console, though won’t be able to make the most out of the full 240 Hz. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are limited to 120 Hz at 60 FPS, though that really shouldn’t stop you. We took it for a spin on games like Mortal Kombat 1 and God of War: Ragnarök. The limited refresh rate doesn’t matter all that much, especially when you’re playing a single-player game, and the screen was more than enough to read an opponent’s moves as they were happening in MK1.
On a full gaming rig, titles such as Starfield and Elden Ring with their unique color palettes look especially striking. This is the kind of monitor where the sweet spot for viewing is about two feet away on your desk, and the stand makes it easy to adjust to the right height and angle. Still, it’s the kind of monitor that will consume your computer desk, leaving little room for a second monitor if you’re using your station for both work and pleasure.
But at $1,200, you can bet you’d want it to take over your desktop. The gaping hole left in your wallet, nor the 240 Hz refresh rate, won’t make you a much more competitive player, but at least your consolation prize will be an exceptionally pretty and excessively functional screen.