Alienware AW3418DW 34inch Monitor

26 November 2018

After visiting a friend and discovering the ridiculousness of 34" curved displays I decided to pick up an Alienware AW3418DW 34" curved 3440x1440 120Hz monitor. The monitor has been a blessing and a curse but has definitely been worth the purchase. It's allowed me to cut down on the number of devices and cables at my 'battlestation', has honestly increased my coding productivity, but has hurt my gaming.

The neck of the stand does not raise the monitor to a height that I prefer which means I will need to invest in a desk mount arm in order to get back to my desired ergonomics. I'm an 'old' man which makes that a bit more important to me than others. The color profile is adequate for me in terms of gaming and programming, but I'm not a graphic designer so I don't know if it's truly 'great' or 'average'. Whether it's the curvature of the screen or the quality/type of panel I do not know, but the left and right edges of the screen are never blurred/out of focus/etc.

This is not a monitor for first or third person shooters. There is just too much real estate for the eye to properly track. It is great for racing games, however. But more importantly, and the main reason I bought it, is that it is great for development. I typically split this monitor into thirds or even sixths, for work. Such as:

|                  |                  |                  |
|                  |                  |     Sublime /    |
|                  |                  |       IRC        |
|                  |    Firefox /     |                  |
|   VS Code        |     Chrome /     |------------------|
|                  |    Mobile VM     |                  |
|                  |                  |     Slack        |
|                  |                  |                  |
|                  |                  |                  |

And it's absolutely great. I move my head to the left and right far less than when I ran dual monitors. I'm also less annoying by the differences between monitors when running dual monitors (if you aren't running the same monitors in a dual monitor situation then the differences in brightness, contract, colors, etc, really stand out and I often could not make them match).

The only problems I had in the beginning with the monitor was that my Mac mini really did not like to recognize it on boot and resisted running at full resolution. I was unable to determine if it was my HDMI cable or the HDMI port of the Mac mini, but ultimately the problems went away when I switched to a Thunderbolt to HDMI cable. I have to admit the monitor is not cheap, even after I managed to stack multiple discounts on it (I believe at the time of purchase that eBay had it on sale, and Samsung offered a rebate if bought through Samsung Pay + eBay app on a Samsung phone), but it is easily my favorite purchase of the year.