The Alienware AW2720HF is an enticing high-performance gaming monitor with an incredible design and list of specifications. It’s one of the best looking 27-inch 240Hz displays that use IPS technology and is rapidly becoming common in the market. Let’s check if the Alienware AW2720HF can match its impressive aesthetic with equally imposing gaming and imaging capabilities.
Alienware AW2720HF Specifications
- Screen Size: 27 Inches
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080 FHD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Panel Technology: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
- Refresh Rate: 240Hz
- Response Time: 1ms
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (Static)
- Brightness: 350 cd/m²
- Built-in Speakers: No
- Stand: Height – Yes
- Stand: Tilt – Yes
- Stand: Swivel – Yes
- Stand: Pivot – Yes
- VESA Compatibility: Yes (100 x 100)
- Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2 x 1, HDMI 2.0 x 2, VGA x 1, USB 3.0 x 5, 3.5mm Jack x 2
- Dimensions with Stand (W x H x D): 24.12” x 22.02” x 8.50”
- Weight: 18.2lbs
Design and Features
The Alienware AW2720HF looks like it belongs in a Jetsons movie setting, but it actually manages to look classy without being too gaudy. The device has a matte white and black combination which makes it considerably more attractive than its competitors in the 240Hz IPS segment. The display isn’t entirely bezel-free, but the black borders on the three sides are very thin and suitable for multi-display setups.
That same design makes the Alienware AW2720HF look slightly chunkier than say, the Asus VG279QM which has a more standardized look. However, Dell’s engineers managed to keep the total depth of the device under nine inches, so we reckon you won’t have trouble with placement. The monitor’s footprint leaves a lot of room for other peripherals such as wrist rests or stream decks, so most won’t need to upgrade their desks as well.
The Alienware AW2720HF’s chassis is mostly plastic, but its build quality is excellent and reliable. There is no feeling of fragility on the device, while there are no cosmetic issues on any of the edges or seams which match perfectly. The stand has a very minor wobble, but it only happens if you touch the screen with moderate force.
The OSD controls on the Alienware AW2720HF is very easy to use thanks to the inclusion of a joystick and four hotkeys. This layout is similar to what Asus applies to its gaming displays, placing the keys at the lower corner that’s accessible from the right when facing the display. This implementation is always handy, especially since the product’s intended audience will always try to tweak the presets and the settings in the menus.
The uniquely designed stand on the Alienware AW2720HF provides full flexibility which allows you to tilt, swivel, pivot, and adjust the height of the display. The Y-shaped base provides excellent stability without being too oversized, so many won’t need to opt for VESA mounts. However, if you are planning on a multi-head setup or simply have too little space, you can still opt for an aftermarket arm as long as its adapter is in 100 x 100.
Take note that opting for the latter will add more cost to your upgrade, but you also lose another distinct feature on the stand. The Alienware AW2720HF comes equipped with an LED strip at the pillar and on the Alienware logo at the top corner of the monitor. The lights are controlled by AlienFX, so it will take a few tries to sync it with your other peripherals if they use a different ecosystem.
The Alienware AW2720HF has a well-equipped I/O layout which covers everything you will need through your gaming sessions. The video inputs include DisplayPort 1.2 and dual HDMI 2.0 slots, along with a total of five USB slots and two 3.5mm jacks. Two of the USB ports and the audio output jack are located in a hub at the bottom of the chassis for easy access, while the other three connectors and the audio-in jack are at the rear.
This design makes it more convenient since nobody wants to flip over a monitor just to connect a thumb drive or a peripheral. We think its great that Alienware locked this small detail down in favor of the users instead of lessening the design considerations to bring down manufacturing costs. There are no speakers, but we don’t think anyone will miss those since they are usually insufficient for gaming purposes.
Display and Performance
The Alienware AW2720HF sports a 27-inch IPS panel with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, 240Hz refresh rate, and 1ms boosted response time. The backlight is rated at 350 cd/m2, while contrast remains at 1000:1 like most IPS panels. This model isn’t truly a 1ms variant, and you will need massive amounts of overdrive at the expense of overshoot to reach that level.
The full HD resolution isn’t ideal for the Alienware AW2720HF’s size since it lowers the pixel density to the point of making pixels noticeable. However, it shouldn’t be an issue for most users unless they view the screen from a foot away. Visibility will be better while making it easier for your GPU to reach higher frames which is better for competitive titles.
The Alienware AW2720HF covers 99% of the sRGB gamut which is sufficient for games, especially the titles that focus on E-Sports. Default accuracy, on the other hand, could use some improvements since the DeltaE average reached a DeltaE of 3.4 with a slightly warmer color temperature. Color deviances will be noticeable at this level, although most will be hardpressed to notice them.
Taking the time to calibrate the Alienware AW2720HF will be beneficial since you can lower its color DE to around 0.7 which is already suitable for photo editing. The monitor only needs a few ticks of adjustment in the RG sliders to achieve this, particularly with the red setting. Doing so will also lessen the warmth to create a temperature that is closer to the 6500K white point.
The contrast ratio for the Alienware AW2720HF doesn’t perform as expected from the new IPS module since it maxes out at 890:1. Similar models like the Asus VG279QM exceeded 1000:1 comfortably, so we’re not sure what Alienware is doing wrong in this regard. Gamma also starts out at 2.3 but adjusting the color settings, brightness, and the contrast slider slightly will put it at a more acceptable 2.19.
All of these results equate to a bland performance when playing games with dark environments such as Modern Warfare. Vibrant titles like Apex Legends look great since the colors look alive and balanced, but the monitor doesn’t do so well in murky environments. Poor black luminance is common with IPS variants, but some offerings are already better in this aspect.
The Alienware AW2720HF test unit also had a few flaws in panel uniformity which showed some clouding and poor black uniformity. The screen looks noticeably grayish when viewing dark images, although there were no backlight leaks on the edges. Take note that this aspect varies between every unit, so you make sure you can exchange yours to get a better one if these symptoms are present.
The Alienware AW2720HF’s strongest capability is its motion handling, especially when you play games at its maximum refresh rate. You only have to set the overdrive function to its Fast level to make the display blur and smudge-free. Artifacts will only start to show if your FPS drops too low, so optimizing your graphics settings is key to avoiding the issue.
The Alienware AW2720HF is a FreeSync gaming monitor, but its also certified by Nvidia to be G-Sync compatible. It’s a plus if you go with a monitor that doesn’t lock you to one GPU brand since it leaves your upgrade path in the future open. Input lag sits at a little over 2ms, making this model one of the fastest we have reviewed.
Thoughts on the Alienware AW2720HF
The Alienware AW2720HF is subjectively the best-looking 240Hz IPS gaming monitor available to date with its unique color scheme and RGB implementation. We like the thoughtful placement of ports and the reasonable proportions of the monitor which makes it easier to integrate into an existing build. The monitor’s motion handling and pixel responsiveness is at the top ranks since you don’t see any smudges or artifacts as long as your overdrive is on its moderate setting.
The disappointing aspect of the Alienware AW2720HF is its factory calibration which, for many, will require fixing and adjustment. The test sample also showed poor performance in black luminance and uniformity, but that wildly varies if you go with IPS. Overall it’s an excellent choice for competitive gaming and showcase builds, but it leaves a few things to be desired.
- Excellent Design
- Lightning-Fast Gaming Monitor
- Strong Pixel Response Time
- FreeSync/G-Sync Compatible
- Factory calibration Needs Improvement
- Poor Black Luminance and Uniformity
About the Author:
Paolo is a gaming veteran since the golden days of Doom and Warcraft and has been building gaming systems for family, friends, and colleagues since his junior high years. High-performance monitors are one of his fixations and he believes that it’s every citizen’s right to enjoy one. He has gone through several pieces of hardware in pursuit of every bit of performance gain, much to the dismay of his wallet. He now works with Monitornerds to scrutinize the latest gear to create reviews that accentuate the seldom explained aspects of a PC monitor.