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Alienware AW2521H 360Hz Monitor Review: Motion Blur Be Gone

Addictive response

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

To adjust grayscale tracking, the AW2521H must be set to its Custom Color picture mode. That’s where we did all our testing and calibration.

Grayscale & Gamma Tracking

We describe our grayscale and gamma tests in detail here.

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Dell Alienware AH2521H

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Dell Alienware AH2521H

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The AW2521H is just a tad too bluE to make our Calibration Not Required list. You can see the error at 60% brightness and above. It isn’t a huge issue, but reducing the blue slider adds image depth and makes overall color truer. Default gamma is close to the 2.2 line except for the 10% step, where it’s a little light. That will make shadow detail a little easier to see but a tad less foreboding.

Adjusting the RGB sliders (in our case, just green and blue), took grayscale tracking to an extremely accurate level with all errors under 1 Delta E (dE). Gamma didn’t change and tracks tightly at all brightness levels except 10%. Custom Color mode is the best option for optimal image fidelity.

Comparisons

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Dell Alienware AH2521H

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Dell Alienware AH2521H

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Dell Alienware AH2521H

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Dell Alienware AH2521H

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

An out-of-box grayscale error 3.11dE is good in this group of monitors, where all but one should be calibrated. The AW2521H benefits greatly from calibration, rising to third place with an impressive 0.54dE score.

The AW2521H’s gamma tracking is a mixed bag. It places last in the range of values, though 0.29 is a solid score. And since every step but 10% is right on the 2.2 line, the average value is 2.18, closer than that of the other monitors here. Ultimately, the Alienware’s gamma is good and contributes to better perceived contrast and color saturation.

Color Gamut Accuracy

For details on our color gamut testing and volume calculations, click here.

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Dell Alienware AH2521H

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Dell Alienware AH2521H

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The AW2521H is an sRGB-native monitor with a little bonus volume. Out of the box (first chart) all three primaries are a little outside the perimeter of the sRGB gamut triangle. This contributes to greater saturation for both SDR and HDR content. Red is slightly undersaturated, but all other inner targets are a little over-saturated. The good news is this isn’t noticeable in real-world content. The blue white point in the center pulls magenta and cyan off hue, but we were able to fix this with our grayscale calibration.

Our RGB adjustments (second chart) removed the secondary color errors. 60 and 80% red are still slightly under-saturated, but this is not a visible error. You’re looking at excellent performance.

Comparisons

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Dell Alienware AH2521H

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Dell Alienware AH2521H

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The AW2521H’s default color error is 2.43dE, which is nothing to complain about, since errors under 3dE are typically considered invisible to the naked eye. Our calibration took that number down to 1.50dE, even better. Though there is no attempt at DCI-P3 color here, saturation is vivid and bright for both SDR and HDR material.

If you want a DCI-P3 monitor that runs fast, the Samsung is one of the few choices out there. It covers over 85% of the color space and has an sRGB mode that covers over 115% of sRGB. But the Alienware comes in second place with 112.83% for sRGB. This is a good compromise, considering its speed advantage over almost every monitor in existence. The 360 Hz PG259QN is only a tiny bit behind with 111.51% of sRGB. And all the screens here are very colorful, they just don’t all cover DCI-P3.

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.