Alienware x15 R2 Review: A Lean and Hot Gaming Laptop

If you’d like your gaming laptop computer to be skinny, it should run scorching. That is simply the physics of packing a strong CPU and GPU right into a 15.7mm-thick physique. And since we have managed to make gaming laptops moderately small, semistylish and highly effective sufficient to disgrace even the most recent sport consoles, warmth is de facto the final frontier that nobody has cracked. 

On the small and trendy entrance, I can safely say the Alienware x15 R2 is without doubt one of the extra enticing gaming laptops I’ve ever examined, and exhibits simply how far we have come from the enormous cement blocks of yesteryear. My partner, who has labored in video games and video games media for a lot of the previous 20 years, stated it was one of many solely gaming laptops that wasn’t aesthetically offensive to her, so belief me, that is excessive reward. 

Like

  • Wonderful efficiency in a slim package deal
  • Mod design that appears good… for a gaming laptop computer
  • Devoted quantity buttons

Do not Like

  • Can get very popular
  • Customized software program is clunky
  • Small touchpad

Like virtually all Alienware and Dell computer systems, the x15 R2 (the second main revision of the present 15-inch x15 line) affords a wide selection of configuration choices, beginning at $1,999 and going up from there. This evaluation pattern was $2,559, and highlighted by a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti graphics card and a couple of,560×1,440 show with an honest 240Hz refresh charge. It additionally contains 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. 

You possibly can drop the GPU to an Nvidia 3060 (though in a $2,000 laptop computer, why you’d do that’s past me), or increase it to a 3080 Ti. Likewise, the show can drop to FHD (1,920×1,080) at 165Hz or leap to a quick 360Hz panel, though nonetheless locked in at FHD decision. All issues thought of, that is most likely near the best configuration. 

Design and options

The matte-white outer chassis stands out as retro-futurism — I considered the clear traces of 2001: A Area Odyssey — and the inset hinge each regarded good and made the laptop computer really feel very secure when propped up on a desk. There is a massive “15” stenciled on the again, as a result of possibly you’d overlook how massive your laptop computer display was? In addition to the long-lasting backlit alien head emblem, which I as soon as discovered to be a cheesy instance of dorm-room-chic, however frankly, at this level it is acquired some nostalgic attraction. 

However my absolute favourite function had nothing to do with the lid design and even efficiency — it is purely UX. Alongside the correct facet of the keyboard space is a row of media management keys, together with devoted buttons for elevating and reducing the amount and muting each the audio system and mic. 

The media keys alongside the correct facet are an enormous plus.


Dan Ackerman/CNET

I cannot emphasize sufficient simply how essential this type of comfort is to my enjoyment of a gaming laptop computer. Urgent FN+F2 (or generally F5, and so on.) to decrease the amount in a sport looks as if an insane option to cope with sound. A couple of different laptops even have devoted audio keys or generally quantity wheels, however it’s nonetheless uncommon. You do not get a separate quantity pad, which may present up in some 15-inch laptops. It is no nice loss for my workflow, however it’s one thing to remember. 

The precise keyboard is okay for a shallow gaming laptop computer keyboard, with 1.5mm journey and respectable island-style spacing between the keys. The touchpad is small and frill-free. Players will likely be utilizing a mouse or sport controller extra usually, however once you need to use this as a non-gaming laptop computer, which might be more often than not, the touchpad is a letdown. 

Efficiency and battery life 

Efficiency was proper in the course of the pack when in comparison with related high-end laptops with Nvidia 3070 and 3080-class GPUs. The efficiency increase from one thing just like the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE, which we reviewed with an Intel Core i9 CPU and the Nvidia 3080 Ti GPU, exhibits what an additional $500 to $600 will get you, and you may configure the x15 R2 equally. Based mostly on the efficiency we noticed, I nonetheless say the Core i7/3070 Ti combo is the general greatest bang for the buck.

Battery life was respectable for a gaming laptop computer, working for five:12 in our video-streaming check, which admittedly is not notably difficult. Different 15-inch premium gaming laptops scored in the identical 4- to 5-hour ballpark. Sarcastically, Dell’s newest slim 13-inch laptop computer, the XPS 13 Plus, had a lot shorter battery life. 

Alienware x15 R2, closed.

Extra gaming laptops must be this slim. 


Dan Ackerman/CNET

My largest total subject with the system was how scorching it acquired. Operating video games for some time, then pulling out the outdated temperature gun, the realm simply above the keyboard hit 130 levels F. With the massive rear vents (with its related rear ports) and followers, you might most likely maintain your espresso cup subsequent to the system to maintain it heat. It is not a specific-to-Dell drawback, however by squeezing a gaming laptop computer right down to this skinny a profile, it is inevitably going to be a extra noticeable subject. 

My different gripe is the considerably impenetrable Alienware Command Middle software program for controlling system features, together with the varied lighting zones, fan velocity and different system particulars. It is clunky, opaque and makes arranging customized lighting far more tough than it must be. It feels just like the Dell UX group by no means acquired close to this one. I am not the one individual that feels this manner. 

Regardless of these points, and a common sense that gaming laptop computer innovation has hit a little bit of a plateau previously few years, the slim Alienware x15 R2 has earned a spot on my brief listing of premium gaming laptops to strongly think about for those who’re fascinated about making a multiyear funding. 

The very best laptops in each class

Geekbench 5 (multicore)

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022)

Be aware:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Cinebench R23 (multicore)

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022)

Be aware:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

PCMark 10 Professional

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022)

Be aware:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

On-line streaming battery drain check

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022)

Be aware:

In minutes, longer bars point out higher efficiency

3DMark Wild Life Excessive

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022)

Be aware:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Guardians of the Galaxy (Excessive @1920 x 1080)

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022)

Razer Blade 15 (2022) (Core i7/3070 Ti)

Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58 (Core i5/3060)

Be aware:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Highest @ 1920 x 1080)

Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022)

Be aware:

Longer bars point out higher efficiency

System Configurations

Alienware x15 R2 Microsoft Home windows 11 Residence; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-12700H; 32GB DDR5 6,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti; 512GB SSD
Razer Blade 15 (2022) Microsoft Home windows 11 Residence; 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-12800H; 16GB DDR5 4,800MH; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070Ti; 1TB SSD
Origin PC Evo17-S Microsoft Home windows 11 Residence; 2.9GHz Intel Core i9-12900H; 32GB DDR5 4,800MHz; 16GB Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080Ti; 1TB SSD
Acer Predator Triton 500 SE (2022) Microsoft Home windows 11 Residence; 2.9GHz Intel Core i9-12900H; 16GB DDR5 4,800MHz; 16GB Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080Ti; 1TB SSD
Lenovo Legion 5i Professional Microsoft Home windows 11 Residence; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-12700H; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti; 512GB SSD
Acer Nitro 5 AN515-58 Microsoft Home windows 11 Residence; 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-12500H; 16GB DDR4 3,200MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060; 512GB SSD
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