When you hear the brand Alienware you associate price and quality with the name, because while the brand doesn't attract the penny pinchers, we do expect the quality of the product we're buying from Alienware to be top notch, as we really do pay top dollar for it.
While the original OptX AW2210 might've slipped under the radar a bit, the new AW2310 doesn't have the same issue due to a fairly nice looking spec sheet. The AW2310 as you might've guessed is a 23" monitor carrying a TN Panel with a native 1920 x 1080 resolution. An 80,000:1 contrast ratio is present along with 400 cd/m2 brightness.
The two big selling points on the spec sheet are the 3ms response time and 120Hz 3D capable refresh rate. How this differs from the Dell U2711 screen is that we change from a screen that is more work orientated and good with gaming, to one that should be great at gaming.
The package on the AW2310 is great with the box providing some really nice images and all the normal information you would expect. Inside we've got some foam to protect the monitor and while our sample lacked the normal array of screen protection we're used to seeing, the monitor does come with it. Someone who has looked at the monitor previously must've forgotten to put it back in the box.
Connectivity while being a little light does offer us Dual-Link DVI and HDMI along with four USB 2.0 ports. While slightly lacking compared to the U2711 we looked at recently, this monitor is aimed more so toward a gamer than a multimedia user.
If you looked at the U2711 review you will understand the OSD system that is used here on the AW2310. The same setup is used with the power button being in the bottom right corner of the bezel and above that a number of buttons that control the OSD. As your finger comes close to the bottom most button it lights up. Clicking it reveals the same U2711 menu.
"The main menu consists of Preset Modes (Preset Colors), Brightness / Contrast, Input Source and Menu which opens quite a large menu giving more options including the ability to change what you want the initial menu to show."
The main difference here is that the power button is the same kind of design as opposed to an actual push button that is used on the U2711. Everything is just a bit more funky looking as well; the whole OSD is red and the arrows just look a little more gamey.
Colours are good like the U2711, but not as good. You can still see the difference in blacks at 1.6% and whites at 1%, but it's not as clear a difference and you do have to look a little harder to notice this. On the dead pixel front we didn't have any and if the amount of stickers on the box are anything to go by like our U2711, it's clearly done the rounds and is a real testament to the quality of the unit.
On the backlight bleed front, we didn't see anything. Working through our colours green, red, blue, black and white, the colour was even across the board. This is something that is seen more so with the TN panels as opposed to the IPS ones.
Power draw on the monitor sits at around 36.8w and 37w which is a lot more attractive than the 70w+ draw on the U2711. Idle power is .7w to .8w which seems to be the standard number for a monitor when off.
Image quality is nice and 23" is a nice size for 1920 x 1080. At this resolution everything continues to look sharp; you can tell, though, that we don't have the same colour range as the U2711. This is also the nicest 1920 x 1080 screen that I've used with previous ones being 24" and the resolution just seemed slightly out at this size.
HD content on the monitor is nice; the native resolution means we've got perfect 1:1 pixel mapping. Again, though, the heavier gaming focus of the monitor means it's not the most beautiful picture when looking at HD content. That's not to say that the picture isn't fantastic, you just don't have the same vividness as other monitors that offer a wider colour range.
This monitor shines in gaming if you've got the right video card. Outside of 3D Vision 120Hz offers just a more fluid gaming experience for users and brings us back to that smoothness that was seen in the CRT days. To achieve the smoothness, though, you need to be able to push 120 FPS and this requires either a high end video card or a drop in detail. Of course, if you want to make use of the 3D ability the monitor is completely compatible. The best thing is that if you're buying this monitor to get 3D and you find you're not happy with 3D, you're not going to be worse off. Instead you're ending up with a monitor that will be better for gaming than most.
Compared to many monitors on the market, the AW2310 is a gaming monitor and a damn good one at that. 120Hz means that a whole new level of gaming is on offer. The biggest problem is that you're going to need a video card that can handle it. If you're only pulling 60 FPS then the benefits aren't seen. With that said, you would want something like a HD 5870 or GTX 480 to really make excellent use of the model.
3D support is a bonus. Great design, great OSD and 120Hz are the stand outs for this monitor. If you're a gamer and you miss that smoothness that was offered from CRTs, this is exactly the kind of display you're going to want.