This is a landmark moment for competitive PC gamers. For the past decade or so, technical limitations in display technology have forced gamers to make a distinct choice between super fast response times and picture quality. Now, you can have both.
The new Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor, revised for 2020, is a 240Hz gaming screen with a 1ms pixel response time that also boasts 99% sRGB color delivery at wide viewing angles. Effectively, you can have your cake and eat it, too!
With numbers like those, clearly this is a monitor targeting the “pro,” or at the very least, someone who takes their online multiplayer games very seriously and wants the best possible competitive edge that a display can offer. But is it worth the asking price? Let’s take a closer look.
Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor (AW2521HF) Technical Specifications
- 24.5 inch 1080p display
- 1ms response
- 240Hz refresh rate
- IPS display type
- 99%sRGB color delivery
- Freesync with G-Sync compatibility
- Alienware Legend Design
- AlienFX RGB lighting
- Programmable custom profiles
- Ports: 4x USB 3.0, 2x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, Audio Aux out
An Ultra-Fast IPS Display is Finally Here
While 240Hz 1080p monitors have been around for a while now, this one is special. To explain why, though, we have to delve into a little backstory.
Flat panel PC monitors can be made using a wide range of display technologies, but the two most common types on the market these days are TN panels and IPS panels. For most casual PC users, the newer IPS technology serves as an outright replacement for TN panels, providing significantly better image quality and color reproduction. Gamers, however, have held on to the older TN panels for one simple reason: IPS panel response times were too slow.
Poor response times cause blurring artifacts (aka ghosting) in fast-moving action games, and high refresh rates were originally not possible. While IPS response times have improved significantly in recent years, TNs maintained their position as the fastest monitors available.
And so gamers traditionally had to make a choice. Get a TN panel, forgoing higher image quality in the pursuit of absolute speed and precision, or sacrifice a little response time to get an IPS display that delivers significantly prettier pictures.
Those days, it seems, are over. IPS technology has evidently evolved to a point where 240Hz refresh rates and 1ms pixel response times are possible, spawning the arrival of this super-fast IPS Alienware panel and others of its ilk. This means that gamers can finally have the bright, vivid colors of an IPS panel without sacrificing on speed, perhaps spelling doom for the old faithful TN panel.
A Top Pick for Pros
With a 240Hz refresh rate, the Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor pushes the limits of high frame rate gaming. And while there’s an ongoing debate over whether or not 240Hz panels actually provide a perceivable upgrade over the more common 144Hz displays, one thing is for certain: 240Hz displays come at a premium.
While 144Hz screens can be had for a little over $200 these days, the new Alienware 25’s official MSRP is $509.99. Even at its current sale price of $384.99, this is quite an asking price.
But what you get for your money is a screen with all the gaming mod-cons. Image quality is unquestionably great. HDR is sadly absent, but the brightness is still impressive, and the colors are excellent for gamers.
The on-screen menus offer all the customization you’d expect from an expensive gaming monitor, from full color tweaking to custom profiles that allow you to set up shortcuts to your most used options. You’ll also find screen profiles that suit various use cases.
Variable refresh via AMD FreeSync (with G-Sync support for NVIDIA users) will keep the screen perfectly in tune with your PC, eliminating screen tearing at any frame rate your PC can handle. And while 1080p isn’t a particularly impressive spec, it is the perfect resolution to allow your PC to run at the upper limits of that massive 240Hz refresh rate. If the resolution were any higher, even the most powerful PCs would rarely exceed 150 frames per second in most games (without killing all graphical detail).
As usual, those high refresh rates are only available via DisplayPort, but it has two additional HDMI ports available for use with other devices like a gaming console. These are joined on the underside by an impressive four USB 3.0 (Type-A) ports, a headphone jack and a separate audio output that can be quite convenient for connecting a sound system via auxiliary cable.
The Centerpiece for Your Desk
The new Alienware 25’s impressive features don’t stop at the panel itself. The chassis conforms to Alienware’s newest “Legend” design language, defined by its clean matte panels, blocky embossed fonts and sleek pinstripe RGB lighting.
It’s a striking design that stands out without being garish or tacky, and has made for some of the best looking gaming devices Alienware has ever made. The bright RGB strip and iconic Alienware head are on the back of the unit and are rarely seen by the user. However, they create a nice ambient aura if you have the screen backed up against a wall.
Slick three-sided thin bezels make for an almost border-less look, while the RGB-lit power button along the bottom edge is perhaps the only hint of ‘gamer styling’ visible from the user’s perspective.
With tilt, twist and height adjustability, the two-piece stand is flexible in its use and solid in build quality. However, the display mount is telescoped toward the viewer quite a lot, and this necessitates some very large feet, which can be quite obtrusive, even on a large desk like mine. If you have a very small desk, you may want to consider making use of a custom VESA wall mount.
Should You Buy the Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor?
If you play online first-person shooters like Counter Strike or Fortnite, and want the best possible competitive edge, this screen delivers the ultra-high refresh rates and 1ms pixel response times that pro gamers demand. And finally, thanks to the newest IPS tech, you can also enjoy vivid color delivery and wide viewing angles.
At more than $500 at launch, the Alienware is arguably prettier than its competitors, but prohibitively expensive. Naturally, Slickdeals would advise you take advantage of sale pricing to get the best value. And at the time of publication, Dell lists the Alienware 25 for $384.99, bringing the monitor into a much more competitive position when compared to similar offerings from companies like MSI.
Don’t miss a price drop on your next Alienware purchase. Set a Deal Alert and we’ll let you know when new deals are posted. You can also find discounts on monitors from a variety of brands on our Monitor Deals page.