Dell Alienware AW2518HF Review: Best 240Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor for the Money

Dell Alienware AW2518HF

Introduction

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF offers the impeccable fast-paced competitive gameplay experience with 240Hz and 1ms response time speed; In addition, it features a premium design with many exclusive features, rich connectivity, and versatile ergonomics; all of it for an alluring price.

Of course, for such state-of-the-art performance, there had to be some sacrifices. With only Full HD screen resolution and a TN panel, the image quality is rather mediocre, though still crisp enough for an enjoyable viewing experience with roughly 90 pixels per inch.

Image Quality

The Dell AW2518HF features a TN panel developed by AU Optronics; the same panel is used for the already released AOC AGON AG251FZ and the ViewSonic XG2530 240Hz gaming displays.

As expected, the viewing angles amount to 170° vertical and 160° horizontal meaning that colors and contrast shift when the image is viewed from certain angles. As a competitive gamer, though, this won’t cause a lot of issues. You can still enjoy a movie while lying on a bed as you can tilt the screen and simply match the viewing angles to your position.

Overall, the measured contrast ratio is a bit shy of the specified 1,000:1 but the brightness performance is perfect as it peaks around 400nits with consistent and uniform luminance. Dell’s known for their premium image quality, and the image straight out of the box didn’t disappoint.

Performance

The 240Hz vs 144Hz dilemma is more and more frequently brought up among competitive gamers. In short, the difference is certainly apparent but not even close as it is between 60Hz and 144Hz.

The problem is that 240Hz gaming monitors cost nearly twice as much as the 144Hz monitors, forcing most players to skip or put off the purchase until they become more affordable. Alas, Dell’s offer may change your mind.

Another potential deal-breaker is that the Dell AW2518HF 240Hz gaming monitor is only 1920×1080 and TN panel based which, with the performance put aside, provides an inferior image quality to other panels. However, only such display specs allow for the impeccable refresh rates and response time speed, so depending on your gaming goals, it can certainly be worth the price.

At 240Hz, the image refreshes four times faster than on a 60Hz display and around 1.67 times than on a 144Hz gaming monitor. This gives you a significant edge over your opponents with regular displays while the 1ms response time speed eliminates all smearing and ghosting of the fast moving objects. The Dell AW2518HF input lag performance is flawless as well, at only ~5ms.

If you have an AMD FreeSync graphics card, preferably one of the new Vega cards, you can synchronize the Dell AW2518HF refresh rate to the GPU. This allows for the dynamic refresh rate which will eliminate screen tearing and stuttering as well as further reduce input lag and keep your FPS (Frames Per Second) rate from fluctuating.

For Nvidia card users, the Dell AW2518HF is also available with G-SYNC instead of FreeSync technology dubbed as the Dell Alienware AW2518H.

Features

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF display offers the eye-catching AlienFX RGB LED lighting technology which you can sync to the on-screen content as well as to the rest of your Alienware computer gear. There are 149 video games that are compatible with this technology which is more than any other similar LED lighting tech.

The OSD (On-Screen Display) offers a plethora of gaming features including pre-calibrated picture presets (FPS, RTS, RPG) and three customizable gaming profiles. The OSD menu is intuitive and easily navigated via the six OSD buttons placed on the bottom of the screen. While the menu is not open, four of these buttons can be used as hotkeys for certain functions. You can assign them to any shortcut under the ‘Personalize’ section.

Other useful features include the Dark Stabilizer and the Game Enhance Mode. The former brightens up the screen (3 levels), so you can more easily spot the enemies in dark areas while the latter consists of three functions (on-screen timer, FPS counter, and Display Alignment for multiple display setups).

Design and Connectivity

Dell Alienware AW2518HF Amazon

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF FreeSync monitor offers a first-class quality design with ultra-thin bezels and a steady metal tripod stand under which you can conceal the cables. Ergonomic functionalities include 130mm height adjustment, 90-degree pivot, 20-degree swivel to the left and right, -5, 25-degree tilt, and 100 x 100 VESA mount compatibility. The screen is covered with an anti-glare matte (3H) screen coating.

There’s a plenty of connectivity options including a DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 2.0, four downstream USB 3.0 ports (one with the quick charging capacity), and the headphones jack. The Dell Alienware AW2518HF FreeSync range amounts to 48-240Hz.

The AlienFX technology is placed at the back of the monitor which allows for the lighting to reflect off the wall and create a more atmospheric feel than just “Look at me, I can shine” RGB LED gimmick for the sake of the gimmick. When synced to a compatible game, the lighting can really enrich the gaming experience as in certain FPS games, for example, the colors change from green to red as your health drops.

Price & Similar Monitors

On Dell’s official website, the Dell Alienware AW2518HF price is only $350 at the moment (September 2017). If you ever considered getting a high-quality 240Hz gaming monitor, now is your chance as all other similar displays are at least $450 yet of lesser quality.

The G-SYNC version, the Dell AW2518H, is priced at $530 and makes for a worthy rival for the popular ASUS PG258Q 240Hz G-SYNC gaming monitor.

Conclusion

Although all 240Hz gaming monitors are currently limited to Full HD resolution, it won’t stop any competitive and professional gamer from obtaining the absolute state-of-the-art technology for gameplay performance. These ultimate fast-paced gaming beasts may be too expensive for regular players, but those with high gaming goals shouldn’t expect to pay less for such impeccable display technology.

At $350, the price is even reasonable and actually hard to resist. The Dell Alienware AW2518HF not only delivers the flawless gaming experience but a plethora of exclusive features, the cutting edge AlienFX technology, extensive ergonomics and connectivity options and as if it weren’t enough, an awesome ultra-thin design.

Dell Alienware AW2518HF Specifications
Screen Size24.5-inch
Resolution1920x1080 (Full HD)
Panel TypeTN
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate240Hz
Response Time1ms (GtG)
Adaptive SyncFreeSync (48Hz-240Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other Ports4x Downstream USB 3.0, Headphone Jack
Brightness400 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors16.7 million (6-bit + FRC)
VESAYes (100x100mm)

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