If you’re in the market for a new monitor that can make the most out of the best hardware the market has to offer, then you’d be pleased to know that two excellent ultrawide monitors are currently on sale: The Samsung Odyssey G9 and the Dell Alienware AW3821DW.
Now, the costs of these two monitors may be similar, but every other aspect of their build could not be any more different. The Samsung Odyssey G9 has a 32:9 aspect ratio, with an aggressive 1000 mm radius curvature, a 49-inch screen and an SVA panel, while the Dell Alienware AW3821DW has a 21:9 aspect ratio, a very slight 2300R curvature, and 38-inch screen with a Nano IPS panel.
The advantages that Samsung’s Super Vertical Alignment (SVA) panel has over traditional VA panels are quite significant. These panels allow for wider viewing angles (an inherent downside for all VA panels), 300% better contrast ratios, higher brightness levels, 50% faster Gray-to-Gray (G2G) response times (due to quicker liquid-crystal switching speeds), increased power efficiency, and better overall durability. On the other side, the Nano IPS panel of the Dell AW3821DW makes use of nano particles that are applied to the W-LED backlight, which allows for a wider color gamut reproduction. IPS panels also have wider viewing angles, better input lag, and are generally more power efficient than their VA counterparts.
So, if you don’t mind the difference in curvature, and are not quite sure which monitor to purchase for your new setup, there are plenty of factors to take into account in order to make the best choice based on your needs and preferences. To assist you in making this decision, we will compare each monitor’s specifications, benchmarks, and overall build, and come to a conclusion on which monitor is best for different types of uses – ranging from competitive gaming and single-player triple-A gaming, to workstations and general use.
Samsung Odyssey G9 vs Dell AW3821DW
|Monitor||Samsung Odyssey G9||Dell AW3821DW|
|Screen Size||49 inches||38 inches|
|Resolution||5120 x 1440||3840 x 1600|
|Refresh Rate||240 Hz||144 Hz|
|Aspect Ratio||32:9 (3.556:1)||21:9 (2.4:1)|
|Panel Type||SVA||Nano IPS|
|Bit Depth||10 bits||10 bits|
|Colors||1.07 billion||1.07 billion|
|Brightness||300-1000 nits||450-600 nits|
|MPRT||1 ms||1 ms|
Appearance – TIE
Preferences for the exterior appearance of any hardware component or peripheral will always be subjective, but what is apparent with both these monitors, is that both manufacturers made a significant effort into making their products as stylish as possible.
The Odyssey G9 has a black, anti-glare, matte bezel with a glossy white posterior, a V-shaped stand, and an RGB-compatible Infinity Core lighting display placed in the junction where the stand connects to the monitor. The Dell AW3821DW itself also has a three-side virtually borderless design, a stylish bipod-stand with a light grey cover, and two RGB-lit displays: one running across the backside of the stand, and one in the form of an Alienware logo on the top right back-side of the monitor.
Both monitors have a simplistic, yet modern design, that lacks the over-done tackiness of “gaming” peripherals, and their stands do not get too much in the way of desk space. Thus, there is no clear victor in this category, since both monitors are worthy of equal praise with regards to their external design.
Resolution & Refresh Rate – Samsung Odyssey G9
Though the Dell Alienware AW3821DW does have a slightly better resolution than the Odyssey G9 – at 1600p with a pixel density of 111 PPI (pixels per inch = 43 pixels per cm) versus the 1440p and 109 PPI (42 PPC) – the latter model has a far greater framerate advantage (144 Hz vs 240 Hz).
It must be stated, that this 100 Hz framerate superiority may be irrelevant for many users when it comes to gaming, as the hardware needed to take advantage of a 240 Hz monitor at a 1440p resolution must be of the highest quality. In fact, according to benchmarks carried out by Techspot, the GPU with the highest FPS score at 1440p is the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, which averaged 169 FPS between 18 games tested. Now, these benchmarks were carried out with a Ryzen 9 3950X, so a Zen 3 CPU may provide a few extra frames with its faster single-core speeds, found in the improved CCX architecture of Ryzen 5000 Series CPUs, and Smart Access Memory, but averaging 240 FPS for all games without lowering graphical quality is an unrealistic expectation. Currently, this is still the case even with the best consumer grade PC hardware components available in the market.
The good news is that monitors will generally outlive most PC hardware components, and having the leeway for performance upgrades is always a plus. It is for this reason that we must give the advantage to the Samsung Odyssey G9.
Display – TIE
The displays of these monitors are antithetical, as one has a very slight curvature with wide viewing angle (inherent to IPS monitors), while the other has a steep 1000R curvature with below par viewing angles (inherent to VA panels).
To counteract its lack of viewing angles, the Odyssey G9 does have a 11-inch larger screen with a larger display area (96.03% vs 90.21%) and a total screen space that is equivalent to two 27-inch panels.
Since the Samsung Odyssey G9 is meant to be viewed solely from the front, while the Alienware AW3821DW trades in curvature for its 178 degree viewing angles, the outcome of which monitor is superior in this aspect comes down solely to individual preference.
Contrast & Brightness – Samsung Odyssey G9
The category with the most significant performance gap between the two monitors is contrast & brightness. The SVA panel of the Samsung Odyssey G9 gives it a far superior 2300:1 contrast ratio over the Dell AW3821DW, which has a static contrast ratio of just 1000:1.
Additionally, the Odyssey G9 has a peak brightness level of 1000 nits, providing it with a VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification that the Alienware AW3821DW cannot achieve, as it can only reach a peak brightness of 600 nits.
In brightness and contrast, the SVA panel of the Samsung Odyssey G9 displays clear superiority.
SDR Color Range – TIE
Both monitors have a true 10-bit panel depth, rendering them capable of reproducing over 1.07 billion 30-bit colors.
The Samsung Odyssey G9 can reproduce 125% of the sRGB color space, 92% of the Adobe RGB color space, 88% of the NTSC color space, and 95% of the DCI P3 color gamut. On the other hand, the Dell Alienware AW3821DW covers 130.6% of the sRGB color space, and 95% of the DCI P3 color spectrum.
Do note that both monitors do come poorly calibrated, so they must be tweaked depending on the specific unit that you receive.
Response Time & Input Lag – Dell Alienware AW3821DW
Despite the bad rapport that VA panels have for their input lag, Samsung’s SVA panel can compete with a high-end IPS panel like the one in Dell’s Alienware AW3821DW.
When it comes to response times, both monitors feature a minimum 1 millisecond G2G response time, with the Samsung Odyssey G9 reaching a 2.5 ms rise/fall time (a measure of how quickly a 10% to 90% transition occurs between colors), with just a 6.9% overshoot error (on the Standard overdrive setting – Standard, Faster, Fastest). The Dell Alienware AW3821DW has a 4.0 ms rise/fall time, with an overshoot error of just 2.3% while on its lowest overdrive setting: Fast (Fast, Super Fast, Extreme).
The input lag of the Samsung Odyssey G9 reaches just 2.1 ms on its native resolution, and 2.2 ms on a variable refresh rate. At 60 Hz – which is a suboptimal framerate for the monitor – it reached an input lag result ranging from just 22.5 ms to 27.2 ms (RTINGS). The Dell AW3821DW had only 2.7 ms of input lag on its native resolution, reaching 3.1 ms with a variable refresh rate. Where it excels, however, is its overall input lag, that ranged between just 12.7 to 13 ms at 60 Hz.
Given the use of Nvidia’s Reflex feature, and AMD’s Anti-Lag, which both minimize end-to-end input latency to an absolute minimum, both these monitors can be utilized for competitive gaming. However, because the Dell Alienware AW3821DW does have a 43% lower total input lag metric, it must be declared the victor in this category.
Ergonomics – TIE
For their size, these monitors offer excellent ergonomic versatility – arguably of equal quality
The Samsung Odyssey G9 and the Dell AW3821DW are VESA mount compatible, so the stand can be removed and they can be mounted on a different stand, or on a wall, with a 100 x 100 mm interface. The stand itself allows the Odyssey G9 to be adjusted in height by 120 mm, swivel left and right by 15 degrees, and tilt forwards and backwards by 3 and 13 degrees. The Dell AW3821DW can have its height adjusted by 130 mm, it can swivel in both directions by 20 degrees, and it can tilt forwards and backwards by 5 and 21 degrees.
Power Consumption– Dell Alienware AW3821DW
A 49-inch screen with a 240 Hz refresh rate is going to need a good amount of power to operate, and VA panels are not the most efficient.
The Samsung Odyssey G9 has an average power consumption of 108 watts with a C class energy efficiency rating – giving it an estimated annual power consumption of around 158 kWh. On the other hand, the Dell Alienware AW3821DW is about 58% more energy efficient, on average, consuming just 46,35 watts, with a maximum power consumption of 125 W, and an estimated annual power consumption of 144.04 kWh. Overall a far more energy efficient monitor.
Connectivity – Dell Alienware AW3821DW
Where the Samsung Odyssey G9 disappoints the most is its connectivity, with only two USB 3.0 Type-A downstream slots, a HDMI 2.0 port, two DisplayPort 1.4 ports, and one 3.5 mm audio-out jack. This is in stark contrast to the Dell Alienware AW3821DW, which has a total of five USB 3.2 ports (1x Type-B Gen 1 upstream, 4x Type-A Gen 1 downstream), as well as two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.4, and two 3.5 mm audio-out jacks: one for headphones, and one line-out for speakers. The Dell AW3821DW also has High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), preventing any unauthorized copying of digital audio or video content.
Features – Samsung Odyssey G9
Features will rarely make or break a monitor purchase, but in this case they might.
Standard features included with most gaming, or other high-end monitors, at this price can be found with these monitors: like flicker-free technology, a low blue light filter, an eco-saving mode, a timer & crosshair overlay, and a set of various preset modes for different uses – like watching movies, reading, or gaming. Both monitors also feature Picture-by-Picture (PBP) and Picture-in-Picture (PIP), which allow two devices to be displayed simultaneous on the same screen; with PBP separating the screen in half (one side for each device), and PIP having one device displayed on the main screen, while the other is displayed in an inset window.
Some features that the Samsung Odyssey G9 has that are missing from the Dell Alienware AW3821DW include a black equalizer (gamma control for improved details on shadows), Mega Dynamic Contrast (a real-time dynamic contrast enhancer), and Off Timer Plus (a feature that automatically turns off the screen after one, to 23 hours). On the other hand, the Dell AW3821DW does have an ambient light sensor that the Odyssey G9 does not.
What is perhaps the most key feature missing, however, from the Dell AW3821DW, is AMD FreeSync compatibility. This monitor only includes Nvidia’s G-Sync Ultimate, as it has not been tested for – and does not support – AMD FreeSync. The Samsung Odyssey G9 includes support for both AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, as well as Nvidia G-Sync, so no matter what GPU you use for your setup, you can take advantage of adaptive-sync technology. The lack of support for AMD GPUs, especially now with the release of AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 Series graphics cards, may very well steer potential customers off an otherwise excellent monitor.
The Samsung Odyssey G9 and the Dell Alienware AW3821DW both have their merits and demerits, but which has more to offer for their almost identical price?
Best for Competitive Gaming – Dell Alienware AW3821DW
It can be argued that professional competitive gamers will not use ultrawide monitors during the competition, but the Dell AW3821DW has a respectable refresh rate, a decent set of gaming-related features, and, most importantly, extremely low input lag. The 10-millisecond input-lag advantage it has on the Samsung Odyssey G9 can help minimize system latency to its bare minimum, and this can make a difference in a competitive setting. But, once again, this is only the case if one has an Nvidia GPU, for the monitor’s inability to utilize FreeSync compatibility means that any potential advantages it has over the Samsung Odyssey G9 will not be worth the trade if the setup has an AMD Radeon RX series GPU. If you enjoy gaming-competition but are not that serious about it, then either monitor can work just fine.
Best for AAA Title Gaming – Samsung Odyssey G9
Because of the Odyssey G9’s 1000R curvature and 11-inch larger screen, it can make for a more immersive in-game experience – especially if the game supports a 32:9 aspect ratio. Since both options in this comparison have similar prices, if the curvature or viewing angles don’t turn you off, there really is no reason to opt for the Dell Alienware AW3821DW when it comes to single-player gaming. The Samsung Odyssey G9 has a far higher refresh rate, an excellent contrast ratio, and DisplayHDR 1000 compatibility with its 1,000-nit peak brightness.
Best for General Use – Samsung Odyssey G9
Similarly, for general use, like watching movies, browsing the internet, working, gaming, and even content creation, the Samsung Odyssey G9’s 29% larger screen – and its ability to be separated into two 16:9 partitions that are equivalent to 27-inch screens – give it an advantage over the Dell Alienware AW3821DW, at no additional cost. And though the Dell AW3821DW might have better power consumption, better connectivity, and lower input latency, these are simply overshadowed by the overall package that Samsung has to offer at the $1,400-$1,500 range.
Both are excellent monitors, but Samsung’s Odyssey G9 provides more value for its price, especially considering it has support for both Nvidia and AMD GPUs.
Subjective preferences aside, the Samsung Odyssey G9 is the superior monitor.