The Good The games look spectacular and thus play at 120 Hz via DisplayPort.
The Bad This is far too expensive considering the trade-offs that do not provide future reliability over HDMI 2.1 and relatively low brightness.
The Bottom Line Alienware 55 OLED Gaming Monitor is a great gaming monitor, but the price premium for a regular OLED TV is hard to get around.
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Every now and then I look at a product that confuses and deceives me. The Alienware 55 OLED gaming monitor surprised me in that it landed in the office less than two weeks ago. Great, because 55 inches is a huge amount – for a computer monitor, at least – with a wide gamut, bright colors, striking blacks and extremely fast pixel response OLED known for. It is also looking, in the bright Legend design system, the company opened in early 2019. But it’s also confusing because I can’t understand it as something that someone would want to buy for an alternative, like $ 1600 2019 LG C9 series given the $ 4000 price of Alienware. Maybe for $ 3,000. For $ 2500, probably.
It’s important to understand that nothing compares to OLED for gaming. This technology wins the trifecta of image quality contrast (because black pixels are really black), color gamut (at least 90% UHDA P3 ) and color accuracy (due to relatively pure spectral intensities). Plus its pixels turn on and off as fast as you can, minimizing ghosting. Unlike most movies, games also push the boundaries of color, because computer graphics actually use all of the most saturated colors on the edges of the gamut that are not found in nature.
From this point of view, you just want to park in front of Alienware 55 and play until you are evicted.
Why a monitor?
As a monitor, Alienware offers some advantages over TVs like LG. In the absence HDMI 2.1 support – stick a pin in this thread, at the moment – it DisplayPort 1.4 connections are probably the biggest difference. It provides the bandwidth needed to maintain 4K at a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz rather than the usual 60 Hz. (Higher refresh rates give you more space to synchronize the frame rate of the game with the display, which helps to avoid artifacts.) In addition, 120 GHz can also make it easier to just see the screen in your eyes than 60 GHz, depending on how sensitive and sensitive you are. What are you watching.
It also has the usual monitors, including four USB-A ports, two easily accessible on the side. In this case, it will allow the wireless keys and devices to be glued with long cables somewhere.
Below the screen, you’ll find standard controls for the monitor, and it’s equipped with a great two-halves remote that connects to magnets – and which breaks down (but doesn’t break) when you dump it. The screen settings are more similar to the monitor than the TVs.
If you are familiar with Dell monitors, you will recognize Smart HDR modes – in this case games, movies, desktops, and directories – that tell Windows whether it can change the HDR setting. If you choose a game setting, Windows can turn it on for games or a wide color gamut. If you want this for movies, you will need to enable this setting instead.
In addition, it has various presets for game types, such as first-person shooters and real-time strategy games. Each noticeably changes the white dot and gamma of the display to, say, increase the brightness in the shadow areas. FPS changes the display most dramatically, increasing the brightness so you can highlight the shadow details.
But I often found myself switching between them in the middle of Borderlands 3 – FPS when I needed shady details, but returning to something else afterwards because FPS made it too washable and had a greener role to increase the brightness. You won’t find any crossroads options; OLEDs are particularly sensitive to combustion, so you don’t want to be alone for hours on screen.
The Alienware 55 design matches the company’s latest gaming equipment, such as Area-51m laptop . Obviously, this is Alienware, it has custom lighting that can be set via the OSD or USB connection.
The back panel turns off very easily – it is magnetically attached – so you can access two other HDMI connections, DisplayPort, digital audio, two USB-A connections, and a USB 3.0 input port.
The included base uses a standard boomerang design to fit into the table top layout, but I can’t figure out how to use it that way. You really want to sit about 5 or 6 feet back from it, and the typical text does not look good no matter how far you sit; not surprising given the 0.32 pixel pitch (80 pixels per inch). For comparison, a 4-inch 27-inch monitor has a pixel height of 0.15 (160 ppi). At first, I was skeptical that it would be fairly stable on one base, but it was quite solid. The AW55 also comes with the standard VESA mount if you want to hang it on the wall.
If the monitor suggested it all plus what you get from a TV like the LG C9 would be one. They support AMD FreeSync Adaptive Update technology to automatically adjust the different frame rates you get in games to prevent artifacts like a gap (my testing is still ongoing). This is good, especially if you have an Xbox One X or an AMD Radeon card .
But not for the more common Nvidia cards with G-sync, which also leaves many gaming laptops . At this price, you can count on G-Sync Ultimate support for a sample HP Omen X Emperium 65 . And unfortunately, FreeSync is not wasted here: the only AMD GPU currently capable of delivering 4K at high frame rates or quality, Radeon VII which is not very common.
In fact, G-Sync support is expected to be available on LG TVs soon, thanks to the introduction of HDMI 2.1 on their TVs for 2019 and the inevitable upgrade of Nvidia firmware to 2.1 for their RTX video cards. While it is possible that Alienware will be able to upgrade its HDMI 2.0 connections to 2.1, something that should be scheduled at the outset is unlikely. Alienware is more likely to be on the list of G-Sync-compatible Nvidia monitors running DisplayPort (one of my test systems found it compatible with G-Sync, but the other didn’t). But it looks like HDMI 2.1 will be a variable upgrade mechanism for future consoles.
And note that it does not support FreeSync 2, which offers better HDR capabilities than the semi-sealed and annoying Windows 10. This is because the monitor has a wide color gamut – 94% of UHDA-P3 in my testing – but you don’t get HDR. The monitor has such a relatively low brightness that the HDR barely looks better. It is rated at a maximum of 400 bolts, and is for a window with about 3% of the screen, where the specification is usually a 10% window. As a rule, as the window grows, the brightness drops, and in my testing the peak was closer to 300 bolts for the 2% window, and usually about 260 bolts for the 10% window. It receives only 110 bolts full screen. (My primary testing is with Calman 5 Ultimate and portrait displays and X-Rite i1Display Pro.)
According to Alienware, it is purposefully designed in such a way that it is very difficult to hit 400 bolts to minimize the possibility of burnout, since the gaming interfaces have persistent elements that can sink in after a while. But on the contrary, a good OLED TV you can make at least 500 bolts for this 10% window, and even a large IPS gaming display, such as HP’s 65-inch Omen X Emperium, makes 1000 bolts.
This means that there is a minimal difference between playing games or watching TV and movies in HDR or non-HDR. Like most low-brightness HDR monitors, Windows squeezes the entire range of tones to get to the brightest elements without blowing them (unlike a TV that is always brighter in HDR). But HDR in games such as Hellblade: the victim of Senua or in ray-traced games like Metro Exodus tend to expand upward to bright moments because bright lights and reflections have more visceral impact than extended halftones.
It just seems like Alienware 55 is delivering either too late or too soon: a year ago it would have seemed more amazing for the money, and a year later it might have offered more money like the better OLED panel and HDMI 2.1.
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Correction, 7:50 AM PT: You can change the lighting using the software if it is connected via USB.