Welcome to GamingExpert’s Dell Alienware m17 R2 review. In the last few years, gaming companies have developed advanced gaming laptops that offer laptop designs with better airflow and seconds screen options. Dell’s Alienware also entered the arena with a different style and set traditions for upcoming generations. In 2019 the company launched Alienware m17’s revised version. The laptop with its finest design is proving to be the thinnest gaming laptop on a 17-inch display.
Alienware m17 R2 (Check Price) is actually a satisfying, portable laptop with a minimal design that offers larger specifications such as a whopping Core i9 CPU and the most demanding RTX 2080 GPU. Though this is one of the highest-priced laptops, its premium specifications, excellent performance, and better battery life make it one of the best gaming laptops. After spending many hours using this laptop, we have tried hard to compile the review for our readers.
Alienware m17 R2
Alienware M17 R2 Specifications
|Model||Alienware m17 R2|
|CPU||2.4GHz Intel Core i9-9980HK|
|GPU||Intel UHD Graphics 630 + NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q|
|Display||17.3-inch 1080p FHD IPS 144Hz|
|Ports||Right: Ethernet USB 3.1 Gen 1, audio jack|
Left: 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1
Back: Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port, Thunderbolt 3 Port, Mini-DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b
|Connectivity||Killer Networks E2600 Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 5.0|
|Storage||512GB PCIe Gen 3 x4 NVMe SSD|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Dimensions||20.5mm x 399.8mm x 295.5mm (HxWxD)|
Alienware m17 Config. and Price
The Alienware m17’s original edition comes with an Intel Core i5-9300H CPU, a dedicated 256GB SSD, 8GB of DDR5 RAM, and an Nvidia 1660 Ti Graphics card. However, for those looking for more power, another edition with a Core i7-9750H processor and an RTX 2060 graphics card is also available at $1750.
The revised version we reviewed, Dell Alienware m17 R2, costs more than $2200 and is packed with a powerful Intel Core i9-9980HK processor and an Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU. The next specifications and performance metrics that we are going to discuss are about this laptop. (See best graphics cards for gaming)
Alienware m17 Design and Features:
Like other popular gaming laptops, Alienware is also changing its attitude and developing compact gaming laptops in red and black color. The minimal design can be seen from the fact that the people having MacBook Air in a coffee shop will definitely notice this machine and appreciate its compactness, sturdiness, strength, and performance. I mean to say, for gamers, the Alienware m17 R2 will surprisingly look like a Porsche 911. As it comes with a 17-inch display, it is bigger than standard laptops, with large air vents for proper airflow.
The beauty and durability of machines are unquestionable. Wrapped in white color and equipped with magnesium alloy, weighing 5.8 pounds, the chassis is a bit heavyweight, but the weight seems acceptable, looking at the powerful features. The features are large enough to be easily packed in a desktop gaming PC such as the Dell G5 gaming desktop.
In connectivity and ports options, the laptop comes with one USB 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.1 ports, one USB Type-C port, a Mini DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0 port, a headphone jack, an Ethernet port, and an Alienware Graphics amplifier port (for an external GPU). The connectivity options are much appreciable and enough to support a futuristic gaming laptop.
Alienware m17 Display
Every good gaming laptop offers the best display, smooth cursor movement, and advanced hardware. This is where Alienware m17 won’t make you feel regret. The laptop has a 144Hz display, with brightness up to 300 nits, and a 1920 x 1080. See Best gaming monitors by Our staff picks.
The downside of m17 revolves around the color reproduction in which some dark edges can be noticed, mainly due to its non-OLED panel. Compared to the Microsoft Surface, which has a more accurate and fine color distribution, the m17 lagged in providing an extraordinary display, although I didn’t see noticeable differences.
While watching 1080p videos on YouTube and Netflix, the display was clear and appreciable. We noticed 72% reproduction of the sRGB color gamut, which is actually acceptable for a 144Hz display but unacceptable for video and photo editing purposes.
Alienware m17 keyboard and touchpad
What makes m17 different from other laptops is the excellent key feedback of its keyboard. The keyboard is the mechanical type, and RGB is enabled in a rainbow pattern. Though Alienware’s Command Center software is user-friendly, customizing the rainbow pattern is still a hurdle and frustration, let alone other settings and options such as turning on a light switch.
However, we became used to the software’s navigation after some attempts, and then it was fine to use this software. The keyboard showed some bends when pressed hard, which is not as powerful as MacBook Air. From my point of view, the bend was because it is a large keyboard. Besides, the keyboard is equipped with a complete numeric keypad which is a nice addition for those who do office work.
The touchpad of m17 R2 is slightly pushed toward the left. It was a real pain in the first few hours, but after a while, I got used to this arrangement and didn’t feel many problems. The touchpad was much responsive to every finger movement and gesture I made while playing or typing. I didn’t feel to use an additional mouse due to the smooth movement of the touchpad and Windows Precision Drivers. Though the touchpad is not as big as MacBook, it is big enough to compensate for your daily gaming needs.
Alienware m17 Gaming Performance
What makes this monster laptop different from the other best gaming laptops is its Intel Core-i9-9980HK CPU and 16GB DDR4 RAM, and an RTX 2080 Max-Q Graphics card that is enough to run a 1080p display. All the games that we ran at its Ultra settings gave an excellent performance.
The laptop reached 111 and 110 frames per second in Hitman and Blade Pro, respectively, at its max settings and 1080p. Besides, the Batman Arkham Knight and Metro: Exodus yielded extraordinary performance, while we noticed GPU at 165 and high temperature of the processor at 280 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat was considerably high, granted the giant system like this releases heat to such extent.
Aside from GeForce RTX 2080 GPU, the m17 is also equipped with an integrated Intel UHD 630 graphics card that lets you improve frame rates per second when you are on the battlefield and need something extra to fire beyond imagination. This is what I saw in Far Cry New Dawn when the laptop was producing graphics at 95fps while my enemies were retreating in different directions.
When I launched Rise of the Tomb Raider, the benchmark reached more than 100 fps, which was impressive and beat the performance benchmark of many gaming laptops such as MSI GS75 Stealth and Lenovo Y740. Similarly, the laptop could reach 80 frames per second in the GTA V test, slightly behind MSI GS75 Stealth (that reached 77fps).
Now set aside the real gaming world and move to the virtual world where the m17 won’t disappoint you. The laptop supported VR and yielded a SteamVR performance benchmark at more than 10, which is much more than the average performance of most gaming laptops.
Alienware m17 Overall Performance
If you think this is a one-dimensional laptop only suitable for gaming, you are 100 percent wrong. The laptop offers excellent performance for day-to-day tasks. Whether streaming videos, browsing websites, writing documents on MS word, or doing other tasks, the laptop can easily handle multi-tasks simultaneously.
We didn’t see any lags in performance or heat issues of the CPU even when we were running more than 40 tabs on Google Chrome, streaming YouTube videos on Microsoft Edge, and playing Far Cry New Dawn in the background. This is really impressive as only a few laptops have yielded as best amazing results, as given by Alienware m17.
For office tasks, the laptop, too, gave smashing results as we opened the Microsoft Word and Excel in less than three seconds. In every aspect, other than gaming, the laptop has overwhelmingly excelled the competition. In Geekbench 4.3 test, the m17 scored 30,200, which is surprisingly greater than Legion Y740’s 22,250 scores.
Even more than that, the m17 encoded 4K video to 1080p in less than 7 minutes. In the File Transfer test, we observed that the m17 duplicated 4.97GB of file in about 5 seconds at a transfer rate of 1017 MB/s, which was higher than the average 750 MB/s.
Other than these features, the m17, like its competitors, comes with a 720p webcam that can perfectly capture the pictures with greater than expected details and rich colors. Indeed, it can capture most colors with a nice level of differentiation; it still failed to differentiate some of the secondary colors. This is where it lagged behind Legion Y740, which gives better picture density and color distribution than it.
Alienware has added Tobii eye-tracking sensor to control your laptop. Placed in the hinge, the tracker lets you completely control the machine using your eyes. The notification appears on your screen after you have calibrated the feature according to your eyes.
With multiple uses, ranging from controlling the camera to unlocking the laptop, the feature is really impressive and worth noting for any laptop user. The feature allows you to wake up the laptop, dim the display, and work as a mouse for launching apps when staring at them. The Tobii sensor can also be used in streaming games on Twitch to allow your viewers to watch your quick movements while playing games.
In addition, the sensor allows you to control the camera while you are playing and need to adjust the camera for a particular position whenever need be. For instance, while playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider, most of the time, I adjusted the camera by just staring at that location.
The most important thing that gamers note while playing the game is how the machine keeps itself at an optimum temperature at the highest performance without getting heated up. Temperature is actually a major hurdle for those who want a high-performance gaming laptop. Alienware m17 keeps itself cool through its Cryo-Tech 3.0 technology that is equipped with bigger fans for more cooling, even at high-performance gaming or office tasks.
The bigger the fans a gaming machine has for cooling, the higher the noise will be; this happens with Alienware m17 R2. The powerful fans will even keep your lap cool, provided that they are properly ventilated. Yet, the system still gets heated up after a long gaming session. We observed heat in the range of 85-94 degrees Fahrenheit during multiple sessions. Though it is higher than average temperature, it is acceptable considering the monstrous specs the laptop is equipped with.
Alienware m17 Battery Life
Sadly, the battery didn’t perform as we expected from this giant machine. In battery tests, we noticed that its battery drained completely after continuous use for 4 hours and 20 minutes. But looking at its specs and other performance features, the battery is still better than its competitors GS75 and Legion Y740 that were appreciable. However, the battery could be improved if Dell decides to improve the machine in its future update further.
Reasons to Buy
Reasons to Avoid
The Dell Alienware m17 R2 is an impressive gaming laptop with a compact design but at a relatively higher price. The design is inspiring, and the performance is extraordinary, even beating its competitors in most benchmarks. From everyday tasks to long gaming sessions, you will really love this monster packed in a small yet attractive frame.
Despite some downsides, the Dell Alienware m17 R2 is a worth buying laptop for gaming purposes and daily office and homework. If you are looking for a premium laptop packed in a minimal design that gives an impressive performance and looks beautiful in its shape, this is one of the best gaming laptops that must be on your radar.