Alienware AW3821DW - What should I do?

1Wolf

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
414
I've been on the fence between the LG 38GN950-B and the Alienware AW3821DW for a while. After hemming and hawing I finally decided that maybe the full G-Sync module was worth it, and the folks here in the forums spoke highly of the Alienware warranty and support.

So I went with the Alienware. I ordered in March and they projected an April delivery which they came through on. However, FedEx really dropped the ball. Who knows what they did with the package but it took over a week to get here and by the time it arrived there was a bit of damage on the box and FedEx red & white tape re-sealing the box. I went ahead and opened the box and it was clear that someone had indeed been into the box. The monitor itself had some small scratches on the screen. They were small, but they were not minor. They weren't surface scratches but went all the way through the coating. I took pictures of the damage and the box and contacted Alienware support. They were awesome. I was only on the phone for like 15 minutes and they asked me to send photos. I sent pictures and they sent me a new monitor the next day. They asked me to send back the old one pre-paid shipping as soon as I could.

I received the new monitor about a week later and the box from FedEx was in pristine condition. No damage. I opened the monitor, and inspected it thoroughly with a flashlight and it was in fine condition. I set it up, turned it on...and you can see what it looked like below. Again, I called Alienware support and this time it wasn't so easy. It took me an hour and a half on the phone to get it resolved. Because I was 30-days out from the initial purchase I had to go through regular regular tech support instead of replacement of an item damaged in shipping. I did the whole customer service thing we all love where I was transferred, lost, unhelpful people, etc. I finally got someone helpful and they walked me through the process that even involved me having to write down a bunch of information on a piece of paper (my name, the tech support id, service tag, my address, etc.) and then take a photo of that next to the QR codes on the back of the monitor and e-mail that photo to them. The lady was very nice though and when all was said and done they have another exchange on its way to me that should be here in a week. I verified that this would indeed be a brand new monitor and not a refurbished one or something.

So anyhow, after all of this I'm beginning to doubt my purchase and wondering if maybe I'd be better off telling them to keep it and getting a refund....then purchasing the 38GN950. I lose out on the G-Sync module (its G-Sync compatible) but maybe its a better monitor. I don't know. The majority of people seem to think the Alienware has better quality. I just keep reading all these anecdotal stories about flickering screens and inconsistent quality and such. Maybe I'm just being paranoid from having such trouble getting a quality monitor when it costs so much money.

So I figured I'd just ask for advice and see what you guys thought, maybe someone else was in the same boat and might advise me to scrap it and get the LG. Or...conversely....maybe the popular advice will be just to give them another chance and hold out and I'll probably have a very nice monitor in the end.

Thanks!

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Leykis

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 9, 2005
Messages
394
Wow, that sucks man. Hopefully the next panel you get won't have any issues.

I was torn between the very same 2 monitors you were so I ended up ordering both just to see if G-Sync ultimate makes that much difference because really, that's the only thing the Alienware has going for it over the LG.....well that and the build quality. I got my LG 38GN850 from Costco and it arrived on Wednesday and the Alienware has yet to ship from Dell. I ordered both last Sunday. But from using the LG for the last couple days I'm really liking it. Picture looks great, it performs great, love the software controls in Windows - let's you change the monitor settings, adjust the RGB lighting(which really works great as BIAS lighting) and has different configurations for split screen. The build quality might not be as good as the Alienware but I'd rather have functional RGB lighting as my monitor sits up against a wall and I never see the back of it. As far as G-Sync compatibility goes, I haven't had any issues. My previous monitor had native G-Sync support and I can't tell the difference playing games but then again I don't play first person shooters or do competitive gaming so it might not be something I would notice anyways. I haven't tested HDR performance yet but from the reviews I've read this monitor does perform better than the Alienware but both monitors are not great for HDR since they're both edge lit and have only a few dimming zones.

So far about the only thing I don't like about the LG is that I paid $200 more for it than the Alienware. I was able to get 10% off the Alienware with a coupon and it was already $75 cheaper than the LG. Plus you get 3 years advance exchange going with Dell and only 1yr with the LG(2yrs in my case since I used my Costco card to purchase it) but buying from Costco gives me 90 days to return it if I don't like it. There's another monitor from LG coming in the next month that I'll be keeping my eye on. It's a 34" ultrawide but it will have G-Sync Ultimate, can OC up to 180hz, has HDR600 w/56 dimming zones which is like 2x what these monitors have. There's some info about it here.
 

1Wolf

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
414
Wow, that sucks man. Hopefully the next panel you get won't have any issues.

I was torn between the very same 2 monitors you were so I ended up ordering both just to see if G-Sync ultimate makes that much difference because really, that's the only thing the Alienware has going for it over the LG.....well that and the build quality. I got my LG 38GN850 from Costco and it arrived on Wednesday and the Alienware has yet to ship from Dell. I ordered both last Sunday. But from using the LG for the last couple days I'm really liking it. Picture looks great, it performs great, love the software controls in Windows - let's you change the monitor settings, adjust the RGB lighting(which really works great as BIAS lighting) and has different configurations for split screen. The build quality might not be as good as the Alienware but I'd rather have functional RGB lighting as my monitor sits up against a wall and I never see the back of it. As far as G-Sync compatibility goes, I haven't had any issues. My previous monitor had native G-Sync support and I can't tell the difference playing games but then again I don't play first person shooters or do competitive gaming so it might not be something I would notice anyways. I haven't tested HDR performance yet but from the reviews I've read this monitor does perform better than the Alienware but both monitors are not great for HDR since they're both edge lit and have only a few dimming zones.

So far about the only thing I don't like about the LG is that I paid $200 more for it than the Alienware. I was able to get 10% off the Alienware with a coupon and it was already $75 cheaper than the LG. Plus you get 3 years advance exchange going with Dell and only 1yr with the LG(2yrs in my case since I used my Costco card to purchase it) but buying from Costco gives me 90 days to return it if I don't like it. There's another monitor from LG coming in the next month that I'll be keeping my eye on. It's a 34" ultrawide but it will have G-Sync Ultimate, can OC up to 180hz, has HDR600 w/56 dimming zones which is like 2x what these monitors have. There's some info about it here.

Thank you for chiming in Leykis. You're post helps a a TON and thank you so much for taking the time to write it. Sounds like we are of the exact same mind when comparing these two monitors. Like you, I don't play alot of high FPS first person shooters or competitive gaming. The closest thing I'd get to a FPS would be Cyberpunk and I don't think thats the same "thing" as thats more of a story game. My last monitor was a 29" asus with G-Sync support, and I don't know if I could tell the difference either. Half the time I wasn't sure how to set the game to take advantage of it and whether I should turn VSync on or off in the game ;) My opinions are also the same with the RGB thing. I don't really care about the RGB one way or the other but if I'm going to have it I'd rather it be on the back. The Alienware has it on the stand and let me tell you, that thing is heavy. I had just purchased the LG 34GN850 for my wife and the Alienware is only 4" bigger. The weight difference was substantial (to me at least). Moving my wife's new monitor around on her desk and positioning it was no big deal. That Alienware reminded me of the days back with heavy CRT monitors in the early 2000's. The good news is that the Alienware was very sturdy and felt built like a tank. The bad news is all the RGB was on the stand where all the weight was coming from and there was a fair chance I'd strip the stand off and use an arm anyway.

I've read alot of people comment on the "Build quality" of the Alienware and I can't really say I agree. If "build quality" equates to being built very heavy and sturdy...then I get it. But heavy and sturdy doesn't necessarily mean quality and the thing seems kind of bulky and, for obvious reasons, the quality on the one I received was not good. Its probably just a freak thing though and bad luck. The other thing I didn't like was the monitor cables attached like an Asus monitor where they were attached "vertically" and an absolute pain to get to once the monitor is in position unless you have easy and full access to the back of it. My wife's LG the ports are facing backwards right on the back of the monitor and easy to get to.

Anyhow...here is an update on the situation in case you're curious. I got an e-mail from Dell that my exchange had been approved but the new monitor wouldn't ship until May 27th....lol. I ordered the first one March 16 and the first delivery date was around April 9th. That one was damaged by FedEx and returned and the 2nd one they sent me right away and it arrived the next week. But this "exchange" they won't ship until May. So I told them to keep it and just refund my money. My decision was made for me (guess that simplifies things) and I'm just going to do like you did and get an LG38GN950 at Costco.

Thank you so much for the tip on Costco and the details on their return policy as that is EXACTLY what I need. Thank you! With the way panel quality is so hit-or-miss and its so common to hear about folks having panel issues or bad bleed or bad color and getting a "bum" one and having to return it....having an easy painless return is important. I usually don't trust "ordering" monitors any more because of similar issues but I decided to give that a shot with the Alienware. I'd much rather buy the monitor at a storefront so that its easy to just pack up and return if I need to. So I'm going to go the Costco route I think.

Thanks also for the tip on the "coming soon" monitors! That would definitely be the ticket but I don't think I can wait and I was also really excited to try that 38" panel.

Thanks again!
 

Leykis

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 9, 2005
Messages
394
Wow, that's crazy that a replacement is a month out! Mine still hasn't shipped from Dell and it's telling me May 18th before it's shipped. I'm thinking about just cancelling the order and sticking with the LG for the time being since I'm loving the monitor so far and like I said, I can't tell the difference in performance with G-Sync.

And yeah, if you're not going to get a monitor from Dell then Costco is the next best place to get one with their return policy. Good luck with the LG, it's a great monitor!
 
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