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Alienware AW3821DW Review: Smooth, Curved, Slick Ultrawide

Top-of-the-line 38-inch ultrawide

Alienware AW3821DW
(Image: © Dell)

Viewing Angles

Alienware AW3821DW

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The AW3821DW has off-axis performance typical of the latest IPS panels. At 45 degrees to the sides, the picture goes a bit green and brightness falls by around 30%. Shadow detail remains clearly visible, but black levels increase slightly. From the top, the screen goes cool, and brightness drops by approximately 40%.

Screen Uniformity

To learn how we measure screen uniformity, click here.

Alienware AW3821DW

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Our AW3821DW sample laid down one of the best uniformity test results we’ve ever recorded. 2.66% is well beyond visually perfect. There are no visible artifacts anywhere on the screen when displaying an all-black pattern. No glow, no bleed, no nothing. It doesn’t get better than this.

Pixel Response & Input Lag

Click here to read up on our pixel response and input lag testing procedures.

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Alienware AW3821DW

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Alienware AW3821DW

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The X38’s extra speed might be a reason to spend more money, but the difference is pretty small. Though the AW3821DW is 1ms behind in its screen draw time, it matches the Predator X38’s lag score, so its raw input lag is actually a tad lower. In practice, there is no perceivable difference in response between the AW3821DW and Predator X38. Even the most skilled player would not be at a disadvantage with either 38-inch screen. 25ms is very quick, and only a few milliseconds behind the fastest 240 and 360 Hz monitors we’ve tested.

  • coloradoblah
    About 600 too expensive still
    Reply
  • Metteec
    Overall, thank you for a well-detailed review. I think another important point to mention is the warranty. The Alienware includes Dell's 3-year advanced replacement, meaning Dell will send you a replacement before receiving your broken screen. With so many comparisons to the Acer X38p, having a 2-year standard warranty, I think that Tom's should mention the support differential. Another important factor not evaluated is the noise. The AW3821DW is whisper quiet. The X38p has a noticeable fan noise that I can hear with headphones on if no sound is playing. The sound was driving me crazy.

    I have owned the X38p (returned) and now I own the AW3821DW and can confirm the AW3821DW's HDR is mostly trash, but the color accuracy, screen size, g-sync, brightness, and responsiveness make it one of the best monitors I have used. I was able to purchase for around $1,300 in the US with a 10% off coupon and their sale. I would not be surprised if you saw the monitor get to $1000 in six months.
    Reply
  • helper800
    coloradoblah said:
    About 600 too expensive still
    At this price range you mind as well grab a 48 inch LG CX when they inevitably go on sale. I just recently got the 55 inch LG CX at Costco for 1350. I wall mounted it and have it at a -16 degree angle above my other 2 monitors. I have not used it for any PC gaming yet as I am setting up a new desk as well but it looks great about 5.5 feet away and all I have to do is look up about +40 degrees or lean back in my chair. It primary purpose is not PC gaming, however, its for the consoles and watching content from my bed about 10 feet away.

    TLDR; why get this monitor for nearly the price of something so much better?
    Reply
  • coloradoblah
    helper800 said:
    At this price range you mind as well grab a 48 inch LG CX when they inevitably go on sale. I just recently got the 55 inch LG CX at Costco for 1350. I wall mounted it and have it at a -16 degree angle above my other 2 monitors. I have not used it for any PC gaming yet as I am setting up a new desk as well but it looks great about 5.5 feet away and all I have to do is look up about +40 degrees or lean back in my chair. It primary purpose is not PC gaming, however, its for the consoles and watching content from my bed about 10 feet away.

    TLDR; why get this monitor for nearly the price of something so much better?
    Yeah, im not a fan of non matte screens but the sheer size and contrast alone its a better buy
    Reply
  • helper800
    coloradoblah said:
    Yeah, im not a fan of non matte screens but the sheer size and contrast alone its a better buy
    It has a glossy finish but its bright enough to get rid of about 80% of glare. It was a big concern of mine but I am happy with the finish in the end. I have had some monitors with matte finishes that end up making the picture overall grainy looking which, in my opinion, is worse than glare.
    Reply