OLED panels put LED ones to shame with top-grade contrast levels that produce brilliant, eye-popping color. That’s why it’s getting increasing popular in TVs, and we’re even seeing more laptops boast OLED.
But for gamers committed to the monitor lifestyle, the panel choices are primarily limited to IPS, TN or VA, with the latter being your best bet for high contrast. But that’ll change September 30, when Alienware’s one-of-a-kind OLED monitor hit retailers in a 55-inch, 4K resolution package for $3,999.99.
We got to see the Alienware AW5520QF play The Elder Scrolls Online off a gaming desktop running an AMD Radeon 5700XT graphics cards. Brighter colors, like green trees and purple flowers, were striking. In the nighttime scene, even dark hues, like the architecture or rich indigo sky, weren’t lost, instead mesmerizing with a show of their own. That’s just a taste of why color fanatics go nuts for OLED.
Good color isn’t limited to the screen. Around back, the monitor has an RGB alien head and strip that you can customize in the AlienFX software, but they have to be the same color.
But more impressive than RGB you’ll rarely look at (unless you go through the effort of VESA mounting this monstrosity on your hopefully solid walls) is the cable management system. The back has a pop-off cover that hides a tunnel for keeping things tidy.
Yes, It’s Real
We first saw the AW5520QF in January at the CES trade show. But in general, it’s not uncommon for products showcased at CES to never hit the market. And some reports even claimed that the release of this monitor was unlikely. But the Alienware OLED monitor is definitely hitting stores in all its inky-black glory this fall. In fact, it'll be $1,500 than Dell originally estimated, the company told us.
Native contrast is listed as 130,000:1. Considering the highest contrast on our best 4K gaming monitors page is the Philips 436M6 Momentum at 4,000:1, that’s pretty mind-boggling. Dell decided to forgo HDR support, but the AW5520QF covers 98.5% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and hits up to 400 nits brightness.
And it’s not just a pretty face--it’s a speed demon too. Despite its high resolution, it sports a 120 Hz refresh rate, plus a 0.5ms response time (GTG) and FreeSync.
For $$3,999.99, you better get all the ports you can want. Dell made a good effort by including (dispersed throughout the back and left side) DisplayPort 1.2, three HDMI 2.0 ports, four USB ports, S/PDIF audio line-out and a headphone jack. There are also two 14W speakers.
With its 54.6-inch viewable screen size and a surprisingly thin profile, I can easily see this monitor sitting where my 55-inch TV currently does in my living room. It doesn’t have a tuner, but at least there’s a remote. On the other hand, we're curious to see how working in Windows 10 looks, considering the relatively low 81ppi pixel density, and if tweaking font scaling will be required.
The AW5520QF arrives in the U.S. on September 30 and in EMEA on October 30.
But if you’re looking for something a bit more, shall we say, attainable, Dell also announced three more gaming monitors today:
- Alienware AW2720HF ($599.99, September 17): 27-inch IPS panel with 1080p resolution, a 240 Hz refresh rate and FreeSync
- Dell S3220DGF (August 28, $599.99): curved 32-inch VA panel with QHD resolution, 165 Hz and FreeSync.
- Alienware AW3420DW (August 28, $1,499.99): curved 34-inch IPS with QHD resolution, 165 Hz and FreeSync 2 (works with HDR).