At a Glance: Alienware M15 R2 Laptop Review

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With a more polished and less flashy exterior, Dell’s Alienware M15 R2 stands out from the company’s usual products. If it wasn’t for the glowing Alienware logo on the back, this system might have passed as a non-gaming laptop. But don’t let appearances deceive you; it’s got real power where it needs it.

Specs

Although this notebook does have a more professional look than we’re used to from Dell, as a gaming laptop, the Alienware M15 R2 features numerous aesthetic highlights. In addition to the aforementioned Alienware logo on the lid, this system also features an RGB LED-backlit keyboard and RGB LED lights on the power button.

This new design comes off looking cleaner than the older Alienware M15, but when you really stop and look at it it still has clear signs of being a gaming laptop. Just like last year’s Alienware M15, the Alienware M15 R2 comes equipped with some of the fastest mobile components available with the top model featuring an Intel Core i9-9980HK processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q.

By default, Dell builds these notebooks with somewhat disappointing 1080p displays that have a slow 25ms response time. Dell offers a few different display options with this system, however, including a 4K OLED display with built-in Tobii Eyetracking technology.

Benchmarking

Our sister site PCMag got ahold of one of these systems and tested it against several other high-end gaming notebooks. None of these computers use exactly the same hardware configuration, however, so these test results need to be taken with a heaping of salt. It should also be noted that all of these can be configured with various different CPUs and GPUs.

Testing with Cinebench R15 showed the Dell XPS 15 pull well ahead of all the other competitors. This result isn’t surprising, though, as the XPS 15 is also equipped with the fastest processor in the lot. The Alienware M15 R2 managed to come in second place beating out the MSI GS65 Stealth and the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model, all three of which utilize the Intel Core i7-9750H.

Oddly enough, the Alienware M15 R2 performed rather poorly when tested with 3DMark’s Sky Diver test. The Alienware that was tested features an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics chip that should offer better performance than the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti inside of the MSI GS65 Stealth, but it didn’t. At least not in the Sky Diver test; in the Fire Strike test the Alienware M15 R2 performed exceptionally well, almost tying the Acer Predator Triton 500 and its more powerful RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics processor.

Turning to real-world benchmarks, we also see the Alienware M15 R2 perform exceptionally well against the competition. It’s superb processor performance enabled it to yet again outperform the Acer Predator Triton 500 when tested with Rise of the Tomb Raider and Far Cry 5. Despite having a slower GPU than the Acer and Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model, the Alienware M15 R2 actually beats out all the competition in Far Cry 5. This is likely due to the effectiveness of Dell’s thermal solution.

Conclusion

As configured, this notebook retails for $ 2,659.99. This is quite a lot to spend on a laptop, but OLED displays are still relatively expensive at the moment. It’s also a lot less than you will pay for other OLED laptops like the Razer Blade 15, which retails for $ 3,299 with the OLED panel.

This system can be configured with various hardware components, so it’s difficult to give a solid recommendation based solely on price. It appears evident, however, that the Alienware M15 R2 is built well and has an excellent thermal solution, as it handily beat out competing laptops with technically faster hardware. Thanks to its strong performance, I’d recommend it as an excellent gaming notebook.

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Read more here: ExtremeTechComputing – ExtremeTech

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