For many of us a monitor is a monitor but serious gamers will know that gaming-specific monitors are worth their weight in gold. That refresh rate, response time, colour and contrast support can make all the difference.

Recently Alienware introduced their new 25 inch AW2521H gaming monitor in a bid to entice gamers into their ecosystem, and given its features and performance, it may well do so.

Style, stand and ergonomics

The Alienware AW2521H is similar to other gaming monitors in its design. With the stand attached it will sit at a decent 22.6cm deep — if you choose to mount it expect its thickness to be around 8.4cm. Speaking of mounting there is support for a VESA 100×100 mount.

The stand itself has support for AlienFX lighting — Alienware’s fully customisable lighting system with the ability to tie the lighting effects to the gaming action. The stand is a wide V-shape, which as you can guess from the dimensions above, takes up a lot of room but is sturdy. Built into the stand is also a hole for cable management which is extremely handy and easy to use.

The rear of the monitor houses a multitude of ports including:

  • DisplayPort 1.4
  • 2 x HDMI
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 upstream
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 downstream
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 downstream (with NVIDIA Reflex Latency Analyser)
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 downstream with Battery Charging 1.2
  • Headphones
  • Audio line-out

Alienware do include some cables in the box including the power cable (of course), a DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable, a mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 upstream cable.

For the front of the monitor itself, the bezels are tiny, measuring around half a centimetre around the top and the sides making it perfect to use as part of a multi-monitor setup. The bottom of the display has a bezel of around a centimetre.

The monitor is made entirely out of plastic but feels very solid — but to what extent you need a gaming monitor to be solid is unknown. Personally I cannot see why this is important but I can say that it sits well on the desk without shaking easily.

Picture quality and performance

A gaming monitor can have all the bells and whistles and lights it wants but if the picture is terrible, you’ll throw it in the bin. The Alienware AW2521H display produces an amazing 1080P picture at a crazy refresh rate. The monitor supports 360Hz refresh rate at that 1080P resolution and if you love those fast-paced games then you’ll need a faster refresh rate to get the best in-game experience. You will need a decent PC to take full advantage of this though.

To experience the 360Hz refresh rate you will have to use the DisplayPort connection — the HDMI connection will provide just 240Hz refresh rate.

Another important parameter is input lag — or response time. The response time of the Alienware AW2521H is 1ms making it one of the lowest on the market. Another feature to help decrease input lag, screen tearing and image stuttering is Adaptive-Sync technology in the form of support for both AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync — this monitor has just about everything you could ask for.

I say just about everything because one thing it does lack is multi-input support and this PIP and PBP are not supported.

As for the image itself, the Alienware AW2521H supports HDR10 and 99% sRGB colour gamut making the colours pop on the screen. The brightness is a decent 400cd/m2, making it brighter than your standard, non-gaming monitor. The monitor does include an ambient light sensor at the top of it to allow you to have the monitor adjust its brightness based on the brightness of your room.

The contrast ratio of 1000:1 makes it great for both gaming and work. Add in a viewing angle of 178 degrees in both the vertical and horizontal directions and you have a great monitor for whatever you want to use it for.

On-screen display

The on-screen display allows for control of the extensive control of the monitor and is controlled using the four buttons and an OSD joystick to control the function. The OSD includes nine presets for various gaming modes along with a custom mode to allow you to set it how you want.

It is within the OSD that you can also control the AlienFX lighting but you can also use the Alienware Command Center app for more granular control. Whatever your wish for a gaming monitor setup, you will find a setting for it within the OSD of the Alienware AW2521H.

Final thoughts

The Alienware AW2521H gaming monitor is a great monitor with Alienware not missing much when it comes to it. The picture is clear and accurate with its colour reproduction in all modes. A low 1ms latency and high 360Hz refresh rate allow for high performance gaming.

There are the usual gaming lights on the back of the stand and with the stand and monitor solid and sturdy you should have no issues with it on your desktop. Serious gamers should check this monitor out if they are looking for a high-performance monitor to bring out the best gaming experience they can.