Dell Alienware AW2518HF Review: 1080p 240Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor

dell aw2518hf review

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 most of 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 400-nits 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, TN panels offer the fastest response time speed for minimal motion blur while 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 aw2518hf review

If you have a FreeSync-compatible 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 FreeSync and it’s dubbed as the Dell Alienware AW2518H, but it’s also more expensive.

Update: FreeSync now also works without any issues when using a compatible (GTX 10-series or newer) NVIDIA 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) menu offers a plethora of gaming features including 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 at the bottom bezel 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 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 aw2518hf 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) 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 is usually around $300. It’s one of the cheapest 240Hz models yet it offers premium features and excellent performance!

For just $50 more though, you can get the Acer XF252Q which is based on a newer 24.5″ 240Hz panel that’s a bit faster (0.5ms response time). It also has motion blur reduction up to 240Hz.

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

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. In case you can afford something pricier, be sure to check out the XF252Q.

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)

The Pros

  • Quick response time and low input lag
  • Plenty of gaming features including FreeSync up to 240Hz
  • Fully ergonomic design and rich connectivity options
  • Good value for the price

The Cons

  • Narrow viewing angles
  • Inferior image quality to IPS and VA panels
Dell Alienware AW2518HF Review
  • 10/10
    Design - 10/10
  • 7.9/10
    Display - 7.9/10
  • 9.4/10
    Performance - 9.4/10
  • 9/10
    Price/Value - 9/10
9.1/10

Summary

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF is an affordable 240Hz FreeSync gaming monitor. It delivers 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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