Alienware m17 R4 Review
After redesigning its flagship gaming computers, Alienware released several beautiful laptops in 2019 with 15-inch- and 17-inch displays. The new m17 R4 (starts at $1,812.99; $3,609.99 as tested) is based on the same 17-inch design we’ve seen before but with a few notable upgrades: an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics processing unit and an optional, low-profile mechanical keyboard designed in collaboration with industry-leading key-switch manufacturer Cherry.
While the fundamental design is top-notch and the possibilities are numerous, the battery life is still poor, and designing a system with all the extras (such as a 360Hz screen) will cost you. This is why it has earned our Editor’s Choice as the best contemporary giant-screen premium gaming machine.
Alienware m17 R4 Specs
|Processor||Intel Core i9-10980HK|
|Processor Speed||2.4 GHz|
|Graphics Processor||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPU|
|Wireless Networking||Bluetooth, 802.11ax|
- Core i9 and GeForce RTX 3080 worked very well.
- Unique and comfortable
- Cherry MX mechanical keyboard
- Tons of configuration choices, including a 360Hz display
- There are many ports
- Costs a lot as it is, which makes sense given its top-of-the-line speed.
- Lack of battery life
- Heavy brick of a power
The Alienware I’ve been using boasts an impressive array of RGB LEDs and eye-catching honeycomb vents, and its Lunar Light colour scheme blends a white base and lid with black accents. A black version, “Dark Side of the Moon.” Even though the bezels could be thinner and the keyboard and bottom have a bit too much wiggle room, this is still one of the most robust and aesthetically pleasing gaming laptops on the market.
Alienware’s PC is larger and bulkier than the competition, coming in at 2.97 kg and maintaining a thickness of 22 millimeters. Slimmer and lighter Razer Blade Pro 17 models and the Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo, both sporting 15.6-inch displays, are available now. However, they are quite narrow margins; you won’t notice them in practice.
Because this is such a high-end product, there isn’t much useless software on it when you get it out of the box. Basically, all you’ll see are Dell’s support apps, which are used to update drivers and make saves, and two programs: My Alienware and Alienware Command Center. The first one is mostly just a hub that connects you to tools that will help you learn more about your laptop. It’s basically a FAQ with a fancy user interface.
On the other hand, the Alienware Command Center will be much more useful for a longer time. This is the app you’ll use to change everything about the Alienware M17 R4. Here, you can control everything from RGB lights to speed, and you can even start your games from this app. That’s all there is to it. It’s very simple and light, which is exactly what we want in a thousand-dollar laptop. Also, if you buy a new Alienware m17 R4, it should come with Windows 11 or offer a free upgrade to the new operating system.
Performance And Design
Now, this Alienware m17 R4 has an Intel Core i9-10980HK, 32GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, so it moves quickly. This gaming laptop is a real powerhouse. It uses all of the available silicon to its fullest, which is probably why that fan is so loud. The mobile version of the Nvidia RTX 3080 should be close to what the PC version of the RTX 3070 can do in terms of real specs. In real life, we saw the same thing with this laptop.
No matter what game we played on it, with or without ray tracing, the performance was very good everywhere. Even Watch Dogs: Legion, which has trouble running on a lot of full desktop gaming PCs, can hit a solid 75 fps with ray tracing on high and DLSS on the ‘performance’ setting.
The battery on the Alienware M17 R4 doesn’t last long; there’s no way around that. This is a high-powered gaming laptop that doesn’t skimp on speed, so you can’t expect it to last all day on a single charge. Still, we hope that things will be at least a little bit better than they were in the past. The laptop only lasts 2 hours and 21 minutes in PCMark 10, which tests a number of real-world tasks. Then, the Alienware m17 R4 can only play locally saved 1080p video in a loop for 2 hours and 28 minutes. It’s probably enough to watch a movie or a few YouTube videos, but it’s not a laptop where you can just stream films for hours.
The base price for an Alienware m17 is $2,149 (about £1,570 or AU$1,769). The Intel Core i7-10870H processor, 16 GB of RAM, 256 GB of solid-state storage, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 are all included in that price. The model we are examining today costs an eye-watering $3,359 (about £2,460, AU$ 4,360) and features an RTX 3080, a 2TB SSD, and a Core i9 processor. If you want a 4K OLED display with the same features, you’ll have to shell out $3,579 (about £2,620, AU$ 4,640), but that setup only includes 1TB of SSD storage. Unfortunately, this model is unavailable due to the continued lack of components.
A 4K OLED screen is overkill for a laptop unless you will be doing professional-level film or photography editing. The RTX 3080 is a powerful graphics card but can’t compare to the desktop version. Whether you choose the 144Hz screen or the 360Hz panel with the laptop we’re examining, you’ll have a much better gaming experience staying with the 1080p display option. It is, without a doubt, a high-end gaming laptop.