Alienware’s 32-inch 4K QD-OLED gaming monitor is truly fantastic

Picking a new, high-end PC gaming monitor isn’t fun. Once you know your budget, you then have to consider the image resolution, refresh rate, and size that’s right for your desk, not to mention the actual quality of the screen. Even after you select a brand, you’re still stuck sifting through monitor names that read like poorly considered email passwords. Do you want the S32BG85 or the OL231UHD? (Only one of those is real!)

We intend to simplify the process for the average monitor-seeker who’s willing to splurge on the right screen. If you want an excellent, reliable pick (and would rather spend time playing games than researching the latest and greatest in display hardware), we recommend the Alienware AW3225QF, which we initially wrote about when it debuted in mid-January.

This monitor will make the most of whatever power your PC has to offer with its 4K resolution support, 240 Hz max refresh rate, and a QD-OLED panel with near-instantaneous response times and generous viewing angles. Worried about variable refresh rates? It supports all the usual formats, including G-Sync and FreeSync compatibility. Have no clue what variable refresh rates are? That’s fine, it’ll handle everything for you and look damn good doing it.

What I love about this monitor is its ability to do practically everything well — with no major caveats. This hasn’t been the case for OLED monitors, with some of the best models of 2023 still emphasizing one use case over the others. For example, previous Alienware QD-OLED models were great for gaming, but had mediocre text clarity; that was a big gripe for anyone like me expecting the monitor to pull double duty for work and play. Plus, using an OLED for stark white text docs would cause the overall brightness to plummet. This model, by contrast, is a much more polished draft of Dell’s QD-OLED efforts, equally solid for gaming, work, or watching movies — the latter being a reasonable option when compared to Alienware’s 21:9 monitors, since the screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio and is roughly the size and shape of a small to medium TV.

The AW3224QF is slightly curved, but only just enough to boost immersion without swallowing you (and your desk) whole.
Image: Dell

Because the screen is OLED (no backlight is necessary, as pixels can turn on and off individually), the contrast is as good as it can get. Its QD-OLED tech only enhances it, with better brightness and improved picture quality versus some standard OLED panels. Horror games and moody shooters impress in particular, with a character’s flashlight popping against pitch-black shadows in a game like the Resident Evil 4 remake. The screen has serviceable HDR brightness, though as is the case for all but the most expensive UHD TVs, there’s a lingering sense that HDR in general has plenty of room to improve on the PC side, especially when it comes to switching between SDR and HDR without hiccups. It’s less of an issue on consoles, where the HDR experience is more seamless and enjoyable.

What sets this Alienware monitor apart from most other OLED gaming monitors today is its glossy coating. While it can catch more reflections, just like OLED and other kinds of high-end TVs, it offers slightly boosted sharpness and color saturation than others that our team has had experience testing, including the company’s previous 32-inch curved QD-OLED, the AW3423DW, as well as the flexible Corsair Xeneon Flex.

As I mentioned, there’s little tinkering required, even with color reproduction. Right out of the box, the colors look fantastic, and while calibrating the display is an option, it’s hardly necessary. For people who don’t obsess over stuff like “sRGB color space,” great color reproduction gives you the closest experience to what a game’s creators intended. When you see a red stop sign, good color reproduction means you’re seeing what the artist saw when designing the game. Color reproduction is even more important if you intend to make your own stuff, whether that’s art, video, or games.

The quality of color reproduction on the monitor holds true across the SDR and HDR modes, and has been a boon when playing games that make broad use of the color spectrum, from indies like Hotline Miami to big-budget open worlds like this year’s Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, set in a Hawaii full of blue skies, azure beaches, and plenty of neon light.

An image of the Alienware AW3225QF QD-OLED gaming monitor showing the Alienware logo on its display. The monitor is being viewed from a front diagonal angle.

This monitor looks almost identical to Alienware’s 34-inch QD-OLED from 2022. However, this one’s 16:9 aspect ratio make it better fit for games and movies.
Image: Dell

There are, as with any purchase this costly, limitations to consider. Maximalists may prefer the additional real estate offered by ultrawide and super ultrawide monitors. But as someone who just retired their super ultrawide after four years, please trust me when I say your neck will be grateful for a big traditional monitor rather than a horizontal obelisk that spans the length of your desk and requires you to turn your entire head to see the sides of the screen. And for those planning to connect their consoles, the monitor will output both 1080p or 4K resolution with easy, effective HDR support (however, the monitor doesn’t support 1440p resolution with either the PS5 or Xbox Series X).

OLED skeptics may also have the lingering anxiety of burn-in — a problem that plagued more screens in the early days of the technology than it does now. To calm your nerves, Dell offers a three-year warranty that covers burn-in, among other problems. However, going off user reviews of Alienware’s recent OLED screens, image burn-in seems to be uncommon.

Lastly, there’s the issue of price. At $1,199.99, it’s the price of a nice TV. This is where I recommend that those considering a new monitor take a moment to calculate their daily time spent in front of their gaming PC. If you find yourself at the desk more often than on your sofa, it makes sense that your monitor should be as good as (if not better than) your television. And if you’re like me, and work on the same screen that you game, then the decision’s all the easier. But if you’re only using a PC monitor now and then, anything over a grand is likely a big ask for most of us.

If you have the means and want the best monitor right now, this is a killer pick. And if now’s not the best time, that’s OK, because we’ll be tracking the price of this one throughout 2024, noting whenever it happens to sink to near or below $1,000.

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