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Dell’s brand new 34-in gaming QD-OLED monitor is reduced at Dell USA, with a $100 discount reducing the monitor to triple figures – $999, to be exact. This is still a ton of money to spend on a monitor, of any description, but this is genuinely the best monitor I’ve ever used.
So why this monitor? Basically, it combines all the awesomeness of OLED with that uniquely captivating ultrawide form factor, providing unparalleled visuals but also more downsides than your average LCD panel display. Here’s what you need to know.
First, the bad stuff – permanent image retention, aka “burn in”, is possible. This makes it a good idea to keep all the protections against this engaged, and follow common sense guidelines to protect the panel like auto-hiding your taskbar, using dark modes where available, setting a screensaver and varying your usage so that no one screen is visible for hours on end. The Dell warranty does cover this kind of damage, but you probably don’t want to go through the hassle of a return. Second, this monitor has a unique subpixel arrangement that Windows doesn’t yet cater for well, so you’ll see subtle coloured fringing on small text. Third, while ultrawide displays are now much more supported by contemporary PC games, you’ll still run into video content or the odd game that will require you to run with black bars on the left and right. Now, this is an OLED, so those black bars are completely black, but it’s still something to be aware of.
Right, still with me? OK, now let’s look at the good stuff – and the reasons why after testing the near-identical G-Sync variant of this monitor, I am completely in love with it.
The most obvious thing is the overall image quality here – everything looks incredible, thanks to those perfect blacks, gorgeous colour saturation, impactful HDR, ultrawide aspect ratio and generous viewing angles. The resolution of 3440×1440 is also a great middle-ground between 1440p and 4K, offering good clarity but not requiring a super high-end GPU to run. Motion handling is also top-notch, thanks to 0.1ms pixel response times (10x faster than even high-end LCD displays), a high refresh rate of 165Hz and the inclusion of FreeSync/G-Sync Compatible-ity. On basically every metric, this monitor excels, blowing even the best LCD-based displays out of the water.
So ultimately then, given the existence of its drawbacks, do these strengths justify the $999 asking price for the AW3423DWF? In my mind, 100% yes. None of the downsides to this panel are deal-breakers to me, and the upsides are game-changing. We will see more models in this mould going forward, no doubt, but to me this Dell monitor is already worth the price of admission.