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Alienware AW2521H 360Hz Monitor Review: Motion Blur Be Gone

Addictive response

Alienware AW2521H
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Alienware)

The AW2521H is unashamedly a premium product. With a price tag over $700, it will appeal to those who have large budgets and are willing to spend a lot to have the very best. While there are gaming screens with higher resolution or more color, there are no screens faster than the Alienware AW2521H and the Asus ROG Swift PG259QN, which is about the same price. The two monitors are equal in every way that matters for gaming, but the Alienware’s inclusion of the Nvidia Reflex latency analyzer may be a tipping point for a small group of users.

(Image credit: Dell)

If you look solely at the input lag score, the obvious conclusion is that you can have nearly the same performance with a 240 Hz monitor. But that 3ms screen draw time is something that should not be dismissed. The reduction in motion blur is plain to see when you have enough system power to drive frame rates above 300 fps. And the AW2521H is one of the very few monitors that makes ULMB a compelling choice. Since there are virtually no visible frame tears at 240 Hz, ULMB might be a good choice if you want absolutely no motion blur.

The AW2521H doesn’t skimp on features. It delivers excellent HDR with a measured HDR contrast ratio of nearly 8,000:1, putting it close to some VA monitors. In SDR mode, though, contrast is merely average among other IPS displays.

We also enjoyed the lighting feature which lets users choose from a myriad of effects and colors. When coordinated with an Alienware gaming PC, the light show is a lot of fun. And tweakers will appreciate the Nvidia Performance Analyzer. Though it requires some extra hardware to use, there is nothing like it on any other display (other 360Hz monitors are supposed to include this, but they aren’t out yet).

The big question you might still be asking is one we’ve answered before: do you need more than FHD resolution for satisfying gameplay? In our experience, if video processing and image fidelity are solid, the answer is no. The AW2521H runs at 1920 x 1080 pixels and delivers the best gaming we’ve experienced outside its direct competitor, the Asus ROG Swift PG259QN. Is it worth paying over $700 for? If ultimate gaming performance is your goal, then most definitely yes.

Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.
  • barryv88
    Stopped readying when I saw it was only HD.
    HD is waaaaay past is selling date. Who still wants to buy a monitor in this day and STILL be stuck for HD for many years to come?
    This is also in conflict with Tom's recommending the world sweet spot res which is QHD. Move on already people.
    Reply
  • TimmyP777
    Uh yeah. People use 1080p for high refresh rates. Noobs know this.
    Reply
  • BX4096
    High refresh rates is the most overhyped gimmick feature I've seen in all my life spent in computing. A 1080p 25-incher for $800? My god, some people are dumb...
    Reply
  • teknic111
    Can the human eye see such things?
    Reply
  • gaborbarla
    High
    BX4096 said:
    High refresh rates is the most overhyped gimmick feature I've seen in all my life spent in computing. A 1080p 25-incher for $800? My god, some people are dumb...

    Why would high refresh rates be a gimmick? I am a gamer with some competitive gaming background and I can tell you that high refresh rate makes a huge difference both in smoothness of scrolling and actual ease of aiming on FPS games. The usefulness diminishes as we go over 144Hz, but a blur remains, which this monitor supposedly reduces as much as possible. On https://www.testufo.com/ my 144Hz 1440p monitor shows a clear and very visible advantage over 60Hz. With regards to the 1080p, I agree that it is not for me either, but some of the best gamers in the world still use 1080p higher refresh monitors with 240Hz+ and the reason for this is because they can play better with them than a higher res lower refresh monitor, as simple as that. 1080p provides manufacturers a lower amount of pixels to be processed so they can push the price down to acceptable levels. That same monitor probably would not be possible on 1440p or would get crazy expensive as they have to string together processors to pump so many pixels out.
    Reply
  • gaborbarla
    teknic111 said:
    Can the human eye see such things?

    Over 144Hz it becomes more a feeling than seeing. Also I think this monitor is more than just Hz as reducing blur is just as much about pixel response as high Hz. You get very some bad 144Hz monitors compared to very good ones.
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    if you have to ask who this is for, it's not for you.

    just how professional athletes are capable of super human feats, their footwear and attire matters just so they can shave off milliseconds.

    the same applies to professional gamers. they are extremely good at what they do, and one shouldn't confuse someone who is good at games that plays on their down time versus those who do it professionally for a living. their entire day revolves around sharpening their skills, just like an athlete. so the mouse they use, the keyboard they use, the monitor all matters. resolution isn't as important to them, and there is an optimal screen size so their eyes move less. all professional gamers turn down all graphics and effects to maximize framerate and minimize any on screen distraction. this isn't for immersion. it's for a practical use to shave off milliseconds.

    again, not for you.
    Reply
  • s997863
    The reduction in motion blur is visible, and the response is addictive. You won’t care that the resolution is FHD

    This sounds like my reason for still using a CRT to play old games on my i7 PC at 800x600 or 640x480, except those are running only at 60Hz or 85Hz at most. Can somebody please compare this monitor to CRTs for blurring / ghosting in full-screen scrolling?
    Reply
  • Endymio
    BX4096 said:
    High refresh rates is the most overhyped gimmick feature I've seen in all my life spent in computing. A 1080p 25-incher for $800? My god, some people are dumb...
    I'd love to see a double-blind study on high-refresh monitors. I'd bet a sizeable sum that 90%+ of people can't distinguish anything above 120hz.

    I'd also like to point out for the math-challenged here that a monitor with a 3ms response time can't quite hit 360 hz. So there's either some rounding or fudging going on.
    Reply
  • fevanson
    I have a Viewsonic 144hz VA panel, and I bought it for the great contrast ratio, as dealing with HDR is a hit or miss on Windows 10. Although there is slight blur due to it being a "cheaper" panel, the black detail is amazing for not even having hdr. I guess the 80,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio really works well on this monitor.
    Reply