Winner of the 32” 4K 240Hz OLED Battle – Dell, ASUS, or MSI?

3 of the dozen or so announced 32” 4K 240Hz OLED monitors are now starting to ship: the Dell Alienware AW3225QF, the ASUS PG32UCDM, and the MSI MPG 321URX. We’ll go over the detailed specs and especially the differences of each one so you can decide if one of these monitors is perfect for you, and I’ll explain why I think ONE of these may be the winner of the 32” 4K 240Hz OLED monitor battle, despite the majority of the competition not yet being released.

The Panel and Commonalities

First, the common thing between all 3 monitors is the panel. They all use the same new QD-OLED display tech that supports 4K UHD resolution, a 240Hz refresh rate, 0.03ms response times, 1000 nits of peak brightness, and all the other things that the panel brings.

All 3 monitors have an anti-reflective panel coating, which means they are semi-glossy. And all 3 monitors feature hardware solutions to lower blue light and reduce eye strain.


Of course, each monitor looks a bit different.

ASUS has the most “gamer” looking design, with a stand that supports tilt, only 15 degrees of swivel to each side, and 110mm of height adjustment. There’s a lighting effect that projects an ROG logo on your desk, in addition to the logo on the back.

Dell’s monitor looks the most futuristic, with a stand that supports similar tilt, a bit more swivel at 20 degrees on each side, and the same 110mm of height adjustment. The white and black two-tone design with more subtle logos lets it look a bit nicer in an office setup, and you still get some lighting effects.

The MSI has the most boring look to it, which might be preferable if you don’t want a setup that screams “gamer”. Though it has the most capable stand with slightly less tilt, but the most swivel at 30 degrees on each side, the same 110mm of height adjustment, and also 10 degrees of pivot on each side. That’s not enough to rotate the monitor to portrait mode, but neither the Dell nor the ASUS support any pivot.

All 3 monitors have 100 x 100mm VESA mounting holes for use with a monitor arm.

Curved Display

The biggest external difference that affects the usage experience is that the Dell has a curved 1700R display, while the ASUS and MSI monitors are flat. Whether curved is good or not is a personal preference, although this curve also means the diagonal size is slightly larger at 31.6” instead of 31.5” like the other two.

Adaptive Sync

When it comes to adaptive sync technology, MSI stumbles a bit as the specs just claim Adaptive Sync, which means it should be AMD FreeSync compatible, while the Dell monitor claims support for both FreeSync Premium and G-Sync compatibility. ASUS technically leads here with support for not only G-Sync but also FreeSync Premium Pro, although the latter seems like it could cause brightness to be low on AMD GPUs with HDR content, so that could also be a negative. Ultimately, the differences here probably aren’t huge, since nVidia GPUs also support FreeSync or Adaptive Sync.

Dolby Vision, Black Frame Insertion

Each monitor has some unique display tech as well. The Dell and Asus monitors both support the Dolby Vision HDR standard, which adds some metadata on top of the HDR signal that should theoretically improve how its displayed compared to regular HDR.

The ASUS also supports Black Frame Insertion or BFI to operate the panel at a fixed 120Hz and insert black frames in between to reduce motion blur, useful if running sources or content limited to 120Hz like gaming consoles.

Finally, MSI claims VESA’s ClearMR 13000 certification while the other 2 don’t mention it. However, this is test of motion blur (with BFI turned off), so I’d expect all 3 to perform similarly based on the panel. Therefore, MSI loses this category for unique display tech.

Ports, KVM and USB-C

The biggest practical difference between the 3 monitors lies in the ports, though not the video ports. All 3 have the same display inputs, with 1 DisplayPort 1.4 and 2 HDMI 2.1 ports.

On the Dell, we’ve got the power connector and Kensington security lock on the rear left side while all the other ports are on the right. That includes a USB hub with a Type-B upstream port for connecting to your computer and 3 USB Type-A downstream ports, as well as a Type-C port with BC1.2 power charging up to 15 watts only. All USB ports are 5 Gbps speed. Notably, this is a USB hub and not a KVM that lets you switch between multiple host computers.

The MSI monitor reverses the placement, with the power connection and Kensington lock on the rear right. On the other side, we’ve got a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the USB hub consists of the USB Type-B upstream port and just 2 USB Type-A ports, all operating at only USB 2.0 speeds. However, there is a Type-C port with 90 watts of power delivery with support for DisplayPort Alt so you can have a single-cable video and power connection for supported devices. This also means it supports KVM functionality to switch the 2 USB Type-A devices between the computers connected to the Type-B upstream port and the Type-C port.

Finally the Asus monitor of course has a power connector and Kensington lock, but also a 1/4” tripod socket to mount an accessory like a light or webcam. It also has the most audio outputs, with a headphone jack and SPDIF out.

The USB hub consists of a Type-B upstream port and 3 Type-A downstream ports at the same USB 3.2 Gen 1 or 5Gbps speeds as the Dell. But like the MSI monitor, the Asus has a Type-C port that supports 90 watts of power delivery and DP Alt mode, and therefore also supports KVM switching between those sources.

In summary, the Dell and MSI both have some downsides, but the Asus is the best of them all with the most capable port connectivity.

Fan Noise & Warranty

One important factor I always look for in any product is whether it makes noise while operating. I do have some concerns about the Dell monitor, as it does have a fan, which means dust can build up over time, but most importantly, it might be audible. My previous experience with the Dell 34” AW3423DWF resulted in me returning it within 15 minutes of trying it out since the fan was so loud, but that could have been a defective unit. Some feedback from those who have the AW3225QF seems to say they can’t hear it, but your mileage may vary.

Personally, I don’t like monitors with fans, and would prefer to go with either the MSI or Asus choices here, both which have a custom heatsink built-in to provide for silent, passive cooling.

And whether they have a fan or not, all 3 companies offer a 3-year warranty for their monitors, which is great. We have Dell to thank for introducing the 3 year warranty, and Asus and MSI’s attempts to outdo one another as well. This is a prime example of why competition is so important.


Finally, let’s talk about price. Here, the MSI MPG 321URX is the clear winner by a mile, priced at only $950 dollars in the US. The Dell Alienware AW3225QF is $250 or 26% more expensive at $1200, while the Asus is $350 or 37% more expensive than the MSI at $1300.

But actually, getting the MSI can save you even more than that. First, the MSI monitor is being sold by B&H, and if you use their credit card, you don’t have to pay sales tax, which can save you upwards of another $100 depending on where you live. And MSI is also offering $100 of steam credit if you buy and review their monitor by March 31. If you combine all these discounts, the MSI monitor is actually about $500 less than the Dell and Asus, which is insane.

Value Comparison

Let’s do a quick value comparison summary of what you get if you pay more for the Dell or Asus, and I’ll just go by the normal retail prices. If you pay $250 more for the Dell over the MSI, you get:

  • Dolby Vision support
  • G-Sync support
  • 1 extra USB Type-A port and faster USB ports overall, but
  • A less capable USB Type-C port with only 15 watts of power charging instead of 90 watts of power delivery and DP Alt
  • No KVM switching
  • No headphone jack
  • A curved display
  • And a fan that could become noisy

Frankly, I don’t think the Dell’s advantages over the MSI outweigh the negatives, even if they were at the same price point.

If you pay $350 more for the Asus over the MSI, you get:

  • Dolby Vision and Black Frame Insertion support
  • G-Sync and FreeSync Premium Pro
  • 1 extra USB Type-A port and faster USB ports overall
  • An SPDIF output
  • and a 1/4” tripod mount

While the Asus doesn’t really have any disadvantages compared to the MSI, I also wouldn’t pay $350 more just for these little extra things.

If we compare Asus to Dell, paying $100 more gets you:

  • Black Frame Insertion and FreeSync Premium Pro support
  • 10Gbps USB ports and an upgraded USB Type-C port with 90W power delivery and DP Alt mode
  • KVM switching capability
  • Headphone and SPDIF out ports
  • A 1/4” tripod mount
  • A flat screen
  • And a custom heatsink which means no fan or fan noise

If I had to choose between the Asus and Dell, I would pay the $100 extra to get the Asus, mostly because I value having no fan as well as the flat screen.

But because the MSI monitor exists and currently costs $550 less than the Asus (with the tax savings and credits), I have to give the crown of the best 32-inch 4K 240Hz OLED monitor to the MSI MPG 321URX. And as long as the MSI doesn’t reveal itself to have some kind of prevalent defect, if the monitors releasing later this year can’t compete on price, then I feel like the MSI will hold onto this crown for quite some time.

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