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

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF 24.5" 1080p 240Hz 1ms gaming monitor offers FreeSync, RGB lighting, and a premium design for a fair price.

Bottom Line

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF delivers flawless performance and plenty of useful features including AMD FreeSync and a premium design quality. Its image quality, on the other hand, is underwhelming considering the price.

Design:
(5.0)
Display:
(4.0)
Performance:
(4.7)
Price/Value:
(4.2)
4.5

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF is a 24.5″ 1080p 240Hz 1ms gaming monitor with AMD FreeSync support ensuring smooth performance for fast-paced competitive gaming.

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 well-known for its 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.

The pixel response time speed of 1ms GtG eliminates visible trailing behind fast-moving objects, but such fast response time is nowadays available on IPS panel displays as well.

The Dell AW2518HF input lag performance is flawless at only ~3ms of imperceptible delay.

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.

FreeSync also works without any issues when using a compatible (GTX 10-series or newer) NVIDIA graphics card.

Features

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.

Price & Similar Monitors

The Dell Alienware AW2518HF usually cost 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) and also has motion blur reduction up to 240Hz.

Nowadays, you can also get an excellent 1080p 240Hz IPS gaming monitor at this price range, such as the ASUS VG259QM, which is basically just as fast as the AW2518HF, but also offers much better colors and wide viewing angles.

Visit our best monitors for FPS games buyer’s guide for more information.

Conclusion

If you want buttery-smooth 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 and the ASUS VG259QM.

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

The Cons:

  • Narrow viewing angles
  • Inferior image quality to IPS and VA panels

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Joseph Moore
Joseph Moore

Joseph has probably spent thousands of hours learning about displays in his free time and prior work experience at HP. He now writes and manages DisplayNinja to ensure it stays as the people's favorite resource.