There are few gamers who would not prefer a larger monitor. A bigger screen makes the game’s environment more realistic and engaging. Adding the ultrawide aspect ratio and curvature just heightens the effect. As much fun as a 34 or 35-inch display is, a 38-incher is even more fun. You can sit 3 feet away, fill your peripheral vision and not have to turn your head to see all the action.
There is also no doubt that as a new jumbo screen category, prices are at the premium level. But Alienware’s AW3821DW is currently about $300 cheaper than the other 38-inch display we reviewed, Acer’s Predator X38.
To save $300 on any monitor, one usually must make a few sacrifices. The obvious difference between the two, on paper anyway, is the refresh rate. The Acer offers 175 Hz over the Alienware’s 144 Hz. In our tests, that proved to be a wash. While the Acer draws the screen 1ms faster, the total lag score is the same.
The X38 offers better contrast but other aspects of image quality are the same. Both screens are colorful and accurate with large gamuts and beautiful images. Both are bright, saturated and sharp. The contrast equation might be an issue for some, but the question of how much contrast is worth an extra $300 must be answered by the potential buyer.
Certainly, the Alienware AW3821DW is a beautiful monitor with excellent build quality and decent ergonomics. Its styling and RGB effects are top shelf. There’s no doubt it will provide many years of entertainment and it works well for productivity too.
The $300 answer is this: if price is no object, the Acer X38 is a little better. If you’d rather save $300, the AW3821DW will completely satisfy. It’s a really nice monitor, and we have no problem recommending it for those seeking an immersive jumbo screen experience.