The combination of a high refresh rate and frame rate on the Alienware 25 AW2521HF may be especially appealing to competitive gamers, but will also appeal to fans of less competitive fast-paced action. Support for Adaptive-Sync is included, allowing for the use of AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia’s ‘G-SYNC Compatible Mode’. We put this monitor to the test, comparing it to more common TN displays such as the impressively responsive Acer XN253Q X.
- Input lag is less than one millisecond.
- The 240Hz refresh rate is rather impressive.
- The attractive, futuristic look works nicely with the rest of Alienware’s hardware.
- Color performance is mediocre.
- G-Sync Compatible adaptive sync occasionally produces jerky movements.
The Alienware 25 AW2521HF has one of the highest refresh rates of any gaming monitors we’ve used. The claimed price of $509.99 for this 25-inch 1080p monitor is made possible by the fact that it has an input lag of less than one millisecond at its highest refresh rate. All but the pickiest esports fans will be satisfied with the panel’s 240Hz refresh rate, and they will enjoy its smoothness for fast-paced action games. Its color performance (especially for movies) is poor, and its adaptive sync feature for G-Sync Compatible displays isn’t quite as smooth as pure G-Sync. But it delivers for fans of Alienware and frame-rate maniacs.
Alienware 25 AW2521HF Review: A Future-Sensitive Design
White and black make up the Lunar Light color scheme of the Alienware 25 AW2521HF, which is comparable to Alienware’s most recent Aurora desktops. The 25-inch screen has almost no bezels except from a thin black band that runs along three of its edges. At the bottom edge, there is a small black strip with the Alienware emblem on it.
White plastic makes up the majority of the monitor’s back of the Alienware 25 AW2521HF, but black inserts are used for the ports and the joint where the stand attaches to the screen. The majority of monitors, including many high-end gaming monitors, have a boxy, black appearance; this design is magnificent and a welcome contrast from that.
An input USB connection for connecting to your computer, two downstream USB ports for utilizing the monitor as a hub, and a power connector for a standard three-prong PC power cable facing downward on the back are all found on the panel. These ports are situated on the left side of the monitor stand. There are two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort input, and a 3.5mm audio output in the recess on the stand’s opposite side. On the bottom edge of the monitor, immediately in front of the stand, there are two extra USB downstream ports in addition to a 3.5mm headphone connection.
The main power button for the display is also situated at the lower-right corner of the bottom border. Four more hexagon-shaped buttons and a four-way control stick are located at the right edge of the rear in a vertical row. To use the menus on the monitor, press any of these buttons.
A large, V-shaped foot supports the monitor stand. The top of the pillar securely clips onto the back of the screen, keeping it in place while providing a variety of adjustment options. The monitor may be tilted up and down, vertically (-5 to 21 degrees), and horizontally (20 degrees either direction) (within a range of 5.1 inches).
On the stand, it may also be turned 90 degrees either way for portrait orientation. A VESA mount is also located on the back of the screen, which can be used with a monitor arm or another stand alternative.
The AlienFX lighting system built into the stand, speaking of which, enables you to show off your gaming prowess. It may be controlled without a connection to an Alienware PC by using the Alienware Command Center application. An extensive RGB light loop runs the length of the back of the stand. It may be configured to light up in any manner you desire, including dynamic lighting effects that correspond to game activity, along with Alienware’s recognizable alien-head logo in the top-right corner of the screen’s back.
Aw2521hf Review: Gaming and Entertainment
The graphical benchmark for Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition on the Alienware 25 AW2521HF looks amazing, with realistic-looking colors in the verdant regions and blue skies. The image is really bright and the colors are stunning, although occasionally minute details in shadows and dark objects look muddy. There are no obvious motion artifacts and the movement is smooth.
Although it periodically steps on its own to refresh its image, the 240Hz refresh rate of the Alienware 25 AW2521HF also helps to usually fluid gameplay in games. Minor vertical sync issues were seen on the monitor while playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which pushed frame rates of 300 frames per second or higher. Even with the frame rate set to a maximum of 240 frames per second, I occasionally saw choppiness and screen tearing.
These anomalies weren’t particularly noticeable or screen-warping, but they were there. This might be the case since the “G-Sync Compatible” features of the Alienware 25 AW2521HF are not true G-Sync, resulting in subpar adaptive-sync performance. When compared to the Alienware 25 AW2521HF, the Alienware 34 uses native G-Sync, and while there is some choppiness, it is not nearly as noticeable.
In our 4K Costa Rica test video, the poor color space coverage of the Alienware 25 AW2521HF is clear. Although they may have been a little more brilliant, the greens of the plants and frogs seem realistic and sufficiently saturated. Even while the action moves quickly and the details are clear, the colors are not as vibrant or rich as they could be with proper HDR processing or even a broader color gamut.
Aw2521hf Review: The Swift and the Stable
The Alienware 25 AW2521HF is a super-fast monitor with a 240Hz refresh rate and a 1ms input lag. Its color performance is subpar, though, and a native Nvidia G-Sync would have been tremendously advantageous. The ViewSonic Elite XGQ70QG trades a 120Hz refresh rate and 2ms input lag for a 1440p image with a noticeably broader color range.
The 1080p Asus ROG Swift PG259QN offers a 360Hz refresh rate and improved color and contrast if you’re prepared to spend a little more money, which is why it continues to be our Editor’s Choice winner at this size and resolution.
There is no better visual complement available than this panel, however, if you’re all-in on Alienware gear and synchronized bling and looking to pair your battle station with a late-model Aurora desktop or Area-51 laptop.
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