Alienware reviews 2016

Alienware reviews 2016 DEFAULT

For , Alienware is upgrading its winning formula for gaming laptops, bringing Intel's new 6th-gen Core i7 CPU and Nvidia's M graphics to its leading inch gaming laptop. You still get Alienware's signature spaceship-inspired case, tons of customizable lights and a comfy keyboard. Toss in a inch screen that sets a new bar for gaming machines, and you've got a pretty potent package for $2, Other notebooks have more powerful desktop-level GPUs built in, but when you connect the Alienware 17 to the optional graphics amp ($ with Nvidia Ti GPU), its gaming performance goes to a whole other level while future-proofing your purchase.

Design - The Spaceship Returns

While other gaming systems compete with increasingly shouty designs that are too-often draped in red and black, the Alienware 17's case has remained mostly unchanged over the past three years. The chassis' sleek, spaceship-inspired paneling will still stand out in a crowd, especially when all the lights are set ablaze, like on a Star Destroyer hunting down some pesky rebels. However, with the model indistinguishable from its and predecessors, it's about time for Alienware to do a complete revamp.

Alienware 17 Size
Weight pounds
Dimensions x x inches

Inside, a smooth black deck provides a nice contrast to the space-gray exterior panels and the additional lights mounted under the keyboard and behind the Alienware logo beneath the display. As usual, everything feels solidly put together, a necessity considering the 17's pound heft.

At x x inches and pounds, the Alienware 17 is actually thinner than many other premium gaming notebooks, including the OriginPC EonSLX ( x 12 x and pounds), MSI GT72 Dominator Pro ( x x inches and pounds) and the Acer Predator 17 ( x x inches and pounds), although the Acer is nearly a full pound lighter.

Display - Sparkling in 4K

Alienware knows what it's doing when it comes to displays, because the inch UHD screen on the 17 is better than pretty much anything else in its class. It's sharp, bright and super-colorful and makes marveling at little things like the detail on a gun in Fallout 4 or a swirl of snow and ice in Rise of the Tomb Raider a real treat.

Alienware 17 Display: Test Results
BenchmarkScoreHow it Compares
Brightness nitsBest-in-Class
Color Gamut (sRGB) percentBest-in-Class
Color Accuracy (Delta e)Very Strong

With a brightness of nits, the Alienware 17 beat out the screens from Origin's EonSLX ( nits), MSI's GT72 Dominator Pro Dragon Edition ( nits) and Acer's Predator 17 ( nits).

The 17 also topped its competition in color range, with an sRGB range of percent. The Origin EonSLX ( percent), the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro ( percent) and the Acer Predator 17 ( percent) were bunched up in a pack behind the Alienware.

Alienware's answer to systems like the Origin PC EonSLX and the MSI GT72 Dominator Dragon Edition, which feature desktop-level Nvidia GPUs, is its $ Graphics Amplifier.

Gaming and Graphics - Very Good, But Not the Best

Results were closer for color accuracy, though, with the Alienware notching a Delta-E of   That's better than the EonSLX () and Predator 17 (), but not the GT72 Dominator Pro (). (Scores closer to zero are better.)

There's no getting around it. Even with 8GB of vRAM, the Alienware 17's Nvidia M GPU simply isn't as powerful as the non-mobile desktop GPUs featured in gaming notebooks from Origin and MSI. But the Alienware is a whole lot cheaper, and still offers solid performance at x However, for those hoping to take advantage of the Alienware 17's 4K display, you'll have to turn settings down to low.

On 3DMark's Fire Strike Ultra graphics test, the Alienware 17 scored 2, Acer's M-equipped Predator 17 was slightly ahead at 2,, but Origin's EonSLX (3,), which features a true GPU, was on another level. MSI's GT72 Dominator Dragon Edition (2,) was also faster than the Alienware, but not to the same degree as Origin's notebook.

When we played Metro: Last Light at x and ultra settings, the Alienware 17 mustered fps, which dropped to an unplayable fps at x By comparison, Origin's EonSLX reached a much higher 57 fps on ultra at full HD. MSI's GT72 Dominator (49 fps) was also better than the Alienware, but not quite as high as the Eon. As expected, Acer's Predator 17 (38 fps) posted a frame rate that was almost exactly the same as the Alienware.

But this isn't the end of 17's graphics story, because if you really want to push laptop gaming to the max, Alienware has a trick up its sleeve that can unlock a whole new tier of gaming performance.

Alienware's Graphics Amp - Desktop-Grade Power

Alienware's answer to systems like the Origin PC EonSLX and the MSI GT72 Dominator Dragon Edition, which feature desktop-level Nvidia GPUs, is its $ Graphics Amplifier. Instead of cramming a super-power-hungry graphics card into the laptop's case, Alienware gives you a box that you can put almost any desktop GPU into, and connect to the laptop via a special port on the back. You don't get quite the same level of graphics performance the few times you take the system on the road, but when you're at home and connected to the amp, your frame rates will be higher.

MORE: Best Dell and Alienware Laptops

In 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra, our Graphics Amp equipped with an Nvidia Ti GPU (priced at $ for both) propelled the Alienware 17 to a score of 3, That's 15 percent higher than what we saw from Origin's EonSLX (3,) and a whopping 60 percent better than MSI's GT72 Dominator Dragon Edition (2,).

This graphics prowess also carried over to Metro: Last Light, where the Alienware 17 with amp pushed out 62 fps at x on ultra. The EonSLX (57 fps) was close behind, but importantly, did not quite hit 60 fps, while the GT72 Dragon was even further back at 49 fps.

It's not what you'd call a huge difference. But when you're trying to push pixels as hard as possible, every bit counts. The best thing about springing for an amp is that you'll be able to upgrade your graphics when a new crop of GPUs hit the market.

The argument for a graphics amp is so convincing that other companies, including Acer, Asus and MSI, have plans for their own amps, but right now, Alienware's the only company offering this tech.

Overall Performance - Do You Even Have to Ask?

It goes without saying that with our review config of the Alienware 17 featuring an Intel Core iHK CPU, 16GB of RAM, GB SSD and 1TB HDD, everyday stuff like surfing the Web and sorting spreadsheets was a walk in the park.

On Geekbench 3, which tests overall system performance, the Alienware 17 scored 13, While that's not quite as good as the sky-high mark from the Origin EonSLX (18,), MSI's GT72 Dominator Pro Dragon Edition was about the same at 13,, with Acer's Predator 17 just a tad behind at 13,

When it came to storage speed, our Alienware 17's GB SSD posted a transfer rate of MBps. The Acer Predator 17's SSD ( MBps) speed was exactly the same, although the MSI GT72 Dragon and Origin EonSLX both pulled out an even more impressive MBps.

Alienware 17 (Core iHK / Nvidia Ti / 16GB / GB ): Performance
BenchmarkScoreHow it Compares
Geekbench 313,Average
Spreadsheet Macro TestAbove Average
File Transfer Test MBpsAverage

Keyboard and Touchpad - Solid

With a deep millimeters of travel (mm is more typical) and an actuation weight of 65 grams, the Alienware 17 provides a really comfy gaming and typing experience. That said, I'd like to see Alienware switch over to a chiclet-style design, because every time I use one of its systems, it takes me longer than normal to readjust to the keyboard. (It would also let the lights embedded underneath shine a bit brighter, too.)

That side effect showed up when I ran through's typing test, where I hit 74 words per minute with five typos, which is both slightly slower and less accurate than my typical wpm range with one or two mistakes.

The roomy, x inch touchpad is a pleasure to use, and a real attention-grabber every time it lights up with big bold colors when touched. It features a smooth, almost soft-touch surface and regardless of whether I was doing two-finger gestures or simple taps, it responded quickly to every request. I also like that the mouse buttons below feature separate keys for left and right click, although the sponginess I got when pressing down made me wish for something that felt a little more crisp.

Audio - It Could Be Crisper

One of the few aspects where the Alienware 17 falls short is with its audio. I never got its Klipsch speakers to sound as crisp and a clear as I wanted to, which left things like footsteps in Rise of the Tomb Raider sounding a little muffled. Also, when I listened to Deadmau5's "The Veldt," the bass lacked detail and didn't have anywhere near the same level of impact I heard from the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro or Origin's EonSLX, which was particularly impressive.

Heat - Hot spots Abound

The Alienware 17 also has a hard time keeping its heat under control. After playing Rise of the Tomb Raider for just 15 minutes, several spots on the notebook registered over degrees, which is way above our typical comfort threshold. This included the space between the G and H keys (), degrees on the alien head power button, and a blistering degrees next to the back right vent. The only place that wasn't really hot was the touchpad, which measured degrees. I wasn't overly bothered by the temperature of the keyboard, but I would highly advise against doing serious gaming on your lap due to the toasty bottom vent.

Ports and Webcam - Now with Thunderbolt 3 USB C

Alienware makes good use of the 17's ample chassis by featuring three USB ports, HDMI , SD card reader, Ethernet, discrete headphone and mic jacks, and new for , a USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3. That means you can send video to multiple 4K displays using a single port, or transfer data to and from an external storage device at up to 40 Gbps.

The 2-megapixel camera up top comes with dual mics for pretty clear voice chat when you're left without a headset, and takes a pretty decent picture as well -- as long you're not sitting in the dark like a reclusive Vault dweller. In a picture taken in our testing lab, the Alienware's webcam captured a pretty impressive photo featuring accurate colors, good focus and significantly less noise than you get from other cameras.

Battery Life - Good for a Gaming Rig

Even for a big and heavy gaming laptop, the R3 offers strong battery life. It lasted 6 hours and 7 minutes on our battery test, which consists of continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at nits of brightness. Acer's Predator 17 lasted slightly longer with a time of , but Origin PC's EonSLX and MSI's GT72 Dragon Edition were both left in the dust at and , respectively. The desktop replacement average is a full hour and a half shorter at

LaptopBattery Life (hh:mm)
Alienware 17
Category Average

MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

Configurations - Sky's the Limit

The Alienware 17 R3 starts at pretty reasonable $1, for an Intel Core iHQ CPU,  8GB of RAM, 1TB HDD and an Nvidia GeForce M GPU with 3GB of vRAM. But if you want to push it to the max like our $2, review unit, you can load up a 17 with an Intel Core iHK CPU, 16GB of RAM, a GB SSD, 1TB HDD and an Nvidia M GPU with 8GB of vRAM. Then there's the optional graphics amp, which costs $ for just the box, as well as the $ to $1, you'll need to spend on a desktop-level GPU.

Alienware 17 Cost By Configuration
ConfigCPUGPURAM / StoragePrice
BaseCore iHQNvidia M8GB / 1TB HDD$1,
RecommendedCore iHQNvidia M16GB / GB SSD, 1TB HDD$1,
SplurgeCore iHKNvidia M16 GB / GB SSD, 1TB HDD$2,

Software and Warranty

The Alienware 17 comes with an unfettered install of Windows 10 Home. Then, the company adds on some essential utilities such as its Alienware Command Center, which lets you configure the laptop's lights, plus keyboard macros, power settings and more. There's also Killer Networking Manager to help you prioritize your data traffic, and Nvidia's GeForce Experience to enhance your games.

The 17 also comes with one year of premium support as standard, which offers onsite repair, 24/7 tech support and automated system checkups. This warranty can be extended up to four years for a total of $

Bottom Line

The Alienware 17 is in an interesting position. What once would have been considered a beastly rig, now looks somewhat small next to a new generation of titanic gaming notebooks with desktop-grad graphics. But that doesn't mean the Alienware can't keep up with the Joneses, because its UHD screen is one of the best displays in its class, its battery life is marathonlike next to some of its competition, and the graphics amp offers an even bigger punch (and way better longevity) than laptops with desktop Nvidia GPUs.

When it comes to gaming on the road without its amp, the $2, Alienware 17 simply can't match the pure performance you get on either the $3, Origin EonSLX or the $3, MSI GT72 Dominator Pro Dragon Edition. That keeps the Alienware 17 from being our absolute favorite gaming laptop, but with its vivid screen, solid build and innovative graphics amp accessory, it's still among the best.

Prices - Alienware 17 ():&#;

Alienware 17 () Specs

CPUGHz Intel Core iHK
Card SlotsSD memory reader
Display Size
Graphics CardNVIDIA GeForce GTX M with 8GB GDDR5
Hard Drive Size16GB
Hard Drive Speedn/a
Hard Drive TypeSSD
Native Resolution x
Operating SystemWindows 10
Optical Drive Speedn/a
Ports (excluding USB)Headphone, Microphone, Thunderbolt 3, USB , Ethernet, HDMI
Secondary Hard Drive Size1TB
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive TypeHDD
Size x x inches
Touchpad Size x
USB Ports4
Video Memory8GB
Warranty/Supportone-year premium support
Weight pounds
Wi-Fi ModelKiller ac 2x2 WiFi and Bluetooth



Not long ago, we got our hands on a 2-in-1 notebook with an OLED screen—the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga—and were mesmerized by its display. It’s one of those technologies that once you see it with your own eyes, you can never go back to the old way of things. You become that person at parties who says, “You’re still using an LCD? I used to have one of those in .”

With the launch of Alienware’s all-new inch notebook, the Alienware 13, mobile gamers can now finally experience the revelation that comes with gazing upon an OLED panel. Though this technology has had some issues coming to market, it’s been trickling out over the course of this year—and putting LCDs on notice. Once seen as crisp and high-res, LCD panels suddenly seem pixelated, washed out, and nowhere near as vibrant when compared to OLED. The Alienware 13 was my first time experiencing an OLED panel in person, and I assure you it’s stunning—to put it lightly.

In addition to the snazzy display, which also supports touch gestures, this surprisingly small and dense notebook sports top-shelf hardware throughout. Its Nvidia GTX GPU makes it VR-capable (it’s the first subinch notebook we’ve seen that is), and it also supports Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier technology, if you decide you need more ponies under the hood in the future.

The display

The basic deal with OLED displays is that they reproduce much richer colors than LCDs, and also deep, dark black, which makes an LCD’s black look gray by comparison. Overall sharpness and saturation are also way beyond what I’ve seen on LCDs over the years. OLED panels are more energy-efficient than LCDs, too, so it makes perfect sense for a notebook to be rocking one of these.

Alienware 13 () backlighting shotJosh Norem

This Alienware laptop has an OLED panel that runs at ×, despite being just inches in size. If you’re not in to OLED due to price, its “velvety” look, or what have you, Alienware also offers the 13 with either a × TN or a × IPS panel, both LCD.

I recommend the OLED option, though. Like that line in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off says, “It is no choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.“

The chassis

Like the display, the Alienware 13’s chassis offers something unique. Instead of being a bland, plastic slab, the Alienware 13 is angular and has the look of chiseled metal. And despite being still mostly plastic (the lid and underbelly are all aluminum, though), it feels incredibly rigid. The overall construction just seems dense, like there’s not a single area inside the notebook that’s hollow.

This feeling of density is also due to the Alienware 13’s weight, which tilts the scales at almost pounds. That’s heavier than other inch gaming laptops by about a pound or so. But the solidity is reassuring, and even things like the display hinge are tight and offer zero flex whatsoever.

Alienware 13 () closed lid shotJosh Norem

Speaking of the hinge, it’s part of a redesigned chassis for this updated model that Alienware calls a “hinge forward” design. The screen sits about an inch forward from the rear of the chassis (instead of flush, like on the previous model), so the laptop looks like it has one of those extra-big batteries installed. Alienware says this design choice allows it to offer more rear ports, larger fans for increased cooling without additional noise, and an improved speaker system.

The company also says that the redesigned chassis is “up to 21 percent thinner” than the previous model. In my opinion, the new look is much more streamlined and a big improvement over the previous (and chunkier) model. Alienware also improved the finish on the plastic used for the palm rest to prevent fingerprints and smudges, and it works beautifully.

As far as ports go, this inch laptop has almost as many ports as a bigger system. There are two USB Type A ports, one Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB Type-C port, gigabit ethernet, HDMI , Mini DisplayPort , audio out, a lock slot, and also jacks for a microphone and headphone. There’s also an Alienware Graphics Amplifier port.

Alienware 13 () gut shotJosh Norem

The laptop is also easily upgradeable, though the only components you can really access are the memory and the SSDs. In our test system, one of the M.2 modules was empty, and the RAM was in plain sight after removing the bottom lid.

The hardware

Of course, this laptop has more going for it than its display and chassis. Under the hood you’ll find an Intel Core iHQ—a quad-core mobile part with HyperThreading, for eight logical cores. Its base frequency is GHz, but it can boost up to GHz when it needs to. On the GPU front, the 13 packs a GTX mobile part, which is designed for high frame rates at p with settings cranked. This version of the comes with 6GB of memory in case you want to game at the panel’s native res of ×

Our review model also had 16GB of DDR4 RAM running at 2,MHz, but you can configure one with as little as 8GB if you’re on a budget. For storage, it ran a lone GB PCIe-NVME SSD from Toshiba, but you can also opt for dual 1TB PCIe SSDs: one for the OS and one for data. When we fired up AS SSD, the drive benchmarked about GB/s in sequential read speeds, and MB/s write speeds.

Keyboard, trackpad, and speakers

The RGB lighting on the Alienware 13 deserves special mention, since it’s got more features than you’d normally expect. Not only can you select the color of zones across the keys, but you can pick the color of the trackpad, the Alienware logo below the display, and the alien head on the lid of the laptop. All in all, it adds up to eight different lighting zones, which is double what is typically offered.

Alienware 13 () software screenshotPCWorld

The TactX keyboard is superb. Though it’s not mechanical, it has a similar travel and actuation design, with “steel-reinforced” keys (whatever that means). The bottom line is that the keys feel perfect in my opinion. I typed on this machine all day, and it was glorious.

The trackpad is a little skittish for my taste, but reducing its sensitivity helped a lot. Generally, I had no issues using it. It supports gestures, too, and switching from a MacBook Pro’s trackpad to this Alienware’s felt pretty natural.

Alienware 13 () RGB keyboard backlighting shotJosh Norem

The speaker system is surprisingly good for a laptop this small. Alienware includes sound customization software for both gaming and multimedia, and it’s quite effective, allowing you to customize the sound easily. I was impressed with the overall volume and the clarity among vocals, bass, and midtones. I’m not an audio snob, but I thought these speakers sounded better than the sound systems I’ve heard on much larger laptops.


Okay, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. We ran this baby Alien through our usual gauntlet of gaming and CPU tests to see how the overall system held up to torture. We don’t have many inch gaming laptops to compare it to, so the benchmark charts include results for bigger systems. Its closest peer here is probably the inch MSI GS63VR Stealth, which has the same CPU and GPU.

3DMark Fire Strike Extreme

This synthetic test is usually quite accurate in helping sort GPUs by their overall ability. Since the GTX is a midrange GPU, we’re using the Extreme test as opposed to the more gnarly Ultra test.

alienware 13 3dmark fire strike extreme overallPCWorld

In general, laptops perform as you’d predict in this test, so if there are any irregularities with a laptop’s hardware, they usual reveal themselves here. Because the benchmark focuses primarily on GPU performance, we expected the Alienware 13’s GTX to match the performance of other laptops with the same GPU (most notably the MSI GS63VR). As you can see, the two notebooks were extremely close, with the MSI holding a minuscule percent advantage, which is within the margin of error for this test.

Tomb Raider

This game has aged, but it can still put some strain on a GPU. Because it’s an older game, we run it using the Ultimate preset, which used to be reserved for flagship GPUs but can now be run with cards like the GTX

alienware 13 tomb raiderPCWorld

Despite the GTX ’s midrange status, it’s still quite powerful, and was able to run this game on Ultimate at 91 frames per second. That’s an amazing boost for what you can expect out of these smaller gaming notebooks. Not surprisingly, both GTX laptops we’ve tested so far offer the same level of performance, with the MSI notebook running at 93fps.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

We also tested the Alienware 13 with this newer, more demanding title—its 4K texture pack can gobble up a GPU’s onboard memory.

alienware 13 shadow of mordorPCWorld

At p, the Alienware 13 still ran this game at frames per second. That’s plenty awesome, but, again, a bit slower than the MSI GS63VR, which was 5 percent faster despite sporting the same hardware. Perhaps the MSI has better cooling and allowed the GPU to spin up a bit more.


This real-world encoding benchmark is a CPU test through and through, measuring how long it takes a system’s processor to chew through a 30GB MKV file and spit out a smaller MP4 file using Handbrake’s Android Tablet preset. This test scales well according to clock speeds and core counts—so the more, the better on all fronts. It’s also a good test of a notebook’s thermal design, as better cooling will allow the CPU to run at higher clock speeds and thus finish the test faster.

alienware 13 handbrakePCWorld

The Alienware 13 took 53 minutes to complete this test, again just a tick slower than the MSI GS63VR’s minutes. This kind of backs up our theory about the MSI having marginally better cooling, as we noted the Alienware 13 didn’t run at its maximum clock speed of GHz during this test. It instead hummed along at about GHz for the duration.

Battery Life

Despite its small size, the Alienware 13 packs a hefty 76 watt-hour battery. For comparison, the Origin EONX, which is the size of a small ocean vessel, has a 79 watt-hour battery, and the MSI GS63VR offers just 65 watt hours. We don’t normally pay too much attention to battery life in gaming laptop reviews, but a system this size is certainly designed to be taken on the road, so this information is as important as any about gaming performance.

alienware 13 battery lifePCWorld

With the keyboard lights disabled, I ran our 4K video rundown test, which involves playing a 4K movie file on loop until the battery dies. The screen brightness was set between and nits, which is about what you’d set it at in an office environment, and I left audio on with earbuds plugged in.

The Alienware 13 lasted about four hours in this benchmark, which falls into that area between “terrible” and “awesome” from a real-world perspective. However, it’s what we expect from a battery of this size, in a machine with this level of hardware. It’s certainly long enough for a movie or two on a flight. You won’t always have to chain yourself to an outlet, like you would with some ultra-powerful gaming notebooks.


The Alienware 13 is one sweet little machine. For its size, it’s a bit heavy, but in exchange you get an extremely well-rounded laptop that excels in every way possible.

From its slick design to its performance, battery life, and OLED display, it’s exceptional in every metric we usually examine. I’d say the only real “issue” I had with the Alienware 13 is that it can get a bit hot when gaming—enough heat billows out of the chassis that you can feel it on the keyboard. It’s not too bad, since most of the heat generates at the top of the laptop, near the display’s hinge, and the palm rest never gets warm. But you can feel some warmth on the keys after about 30 minutes of running it under load.

Also, just for fun, I ran a few tests at the panel’s × native resolution. If you thought the GTX was strictly made for p gaming, think again. The 13 ran Rise of the Tomb Raider on the highest setting at 42fps, and Shadow of Mordor at 60fps on Ultra.

That’s amazing for a 5-pound notebook, and though you’ll want a set of headphones to block the fan noise, this notebook is an extremely competent mobile battle station. At $2,, it’s expensive, but we’d rather have this than one of the monstrosities that usually populate this product category. We have nothing against ultimate firepower, obviously, but we really like the 13’s balance of power, gaming prowess, and portability. That’s a difficult balance to achieve, but Alienware has hit the nail on the head this time around.

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Dell Alienware 15 (R3, ) review: A inch tank, ready to roll into battle

The inch model starts at $1,, but keep in mind that the lowest-end configurations abut those of the cheaper Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming Laptop, with a GTX at about $1, --  just without all the bells and whistles -- as well as the bigger Alienware 17, which starts at $1, You can equip the 15 with up to an overclockable Core iHK and GeForce GTX with Max-Q, 32GB memory and additional storage for $3, 

Our test configuration costs about $2,, which is on the expensive side. In contrast, the inch HP Omen with relatively comparable specs and we reviewed recently is only $1,, though its gaming performance is notably worse. If you're tastes run more to Little Nightmares than Overwatch, you can probably get by with the cheapest configuration.

The closest configuration in the UK is £2,, with a different version of Killer wireless; prices start at £1, In Australia, it's about AU$3,, with alternatives starting at AU$2,

There are various display options: a basic 1,x1, 60Hz IPS nit panel, the same but G-Sync enabled, the same resolution but a TN nit Hz G-Sync panel, and a UHD (3,x2,) IGZO nit IPS panel. You can also opt for an AMD Radeon RX GPU. 

Alienware 15 (R3, )

Price as reviewed$2,
Display size/resolutioninch 1,x1, display
PC CPUGHz Intel Core iHQ
PC Memory16GB DDR SDRAM 2,Mhz
Graphics8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX
Storage1 TB HDD+GB SSD
Connectors1 x Ethernet; 1 x Mini DisplayPort; 1 x HDMI; 2 x USB-C (1 x Thunderbolt/DP); 2 x USB 3 Type-A (1 charging); mic; headphone/audio; dedicated eGPU connection
NetworkingKiller E Gigabit Ethernet, Killer Wireless , Bluetooth
Operating systemWindows 10 Home (bit)
Weight pounds/kg

4K on this system is probably overkill, especially since you're sacrificing refresh rate and G-Sync compatibility to get it. For gaming, 1,x1, on a screen this small suffices, and you don't have the performance penalties of the higher resolution. Pixel density is relatively high at about ppi (a pixel pitch of ), so it's fine for non-gaming activities --  you know, like work -- as well. You can always attach a big, high-resolution display to it, and if you do it via the Mini DisplayPort, you'll get G-Sync support. Plus, the battery life isn't great with this low-power panel: Imagine what 4K would do to that.

Our test system came with the TN+WVA display, which turns out to be a pretty nice compromise if you want speed and don't care about color accuracy. In this case "WVA" stands for "wide viewing angle," not to be confused with VA (Vertical Alignment) panels. Viewing angle is better than a cheap TN panel, but I still wouldn't call it "wide." 

Its color gamut measures 93 percent of sRGB, which puts it between the lower-end TN panels and IPS, and hits a peak luminance of about nits -- typical is closer to about nits. There's little ghosting, and at Hz games run quite smoothly. If you want better color you can always connect it to an external monitor; I had no trouble running an LG 34UC89G off the Mini DisplayPort at Hz with G-Sync. You can connect a display via USB-C/Thunderbolt, but that's not on the GPU bus; it can only run off the Intel HD integrated graphics, so no G-Sync.

Looks aren't everything

Without the lighting effects it's an almost old-fashioned looking system, and feels really solid -- it should at almost 8 pounds/Kg, and that's without the heavy-enough-to-weaponize power brick.

The TactX keyboard and software give you a lot of control over the lights, which adds the visual zip. More important, the updates over the previous model include more venting and better airflow, necessary given the components you can stick into the top-end model. 

It would be nice if you could program the lighting to change colors  based on the fan operation so that you can tell visually when the system is huffing and puffing; you don't hear the fan when you're wearing a headset, and there are no fan monitors in Alienware's software dashboard, at least for the laptop -- just a choice between an active or passive cooling policy. The fan isn't the loudest I've heard, but it's not the quietest, either. The system can run a little hot;  the hinge and the area just below it can become uncomfortably warm, and while playing BioShock Infinite it started to feel like a heat sink. I can't vouch for what an overclocked system with a GTX would feel like. Alienware's command center monitoring dashboard (CPU, GPU, network and memory) wastes a lot of space and can't be collapsed into a compact display. On the small, low-resolution monitor it takes up too much real estate.

I'm a fan of the keyboard, which has solid travel and a little bounce, though it could stand a couple more millimeters of travel -- it  can feel like you're hitting the steel reinforcement with every press. It handles concurrent keystrokes (n-key rollover) well, and I didn't run into any problems simultaneously running, jumping, firing and eviscerating. Sadly, I have only five fingers on my left hand.  And unlike some other gaming keyboards, it's comfortable for touch typing. While the touchpad is about average for a gaming laptop, meaning it's hit-and-miss at registering gestures, it lights up; not all touchpads do, and that's key if you work and play in the dark.

I wouldn't call the front-firing speakers audiophile quality; they're more from the things-go-boom-make-big-noise school, but they're OK for playing music and are louder than earlier models. The surround is just OK, and it's not that easy to tweak.

While it delivers reasonable VR performance, it doesn't have an overabundance of connections to support it. Alienware laptops come with dedicated connectors for attaching the company's own Alienware Graphics Amplifier external GPU rather than relying on third-party USB-C/Thunderbolt expansion. The AGA can accommodate a single graphics card, but it does add another four USB 3 ports to the system. However, that connector replaces the SD card slot, which is probably a lot more broadly useful. We also had occasion to disassemble the system -- the inside layout is extremely neat, well-organized and labeled, but not what you'd call "tool-free."

Speed is about in line where you'd expect it to be given the components, though I would think the faster memory would give it a little extra oomph. Performance for the  a higher-end configuration would probably look just like our Alienware 17 results, which should give you some sense of whether to spend the extra money. It's plenty fast for FPS and other action games, though I did see some tearing in Doom when running close to fps. 

Little big laptop

You don't need a humongous monitor to become immersed in games, and I certainly blasted through hours on this relatively tiny inch screen. And if you want to fit your gaming system into tight spaces, this will deliver the performance of many larger laptops. But if it's going to be all you've got -- no external monitors or keyboards -- I'd consider heading up a class to a inch for the extra screen real estate, even if you configure it with the same components.

Multimedia multitasking test

HP Omen (inch, )Alienware 17 (R4, )Asus ROG GVSAsus ROG ZephyrusAlienware 15 (R3, )Lenovo Legion Y

Geekbench 4 (Multi-core)

HP Omen (inch, )14,Alienware 17 (R4, )14,Asus ROG Zephyrus14,Lenovo Legion Y,Alienware 15 (R3, )14,Asus ROG GVS4,

Streaming video playback battery drain test

Lenovo Legion YAsus ROG GVSAlienware 15 (R3, )Alienware 17 (R4, )HP Omen (inch, )Asus ROG Zephyrus

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

Alienware 17 (R4, )5,Asus ROG GVS4,Asus ROG Zephyrus4,Alienware 15 (R3, )4,Lenovo Legion Y,HP Omen (inch, )2,

BioShock Infinite gaming test

Alienware 17 (R4, )Asus ROG GVSAsus ROG ZephyrusAlienware 15 (R3, )Lenovo Legion YHP Omen (inch, )

Cinebench R15 OpenGL

Asus ROG GVSAlienware 17 (R4, )Alienware 15 (R3, )Lenovo Legion YAsus ROG Zephyrus

Cinebench R15 CPU (multi-core)

Alienware 17 (R4, )Asus ROG GVSAlienware 15 (R3, )Asus ROG ZephyrusLenovo Legion Y

System Configurations

Alienware 15 (R3, )Microsoft Windows 10 Home (bit); GHz Intel Core iHQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX ; GB SSD+1TB HDD
Alienware 17 (R4, )Microsoft Windows 10 Home (bit); GHz Intel Core iHK (OC); 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX ; 1TB HDD+GB SSD
Asus ROG GVS OC EditionMicrosoft Windows 10 Pro (bit); GHz Intel Core iHK; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX ; (2) GB SSD RAID 0 + 1TB HDD
Asus ROG ZephyrusMicrosoft Windows 10 Pro (bit); GHz Intel Core IHQ; 24GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX with Max-Q Design; GB SSD
HP Omen (inch, )Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (bit); GHz Intel Core iHQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX with Max-Q Design; GB SSD + 2TB HDD
Alienware 15 R3 (2016) Review

Alienware 15 R3 ()

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

Alienware 15 RPTN3
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH

Alienware 15 R4
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iHK

Alienware 15 R3-AS2NDW
GeForce GTX Mobile, Core i7 HQ

Acer Predator 15 GBY
GeForce GTX Mobile, Core i7 HQ

Eurocom Sky X4E2
GeForce GTX Mobile, Kaby Lake iK

Devices with the same GPU and/or Screen Size

HP Omen dcur
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

MSI GE63 Raider 8RFES
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

MSI P65 Creator 8RF
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

HP Omen dcno
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

Alienware M15, GTX
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

Asus Strix Scar II GLGS-EST
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

Asus ROG Strix Scar II GLGS-EST
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RFTR
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

GeForce GTX Mobile, Kaby Lake iHQ, kg

HP Omen dcnd
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

Asus Zephyrus M GMGS-EIT
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

GeForce GTX Mobile, Kaby Lake iHQ, 2 kg

GeForce GTX Mobile, Kaby Lake iHQ, kg

Asus ROG Strix GLGM Scar II Edition
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

HP Omen dcng
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

Asus Zephyrus M GMGSNRM
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

MSI GE63 Raider RGB
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin 8RENE
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

Asus GL
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

Gigabyte Aorus X5 V8
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

GeForce GTX Mobile, Kaby Lake iHQ, kg

GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg

Asus Zephyrus GMG
GeForce GTX Mobile, Coffee Lake iH, kg


2016 alienware reviews

Lena winked slyly at the girls, showing them a large pastry syringe. - So this is how you were going to feed him, Masha smiled, watching Lena fill the syringe with light brown porridge. - Now it is clear why she cooked so much porridge, Ksyusha giggled, I'm sure they'll all.

Alienware Aurora R5 Review

I decided to go on foot through the microdistrict, between the kindergarten and the school. There were not very many people, but I was in a good mood and did not pay attention to anything. - I didnt even notice that two young guys of eighteen years old were walking not far away, but I didnt attach any importance to it.

Suddenly the guys caught up with me energetically. I took one by the elbow, but I noticed that it was not painful, but somehow neat, but demanding.

Now discussing:

He deliberately took her by the shortest way, through the gardens past thickets of weeds. - Do you remember our hut, how we played dad and mom. He asked. - No, I do not remember She lied.

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