It’s a few years since we first saw a 360Hz gaming monitor, in the shape of the Asus PG259QN, but they’re still quite rare. As such, it’s a little surprising to see a 360Hz display from a premium brand such as Alienware available for just over $400.
The AW2523HF has a pleasingly smart design as well. The stand and back have a simple metallic grey finish, with few overly brash ‘gamer’ additions. This means you miss out on any RGB lighting – a feature included with this display’s official G-Sync module-equipped sibling, the AW2521H – but it’s a small compromise considering the large price difference.
The stand measures just 30cm wide and 34cm deep, so it doesn’t needlessly intrude on your desk space. What’s more, it offers a full range of ergonomic adjustments, making it easy to set the height and angle of the screen, and to pivot the panel into a portrait orientation for easy access to the rear ports.
The Alienware AW2523HF inputs consist of one DisplayPort and two HDMI video inputs, along with a four-port USB 3 hub, headphone jack and even an extra audio line out, so you can route audio to a set of speakers and your headphones from the one screen. The headphone jack is located on the central underside of the bottom bezel, alongside two of the USB ports, for easy access.
Also housed on the bottom bezel is the single mini joystick that controls the onscreen menus. It’s a precise and easy-to-use control system that works well with the speedy menus, which are intuitive and contain all the gaming and image quality adjustments you should need.
However, while the Alienware AW2523HF image quality is very good in some ways it’s less accomplished in others. Most obviously, the limited 1080p resolution of the IPS panel looks blocky by today’s standards, with a pixel density of just 90ppi. You also miss out on an extended color gamut, so HDR is off limits and colors are only as vibrant as the standard sRGB color gamut allows. There’s also a noticeable brightness drop in the last 0.5in of each side of the screen – not ideal on such a small panel.
Viewing angles are good, though, and contrast is on par for an IPS panel (1,030:1). Out-of-the-box color temperature is also near perfect (6,466K), although the screen’s gamma setting is a little high (2.39).
As for gaming performance, this panel’s 360Hz refresh rate delivers just the sort of blistering performance you’d expect. It’s every bit a very capable competitive gaming screen.
That said, with an average initial response time (the rate at which a pixel manages to transition from one color to another) of 4.53ms at maximum overdrive, this panel is slower to respond than the likes of the 270Hz Acer XB323U, which managed a 4.11ms initial response time.
Meanwhile, some 240Hz TN panels we’ve tested can register under 3ms response times, effectively providing a much snappier-looking image. TN panels have much worse image quality, though, so there’s a significant compromise in opting for such a panel.
Alienware AW2523HF pros and cons
- Fantastic gaming performance
- Decent overall image quality
- Useful feature set
- Decent value
- No HDR
- Response time isn’t that fast
- Low resolution
Alienware AW2523HF specs
The Alienware AW2523HF specs list is:
|Resolution||1,920 x 1,080|
|Maximum refresh rate||360Hz|
|Stated response time||1ms|
|Max brightness||400cd/m² SDR|
|Stated contrast ratio||1,000:1|
|Adaptive sync||FreeSync Premium, G-Sync compatible|
|Display inputs||1 x DisplayPort 1.4, 2 x HDMI 2|
|Audio||Headphone and line out|
|Stand adjustment||Height, pivot, rotation, tilt|
|Extras||100 x 100mm VESA mount, DisplayPort cable, DisplayPort-to-mini-DisplayPort cable, USB 3 upstream cable, four-port USB 3 hub|
Alienware AW2523HF price
Despite the Alienware name often coming with a premium price and this model sporting a massive 360Hz refresh rate it actually demands a relatively modest price of around $400. That’s a lot for a 1080p display but not many can do 360Hz.
Price: $424 USD / £390 GBP
Alienware AW2523HF review conclusion
The Alienware AW2523HF response time is a touch sluggish, so its effective gaming performance isn’t much better than 240Hz screens. However, it’s still a fantastic competitive gaming monitor that balances blistering 360Hz gaming performance with decent image quality and a competitive price. This Alienware’s combination of great image quality and blazing gaming performance earns it a place on our best gaming monitor list.
Alienware AW2523HF rating
Few gamers truly need a 360Hz display over a 240Hz one, but the AW2523HF is a solid choice if you want fast gaming performance.