Alienware’s hefty big-screen laptops are widely known, however its extra moveable choices nonetheless really feel new to the gaming scene. The unique m15 used to be slender however now not a standout; now, the Alienware m15 R2 (begins at $1,499.99; $2,659.99 as examined) rocks a large redesign, in addition to the most recent parts and top-end options. Now not everybody will love the daring new glance, nevertheless it has character. The 4K OLED panel on our unit seems to be vivid, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 2070 Max-Q GPU guarantees 60fps gaming at maximum settings and resolutions. The m15 R2 is far stepped forward, however the $2,599 Razer Blade 15 Complicated Fashion stays our height high-end gaming pc for its tip-top construct high quality. Razer’s OLED Blade configuration prices a lofty $three,299, alternatively, so if you are set on an excellent, dramatic OLED panel, Alienware’s m15 R2 OLED type is also a more sensible choice.
The New m15 Design: I Come From the Long term
The from-the-ground-up redesign of the m15 is the primary point of interest of the R2, much more so than the OLED display screen. Design is in large part a subjective factor, and whilst I may just see the brand new glance being divisive, I find it irresistible reasonably a bit of. No, it does not mix in anyplace—”delicate” is a ways from the very first thing you would name it—and sure, it alerts that it is a gaming pc, nevertheless it does so extra tastefully than maximum. Alienware is a top class gaming logo, so the design will have to stand out a little bit. So long as that is carried out with a transparent imaginative and prescient and a few restraint, there may be not anything inherently improper with that. Many gaming laptops merely equate “gaming” with “garish.”
To that finish, Alienware’s new design language goes for a blank glance impressed by way of sci-fi and long term tech. Our type is the white “Lunar Gentle” possibility, however Alienware additionally gives a gray “Darkish Aspect of the Moon” scheme. The chassis on our pattern is a greyish white, with a black rear portion that homes ports and thermal hardware. The black portion may be ringed with an LED, any other calling card of this new aesthetic.
The m15 R2 stocks its glance with the hulking Alienware House 51-m, however is the primary slender pc to undertake the glance. As I have mentioned in regards to the House 51-m, and about this pc in my preview of it, the m15 R2 would not glance misplaced in Mass Impact or any other sci-fi global. The previous-generation m15 used to be skinny and quite gentle, nevertheless it regarded—in direct opposition to how I described the R2 above—secure, simple, or even a little bit dull. It is value noting that the former m15 design did get an OLED-screen possibility added overdue in its lifecycle, nevertheless it felt like a holdover with new design at the means.
The R2, in the meantime, has top class portions inside of, and it feels higher-quality, as well. The lid and keyboard deck are magnesium alloy, with a easy end that feels great to touch. It is not reasonably the natural milled-aluminum development of the Razer Blade 15, nevertheless it does not really feel reasonable. It measures zero.eight by way of 14.2 by way of 10.nine inches (HWD) and weighs four.75 kilos, which is sort of precisely the similar as the unique m15 design. Regardless of the brand new glance, the overall footprint and heft have not modified a lot, so that is nonetheless a quite moveable gaming pc.
How About That Display screen?
Then, in fact, there may be the display screen. First, here is a fast primer on what makes OLED shows particular. LED-lit LCD displays use a white backlight that is handed via a quick filter out, which tints the sunshine to give you the proper colour. In a nutshell, OLED displays (the acronym stands for “natural light-emitting diode”) use a complete other show paradigm: a self-emissive natural compound, permitting each and every pixel within the panel to supply its personal gentle when present is carried out to it.
That is the major distinction from LCD displays, and what permits OLEDs to supply extra-brilliant colours and deep blacks. To show black, that space of the display screen merely stops generating any gentle, so it’s in point of fact showing not anything, which in flip supplies higher distinction and “more true” blacks than blockading an ever-present LED backlight. All of this additionally lets in the panels to be extra effective, and thus thinner. That does not come into play with laptops as dramatically as with TVs; many OLED TVs are just about razor-thin.
So, with all of that mentioned, we go back to this actual display screen. As with the opposite laptops on this new wave of OLED shows, the panel is produced by way of Samsung, so they are all ranging from the similar level. And, as we’ve got observed with the others, the display screen is gorgeous. Due to the wonders of OLED, the colours do appear to come out at you, having a look extremely colourful and wealthy. The black spaces, as they will have to, glance more deep and darkish, making a putting distinction with the colours. I will describe it, however OLED is the type of factor that you simply in reality need to enjoy for your self, in particular person. Taking a look at photos of an OLED panel via a non-OLED panel does not do it justice. The display screen is a part of what you might be paying a top class for, and it is a hit.
It is great sufficient that ingenious execs might wish to use this panel for respectable media paintings. This pc has different, non-4K display screen choices, which Alienware charges for various color-spectrum protection than the OLED show. For the OLED display screen, the one complete gamut protection claimed used to be for DCI-P3. We examined that with Portrait Shows’ CalMAN Final device and our Klein colorimeter, and the consequences are under…
As you’ll be able to see, the panel hits the claimed protection proportion nearly at once at the nostril. So that you could see how it will fare with different gamuts, I additionally examined the sRGB (100 p.c protection) and Adobe RGB (96 p.c protection) gamuts. All however probably the most exacting ingenious execs will have to be happy with the ones effects.
Past the image high quality, the panel includes a 4K local answer, which no doubt provides to the crispness. The OLED display screen possibility tops out at a 60Hz refresh fee, which is arguably a problem for a gaming gadget. The overall HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) display screen choices are available in 60Hz, 144Hz, and 240Hz flavors, the closing two being higher for players in search of super-high body charges in aggressive esports video games. On this case, the 4K display screen is surely a tradeoff when it comes to refresh fee, however given the standard of the show, it can be value it for plenty of.
As for the remainder of the bodily construct, the keyboard feels roomier than on reasonably a couple of competing gaming laptops. On competition I have examined, the keyboard does not absorb as a lot of the keyboard-deck area as it might, and the keys are from time to time smaller than moderate. The m15 R2 does not have a host pad, nevertheless it makes up for it with a keyboard that does not really feel cramped. The keys do really feel a bit of plasticky, and there is not a lot comments, however the typing enjoy is first rate at the entire.
The touchpad, too, is just right sufficient, with very easy panning, although it does really feel fairly free to click on on. As with the construct total, it does not reasonably hit the heights of the Blade 15, however it’s nonetheless higher than many.
The keyboard may be a laugh to have a look at. The keys can also be in my opinion backlit, and out of the field, our unit placed on a rainbow gentle display. Clearly, you’ll be able to tone it down with the integrated customization device, however the multicolored lighting fixtures dancing around the keys glance particularly just right in this white pc.
Rounding out the outside are the aspect and rear ports, and the m15 R2 packs all kinds. The left flank holds a USB three.1 port, an Ethernet jack, and a headset jack. The fitting aspect has simply two extra USB three.1 ports, with the remainder of the connections at the black rear of the pc. There, you’ll be able to discover a USB Kind-C port with Thunderbolt three beef up, an HDMI port, a mini DisplayPort connection, and the ability connector. There may be another large, thin port, which is able to mystify some observers. That is the proprietary Alienware Graphics Amplifier port, for connecting to the corporate’s venerable exterior GPU enclosure. It is bought one by one.
Extras and Configurations
Shifting clear of the hardware for a second, the customization device I discussed in short is a minimize above the typical, so it merits a shout-out.
It is referred to as the Alienware Command Heart, and it used to be rebuilt a couple of years in the past to be the usual regulate panel for all Alienware PC merchandise. It wraps all the same old gaming device—game-specific profiles, lights choices, audio settings, part tuning, gadget tracking, or even a recreation library and launcher—into one program. Maximum usefully for gaming, you’ll be able to turn the pc’s thermal profile amongst a number of presets (5 alternatives, starting from quiet to complete pace), and set overclock profiles to spice up your GPU.
Command Heart does all of this with a degree of polish now not normally observed in those loose choices. You if truth be told need to make use of it.
That brings us to our ultimate major function, a fairly non-compulsory more. The m15 R2 is the primary 15-inch pc to incorporate Tobii eye monitoring, which comes usual with each the 240Hz and OLED show choices. In case you are unfamiliar with Tobii, it is an unbiased corporate that has advanced eye-tracking tech that is made its means into laptops and different gadgets, such because the HTC Vive Professional virtual-reality headset. The monitoring hardware is the slender, semi-transparent black bar operating beneath the show.
Tobii has a number of nongaming purposes, intended for normal pc use. Essentially the most useful is its skill to un-dim the show when the Tobii sensors hit upon that you have regarded again on the display screen. Nevertheless it has extra particular makes use of whilst gaming. It is supported in additional than 100 titles (lots of them primary AAA video games), and you’ll be able to in finding out which options are enabled during which video games by way of visiting the Tobii web page. Lots of them revolve round eye aiming, in addition to some variety options and enemy focused on.
I examined Tobii in-game for a bit of, most commonly the use of A long way Cry five. The improvements are delicate, and now not, ahem, game-changing, however they’re there. Shifting your eyes towards the brink of the display screen will flip your personality’s head reasonably, supplying you with a delicate sense of having a look via his or her eyes. I did not realize many results past that, however the tech provides a point of immersion. Between some in-game mechanics just like the look impact, and the benefits to desktop surfing, Tobii at worst does not detract from the enjoy, and at highest makes some video games extra stress-free.
Tobii is bundled into the fee, alternatively, so I would not blame you for wishing you have to minimize it to economize. In case you in reality do not want eye monitoring, the decrease two display screen choices (the full-HD 60Hz and 144Hz ones) do not include Tobii. If you wish to have the OLED display screen, although, you additionally need to pay for Tobii.
Prior to we get to the functionality checking out of our unit, let’s prevent for a fast take a look at different configuration choices. As a reminder, our $2,659.99 take a look at unit contains an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, 16GB of reminiscence, a 512GB SSD, and (in fact) the 4K OLED panel. The ones are a ways from the one choices, although, so I will get started with the processors.
You’ll be able to select a Core i5 chip for much less cash, or pick out between two Core i9 CPUs (one with the “Okay” designation, that means it is overclockable). Graphics choices vary even wider, from a light-hitting GeForce GTX 1650 (slightly enough for 1080p gaming) up via to the muscular GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q. Having many garage choices is commonplace on any form of pc, so it is no marvel you’ll be able to get a small 256GB SSD or a roomy 2TB SSD (each M.2 drives). You’ll be able to additionally configure twin drives in RAID arrays, as much as 4TB. (Our tester had only a unmarried SSD.)
All of that is to mention you’ll be able to model an m15 R2 to suit your price range, as long as your price range is $1,500 or up. Not like what I have skilled with some laptops, the bodily construct high quality is just right sufficient that the use of it for each low- and high-end configurations does not depart the latter a disappointing compromise. The use of the similar chassis at each and every finish of the pricing spectrum is all neatly and just right in concept, however some pc our bodies really feel subpar while you pump up the parts to a several-thousand-dollar configuration. Alienware avoids that pitfall with top class development, so the ones paying the $1,499 beginning payment will have to be simply as happy as the ones paying greater than $2,000 for a decked-out m15 R2.
Trying out the m15 R2: A Potent Performer
For performance-testing comparisons, I decided on a bunch of laptops that serve each as festival and context. All however one are in a similar fashion priced and/or supplied gaming machines, however all assist give an concept of the Alienware’s chronic and price. Within the cheat sheet under are the elemental specifications of each and every…
The Blade 15 Complicated Fashion launched previous this yr used to be already a favourite, and the lately reviewed up to date OLED type ($three,299 as examined) is an ideal competitor right here for an OLED head-to-head fight. The Acer Predator Triton 500 ($2,499 as examined) is any other top-end 15-inch gaming pc, whilst the MSI GS65 Stealth ($1,699 as examined) represents our height midrange pick out. It will have to provide you with an concept of what a step down in GPU chronic and value gets you.
The XPS 15 7590 ($2,649 as examined), in the meantime, is the latest type of Dell’s 15-inch desktop-replacement pc. Whilst now not a gaming pc, our unit does come with a low-end discrete GPU and an OLED show, making it a related inclusion right here. It additionally boasts the most productive CPU within the bunch, demonstrating what a Core i9 can do.
As well as, this can be a just right position to notice that Alienware has engineered extra-efficient voltage legislation to again its GPU and CPU. It has eight-phase chronic supply for graphics, and six-phase for the processor, the place maximum notebooks use four-phase legislation. This will have to permit those parts to maintain greater functionality ranges for longer. (Learn on to peer how that performs out.)
Productiveness & Garage Exams
PCMark 10 and eight are holistic functionality suites advanced by way of the PC benchmark experts at UL (previously Futuremark). The PCMark 10 take a look at we run simulates other real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows. We use it to evaluate total gadget functionality for office-centric duties reminiscent of phrase processing, spreadsheet use, internet surfing, and videoconferencing. PCMark eight, in the meantime, has a specialised Garage subtest that we use to evaluate the velocity of the PC’s boot power.
This tough workforce of laptops carried out very in a similar fashion on either one of those assessments, so I will minimize to the chase. For pricier techniques with gaming-grade portions, the day by day house and workplace duties measured by way of PCMark 10 are a breeze, and also you should not be all in favour of their skill to care for them. In a similar fashion, the snappy cast state drives in those laptops completed inside an excessively tight cluster of each other on PCMark eight. They are all going to offer speedy boot and cargo occasions, as has kind of turn out to be the usual in trendy laptops. Let’s transfer directly to one thing a bit of extra strenuous.
Media Processing & Advent Exams
Subsequent is Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 take a look at, which is totally threaded to use all to be had processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU slightly than the GPU to render a fancy picture. The result’s a proprietary ranking indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads.
We additionally run a customized Adobe Photoshop image-editing benchmark. The use of an early 2018 unencumber of the Ingenious Cloud model of Photoshop, we practice a chain of 10 advanced filters and results to a typical JPEG take a look at picture. We time each and every operation and, on the finish, upload up the full execution time. This stresses CPU, garage subsystem, and RAM, however it could possibly additionally profit from maximum GPUs to hurry up the method of making use of filters. (Methods with tough graphics chips or playing cards might see a spice up.)
On those assessments, extra variation between the chips presentations within the effects. The XPS 15’s Core i9 used to be a step above, accurately, whilst the remaining fell right into a an identical ballpark. There have been extra variations on Cinebench, and the m15 R2 did stand above the remaining (barring the XPS 15, in fact). Photostop used to be a lot tighter, however both means, the m15 R2 could be very neatly supplied to care for media duties. Best true workstation laptops, or the ones with an excessively high-end Core i9 CPU, will carry out markedly higher than this, so search for a type of if you are a major media skilled or paintings with ISV-certified professional device.
Artificial Graphics Exams
Subsequent up: UL’s 3DMark suite. 3DMark measures relative graphics muscle by way of rendering sequences of extremely detailed, gaming-style 3-D graphics that emphasize debris and lights. We run two other 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Hearth Strike, which might be suited for various kinds of techniques. Each are DirectX 11 benchmarks, however Sky Diver is suited for laptops and midrange PCs, whilst Hearth Strike is extra tough and made for high-end PCs to strut their stuff. The effects are proprietary rankings.
The next chart is any other artificial graphics take a look at, this one from Unigine Corp. Like 3DMark, the Superposition take a look at renders and pans via an in depth 3-D scene and measures how the gadget copes. On this case, it is carried out within the corporate’s eponymous Unigine engine, whose other 3-D workload situation items a 2d opinion at the gadget’s graphical prowess.
The m15 R2 had a just right appearing at the artificial 3-D assessments, with about as excessive rankings as you have to hope for from the hardware. I have famous a couple of occasions via opinions of Max-Q laptops that the RTX 2080 Max-Q does not carry out a lot another way than the RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, and that is the reason confirmed right here with how an identical the m15 R2 is to the Triton 500. There is a a lot larger functionality hole between the 2 with the full-power GPU, however the down-tuning required for Max-Q (in order that the tough GPU can have compatibility in a slip pc) neuters the RTX 2080 greater than the remaining. The Blade 15’s 2080 Max-Q did carry out reasonably higher, however given the fee bounce between the 2, the 2070 Max-Q seems to be a greater worth on a natural price-to-power scale. As a gaming pc, you must see how this interprets to genuine body charges, so directly to the following assessments…
Actual-International Gaming Exams
The bogus assessments above are useful for measuring normal 3-D flair, however it is exhausting to overcome complete retail video video games for judging gaming functionality. A long way Cry five and Upward thrust of the Tomb Raider are each trendy AAA titles with integrated benchmark schemes. Those assessments are run at 1080p on each the reasonable and most graphics-quality presets (Commonplace and Extremely for A long way Cry five; Medium and Very Top for Upward thrust of the Tomb Raider) to pass judgement on functionality for a given pc. A long way Cry five is DirectX 11-based, whilst Upward thrust of the Tomb Raider can also be flipped to DX12, which we do for that benchmark.
If the rest, the belief from the former effects most effective positive aspects more potent proof right here. The m15 R2 outperformed the RTX 2080 Max-Q-bearing Triton 500 and the Blade 15 on A long way Cry five, at slightly below 100fps on most settings. The ones two did height the m15 on Upward thrust of the Tomb Raider, however now not by way of a lot. Certainly, the eight-phase graphics voltage legislation could have helped it edge or fit the contest.
For its section, the midrange GS65 Stealth presentations what to anticipate from a more economical, however nonetheless succesful, gadget, whilst the XPS 15 demonstrated the space between an entry-level GPU and the highest canine. General, at 1080p, the m15 R2 could be very neatly suited for AAA video games at most settings. The 60Hz refresh fee way you do not in reality want to fear about pushing body charges as excessive as imaginable—there may be sufficient of a cushion above 60fps that dips will have to be nonexistent or rare.
I additionally ran the assessments at local 4K, which used to be, unsurprisingly, a lot more of a pressure. On most settings at 4K, the m15 R2 averaged 37fps on A long way Cry five and 39fps on Upward thrust of the Tomb Raider. The ones are no less than above 30fps, however a ways wanting the perfect 60fps. This isn’t precisely unexpected given the hardware, however do not see the 4K display screen and think this pc can play at that lofty answer with excessive body charges.
Battery Rundown Check
In the end, the battery-life checking out. After totally recharging the pc, we arrange the gadget in power-save mode (versus balanced or high-performance mode) and make a couple of different battery-conserving tweaks in preparation for our unplugged video-rundown take a look at. (We additionally flip Wi-Fi off, striking the pc in Plane mode.) On this take a look at, we loop a video—a in the neighborhood saved 720p document of the Blender Basis quick movie Tears of Metal—with display screen brightness set at 50 p.c and quantity at 100 p.c till the gadget conks out.
The battery runtime is not a lot to write down house about, nevertheless it does fall in keeping with the remaining. MSI and Razer’s machines lasted a bit of longer, however inside the similar vary of normal off-plug usefulness. Dell’s non-gaming gadget lasts two times as lengthy, so so far as an OLED pc with a protracted battery is going, that is your winner. Six-and-a-half hours is sufficient battery lifestyles for shuttle and use clear of an outlet, although it isn’t all-day battery.
I ran some intensive more battery assessments at the different OLED laptops to substantiate some theories about OLED’s results on battery lifestyles. I did not re-run the ones at the Alienware m15 R2, since the result of the ones previous assessments showed the theories, so I’m assured that they cling true right here as neatly. In brief, an OLED display screen makes use of a lot much less chronic when showing black or most commonly darkish pictures, leading to battery financial savings. Consequently, all of those producers are delivery their OLED laptops with Home windows Darkish Mode became on, and from my checking out, it does confer a noticeable distinction in battery lifestyles as opposed to Gentle Mode. Even excessive brightness ranges with darkish displays have much less of a battery-drain have an effect on than Gentle Mode does, so it is a good suggestion to stay Darkish Mode on!
Your Best possible Guess for an OLED Gaming Pc?
The Alienware m15 R2 is a wonderful transform of the corporate’s extra compact gamer. It alerts “gaming pc” with out being overbearing; it plays like a top class gadget; and it contains the kinds of legitimately helpful options that are supposed to be unique to high-end techniques. On our unit specifically, the 4K OLED display screen seems to be very good, although you will not be taking part in maximum video games in exact 4K. It is only reasonably pricier than Acer’s Predator Triton 500 for equivalent or higher chronic, whilst providing a a ways awesome show.
As for the Razer Blade 15, its OLED configuration prices $640 greater than the Alienware m15 R2’s OLED type, and it delivered most effective reasonably higher gaming functionality in our assessments. If you’re set on an OLED display screen (and I would not blame you!), the m15 R2 is if truth be told higher bang to your greenback than Razer’s selection. The Blade 15 OLED levies an extra top class for the step-up GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU and the display screen, however the GPU is not all that a lot peppier in apply.
That mentioned, it is the $2,599 non-OLED Blade 15 (additionally with an RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU) that we at the beginning granted an Editors’ Selection award, and it nonetheless comes out on height as opposed to the m15 R2. Alienware’s gadget is a positive providing, and in all probability the most productive pick out if you wish to have an OLED gaming pc, however the non-OLED Razer Blade 15 stays our height advice amongst high-end gaming machines according to its chronic, construct, and worth. Alienware, alternatively, has made it an excessively near-run factor.