Dell’s Samsung-Powered QD-OLED Price May Hook Business Users
‘It’s interesting… a gaming monitor has a specific market. But it happens a lot that we might see something that we think might be cool to be used in a different market in a different way and we can give that input,’ says one Dell partner.
Dell Technologies’ new Alienware monitor featuring Samsung’s Quantum-Dot OLED technology may be aimed squarely at the gaming community, but business users may want to keep an eye on this new tech, which could drive down pricing for higher-end monitors used by content creators.
According to Yoon Lee, Dell’s vice president for gaming displays and peripherals, the new tech is a huge leap forward for gaming monitors, allowing a viewing experience normally reserved for higher-end OLED panels. With its curved 34-inch ultrawide frame, 175 Hz refresh rate and $1,299 price tag, the Alienware unit is the first to market Samsung’s technology in the monitor space.
“We knew that gamers have been wanting an OLED panel because of the infinite contrast ratio,” Lee (pictured above) told CRN. “If you’re playing a game like Resident Evil and you’re in a dark lighting situation and you’re using a VA or an IPS panel, sometimes black is just a bunch of black – if you’re using an OLED panel, you can see different shades of black and the sharpness is much more vivid than other types of panel technology.”
That performance would also be attractive to photographers, videographers, graphic artists and other content creators. And the QD OLED technology takes things a couple steps further, offering greater brightness without burn-in fears typically associated with OLED. That would be more of a concern with PC users and static task bars.
Gaming often drives innovation in the personal and business computing spaces. Lee points to the increasing refresh rates seen on consumer and business monitors. Gamers demanded the smoother performance of 100 Hz and higher rates, and soon after, consumer and business models started pumping up refresh rates as well.
OLED panels were typically reserved for larger sized televisions and large monitors with big price tags – Dell’s own 55-inch OLED gaming monitor costs $2,499. Screens sized 17-inches and below used on laptops and mobile devices are already employing OLED technology. But the tech seemed over-engineered and too costly for 24-inch to 34-inch monitors.
When Samsung announced two years ago that it would move away from LCD panel production and focus exclusively on LED and OLED, it opened the door for a broader range of use. Gamers have relied on older LCD technology with traditional IPS and VA monitor panels. Some form of OLED has been seen as the obvious successor, and Dell turned to Samsung’s $1 billion gambit on QD-OLED.
“It’s just very difficult for panel suppliers to make monitor-sized OLED panels,” Lee said. “(Samsung) was looking around to see who would be the right partner and reached out to Dell, because … we know how to build monitors. And it’s an exciting opportunity for us to serve our customers better.”
By shrinking the size and MSRP, Dell may be looking to introduce the monitors to a mass market audience, though Lee declined to comment on specific prospects for the technology. “If there’s new technology that can better serve the consumer or business segment, we’re not going to hesitate to push our envelope and innovate to provide a better experience for customers.”
Debbie Schwartz, vice president of acquisitions at Annapolis, Md.-based Dell partner Mavenspire, said the company makes sure to keep up with the latest trends. “It is critically important for us to look out for new technology,” she said. “It’s a huge part of our value proposition with our SMART as-a-service offering: that we’re able to advise clients on the newest tech to help them achieve their organizational goals.”
Of the Alienware QD-OLED monitor, Schwartz said, “It’s interesting… a gaming monitor has a specific market. But it happens a lot that we might see something that we think might be cool to be used in a different market in a different way and we can give that input.”