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Dell Alienware AW2518HF Review: Best 240Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor

Introduction

Want a 240Hz gaming monitor for the best performance in fast-paced competitive games?

There are two routes you can take: FreeSync or G-SYNC powered models.

If you have an AMD card or don’t intend on using the variable refresh rate technology at all, the Dell Alienware AW2518HF is your best option.

It’s slightly more expensive than the other 240Hz FreeSync models, but it offers premium features which make it worthwhile.

Image Quality

The Dell AW2518HF features a TN panel developed by AU Optronics; the same panel is used in the other 24.5″ 240Hz gaming monitor models.

As expected, the viewing angles amount to 170° vertically and 160° horizontally meaning that the colors will shift in tone when the screen is viewed from certain angles i.e. too far from the side or above/below.

For a competitive gamer though, this won’t cause a lot of issues since you’ll mainly be sitting directly in front of the screen.

Overall, the measured contrast ratio is a bit shy of the specified 1,000:1 but the brightness performance is perfect as it peaks a bit over 400nits with consistent and uniform luminance.

Dell’s known for their premium image quality, and the image straight out of the box didn’t disappoint.

The colors are also decent for a TN panel, but not nearly as vibrant as they are on IPS or VA panel monitors.

Performance

The 240Hz vs 144Hz dilemma is more and more frequently brought up among competitive gamers. In short, the difference is certainly apparent – but not as apparent as it is between 60Hz and 144Hz.

The problem is that 240Hz gaming monitors cost nearly twice as much as 144Hz monitors, making them undesirable for casual gamers.

On the other hand, if you are a hardcore or a professional gamer and want every millisecond of advantage you can get, you will definitely want a 240Hz monitor.

Another deal-breaker for most users is that the Dell AW2518HF 240Hz gaming monitor features the standard 1920×1080 resolution and a TN panel which, with the performance put aside, provides an inferior image quality to even some cheaper displays.

However, the TN panel offers the fastest response time speed for minimal motion blur while the 1080p resolution allows your PC system to reach higher frame rates more easily.

The Dell AW2518HF input lag performance is flawless as well at only ~3ms.

AMD FreeSync

alienware aw2518hw review

If you have an AMD FreeSync graphics card, you can synchronize the refresh rate of the Alienware AW2518HF to your GPU. This allows for a dynamic refresh rate which will eliminate screen tearing and stuttering without significantly increasing the input lag.

For NVIDIA card users, the Dell AW2518HF is also available with G-SYNC instead of the FreeSync technology and it’s dubbed as the Dell Alienware AW2518H, but it’s also more expensive.

If you don’t plan on using the variable refresh rate technology and have an NVIDIA card, you can still use the Dell Alienware AW2518HF monitor, just not the dynamic refresh rate.

Update: FreeSync also works without any issues when using a compatible NVIDIA G-SYNC graphics card.

Features

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF display offers the eye-catching AlienFX RGB lighting technology which allows you to synchronize the LEDs to the on-screen content as well as to the rest of your Alienware PC rig.

There are numerous video games that are compatible with this technology, more so than for any other similar RGB technology.

The OSD (On-Screen Display) offers a plethora of gaming features including the pre-calibrated picture presets (FPS, RTS, RPG) and three customizable gaming profiles.

Moreover, the OSD menu is intuitive and easily navigated via the six OSD buttons placed on the bottom of the screen.

While the menu is not open, four of these buttons can be used as hotkeys for certain functions. You can assign them to any shortcut under the ‘Personalize’ section.

Other useful features include Dark Stabilizer and Game Enhance Mode.

The former brightens up the screen (3 levels), so you can more easily spot the enemies in dark areas while the latter consists of three functions: an on-screen timer, an FPS counter, and Display Alignment for multitasking.

Design & Connectivity

dell alienware aw2518hw amazon

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF FreeSync monitor offers a first-class quality design with ultra-thin bezels and a steady metal tripod stand under which you can conceal the cables.

Ergonomic functionalities include 130mm height adjustment, 90-degree pivot, 20-degree swivel to the left and right, -5, 25-degree tilt, and 100 x 100 VESA mount compatibility. The screen is covered with an anti-glare matte (3H) screen coating.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 2.0 ports, four downstream USB 3.0 ports (one with the quick charging capacity), and a headphones jack. The Dell Alienware AW2518HF FreeSync range is 48-240Hz.

The AlienFX RGB LEDs are placed at the back of the monitor which allows for the lighting to reflect off the wall and create atmospheric lighting.

When synced to a compatible game, the lighting can really enrich the gaming experience as in certain FPS games, for example, the colors can change from green to red as your health drops!

Price & Similar Monitors

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF price amounts to around $350 which is a great deal considering that other 240Hz models cost just as much but don’t have as a good design quality or premium features,

If you’re looking for a cheaper 240Hz monitor, check out the Acer XF250Q.

In case you prefer using backlight strobing instead of FreeSync/G-SYNC for CRT-like motion clarity at the cost of picture brightness and introduced screen flickering, check out the ASUS XG248Q.

Conclusion

If you want the best performance in competitive fast-paced games, the Dell Alienware AW2518HF is one of the best 1080p 240Hz 1ms models for the money.

Dell Alienware AW2518HF Specifications

Screen Size24.5-inch
Resolution1920×1080 (Full HD)
Panel TypeTN
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate240Hz
Response Time1ms (GtG)
Adaptive SyncFreeSync (48Hz-240Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other Ports4x USB 3.0, Headphone Jack
Brightness400 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors16.7 million (6-bit + FRC)
VESAYes (100x100mm)

What We Loved

  • 240Hz for the best performance in competitive fast-paced games
  • Low input lag and quick response time
  • Plenty of features including FreeSync and RGB lighting
  • Premium design quality and rich connectivity options

What We Didn’t Like

  • No motion blur reduction
Dell Alienware AW2518HF Review
  • 10/10
    Design - 10/10
  • 7.9/10
    Display - 7.9/10
  • 9/10
    Performance - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Price/Value - 9/10
9/10

Summary

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF is the best 240Hz FreeSync gaming monitor you can get. It delivers a flawless performance and plenty of useful features including AMD FreeSync and AlienFX RGB lighting as well as a premium design quality.

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