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Dell Alienware M15 Laptop Complete Review

The Dell Alienware m15 R3 is a 15-inch gaming laptop with multiple configuration options. It includes an excellent keyboard, touchpad, and many connectors, including a USB C port that supports Thunderbolt 3. The laptop appears to be well made, and the components are easy to access for repairs and modifications. However, it isn’t particularly mobile, and the battery barely lasts for an hour when operating on the move. In most of the recent games, the Intel Core i7 10750H and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max Q models can preserve higher frame rates without losing performance over time, despite getting hot and loud. The 300Hz 1080p IPS panel is smooth and quick, even though it doesn’t get bright, and the low contrast renders it less suitable for dim environments.

Because the i5 10300H’s four cores may struggle in some of the CPU-intensive open-world games, experts recommend the Intel Core i7 10750H as the minimum CPU combination for most gamers. The i7 10875H and i9 10980HK CPUs have more excellent boost clock rates and two additional cores than the i7 10750H. Therefore, they’re better for intensive tasks. If you desire ray tracing and DLSS support, acquiring at least the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti or upgrading to the RTX GPUs is recommended. Most casual gamers will be satisfied with the 1080p 144Hz alternatives, but competitive gamers may choose the 1080p 300Hz panel for the maximum responsiveness, as long as it’s partnered with an RTX 2070 or 2080. Experts exclusively suggest the 4k Oled display to content creators or gamers who don’t mind playing at 60Hz for the best images.

It’s undeniably a high-end laptop with these features, but the quality is among the best systems costing over $2,000. The m15 R3 receives fame among high-end gaming laptops due to its best performance and innovative style at a lower price than competitors. Take a look below at the unique specs of the Alienware m15 R3.

Alienware m15 R3

Design

The Dell Alienware m15 R3 has a luxurious feel geared toward gamers. You’ll find RGB lighting on the keyboard, Alienware badge, and back vent borders. Unfortunately, the latest m15 r3 looks like the previous m15 r2 design.

The Dell Alienware m15 R3 is fantastic. It’s a hybrid of both metal and plastic and has a beautifully textured finishing. The display has little flex, whereas the keyboard deck has none. The hinge of the Alienware m15 R3 is exceptional. The panel doesn’t stagger, and it feels nice. You can open the laptop up to 135 degrees, just with one finger.

The Alienware m15 R3 is heavy, weighing in at 4.9 pounds, and therefore difficult to transport. In addition, the 240W power adaptor is large and hefty. Instead, why not consider the HP ENVY x360 2020 or the Acer Aspire 5 2020 if you want a more portable laptop with a dedicated GPU?

Photo source: Bestbuy.com

Serviceability

The Dell Alienware m15 R3’s serviceability is excellent. It is relatively simple to remove the bottom panel. You will not be worried about missing or misplacing the six captive screws fastened to the bottom panel. There are two M2 slots available for additional storage. Because the RAM is attached to the board but cannot be upgraded, therefore, you must ensure the desired configuration is available while purchasing. On Dell’s website, you may easily find a service manual. The manufacturer’s warranty may be void if you open the laptop and make alterations to the hardware. A Dell Alienware m15 R3 laptop, a 240W power adapter, and a support handbook are also included in the packaging.

Display Specs

The Dell Alienware m15 R3 features a very standard laptop screen size. It’s not as little as a 13-inch ultraportable, but also not as big as a 17inch one. The 1080p resolution and IPS screen type are standard for a gaming laptop of this size, resulting in a good pixel density and allowing the GPU to squeeze out higher frame rates. In addition, the model with a 4k OLED panel has a crisper image with improved contrast. Still, it is restricted to a 60Hz refresh rate, so this is perfect for content creators or gamers who value image quality over smoothness and responsiveness.

Refresh Rate

With a refresh rate of 300 Hz, the Alienware m15 R3 provides an extraordinarily smooth and responsive gameplay experience. As you can see, the response time is relatively quick. However, there is a slight overshoot that causes inverse ghosting. If you don’t think 300Hz is required, there’s a 1080p 144Hz panel choice and a 144Hz with G SYNC choice if you are intolerant to screen tearing. Although the 4k OLED panel has a 60Hz refresh rate and does not support VRR, the response time should be nearly instantaneous.

Contrast And Brightness

The 300Hz IPS panel on the m15 r3 has a reasonable contrast ratio, so blacks seem greyish in the dark. The 144Hz screen is said to have a lower 800:1 contrast ratio. However, this is a minor variation that is not perceptible. Because OLED panels feature nearly an infinite pixel density, the 4k OLED model is a significantly superior choice for viewing in dim lighting. Individual units may have different contrast ratios.

The screen brightness of the m15 R3 is adequate. It is suitable for indoor use but not bright enough to eliminate glare in bright or sunny conditions. It dims to a deficient level at the lowest setting, which is ideal for minimizing visual fatigue when working in a dark room. The 144Hz panel claims to have a brightness of 300 cd/m2. The 4k panel is said to have a 400 cd/m2 brightness rating, which is suitable in much brighter conditions.

Reflections

The reflection handling on the Alienware m15 R3 is adequate. Its anti-reflective matte surface works well against bright reflections, but the screen’s low brightness means that you will have some sight issues in bright environments.

Color Gamut

The color gamut of the Dell Alienware m15 R3’s 1080p 300Hz display is superb. It provides full sRGB coverage, color space used in several contents, and excellent Adobe RGB coverage. However, the color gamut may not be sufficient for photographers but has excellent DCI P3 coverage. Its Rec. 2020 coverage is restricted and does not match the criteria for being deemed as a broad gamut. In addition, according to experts, the color spectrum of the 4k OLED display is much more comprehensive.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Alienware keyboard has 1.7mm of movement and is pleasant to use. Expert reviewers typed 110 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, with a standard error rate of 2 percent. Additionally, the keys on the model were individually lighted, which is an upgrade. The laptop comes with four illumination zones as standard. The only issue is that when the laptop is stressed, the keyboard can become much warmer than your preference.

The touchpad, which measures 4.2 by 2.4 inches, could be slightly bigger. It’s adequate for operating Windows 10, but most people like something a little larger without any problems with gestures courtesy of Windows precision drivers.

Audio

The speakers on the Alienware m15 R3 are excellent. The sound is treble-heavy, without bottom bass, and at maximum volume, they get pretty loud with no compression. A few pieces of content show a significant drop in the low mid.

Connectivity

On the m15 R3, numerous ports are on both the front and rear of the laptop. The USB A inputs allow USB 3.2 Gen 1 data transfer rates up to 5 Gbps. Thunderbolt 3 up to 40 Gbps, DisplayPort 1.2, and USB 3.2 Gen 2 are all supported by the USB C, which helps data transfer up to 10 Gbps. You can charge via USB C, but as the USB C charging is limited to 100W, therefore battery will still deplete when you use the laptop simultaneously.

Dell removed the Alienware Graphics Amplifier, a proprietary connection for external GPUs. The privacy lock is Noble TZ18T, and the Ethernet allows up to 2.5 Gbps. The wireless adapter on the Dell Alienware m15 R3 is a Fantastic WiFi AX1650 with 5.1 Bluetooth technology.

Software and Warranty

Alienware introduces a light touch-based software., Most of the utilities included with the laptop are rebranded versions of Dell’s software. The leading name here is Alienware Command Center. This program is a hub for launching games, changing temperature and audio settings, adjusting RGB lighting, and monitoring both CPU and GPU performance.

Others have not been able to match Alienware Mobile Connect’s ability to see alerts and even mimic smartphone app screens. Of course, Windows 10 included software like Hulu, Hidden City: Hidden Object Adventure, Pics Art Photo Studio, and Adobe Photoshop Express on the laptop. The m15 R3 comes with a one-year guarantee from Alienware.

Battery Life

The battery life of the m15 r3 Alienware laptop is poor. You can only achieve just over two hours of video playback at a 300Hz refresh rate, which only increases by 12 minutes at 60Hz. You can gain more battery life, by doing light, productive tasks, but it is still not enough to provide an 8-hour workday. However, this doesn’t even last for an hour while gaming.

The 144Hz panel should provide more extraordinary battery life. Still, it is difficult to determine the performance of a 4k OLED device as this is another kind of panel with a different pixel level and refreshes rate. So the amount of time your battery lasts depends on how you use it. Consider the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 with the latest ryzen edition if you want a gaming laptop with longer battery life.

Real-World Gaming Tests

Battlefield V and Rise of the Tomb Raider both are current, high-fidelity games with built-in benchmarks that show system performance in real-time scenarios. In addition, the designers have successfully run them at 1080p resolution with the medium and best image quality settings available in the games.

The m15 R3’s basic RTX 2070 GPU outperforms the Blade 15’s Max Q RTX 2080 GPU and the Acer Predator Triton 500’s Max Q RTX 2080 GPU. It is still striking above its weight regarding the paper rankings, if only by just a few frames per second. The Max Q RTX 2080 isn’t worth the extra money, and the whole strength RTX 2070 is a safer bet.

Aside from these side-to-side comparisons, the gaming performance of the m15 R3 is quite promising. Of course, this is a high-end machine, so you will expect such kind of performance. But this laptop easily exceeds the smooth 60 frames per second requirement for graphically demanding single-player games.

Configurations

The Alienware m15 R3 has an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super graphics card, 16GB of RAM, two 512GB NVMe SSDs, and a 15.6inch, 300Hz FHD display. This was also available in white color for an additional $30.

The base model costs $1371.99 and has the same CPU and RAM as the higher-end variant. You receive an AMD Radeon RX 5500M GPU, a 256GB NVMe SSD, and a 144 Hz FHD display for that amount. This model comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (for $1469.99), which is only available in black.

An Intel Core i9 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max Q graphics card, an OLED 4K display, 32GB of RAM, Tobii eye-tracking, a pair of 2TB PCIe M2 SSDs as a boot drive, and a 512GB PCIe M2 SSD for storage are used in the top-end configuration. It will set you back $3978.79.

Photo source: Bestbuy.com

Comparison with Other Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 16 

The Dell Alienware m15 R3 and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 are two quite distinct computers. The Apple laptop is designed for creative workers and runs on macOS, whereas the m15 R3 is a Windows gaming laptop. The M1 SoC on the Apple laptop outperforms the Intel 10th Gen processors on the Del. However, the Dell features dedicated GPU choices that surpass M1’s integrated graphics, particularly for gaming and GPU computation activities.

The Apple model boasts a brighter and more color-accurate panel, a larger and more sensitive trackpad, and a better webcam for video conversations. It also offers a better battery life and is less hot and noisy. On the other hand, the Dell laptop feels good to type on and is more functional, making it possible to modify components yourself in the future.

Photo source: Bestbuy.com

Lenovo Legion 5

The Dell Alienware m15 R3 outperforms the Lenovo Legion 5 in terms of performance. The Dell is a higher-end laptop with a more durable design, user-friendly keyboard, precise touchpad, and more ports. A 1080p 300Hz display and a 4k 60Hz OLED display are also available on the Dell. Of course, the configuration you get will determine the performance. The Dell also offers older CPU and GPU options, but if you obtain a higher-end combination with an NVIDIA RTX 2080, it can perform just as well as or better than the Lenovo.

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Acer Nitro 5

Most importantly, the Dell Alienware m15 R3 outperforms the Acer Nitro 5. Dell has far more powerful CPUs and GPUs, allowing more excellent frame rates and a smoother gameplay experience. The Dell also features numerous display options, including 1080p 300Hz and 4k 60Hz. The Acer’s top-end display is only 1080p 144Hz. In addition, Dell offers a superior keyboard, webcam, and a more significant assortment of connectors. The Acer has a greater battery life for moderate productivity and movie playback, but both laptops only last around an hour while gaming.

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Dell XPS 13

The Dell Alienware m15 R3 and the Dell XPS 13 are two entirely different computers. The Dell XPS 13 is a lightweight laptop ideal for basic productivity tasks, whereas the Alienware is a large, high-end gaming laptop. With a more precise and brighter display, a bigger touchpad with improved tracking, and higher-sounding speakers, the XPS 13 provides a superior overall user experience. It also has a better battery life and is less noisy during use. Additionally, the Alienware is the way to choose if you require a lot of computational power for demanding applications because it features much more efficient CPU and GPU options.

Photo source: Dell.com

Final Thoughts

The Alienware m15 R3 is still one of the slimmest gaming PCs on the market, with a design that deviates from the player aesthetic but doesn’t completely abandon it. The choice of a 300 Hz panel is excellent for eSports gamers, but this won’t make much difference for individuals who only play high-end, big-budget games. It’s also a little of a battery hog.

The comprehensive RTX 2070 Super performs admirably in games. Both devices are powered by the same CPU and run hot. The Stealth, however, has a higher battery life thanks to its 144 Hz panel. A 1080p option would likely offer better performance.