The combination of a high refresh rate and frame rate on the Alienware 25 AW2521HF may be especially appealing to competitive gamers, but will also appeal to fans of less competitive fast-paced action. Support for Adaptive-Sync is included, allowing for the use of AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia’s ‘G-SYNC Compatible Mode’. We put this monitor to the test, comparing it to more common TN displays such as the impressively responsive Acer XN253Q X.
- Input lag is less than one millisecond.
- The 240Hz refresh rate is rather impressive.
- The attractive, futuristic look works nicely with the rest of Alienware’s hardware.
- Color performance is mediocre.
- G-Sync Compatible adaptive sync occasionally produces jerky movements.
The Alienware 25 AW2521HF is amongst the fastest gaming monitors we’ve encountered in terms of refresh rate. This 25-inch 1080p monitor has an input lag of less than a millisecond at its maximum refresh rate, which helps explain its quoted price of $509.99. Additionally, the panel’s 240Hz refresh rate will satisfy all but the most discerning esports enthusiasts, who will revel in the panel’s smoothness for fast-paced action games. Its color performance (particularly for movies) is lacking, and its G-Sync Compatible adaptive sync feature isn’t quite as silky as pure G-Sync. However, for Alienware devotees and frame-rate obsessives, it delivers.
Alienware 25 AW2521HF Review: A Future-Sensitive Design
The Alienware 25 AW2521HF’s Lunar Light color scheme is white and black, similar to Alienware’s latest Aurora desktops. The 25-inch screen is nearly bezel-less, with the exception of a narrow black band running down three of its borders. The Alienware logo is included on a narrow black strip at the bottom border.
The majority of the Alienware 25 AW2521HF’s monitor’s back is made of white plastic, with black inserts for the ports and the connection where the stand joins to the screen. It’s a stunning style, and a welcome change from the typically boxy, black appearance of the majority of monitors, including many premium gaming monitors.
The panel contains a power connector for a conventional three-prong PC power cable facing downward on the rear, an input USB port for connecting to your computer, and two downstream USB ports for using the monitor as a hub. These ports are located on the monitor stand’s left side. The recess on the opposite side of the stand houses two HDMI inputs, a DisplayPort input, and a 3.5mm audio output. Finally, two additional USB downstream ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack are located on the monitor’s bottom edge, directly in front of the stand.
The monitor’s main power button is also located on the bottom edge, at the lower-right corner. Around the back, in a vertical row at the right edge, there is a four-way control stick and four extra hexagon-shaped buttons. All of these buttons are used to navigate the monitor’s menus.
The monitor stand is supported by a broad, V-shaped foot. The pillar’s top clips firmly into the back of the screen, securing it in place while allowing for a range of adjustment choices. The monitor may be angled vertically (-5 to 21 degrees) and horizontally (20 degrees either way), as well as moved up and down (within a range of 5.1 inches). Additionally, it can be rotated 90 degrees in either way on the stand for portrait orientation. Additionally, the rear of the screen contains a VESA mount for use with a monitor arm or other option to the stand.
Speaking of the stand, the AlienFX lighting system included within it allows you to truly showcase your gaming energy. You control it via the Alienware Command Center program; connection to an Alienware PC is not required. Along the rear of the stand is a lengthy RGB light loop. Along with Alienware’s iconic alien-head emblem in the top-right corner of the screen’s back, it can be set to light up in any way you like, including dynamic lighting effects that correspond to game activity.
Aw2521hf Review: Gaming and Entertainment
The Alienware 25 AW2521HF’s graphical benchmark for Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition looks fantastic, with natural-looking colors in the verdant landscapes and azure skies. Although the colors are brilliant, and the image is extremely bright, small features in shadows and dark objects occasionally appear muddy. The action is fluid and without discernible motion artifacts.
The Alienware 25 AW2521HF’s 240Hz refresh rate also contributes to generally smooth gameplay in-game, however, it occasionally steps on its own to refresh its image. While playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the monitor displayed minor vertical sync issues as the game pushed frame rates of 300 frames per second or higher. I experienced intermittent choppiness and screen tearing even with the frame rate limited at 240fps.
Although these were not large, screen-warping abnormalities, they were apparent. This could be because the Alienware 25 AW2521HF’s “G-Sync Compatible” capabilities are not native G-Sync, resulting in less-than-optimal adaptive-sync performance. In comparison, the Alienware 34 employs native G-Sync, and while it exhibits some choppiness, it is not near as pronounced as on the Alienware 25 AW2521HF.
The Alienware 25 AW2521HF’s limited color space coverage is evident in our 4K Costa Rica test film. The greens of the plants and frogs appear natural and adequately saturated, although they could have been a little more vibrant. While the details are crisp and the action is fluid, the colors are not as rich or vivid as they could be with appropriate HDR processing or even a wider color range.
Aw2521hf Review: The Swift and the Stable
With a 240Hz refresh rate and a 1ms input lag, the Alienware 25 AW2521HF is a lightning-fast monitor. However, its color performance is lacking, and it might have benefited greatly from native Nvidia G-Sync. The ViewSonic Elite XGQ70QG delivers a 1440p image and a significantly wider color gamut in exchange for a 120Hz refresh rate and 2ms input lag.
If you’re willing to spend a little more and frame rates are a priority, the 1080p Asus ROG Swift PG259QN provides a 360Hz refresh rate and superior color and contrast, which is why it remains our Editors’ Choice winner at this size and resolution.
That said, if you’re all-in on Alienware gear and synchronized bling and looking to pair your battle station with a late-model Aurora desktop or Area-51 laptop, there is no greater visual compliment available than this panel.Follow us online!
I am a gaming and technology enthusiast with a long history in building computers and playing the games that run on them. I spent several years selling computer components, network infrastructure, and a large amount of other technology related devices. I have a vast amount of knowledge when it comes to technology hardware.
I have consulted in various gaming publications, and have written research papers on the gaming industry. My current focus is on revolutionary gaming technology being utilized in other industries.