When we reviewed the Asus PG258Q a few months ago, we weren’t surprised to see its like from a brand like Republic of Gamers. It tends to go for the price-is-no-object crowd with most products. When the same panel part showed up from every other manufacturer, that got our attention. Obviously, there is a demand for 25” TN panels with FHD resolution that cost north of $500. It seems like a high premium but when performance is this good, cost becomes a secondary consideration.
It’s easy to compare displays like this to a high-end sports car. When you buy a Ferrari or Lamborghini, you accept certain compromises in the name of speed. It won’t be as comfortable as a Lexus, nor will it carry three of your friends and their luggage in luxury. But when you put the hammer down, nothing else, not even the price, matters a jot. The AW2518H and its siblings are like that exotic automobile. One might wonder why anybody would buy TN and FHD when there are so many good monitors with greater resolution and higher-quality IPS or VA panels. But once you’ve played games on one, the answer becomes clear.
The AW2518H easily matches gaming performance with its competition. It can run at 240Hz all day long without a hiccup and deliver premium motion quality too, with G-Sync and a truly usable ULMB feature. By running the backlight strobe at 144Hz, it’s possible to reap its benefit without giving up significant output or contrast. Previous G-Sync screens were reduced to merely average monitors in ULMB mode. Thanks to peak output over 400cd/m2, these panels can do justice to it. And that’s a serious advantage to gamers who prefer it over adaptive-refresh. Though we can find no evidence that it causes any lag, some believe it does. For those users, this monitor is ideal.
Alienware sets itself apart with a different take on gamma tracking. Rather than matching the 2.2 power function like virtually every other computer display in existence, it references BT.1886, which is becoming the dominant standard in video production and gaming. Our only complaint is a lack of options. There are no gamma presets and therefore no way to dial in a lighter presentation. Despite that, we believe the AW2518H has a slight edge in picture quality over the other 25” 240Hz monitors in the category. The only way it can get any better will be when VA panels can run this fast.
If nothing but the absolute fastest monitor will do for your gaming system, the AH2518H is a great choice. It offers the same premium experience as similarly priced screens from Asus ROG, Acer, and AOC while sporting high-end build quality and slick, understated styling. You’ll know it’s meant for gaming, but it doesn’t scream at you. For these reasons, we’re giving it our Tom’s Hardware Editor Recommended Award.
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