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Dell Alienware AW5520QF with 120Hz 4K UHD OLED screen

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For as long as this website has been running, OLED as a display technology has been on our radar and that of many users. It brings with it clear contrast and pixel response time advantages compared to LCD technologies, but for various reasons has been very slow to make its way onto the monitor scene. There’s still a clear gap in the market, with OLED screens appearing on small portable devices, relatively small specialist monitors (like the ASUS PQ22UC) and also large TVs. The Dell Alienware AW5520QF makes use of a mammoth-sized panel (for a monitor) but is very much a monitor in terms of marketing, product positioning and feature-set. The screen offers a slender bezel at the top and sides, a more substantial bottom bezel (that doesn’t quite extent out as far as the rest of the screen) and a penguin-foot stand design. A TV-style infrared remote is included for control of the OSD (On Screen Display) menu system.

A gigantic monitor

The monitor uses a 55” OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) panel with 3840 x 2160 (‘4K’ UHD) resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and support for Adaptive-Sync. This includes AMD FreeSync support, although the variable refresh rate range is currently unknown. The screen surface is glossy, with an anti-reflective finish. Such a large screen size is significantly larger than your typical monitor, but perhaps surprisingly some users do use such screens at a desk. Naturally, being able to sit a bit further back than with your typical monitor will help. The ‘4K’ resolution spread across a 55” screen, the pixel density is 80.11 PPI (Pixels Per Inch), so similar to a 27” 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) monitor. A static contrast ratio of 130,000:1 is specified – vastly more impressive than the typical 1000:1 for an LCD monitor (or ~2500:1 – 3000:1 for a typical VA monitor). 10-bit colour is supported and a colour gamut of 98.5% DCI-P3 is specified, indicating significant extension beyond sRGB. The monitor does not offer any HDR support, however, and offers a typical maximum luminance of 400 cd/m². A grey to grey response time of 0.5ms is specified, which unlike on an LCD is probably a fair reflection of what can be achieved without excessive grey to grey acceleration and the overshoot that comes with it. This is evident from the pursuit photograph below, a still from this video taken by our friend Ziggy Orzeszek at Gamescom. A very clean 120Hz performance indeed – for an explanation of what is being shown and some comparisons refer to this section of our article on responsiveness.

120Hz perceived blur

120Hz perceived blur

The rear of the screen uses matte black plastic towards the top and has a matte silver area lower down. This is removable, revealing the port area and some VESA holes for alternative mounting and the ports. Separating the two areas is a large elongated oval and central Alienware logo RGB LED lighting feature. This can be customised via the OSD, but doesn’t offer any sort of substantial light output so is only designed to be admired from the rear. The ports of the monitor, located in hexagonal recesses beneath the removable cover, include; DP 1.4, 3 HDMI 2.0 ports, 4 USB ports, S/PDIF audio line-out and a 3.5mm headphone jack. 2 x 14W speakers are also included – significantly more powerful than your typical monitor speakers, something the large screen size makes room for. The full capabilities of the monitor (including 3840 x 2160 @120Hz and Adaptive-Sync) can therefore be harnessed using DisplayPort 1.4. HDMI 2.1 does not feature, although given the lack of support on current GPUs and the widespread use of DP on PCs that perhaps makes sense.

A sleek rear with concealed ports

Further information can be found on the manufacturer’s website. The monitor is available from the manufacturer directly with an RRP of $3999.99, with wider availability to follow.

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Dell Alienware AW5520QF