Dell Alienware M15 hands-on review: this changes everything!

Back in 1996, a star was born. Yeah, I’m talking about myself. But you know what else was born in the same year? Alienware. And while that isn’t the main reason why, but I’ve always had a strong connection with the Alienware branding. I grew up looking at all those futuristic Alienware laptops and gaming rigs, till the time I finally got hold of a few to use as my own. However, I’ve always had certain complaints with Alienware’s design. Which is that all Alienware laptops have always been a pure PC-replacement and not necessary portable, convenient laptops. Well, it’s 2019, and we have the Alienware m15 with us. And damn, this, quite literally, changes everything.

Design and Display

Right off the bat, I want to shed some light on the design of the laptop. So if you look at it from a distance, it looks like your standard Alienware laptop, like the Alienware 17 or the Alienware 15. However, opening it up does change things quite a bit. But before that, allow me to talk about the body a little more first. The Nebula Red color is probably my favorite color on any laptop, and that Alienware branding in the middle looks so subtle yet so elegant. Speaking of which, you can also light it up.

On to the display now. Open this up and gone are the chunky side bezels. I mean you still get a fairly big top bezel and chin, but I think it adds to the whole character of the laptop because of the unique shape. I personally like the diagonal cuts on this thing, coz that just makes it look so unique. Then over here, you get another Alienware logo, which also doubles up as the power button, and then triples up as a status indicator as well. Underneath, you get a full-sized chicklet keyboard followed by the touchpad.

All in all, you can see that Alienware has managed to cramp up a lot of things in here, while still sort of maintaining their core value. But the thing that really amazes me is the fact that how lightweight this thing is. So, traditional Alienware laptops have always found themselves near the 3kg mark, or sometimes even more. The M15, on the other hand, weighs just 2.16kgs. Yes, it is still not as featherweight as an ultrabook, but the 2.16kg weight is considered light when it comes to laptops that pack in so much firepower.

Performance

So, the Alienware m15 comes equipped with the latest Intel i7 Whiskey Lake chipset with up to 32GB of RAM. As for the storage, this baby right here runs a 1TB SSD in PCI RAID, and the speeds are absolutely amazing. But wait, this is a gaming laptop, and well, you need a good GPU for that, right? Well, this one comes with the latest RTX GPUs, allowing you to choose between the RTX 2060 and the RTX 2070. And that, my friends, is overclockable too.

Naturally, the performance is undoubtedly great, with games like Metro Exodus and Battlefield V running well above 75 fps with everything turned up high. Side note, Ray Tracing was enabled in these games while I achieved these numbers, so that’s an added plus. Even titles like DOOM and PUBG were running at the 100fps mark, while Apex Legends ran at a smooth 112fps.

Keyboard and Touchpad

Now, I wanna shed some light on the keyboard here. Despite this being an expensive gaming laptop, the keyboard here is a chicklet one. This is certainly not Alienware style at heart, but I’m not entirely complaining. The other portion where they’ve sort of done cost-cutting is the RGB underneath. So while you still get 16.8 million colors to choose from, the lighting here is zoned, so no per-key lighting. That said, the overall keyboard experience has been wonderful. The typing experience is great, thanks to the just perfect key travel and the sublime feedback offered by the keyboard. The keyboard layout is great, and even while gaming, there was hardly anything to complain about. There are also these 4 programmable macro keys above the numpad, which will certainly come in handy if you’re an MMO player.

Now, the touchpad is one thing that slightly upset me. I mean, it’s great, the gestures work fine, and it’s almost perfect. It’s just that the size is too small. Sure, a gamer wouldn’t care about that, but then again, it wouldn’t have hurt them to put in a slightly bigger touchpad.

Connectivity and Audio

The I/O selection on this laptop is pretty good, to be honest. You get an RJ45 LAN port, a USB 3.0 port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left side. Over to the right side, you get two more USB 3.0 ports on the right side. But that’s not all. You have more ports on the back side as well. Here, you get the charging port, Alienware’s GFX AMP, a Type-C Thunderbolt port, a mini Display port, and a full-sized HDMI port. Honestly, the only thing I could ask for here is an SD Card slot.

Even the audio on this laptop is incredible. There is a significant amount of bass, and the volume levels can be cranked up high as well. While testing Metro on this, I remember everyone around me getting scared with the constant screams of the monsters.

Dell Alienware M15 first impressions: crawling out of the ideal Alienware scene

Now, the Alienware m15 comes at a starting price of Rs. 1,78,399. Based on my first impressions, that sounds like a fair deal. Sure, there’s always the argument of being able to build a PC for way cheap, but what Alienware brings to the table is portability, an amazing form factor, great performance, and tons of RGB. That said, these are just my first impressions. I’ll be doing a thorough review of the device as well, so make sure to stay tuned to Mr. Phone for all the latest in the technology world.

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Varun Mirchandani
varun.mirchandani@u2opiamobile.com

Varun is your go-to guy for everything related to technology. Someone with a keen interest in the Android world, he installs a new custom ROM every week and is always living on the bleeding edge of technology. When not writing for Mr. Phone, you can find him gaming on his beastly gaming rig which is also his prized possession.