Alienware AW3423DW vs MSI MEG 342C QD-OLED

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  • #68937
    TetriX

      Hi there,

      I currently use the LG 34GP83A which for me replaced the older LG FreeSync UltraWide you reviewed. I really like the 21:9 aspect ratio and I’m happy with the pixel pitch. But your review of the Alienware has me really salivating at the thought of a QD-OLED version. That contrast. Those viewing angles and colours. The responsiveness. Give it to me! 😀

      I understand MSI has their own version coming out as well, the MEG 342C QD-OLED. I’m wondering how you think this will compare to the AW3423DW? I know only the Alienware has G-SYNC and the MSI is FreeSync with G-SYNC support, but does this really matter? At this point I suppose I would go for whichever I can get and would be super happy with either model. Maybe later this year when I’m ready to make the switch. I know Samsung is supposed to have their own version (Odyssey G8QNB?) but I don’t really trust their quality control and just personally prefer the other manufacturers.

      Any advice you can give? Thanks!

      #68939
      PCM2

        Hi TetriX,

        I’m glad you’re enjoying the 21:9 experience so much. That’s quite some dedication to want to go that route for your third monitor but it just goes to show, some people really do enjoy 34″ ultrawides and are happy to stick to that. I agree that QD-OLED would be a significant upgrade for you from your current IPS model. You can expect much stronger contrast (especially in dimmer lighting), more direct emission of light from the glossy screen surface, improved viewing angle performance and colour consistency plus of course upgraded pixel responsiveness. And a far superior HDR performance which puts a lot of these advantages together, with higher peak brightness. Of course you’ve meticulously read and watched the review, so you’ll know all that. 😉

        As for how the AW3423DW would compare to the MEG 342C, it’s tough to say without testing the latter or even without it released (lack of data from other reviews and users). In fact they don’t even have a full spec sheet or product page available yet, which is why we don’t currently have a news piece up for this one. Having said that, you can certainly expect many more similarities between the two than differences. There are some obvious aesthetic differences – you may prefer the contrasting black and white look of the Dell Alienware or alternatively the black with golden touches of the MSI. You can of course see the Alienware from various angles in the review, but because we don’t currently have any shots of the MSI on the site I’ll add a few here to help with the visualisation.

        MSI MEG342C front

        MSI MEG342C rear

        You’re correct that the AW3423DW is a G-SYNC Ultimate model, which includes a G-SYNC module which can be used via G-SYNC as well as Adaptive-Sync (including FreeSync). The main advantage of this with an LCD that people would tout would be variable overdrive, with careful re-tuning and optimisation for a range of different refresh rates. Avoiding excessive overshoot as the refresh rate drops (and hence frame rate drops under VRR). OLEDs are natively extremely responsive, so this shouldn’t have an effect and isn’t really an advantage for one or disadvantage for the other. VRR flickering on VA models is generally lower with G-SYNC modules as well due to tighter voltage regulation. But the AW3423DW still had a form of VRR flickering even with the module – I wouldn’t expect the MSI to be better or worse in that respect (edit: but it could be) and this flickering isn’t intense or frequent enough to bother everyone. Some other slight and to some entirely negligible advantages to the G-SYNC module are covered in the review. There’s seamless operation throughout the VRR range, without a defined LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) boundary – which is likely to be 48Hz on the MSI. There’s slight momentary stuttering if that boundary is crossed in either direction. It also reduces some instances of micro stuttering, but that’s anecdotal, highly subjective and can also be caused by various things which G-SYNC can’t ‘fix’.

        Some advantages I can see for the MSI, as it lacks the module, include an assumed lack of cooling fans which I know will please some people. OLED screens don’t pump out enough heat to require passive cooling like this, but the G-SYNC module does include such measures. It also has the potential to be a bit cheaper due to the lack of module. Though I don’t expect them to throw in a 3-year warranty with ‘burn-in’ cover like Dell did. I still haven’t had any particular issues of this nature with the AW3423DW despite some extensive use of the monitor after the review, incidentally. On some MSI models they also have multiple gamut emulation settings (including not just sRGB but also DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB), but whether that’s implemented and how much flexibility you’d have with such settings if it was implemented on the MEG 342C remains to be seen. So overall, I’d say ‘wait and see’ and perhaps go for whichever is available to you or depending on your local pricing. As you say, you’re likely going to be happy with either model.

        #68947
        TetriX

          Wow. Thanks for such a detailed reply! I will heed your advice and base this decision on pricing and which model I can actually get later in the year. Do you plan to review the MSI?

          #68949
          PCM2

            It’s a possibility, but as usual it depends. It will need MSI to be able to provide a sample, which hopefully they can at some point. But also that the monitor is readily available. I did things a bit differently with the AW3423DW as I purchased the monitor myself with the intention of using it as one of my own monitors if I liked it enough (I did). I wouldn’t usually focus on models which can’t be purchased in a way that supports our work, either, but in this case I had a strong personal interest in the monitor and with it being the first showcase of a new technology felt it really needed to be reviewed. 🙂

            #68983
            Nikorasu081

              One thing to note is that MSI is a heavy player in the console marketplace. MSI has a console mode which basically takes a 4K signal and is able to downscale it to 1440p. This will be perfect for me as someone who also has a PS5, which doesn’t support 1440p natively. https://www.msi.com/blog/msi-monitor-console-mode-designed-to-answer-your-concern

              #68985
              PCM2

                That’s a good point. It’s likely the MEG 342C will include a ‘4K’ UHD downsampling mode, which has been included on many of MSI’s other models including ultrawides. Not only would it be useful for the PS5 which can’t leverage a 1440p signal, but also for the Xbox Series X which can only run under HDR at the ‘4K’ UHD resolution. So users of that console could enjoy the HDR capabilities of the monitor, which isn’t possible on the AW3423DW.

                #69495
                PCM2

                  Another interesting option to be released in the near future is the Dell Alienware AW3423DWF. Like the MSI, this one features Adaptive-Sync support without G-SYNC module so it does have some disadvantages compared to the ‘DF’ as covered in my first post in this thread. On the plus side it is thinner and lighter than the AW3423DW, is cheaper and shouldn’t have an active cooling solution. There are some aesthetic changes such as darker matte plastics (‘Dark Side of the Moon’) in place of lighter matte plastics (‘Lunar Light’) and it seems the ‘Alien FX’ LED ring has been dropped and there’s an illuminated ’34’ instead. It has 2 x DP 1.4 input and 1 x HDMI 2.0 whereas the ‘DW’ features 1 x DP 1.4 and 2 x HDMI 2.0. It tops out at 165Hz rather than 175Hz, but this shouldn’t make a significant difference in practice as it’s only 10Hz. 🙂

                  #69710
                  PCM2

                    Another model worth a quick mention here is the Philips Evnia 34M2C8600. It doesn’t currently have an official product page up, but it will be using the ~34″ QD OLED panel and will be styled similarly to the 34M2C7600MV (Mini LED ultrawide model). The RRP I have in the UK for the Philips QD OLED model is £1479.99, so the price seems a bit on the high side in my view based on my understanding that it will be one of the models without G-SYNC module as well. We’ll see if there are any special features or surprises when the full product page and specs are available.

                    #70203
                    PCM2

                      It has been confirmed (refer to Monitors Unboxed review) that the AW3423DWF does actually include an active cooling solution. But apparently it’s very quiet and unobtrusive – though personally I have no issues with the fans of the AW3423DW, either, and my preference would be for them to be eliminated completely if anything. The Monitors Unboxed review also confirms a reduction in input lag, with signal delay reduced from ~4.7ms to ~0.3ms. Based on feedback it seems most gamers are actually perfectly happy with that aspect of the G-SYNC variant, but for those sensitive to this aspect it’s nice to see it minimised.

                      Aside from the differences already mentioned, the performance of the two models seems very similar and slight differences are within expected for variation for different units of the same model let alone different models. An exception is the inclusion of a greater number of HDR modes to choose from (most just upset the image and go against intended output). The ‘HDR Peak 1000’ mode was worse calibrated on the ‘DWF’ than ‘DW’ in Tim’s testing, often too bright, but Dell were made aware of this and will hopefully address it in a firmware update.

                      #70376
                      PCM2

                        VRR flickering appears to be more of an issue on the ‘DWF’ vs. ‘DW’ as well and also the Samsung Odyssey OLED G8 according to early reports. Some have also observed ASBL (Automatic Static Brightness Limiter) behaviour on the G8 OLED which the Alienware models don’t show. That means the screen may dim if a sufficient amount of static content is detected, which can often occur on the desktop – it apparently still stays ~150 nits in its dimmed state but reports on all of this are flaky at the moment.

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