New Alienware 15 Gaming Laptop Review
If you’re looking for a gaming laptop that’s powerful enough to play demanding titles and portable enough to take with you. Alienware been undergoing a reinvention of sorts, releasing laptops that have a decidedly more mature design. The 15-inch new Alienware 15 is the latest in the line to undergo this evolution, and the result is a space cruiser that’s damned sexy.
This is a laptop for those with firm and toned thighs and backs suitable for hauling a 15.6″ gaming laptop whose weight doesn’t fall far short of 17″ gaming laptops from MSI and Asus. But the new Alienware 15 is more than a fancy redesign.
It’s also packing Intel’s powerful new overclockable 7th-generation processors, which, when paired withNvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, makes for a system that can handle multitasking, gaming and VR with minimal effort.
The new Alienware 15 is the perfect balance of power and portability and is made with premium materials for an overall higher quality build. Magnesium alloy ensures structural rigidity, anodized aluminum provides protection, copper allows for optimal thermal management for maximum performance, and reinforced steel contributes to the overall tactile comfort.
But never fear, Alienware hasn’t eliminated the beloved LED lighting. It simply migrated to the sides of the lid for a more cultivated look. In order to accommodate all of the specs and ports, the laptop has developed a small protruding caboose made from black magnesium alloy, which matches the top of the lid.
Opening the notebook reveals the keyboard and touchpad marooned in a sea of black soft-touch material that offers a luxurious feel. You’ll find the glowing alien head power button residing in the center of a glossy black bar above the keyboard. The matte display is surrounded by a rather thick bezel accentuated by an Alienware logo illuminated with customizable LED backlighting.
There are a good number of ports along the sides of the new Alienware 15 accentuated by a glowing LED strip. On the right sits a lone USB 3.0 port, with another USB 3.0 port on the left along with a USB Type-C port, jacks for a microphone and headset, and a Noble Lock slot. Along the rear, you’ll find a Thunderbolt 3 port, a full HDMI 2.0 port, a mini DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet, a proprietary port for the Graphics Amplifier and the DC power jack.
Weighing 7.4 pounds, the Alienware 15 (15.3 x 12 x 1 inches) is lighter than the 8.2-pound Acer Predator 15 (15.4 x 11.8 1.5 inches) and the 10-pound, 16.4 x 12.7 x 1.9-inch Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition. The MSI GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro is a bit more portable at 6.4 pounds, but at 15.4 x 10.5. X 1.6 inches, it’s also noticeably thicker. The Razer Blade, with its 13.6 x 9.3 x 0.7-inch frame, weighs 4.2 pounds.
The new Alienware continues its streak of pretty displays with the latest iteration of the 15. The 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 display is designed to deliver the smoothest gaming experience with 4ms response time 400 nits of brightness and NVIDIA G-sync technology on select modules.
With a score of 0.3 on the Delta-E test (0 is ideal), the new Alienware 15’s display is plenty accurate. It was enough to top the 2.6 category average, the Blade’s 2.4, the G752VS’ 2.1, the Predator 15’s 1.4 and the Dominator Pro’s 0.7.
When we measured for brightness, the Alienware 15’s panel averaged a gleaming 374 nits, which outshined everything except the G752VS, which delivered an incredible 476 nits.
You could use a headset to game on the new Alienware 15, but then you’d be missing out on the rich, balanced audio from the front-firing speakers. The laptop filled my medium-size testing space with Bruno Mars smooth tenor as I played “That’s What I Like.” The bass was deep, but not overpowering, allowing for the fullness of the keyboard and the crisp drums to shine through.
There are four additional presets you can choose from, although the majority are tuned with specific gaming genres in mind. Similar to MSI’s Nahemic 2 software, Sound Center has Audio Launchpad, which lets you map audio samples to your keyboard or gamepad that can be triggered while streaming. There’s also Audio Recon, which amplifies enemy footsteps so they’ll never get the drop on you.
Keybord And Touchpad
With an upgraded Alienware TactX keyboard, n-key rollover is now supported, enabling over 108-key commands for maximum actions per minute. It’s the only keyboard on a laptop with 2.2mm of key travel allowing for rapid response for any keystroke. Plus, it’s reinforced with a steel back plate for rigidity and uniform feedback with a guarantee to stay functional for up to 10 million keystrokes.
The 3.8 x 2.1-inch touchpad looks small, but I had plenty of room to execute two-finger scroll, pinch-zoom, three-finger swipe and other multitouch gestures. Best of all, like all Alienware laptops, the pad lights up with every gentle caress. The pair of discrete mouse buttons offered springy feedback.
Gaming, Graphics and VR
The middle child in Nvidia’s Pascal GPU lineup, the GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB of VRAM can handle just about anything you throw at it. I jumped into a game of Robo Recall on the Oculus Rift, for a robo-smashing good time. The game ran smoothly, despite my frenetic teleporting around the board, which allowed me to pluck a copper-colored bullet from the air and chuck it at an oncoming robot, causing a slew of sparks and smoke to stream from the new hole in its chest.
When we ran the SteamVR performance test, the new Alienware 15 got 11, which is the top score for this test. That was more than enough to sail past the mainstream average of 6. Outfitted with GTX 1060 GPUs, the Predator 15 and the Blade both got a score of 6. The G752VS and Dominator Pro achieved 10.4 and 10.1, respectively, thanks to their GTX 1070 GPUs.
As far as traditional gaming benchmarks are concerned, the Alienware 15 is on a par with the competition. On the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1920 x 1080 on Very High) for example, the Alienware notched 52 fps, while the Dominator Pro and the G752VS achieved 51 fps and 55 fps. They easily beat the 33-fps category average. The Blade delivered 43 fps, while the Predator 15 barely cleared the hurdle at 34 fps.
Overclocked specs, a G-Sync display and a powerful Nvidia GPU? At some point, the Alienware 15 had to pay the piper, and in this case, the toll is exacted on the battery life. The laptop lasted only 3 hours and 25 minutes on our battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi), which is far below the 6:57 mainstream average. It’s better than the Dominator Pro’s time of 3:18, but not the G752VS and the Predator 15 ,which lasted 3:53 and 4 hours. But the Blade was the last system running, with a time of 7:45.
I had loads of fun reviewing the $2,299 model of the Alienware, which has an overclockable 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7820HK processor with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB M.2 SSD with a 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive, an Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM and a 1080p Nvidia G-Sync 120Hz panel.
If you’re on a budget, the $1,499 version of the system offers a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU with 8GB of RAM, a 128GB M.2 SATA SSD with a 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive, an Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM and a 1080p Nvidia G-Sync 60Hz panel.
The $1,199 base model features a 3.5-GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ CPU with 8GB of RAM, 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive, an Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU with 2GB of VRAM and a 1080p Nvidia G-Sync 60Hz display.
The top-of-the-line $2,549 model has an overclockable 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK CPU, a 512GB PCIe SSD with a 1TB 7,200-rpm hard drive, an Intel HD Graphics 630 GPU, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM and a 1080p Nvidia G-Sync 120Hz panel.
The lower-tier configurations of the Alienware 15 are outfitted with a 68 watt-hour battery — a rather meager spec compared with the 99 wH battery found in the more expensive models of the system.
If you want power and performance without putting too big a dent in your wallet, I highly recommend the $1,799 model, which has the larger battery as well as a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM, a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD with a 1TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive and a 1080p Nvidia G-Sync 60Hz display.
|CPU||2.9-GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK processor|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|RAM Upgradable to||32GB|
|Hard Drive Size||512GB|