Alienware Laptop Reviews
The Alienware brand name will ring bells and blow whistles in gaming circles, announcing the presence of spaceship-themed gaming rigs with brilliant RGB lights on the surface and powerful processors in the innards.
It traces its roots to 1996 when Sci-fi movies were all the rage and draws design inspirations from then and the space age. And while it still rolls out laptops under its original name, it now operates as a subsidiary under the ownership of Dell, its parent company who have since acquired it.
Their laptops feature a star-studded cast of components that make them top-drawer picks for the immersive thrills of high-end gaming.
And as they spare no expenses in the use of cutting-edge technology while carving a niche in the gaming industry, it puts a premium on a vast majority of their laptops.
Target Market and Notable models
The Alienware laptop brand does not attempt to be anything other than a gaming-centric brand. Their laptops seem to roll out under a screen size categorization, with single or double letter affixes that pick from the letters M, R, and X as the major distinctions in ways that only the laptop maker can fathom.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, and the Alienware Area 51m R2 is a pointer to that fact. While a large number of the rollouts from its 11″ offerings to the 14-inchers have gone under the radar, others are still pulling plenty of weight in the contemporary gaming laptop market.
The 15″ class of laptops has served up some impressive showings over the years, with the X15 as the poster device from a roster that parades some of the most brilliant displays and graphics processors on a gaming laptop.
Other notable mentions include the M15 R6 that can pick from an impressive pool of NVIDIA’s high-end RTX 30 series GPUs, and the M15 R5 with its AMD-based GPU.
Then there is the 17-inch class that arguably puts its best foot forward with the X17, and you’ll have to fork out a fortune to take it off the top shelf.
With its 11th Gen processors in Core i7 or i9 iterations, along with an RTX 3080 GPU and a 360 Hz screen refresh rate, this laptop will take you past the bounds of an immersive gaming experience.
There are a couple of 18″ rollouts in the mix too, with the Alienware 18 as the pick of the crop from a limited pool of pricey, bulky, and richly equipped laptops.
A vast majority of the laptops from the stables of the Alienware brand will set you back by a sizable amount of money, but it can be chalked up to the strength of the hardware that they parade. The concept of budget laptops is not a term that they have embraced, and you’ll not find their laptops priced around the sub $1000 region.
The midrange is as low as they can go on the price spectrum, and their M15 line of laptops serves up some of the most affordable devices on their roster. The prices go up from $1300 for the Intel-based processor equipped M15 R6 to its AMD counterpart, the R5.
The R4 model starts from about $1500, but the price trajectory will change course as soon as you spec it up. If you desire the best gaming experience that money can afford, and you have the right pocket depth to boot, then the Alienware stores are well stocked.
Look no further than the Alienware Area 51m, a 9-pounds 17.3″ laptop that can go as high as $5000 when fully spec’d with its desktop-class processors and 300 Hz panel.
Design and Build Quality
Alienware adorns its laptops with all the bells and whistles that you’ll find on a gaming rig, but they also take care of the brass tacks too. The spaceship theme is a design staple, with loud lighting and a striking rear view, perhaps in keeping with its name.
And when the lid opens up, it will strike a chord with sci-fi enthusiasts, reminiscent of a spaceship portal opening up to admit alien kind and space troopers.
Their laptops largely lean towards the plastic and metallic build, magnesium and aluminum most especially. And while the color of choice almost always seems to have a thing for black or any variation of the same, the Lunar light visage of the m15 R4 ranks among the most notable exceptions.
The typical Alienware laptop sports aggressive looks, a display that recesses a couple of notches away from the rear and then jots out at the extremes on either side of the hinge.
Their most recent laptop rollouts seem to tow a slightly different design path, they now sport more refined looks and have toned down on the light fest. They call it the Legend industrial design and the laptops come with slimmer chassis, rounded edges, and honeycomb vents.
The new m17 R2 and m15 R2 benefit from this design tweak, and it rubs off on their heft and profile, at 2kg and 20mm respectively, marking them out as the most portable laptops in their size class.
Durability and Reliability
The Alienware laptop relies heavily on the strength of its predominantly metallic build, and it is a provision that serves them ever so well.
You’ll probably not get the MIL-SPEC-810G certification that its parent company, Dell, reserves for the Latitude 5420. Still, the laptops from the Alienware brand will hold out quite well in relatively rough terrains.
They’ll come out unscathed from the clutter of crowded desks and backpacks to the occasional fall from coffee tables and bed-high heights.
Other than that, the laptops are well tended to at the insides, the heart of the chassis that is host to its most important components.
With the heat-producing exertions of the powerful processors almost always a given, its laptops are equipped with effective cooling systems and a surfeit of vents to keep the ball rolling smoothly.
There are the massive vent provisions on the M17 and the M15 or the aptly named Element 31 that derives from the Cryo-tech technology. It is a liquid metal-based cooling solution that works magic in the X15 and X17, and that is in addition to a massive four fans for each of these laptops.
Weak battery life is the bane of gaming laptops, and an overwhelming majority of the Alienware laptops can not seem to shake off this bug.
From the surplus of LED panels that litter the laptop parts, to the power-hungry Tobii webcam, and the powerful GPU in the insides, the power demand is consistently at high levels for a majority of their laptops.
The M15 R5 employs the relatively energy-efficient AMD Ryzen 5, and it puts up a decent showing by gaming laptop standard.
Then there’s the X15, another one that can come up with a fighting chance during gaming. It is the 17 inchers that get the shorter end of the stick. The M17 line of laptops, from the base model up to the R4 version, is plagued by weak batteries.
And the M17x line of laptops, as with a large number of others will flatter to deceive with the runtimes that are posted with workload other than gaming.
The Alienware laptop brand is the jack of one particular trade, gaming, and it gears up its laptops with all the accessories, hardware, and software that are tailored to deliver the thrill of gaming.
They feature the latest graphics card, the very best from NVIDIA and AMD most recently.
With the latest 10th Gen and 11th Gen Intel processors, and the best of the RTX 30 series GPUs, the X15 and X17 are a cut above the rest.
The Alienware Area 51m R2 settles for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super GPU, and it is the closest to a desktop-grade performance that you’ll find on a gaming laptop. Then there’s the new Alienware 17 R5, with its overclocked processors and an impressive crop of display options as its major highlights.
All of the biggest games that were ever made will run comfortably on these laptops with buttery-smooth visuals and still reach record highs for framerates. Triple-A games, Esports games from the FPS and MOBA divide, VR and non-VR games, ray tracing or not, the list goes on.
The gaming community feeds on staples like The Witcher, The Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Red Dead Redemption, and Control. A majority of the laptops from the Alienware stables serve them all up in a platter and will play all of them in a canter.
Support and Warranty
The Alienware laptop brand gets top marks for the quality of customer service that it delivers, over the phone lines or in person.
Their social media presence is also impressive, there are Twitter (@DellCares) and Facebook (facebook.com/Dell) platforms to cater to your inquiries and a pretty straightforward user interface at their website and the parent Dell technical support site.
The warranty side of the road is a little less straightforward. Alienware puts a bold price on almost every offer.
From the $279 price tag on the premium support, an extended warranty provision that covers much more than accidental damages, to the $479 option(premium plus) that checks for viruses and performance bugs.
What you get is a clean bill of health for your system, optimized for all-out performance, and capable of living a full life, in exchange for some serious bucks of course.
Gaming laptops are notorious for several reasons, chief among which are the weak batteries that they parade, their massive heft, as well as the expensive prices that they are sold for. The typical Alienware laptop falls into this category of stereotypes, and it is not entirely difficult to imagine why.
Their laptops assemble some serious hardware and stuff them into metal casings that breathe gaming airs from a distance, and this top-rate hardware requires ample headroom to fit them in, and a huge cost too.
The prices go from midrange to cutthroat, while the weight goes from 4.5 pounds at the very least to flat-out beefy, and even monstrous.
No other laptop epitomizes this narrative as much as the Alienware Area 51m. While it pairs the Intel Core i9-9900K processor with a massive RTX 2080 GPU, it also throws in a 90Whr battery into the ring and leaves you with a hole in your pockets and a little over 9 pounds of heft to deal with.
The powerful specs will strain the system and the heating challenge that results is another problem that dogs their laptops. Gaming performance will take the biggest hit, with a few dropped frames as the worst-case scenario.
In a Nutshell
The typical Alienware laptop assembles a powerful cast of hardware, with their top-tier processors as the clincher.
Their laptops feature all the otherworldly build designs, the stunning RGB lights, and high-octane gaming action that is sure to thrill, but it does come at a huge cost.
And if it is not the cost of battery power or the massive heft that results, then it is the high prices on offer for a large number of their laptops.
It is almost always a huge price to pay, but in exchange for the big bucks, you get a bigger bang that can be heard from a long way out.