Alienware M15 R3 analysis: a thin gaming laptop computer pc with some compromises
Alienware’s M15 R3 is a steady gaming laptop computer pc to introduce, or reintroduce, your self to what the Dell-owned agency is ready to in the present day. It’s an infinite enchancment over the design of the distinctive M15 launched only a few years previously, brushing away various the try-hard LEDs and angular design for a thinner and further delicate look.
Don’t get me unsuitable, that’s nonetheless very loads a Gaming Laptop computer pc, clad with backlit keys, honeycomb-shaped air intakes, and a strip of LEDs surrounding its rear fan outtakes. Primarily, it’s a slimmed-down mannequin of the humongous, modular Area-51M. However it absolutely’s constructed to attract gamers that want a barely additional refined and minimal look than what Alienware has been recognized to supply. With this, and assist for high-end specs like a 300Hz refresh cost present, Dell reveals that it’s tapped into what additional gamers demand from a laptop computer pc.
Correctly, type of.
There are acquainted setbacks proper right here that should elevate an eyebrow if you’re considering totally different high-end decisions. For example, this laptop computer pc (like its predecessor) has its RAM soldered onto the motherboard, stopping you from upgrading it ultimately when it begins to get slowed down. And Alienware’s 32GB cap everytime you’re looking for the machine is simply too low for 2020 necessities, to not point out the demanding video video games that are coming inside the near future. Razer’s Blade 15 and the MSI GS66 Stealth are every comparably priced machines that permit you to merely add additional RAM and storage after purchase — and they’re thinner than the M15 R3.
The battery life could be critically lacking. It’s not intelligent to ever rely on miracles on this division with gaming laptops, notably for one with a 300Hz refresh cost present. Nonetheless even after I’m doing productiveness duties with balanced battery utilization and lowered brightness, the six-cell 86Wh battery tanks in about an hour. The aforementioned GS66 Stealth that I reviewed has a 99Wh battery, and no matter being a thinner laptop computer pc with a 300Hz refresh cost present and some faster specs, it one way or the other manages to remaining spherical 5 hours sooner than needing a price. A lot much less demanding configurations of the R3 perhaps fare increased (knocking the present’s refresh cost to 60Hz doubled the battery life to 2 hours, nevertheless that’s moreover nothing good), nonetheless it’s clear this laptop computer pc often isn’t well-suited to be used on the go.
- Cosy typing experience
- 300Hz refresh cost present is dazzling
- Partaking design
- Small trackpad
- RAM can’t be upgraded
- Not the terrific value
The M15 R3 serves up only a few minor enhancements over its predecessor, the M15 R2. For example, cooling has been an issue for this lineup beforehand, nevertheless this machine is able to protect comparatively cool whereas it’s sitting on my lap. Its redesigned followers have additional blades, and Alienware elevated the amount of copper inside the cooling system to increased dissipate the heat. Granted, its followers nonetheless blast out very toasty air away from you, and the rear parts of the laptop computer pc are nonetheless too scorching to the contact after a while of collaborating in video video games, nevertheless this newer design turns cooling into far a lot much less of an issue than sooner than. One different new operate is the microSD slot alongside the laptop computer pc’s correct edge.
You’ll be capable to spec this machine to be really extremely efficient, with the most recent tenth Gen Intel Comet Lake H-series processors, Nvidia RTX 20-series Super Max-Q graphics chips, and as a lot as 32GB of RAM (the sooner iteration topped out at 16GB). The 1080p present has a 144Hz refresh cost with a 7ms response time by default, nevertheless you’ll be capable to go for a good faster 300Hz refresh cost panel with a 3ms response time, or go full hog with a 60Hz 4K OLED show with a 1ms response time.
For this analysis, I couldn’t resist testing out the short 1080p 300Hz refresh cost panel, with Intel’s Core i7-10750H six-core processor, a full-powered RTX 2070 graphics chip (not the Max-Q mannequin), and 16GB of RAM. As soon as extra, this isn’t the ceiling for the R3, additional the middle-of-the-road selection for extreme gamers. Nonetheless I needed to check out one factor throughout the $2,100 worth range on account of that’s an space the place Alienware has some strong rivals.
These specs provided persistently clear gaming effectivity with max settings switched on for video video games like Dying Stranding, Administration, and new releases like Mortal Shell, to current only a few examples. It’s moreover sufficiently fast for a combination of heavy Chrome utilization, along with various totally different apps open concurrently. Even apps like Adobe Premiere Skilled that take full advantage of your CPU and GPU aren’t a tough match for the R3. In our export check out, this machine exported a five-minute, 33-second 4K video in three minutes, 42 seconds. It’s a steady consequence every time the export velocity outpaces the scale of the video itself by this huge of a margin.
Gaming effectivity could be good, and its full-powered RTX 2070 chip seems to make up for the reality that it isn’t a extra moderen RTX 20-series Super Max-Q chip. Though, in case your ideas is about to amping up all the ray-tracing choices in video video games that assist it, that’s unsurprisingly the place this express M15 R3 configuration begins to point some indicators of weak spot. In Administration, having all ray-tracing capabilities switched on saved the physique cost spherical 40 frames per second with Nvidia’s AI-assisted DLSS operate turned off. Though, each turning on DLSS or just turning the ray tracing choices down boosted and stabilized the physique cost, as anticipated.
You may profit from this laptop computer pc’s eGPU assist down the freeway if you get your arms on an Nvidia RTX 3080 (along with Alienware’s $229 Graphics Amplifier that’s required to connect it). Nonetheless, due to PCIe bandwidth limitations of its rear amplifier port, there are diminishing returns going this route and it gained’t perform that loads higher than the laptop computer pc’s built-in GPU.
The present on the R3 is sweet. As talked about, this unit has the 1080p 300Hz refresh cost present, and it’s technically in a position to exhibiting your video video games working at as a lot as 300 frames per second (no matter numerous horsepower on this machine, few actually get that prime). Even all through most likely essentially the most frenetic movement in-game, the image was crisp with minimal tearing, vivid at as a lot as 300 nits, and color-accurate with 100 computer safety of the sRGB shade gamut.
Lastly, I want to present credit score rating to Alienware for its keyboard. Not solely is it comfortable to kind on, the keys are spaced in such a method the place I personally make just a few errors whereas typing. That’s not one factor I can typically depend on with a gaming laptop computer pc. The trackpad, alternatively, is far too small. What little that’s there could also be good (it helps the suite of House home windows Precision gestures), nonetheless it’s a shame that Alienware didn’t associate with a wider trackpad, like on the MSI GS66 Stealth.
Every laptop computer pc has its share of perks and trade-offs, nevertheless the M15 R3’s are strong to overlook. You might love or hate the design or that most of the ports are on the once more of the laptop computer pc. However it absolutely’s a lot much less disputable that for the $2,136 that this configuration costs, chances are you’ll get a better-engineered laptop computer pc that’s thinner with comparable specs. Every the Razer Blade 15 and MSI GS66 Stealth that I mentioned sooner than come to ideas practically pretty much as good decisions which will permit you to swap RAM and final extra as regards to battery life.
If in case you will have only a bit bit additional to spend than this Alienware configuration, there’s a GS66 Stealth configuration that options an eight-core Intel Core i7-10875H processor, an RTX 2070 Super Max-Q graphics chip, with 32GB of RAM for spherical $2,350, though the amount of default storage is far much less at 512GB. Nonetheless, if you already have the money to get the Alienware, I really feel these additional upgrades are successfully worth the extra worth for those who want to future-proof your gaming laptop computer pc funding as loads as doable. And why wouldn’t you?
All in all, the Alienware M15 R3 doesn’t endure from too many lethal flaws. It’s merely that the rivals is getting that loads higher, and the likes of Razer and MSI one-up Alienware’s offering with thinner design, increased battery effectivity, and further full upgradeability. If the company may make its subsequent iteration go additional toe-to-toe in these departments, it’ll be an precise contender.
Footage by Cameron Faulkner / GadgetClock
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