The high-end PC monitor industry is experiencing a rapid increase in demand, due mostly to the release of the new-generation GPUs and co§nsoles that are capable of high-resolution, and high-framerate, performance.
Purchasing a 35-inch 1440p monitor, capable of 120-144 Hz refresh rates, doesn’t need to cost a small fortune. Alternatives to monitors like the Acer X35 Predator or the ASUS Rog Swift PG35VQ do exist, and they can be purchased at almost half the cost: around the $1,000 range. Two such excellent substitutes are the Dell Alienware AW3420DW, and the LG 34GN850.
These monitors feature high-quality Nano IPS panels, a 3440 x 1440 resolution, a 1900R curvature, excellent internal latencies, and both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility.
But, because these two monitors are so similar in terms of their most marketable specifications, we must delve deeper into what makes them unique in order to determine which product provides more value for their almost identical asking price.
|Monitor||Dell Alienware AW3420DW||LG 34GN850|
|Screen Size||34 inches||34 inches|
|Resolution||3440 x 1440||3440 x 1440|
|Refresh Rate||120 Hz||144 Hz (160 Hz OC)|
|Aspect Ratio||2.389:1 (21:9)||2.389:1 (21:9)|
|Bit Depth||8 bits||8 bits + FRC|
|Colors||1.68 million||1.07 billion|
|Brightness||350 nits||350-440 nits|
|G2G Response Times||2 ms||1 ms|
Appearance – Dell Alienware AW3420DW
Usually, the external appearance of a monitor will play little-to-no role in regards to whether or not it will be preferred over its competition, but in this case, if someone were to purchase the Dell Alienware AW3420DW based solely on its looks, we would understand.
It has an incredibly sleek and modern design, with a near borderless, matte, anti-glare, bezel, a light grey rear exterior, four independently customizable RGB illuminated zones, and it has stand with a quick-access port and a cable pass through for seamless cable management.
On the other hand, the LG 34GN850’s design is rather plain. It does have a thin, black, anti-glare bezel, but the cable management cutout of the stand is flimsy and the exterior of the back of the monitor is only decorated with a couple of red, non-illuminated, accents.
Both monitors are rather thick, which is due to their curvature. They have an identical thickness of 10.4 inches (26.5 cm) with the stand, though without the stand the LG 34GN850 is slightly thinner, at 4.3 inches (10.9 cm) – versus the 4.6 inches (11.7 cm) of the Alienware AW3420DW.
Refresh Rate & Resolution – LG 34GN850
The two competing monitors have an identical 3440 x 1440 resolution (21:9 aspect ratio); yet the LG 34GN850 has a refresh rate of 48 to 144 Hz (that can be overclocked to 160 Hz), while the Dell AW3420DW has a refresh rate of 30 to 120 Hz. The difference between 120 Hz and 144 Hz may seem insignificant, but 120 Hz to 160 Hz is definitely not. Despite it, generally, not being a good idea to overclock a monitor’s refresh rate – because of the resulting non-native refresh rate which can increase the monitor’s innate input lag – the LG 34GN850 is an exception. It has a low enough default input latency to render it capable of operating at variable refresh rates without a noticeable impact.
Powering a 1440p resolution at 120-144 Hz may be hardware intensive, but it is definitely possible; especially with new generation GPUs like the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT or the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 – which, on average, can process games at 165-169 FPS (1440p, high quality) according to benchmarks by Techspot.
Because 160 Hz at 1440p is not an unrealistic metric and because the LG 34GN850 does have leeway for input-lag to allow it to overclock without much of a negative impact, we can say that this monitor does hold a considerable advantage against the Dell AW3420DW in this regard.
Display – LG 34GN850
Even with their larger screen, uncommon aspect ratio, and 1900R curvature, these monitors make use of IPS panels – Nano IPS panels to be exact. This applied nano technology allows the monitor to have a wider color gamut, through the use of specific nanoparticles that are applied to the W-LED backlight display.
Where the LG 34GN850 has a slight edge over the Dell AW3420DW, is its bit-depth. Both monitors have an 8-bit color depth, but the LG 34GN850 makes use of what is called Frame Rate Control (FRC). FRC simulates a higher bit-depth by creating an illusion that more, intermediate, color tones are being generated, via the rapid switching of existing color tones. This effectively upscales the color-depth, and allow for the reproduction of a far larger number of color variants. It is because of FRC that the LG 34GN850 has an effective bit-depth of 10 bits that it can display over a billion 30-bit colors, versus the only 1.67 million 24-bit colors of the Dell AW3420DW. Also, the LG 34GN850 is HDR 400 compatible, while the Dell AW3420DW has no HDR certification.
Contrast & Brightness – TIE
Static contrast ratios of both monitors are those typical to an IPS panel: 1,000:1 on paper, but closer to 720-960:1 in reality, depending on the model. Nothing exceptional from either model in this regard.
In terms of brightness, both monitors have a standard SDR brightness of 350 nits, but the LG 34GN850 can reach a peak brightness of 440 nits when utilizing its HDR. Both monitors have adequate brightness levels, but again, nothing exceptional.
Color Range – TIE
The LG 34GN850 may be capable of displaying more colors tones, via the use of FRC, but the Nano IPS panel, that both monitors utilize, provides excellent coverage with an outstanding color accuracy. To be more specific, both monitors cover 134.5% of the sRGB spectrum and 98% of the DCI P3 color space. Needless to say, both these monitors need to be calibrated in order to reach their potential color accuracy –but this is even more so the case for the Dell AW3420DW, which is not well tuned out of the box.
Response Time & Input Lag – TIE
The LG 34GN850 advertises a 1 ms Grey-to-Grey response time, a 6 ms average response time and 4.2 ms of input lag, while the Dell AW3420DW has a 2 ms G2G response time, an average response time of 10 milliseconds, and 5 milliseconds of input lag.
Benchmarks by RTINGS.com show a native resolution input-lag of 5.2 ms for the Dell Alienware AW3420DW, that can go up to 13.1 ms at 60 Hz, and 13 ms at a variable refresh rate. For the LG 34GN850, 4.2 ms of input lag was measured (7.1 ms for 10-bit HDR) that was increased to only 9.8 ms at 60 HZ, and 11.2 at a variable refresh rate.
The LG 34GN850 does have a slight advantage input lag, but the difference here is negligible. Both monitors have excellent response times and input latency levels.
Ergonomics – Dell Alienware AW3420DW
When it comes to ergonomics, the LG 34GN850 is limited to just two functions: It has an adjustable height, being able to rise in height by up to 110 millimeters, and it can tilt forwards by 5 degrees and backwards by 15 degrees.
The Dell AW3420DW also has an adjustable height of up to 130 mm, and it can also tilt forwards by 5 degrees and backwards by 21 degrees, but it can even swivel in both directions (left & right) by up to 20 degrees, which the LG34GN850 lacks.
Neither of these monitors can pivot to a portrait orientation, but they do have removable stands and can be mounted based on the Video Electronics Standards Association’s (VESA) Mounting Interface Standard (MIS) of 100 x 100 millimeters.
Because the Dell AW3420DW has the ability to swivel, and because of the added range of its backwards-tilt and height adjustment, we have to give it the edge in this aspect of comparison – but this added functionality may never be of use.
Power Consumption– TIE
Since the Dell AW3420DW’s has a lower maximum refresh rate, it also consumes less power on average, pulling just 58 watts in standard work mode – versus the 72-watt average of the LG 34GN850.
It must be mentioned that the LG 34GN850 has a maximum power consumption of only 80 watts, while the Dell AW3420DW can consume up to 110 watts of power – which means that the 58-watt average may not be including its illuminated displays.
Connectivity – Dell AW3420DW
Perhaps one of the least considered characteristics of a monitor prior to a purchase is its connectivity, but having the ability to connect peripherals directly to your monitor is always a great option.
The LG 34GN850 comes with two USB 3.0 (Type-A) downstream slots, one USB 3.0 (Type-B) upstream slot, two HDMI 2.0 and one DisplayPort 1.4 socket. It also has a 3.5 mm audio-out jack.
The Alienware AW3420DW features five USB 3.0 slots: three of which are downstream, one is upstream (Type-B), and the fifth is also downstream, but it has BC 1.2 compatibility – meaning it can quick-charge a device through its USB 3.0 downstream socket. The AW3420DW also has two 3.5 mm audio-out jacks: both line-out, but one dedicated for headphones. In terms of display connectivity, it has HDMI 1.4 and a DisplayPort 1.2 compatible sockets.
Features – TIE
The final facet of comparison is the software/technology/service features that these two monitors include.
Both are compatible with AMD FreeSync (Premium for the 34GN850) and Nvidia G-Sync. Both have Flicker-free technology, built-in cable management, and Nano IPS technology.
The LG 34GN850 has Dynamic Action Sync (a mode that minimizes display lag and is automatically enabled when overclocking), a Low Blue Light mode, DisplayHDR 400, a Crosshair overlay, a Black Stabilizer (which makes objects more visible in dark scenes), and a Smart Energy Saving Mode.
The Dell AW3420DW has AlienFX custom lighting software, and a Dynamic on-screen display. This is basically a UI with customizable preset game modes, an FPS counter, and guiding lines for a multi-screen setup.
Overall, nice additional features across the board, but nothing that would tip the scales in favor of either side.
Competitive Gaming – LG34GN850
Firstly, if you value aesthetics above all else, then the Dell Alienware AW3420DW will most likely be your choice – and you don’t have to feel too guilty about it. Perhaps the only exception to this, is a competitive-gaming setup.
The differences in input-lag may be minor, but they do exist; and if you can reduce input lag from as many sources as possible, it is always worth doing so. With the existence of Nvidia’s Reflex and AMD’s 2nd generation Anti-Lag that can drastically reduce system latency, every added millisecond counts. Also, the 40 Hz boost in refresh rate is a considerable advantage; even if there are diminishing returns at framerates above 120 FPS.
Console Gaming – LG 34GN850
Current-generation consoles only support 16:9 aspect ratios, so the native 21:9 aspect ratio of these 34-inch monitors will not be compatible. Of course, a console can be plugged in, but this will simply cause the picture to be stretched from 16:9 to 21:9 – which won’t look great, but to each their own.
For console gaming, the LG 34GN850 has HDMI 2.0 slots, while the Alienware AW3420DW has HDMI 1.4, so the former option will work best.
AAA Title Gaming & General Use – LG 34GN850
The high color-depth of the LG 34GN850’s IPS panel, its HDR 400 compatibility, its higher frame-rate (and subsequently lower response time) make it the overall superior monitor. Once again, the only aspect of the Alienware monitor that would warrant its purchase is its external design, but if you care little for appearances, the LG 34GN850 is the way to go.