Dell Alienware AW2721D Review

We put DELL's latest Alienware offering to the test to see how it stacks up in gaming performance, color accuracy, picture quality, and overall value for money.

Alienware AW2721D Review

Today we have the pleasure of testing the latest offering from DELL’s Alienware lineup, the AW2721D. It’s another high-performance gaming monitor that ticks all the right boxes when it comes to the specifications required to take your gaming to the next level.

The latest Alienware offering has all the hallmarks to become one of the best gaming monitors the market has to offer this year. It comes equipped with a 240hz refresh rate, true 1ms response time, and G-Sync Ultimate as well – everything a budding gamer needs to get the competitive advantage over their competition.

DELL has also equipped this panel with some cool new features that elevate it over some of the other 240hz monitors within the Alienware ranks – AW2720HF for example.

So, with plenty to get through, let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it!

Why not check out our review of the Alienware AW3821DW here

Alienware AW2721D Review

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  • Monitor
Alienware Logo
Alienware AW2721D Gaming Monitor

Refresh Rate

240Hz (DisplayPort) Or 144Hz (HDMI)

Response time

1ms (GTG)

Screen size

27″

Resolution

2560 x 1440

Specifications

Tech Specs
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Refresh Rate

240Hz (DisplayPort) Or 144Hz (HDMI)

Response time

1ms (GTG)

Screen size

27″

Resolution

2560 x 1440

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Aspect ratio

16:9

Panel type

IPS

Brightness

600cd/m2 (Peak)

Contrast ratio

1000:1

Color Depth

10 bits

Viewing angle

178°/178°

Color Gamut

145% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3

Backlight technology

W-LED

Panel Coating

Anti-Glare/Matte (3H)

Curvature

Flat

VESA

100 x 100mm

G-sync Range

1Hz – 240Hz

Dimensions (WxHxD)

607 x 356 x 82.4 mm (without stand) 607 x 443 x 251.9 mm (With stand)

Inputs

1 x USB 3.2 (Type-B; Gen 1; upstream), 4 x USB 3.2 (Type-A; Gen 1; downstream), 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x 3.5mm audio out (headphones), 1 x 3.5mm audio out (line-out for speakers)

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Pros

InfinityEdge Screen

Rapid 240hz refresh rate

True 1ms response time

Great colors right out the box

Nano IPS technology which provides 95% of the DCI-P3 color spectrum

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Cons

Quit expensive

What’s In The Box

The Alienware AW2721D comes in a fairly robust box with adequate protective foam surrounding the panel and the stand components. The monitor comes unassembled and separately bundled in the box. Luckily, assembly is very self-intuitive and requires no tools to do so.

Alongside the panel and the stand, users will find the following items:

  • Alienware AW2721D
  • Kettle Plug 
  • DisplayPort 1.4
  • MiniDP-DP Cable
  • USB 3.0 Upstream Cable
  • Warranty
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  • Monitor
Alienware Logo
Alienware AW2721D Gaming Monitor

Refresh Rate

240Hz (DisplayPort) Or 144Hz (HDMI)

Response time

1ms (GTG)

Screen size

27″

Resolution

2560 x 1440

Design And Features

With specifications out the way, let’s take a more comprehensive look at the build quality, design, and mechanical features the AW2721D comes equipped with.

Design

As I’ve said in numerous Alienware reviews before, the new ‘Legend’ design language that is being deployed with the new lineup of panels is absolutely fantastic. The aesthetics are dominated by the pale gray exterior that feels like a powder coating and smooth to the touch. The colors contrast nicely with the RGB – which we’ll discuss shortly – and the black frame of the panel itself.

Alienware AW2721D Review

The stand utilizes the ‘V’ shaped design which adds a tonne of stability to the AW2721D. As this monitor is 27inches, the stand doesn’t have to be overly wide to make it feel robust – and that is exactly the case here. There is little to no wobble what so ever in the stand monitor itself. Again, we’ll touch upon that in more detail shortly.

Alienware AW2721D Review

Overall, the design of the AW2721D is fairly simple – and I suppose that’s what the new design language is all about. It chooses simplicity over tacky gamey aesthetics – something I personally appreciate.

Build Quality

As we’ve said previously, the build quality of Alienware monitors is one of the many selling points they have to offer – they feel absolutely rock solid in all areas.

Alienware AW2721D Review

Starting with the panel itself, whilst there is a lot of plastic utilizes in its design, it doesn’t feel tacky like you’d expect. They’ve clearly gone to the trouble of using high-quality materials that are extremely robust with very little flex or bend. The same can be said about the stand. The outer shell of the stand is predominantly plastic, whilst the inside is reinforced with a metal frame that feels fit to stand the test of time.

Speaking of the stand, it’s absolutely superb. With a tonne of versatility usually comes a little wobble or looseness. However, that wasn’t the case here – all mechanical features felt extremely robust and required a little bit of force to maneuver – always a good sign in my eyes.

Panel Coating

Once again, DELL is sticking with the anti-glare coating with a matte (3H) finish for this monitor. Whilst this particular coating does an excellent job of mitigating most light sources, it can be notorious for picking up oil and fingerprints.

Alienware AW2721D Review

Bezels

Moving onto the bezels and I feel DELL has done a superb job with this one. The AW2721D utilizes their new InfinityEdge screen, meaning bezels are extremely slender on all sides – including the bottom bezel. For me personally, I’d have to say that this is probably the closest I’ve seen to a frameless design.

Stand

If you’re looking for adjustability and functionality, look no further – the AW2721D offers both in abundance. Looking at functionality first, this monitor really does tick all the right boxes. It offers pivot, tilt, height, and swivel adjustments, meaning no matter what position you find comfortable, you’ll be able to position this monitor to your exact needs.

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Another plus is just how robust the stand feels. Reiterating what we said earlier, the stand requires a little bit of force to move around – which is definitely a good thing. It means when you get the monitor in a position you like, it won’t be wobbling around at all. It’ll also stop any movement found when gaming – or should I say “raging”.

Below are the full adjustments available with this particular panel:

  • Forward Tilt – 5 degrees
  • Backward Tilt – 21 degrees
  • Left Swivel – 20 degrees
  • Right Swivel – 20 degrees
  • Pivot – 90 degrees (left or right)
  • Height – 130mm
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  • Monitor
Alienware Logo
Alienware AW2721D Gaming Monitor

Refresh Rate

240Hz (DisplayPort) Or 144Hz (HDMI)

Response time

1ms (GTG)

Screen size

27″

Resolution

2560 x 1440

Inputs

DELL has equipped this monitor with a tonne of input/ouput options, enabling you to link up any number of devices or peripherals to the monitor itself. Display inputs including 2 x HDMI 2.0 and 1 x DisplayPort 1.4. The USB hub contains 4 x USB 3.2 (Type-A; Gen 1; downstream) and 1 x USB 3.2 (Type-B; Gen 2; upstream). Lastly, users can hook or headphones or external speakers using the 3.5 mm audio out (headphones and line-out speaker) ports available.

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See specifications for a full list of this monitor’s inputs

OSD

Lastly, we have the on-screen display. Like the other models in the new Alienware lineup, DELL has opted for the joystick approach for this particular monitor – found at the rear on the right-hand side of the panel.

The OSD is extremely intuitive and easy to use, allowing users to change most color, brightness, and contrast settings. Users also have the ability to set their own unique color preset with the “custom” mode that’s available. Color aside, the OSD also provides a number of different game-tailored settings; including response time boost, game enhancements (crosshair, timer, etc), and dark stabilization. You can also set backlight settings with the variable backlight option which is available – giving you 3 separate modes to choose from.

Users will also have access to the RGB settings for the various zones that are found around the panel. With a tonne of RGB customization, you’ll be able to set the lighting to your exact requirements – matching it with the rest of your setup nicely. Lastly, all audio options and a number of different customization presets can be found as well.

Color Accuracy & Picture Quality

Color accuracy and picture quality are two important factors in any monitor. That being said, DELL says the AW2721D has the ability to provide 95% of the DCI-P3 color spectrum – effectively making it one of the most color-accurate panels within the gaming sector.

For that reason, we’ll be running a number of different color tests to see how it stacks up against DELL’s claims and some of the market leaders.

PresetWhite PointBlack DepthContrast RatioAverage ΔE*00Gamma
IDEAL6500K0.00cd/m²Infinite0.002.2
Standard (Out The Box)6807K0.1166 cd/m²1033.4:12.372.16
Warm Preset5834K0.1258 cd/m²961.4:12.572.18
Game 1 Preset6876K0.1161 cd/m²1037.6:12.332.16
SPORTS Preset6885K0.1157 cd/m²1040.2:12.892.2
Custom Preset6877K0.1154 cd/m²1043.2:12.372.17

We kick-started by testing the out the box settings. The AW2721D comes in a “standard” preset which feels like the closest to sRGB. The brightness out of the box was high (212 candelas) so we cranked it down to 120 for our standardized testing. The standard preset performed fairly well, excelling in black depth, contrast, and average deltas (2.37). The white level was a little warmer than our ideal scenario, but nothing to be concerned with – extremely good out of the box colors.

We moved on to test 4 more presets, including a game preset, a sports preset, the custom preset, and warm (an easy-to-view preset). All gave very good performance right out of the box. As you can see from the results above, all provided a healthy contrast ratio of around 1000:1 and fantastic average deltas – the highest being 2.89.

PresetWhite PointBlack DepthContrast RatioAverage ΔE*00Maximum ΔE*00Gamma
IDEAL6500K0.00cd/m²Infinite0.000.002.2
Game Preset 1 (In-depth)6872K0.1156 cd/m²1040.7:13.045.332.17
Custom Calibrated (In-depth)6493K0.1207 cd/m²994.6:10.231.262.24

We decided to waste no time and do some more in-depth tests on the two most accurate presets – Game 1 and Custom. We concluded by calibrating the monitor and running an in-depth test to see how accurate the panel could be.

The in-depth game 1 preset did offer slightly worse figures – but that’s to be expected. The average delta went up to 3.04 – not terrible – and the maximum delta was 5.33. Contrast ratio and black depth both stayed true to the original test, whilst white balance was a little on the warm side.

Before we calibrated the monitor, we cranked the brightness down to 120 candelas (19% brightness) and custom set the RGB profile. For this monitor, we set red to 100%, green to 95%, and blue to 91%. This gave us a good base color to calibrate from.

After calibration, we ran another in-depth test and the figures were much improved. The white level was almost perfect at 6493K and contrast was still good at 994:1. Black depth did take a small dip, but nothing that would be noticeable with the naked eye. More impressively, the average deltas of the calibrated mode dropped to 0.23. The maximum delt was 1.26 and gamma read out at 2.24 – a little on the high side.

Panel Uniformity

Panel uniformity is a test we run to check how uniform the luminance and colors are across the entirety of the screen. During this test, the center square is used as the reference space. Every other square is then tested to see how far it differentiates from the reference.

In an ideal world, we want every square to be green, meaning it hasn’t broken the differential threshold – something we can set at the start of the test.

Note: results will differ from panel to panel.Panel Uniformity

This was one of the most accurate monitors I’ve tested from a panel uniformity standpoint. As you can see from the results above, almost every square of the chart was green – or very uniform was compared to the reference square.

On most modern panels, you’ll find that the corners usually differentiate quite a lot. However, that wasn’t the case for the AW2721D. This is an extremely uniform panel.

Viewing Angles

The AW2721D has an IPS panel at its heart, making viewing angles very good. Colors do start to depreciate at around 60 degrees, making it an excellent screen for multiperson usage. That being said, at 27 inches, it isn’t an ideal size for sharing.

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  • Monitor
Alienware Logo
Alienware AW2721D Gaming Monitor

Refresh Rate

240Hz (DisplayPort) Or 144Hz (HDMI)

Response time

1ms (GTG)

Screen size

27″

Resolution

2560 x 1440

Color Gamut

As part of the calibration process, the DisplayCal will give an accurate measurement of the color gamut the monitor can provide. Below are the results of the color gamut test:

Color accuracy was a fairly important factor to consider with this monitor, mainly because DELL was waving the old 95% DCI-P3 flag around – big claims for what is a gaming monitor at heart. That being said, we were extremely impressed with the coverage and volume of the gamut this monitor provided. With over 140% sRGB volume, 100% ARGB volume, and 104% DCI-P3 volume, the AW2721D really does offer one of the widest color gamuts out there.

Color gamut coverage

Color accuracy was a fairly important factor to consider with this monitor, mainly because DELL was waving the old 95% DCI-P3 flag around – big claims for what is a gaming monitor at heart. That being said, we were extremely impressed with the coverage and volume of the gamut this monitor provided. With over 140% sRGB volume, 100% ARGB volume, and 104% DCI-P3 volume, the AW2721D really does offer one of the widest color gamuts out there.

Color gamut 2

As you can see from the graph above, the color gamut overall was extremely wide and covered a huge amount of colors – making the AW3821DW a great choice for anyone looking to work to an accurate standard in the sRGB, aRGB, and DCI-P3 color spectrums.

Maximum And Minimum Brightness

We ended the color accuracy and picture quality testing by checking the maximum brightness, minimum brightness, and 120 candelas level on this panel. The results are below:

BrightnessCandelas
100% Brightness516.17 cd/m²
0% Brightness44.24 cd/m²
26% Brightness120 cd/m²

Alienware AW2721D: Gaming Performance

So, with color accuracy and picture clarity out of the way, it’s time to put this beast through a few gaming scenarios to see how it handles both single-player and fast-paced competitive titles.

I started off by playing a fast-paced shooter – CS:GO. One of the big selling points of this monitor is the 240Hz refresh rate it comes equipped with. And CS:GO is a great game for really does benefit from this particular specification.

Alienware AW2721D Review

As we expected, the overall gameplay felt extremely smooth. I experienced no screen tear – mainly down to having G-sync enabled – and zero ghosting as well. As CS:GO is such a fast-moving title, ghosting can be a little problematic if you aren’t using the right panel. However, thanks to the 1ms response time this screen comes equipped with, I experienced none during gameplay. I did play around with the response time overdrive settings and, for me, extreme almost felt a little jittery. I didn’t see any inverse ghosting, but I’m sure if you looked hard enough it would be there.

We moved onto a few single-player titles next and, to my surprise, the 27-inch panel offered a tonne of immersion during play. The AW2721D comes with DELL’s InfinityEdge screen which makes use of extremely thin bezels. It almost feels as if the picture falls off the edge of the panel – you know, in a good way. It really is like none I’ve tested before and one of the main positives of this screen’s gameplay.

Furthermore, thanks to the extremely wide color gamut this monitor offers, games like SOTTR and Red Dead Redemption 2 looked absolutely fantastic. Flight simulator was also a joy to play but, because of the demand it puts on your PC, it was quite hard to reach the higher end of the variable refresh rate range.

Ultimately, the overall experience of this monitor was extremely good – providing huge levels of immersion and excellent response in both pixel transition and refresh speeds. For me, it certainly leans towards a competitive gaming monitor – however, if you like the occasional storyline title, the InfinityEdge provides plenty of additional entertainment value.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, our complete rundown of DELL’s Alienware AW2721D gaming monitor. The only thing left to discuss is whether or not we feel this panel showcases good value for money.

Alienware AW2721D Review

For me, I think this is a pretty easy one. The Alienware AW2721D is not a cheap monitor – however, if you’re looking for one of the best 27-inch monitors on the market, it really does showcase all the qualities you could want. It offers all the high-end specs you’d expect from a panel of this price range, including a 240Hz refresh rate, rapid 1ms response time, and nano IPS technology that provides 95% of the DCI-P3 color spectrum. That not only makes it great for gaming, but it also opens it up to the productivity market where color accuracy is required.

This is another stellar gaming monitor to come out of the Alienware family. Right now, it occupies a category that currently isn’t filled with a tonne of displays. Overall, a hugely responsive gaming monitor that offers great colors and excellent immersion – what more could you ask for?

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  • Monitor
Alienware Logo
Alienware AW2721D Gaming Monitor

Refresh Rate

240Hz (DisplayPort) Or 144Hz (HDMI)

Response time

1ms (GTG)

Screen size

27″

Resolution

2560 x 1440

0 /5
Editor's Rating
4.9/5

The Alienware AW2721D is the latest high-performance gaming monitor to come out DELL’s arsenal. This monitor comes to the table boasting all the high-end features you could require – including a 240Hz refresh rate, ‘True’ 1ms response time, Nano IPS colors, and a fully adjustable stand that’s all tied up in a stunning 27inch display with their InfinityEdge screen technology.

If you’re looking for the best of the best, the Alienware AW2721D is right up there.