Alienware m15 R2.
Alienware m15 R2.
There’s just something about the alienware m15 r2 that pulls you in. It’s probably the expert manner in which it walks the line between gaudy and tasteful, artfully finding a middle ground that is all the more attractive. The m15 exudes a cool and contemporary vibe, but it also contains hints of the future as well, smartly filling the gap between a minimalist laptop like the razer blade 15 and more ostentatious designs from Acer or ASUS.
I particularly like how the sharp, angular lines on the old m15 have been dropped in favour of softer and more modern curves. The lid is also a nearly uninterrupted slab, which is particularly stunning on the white Lunar Light model. The previous m15 resembled the outer hull of some sort of spaceship, and while that was kind of cool, I much prefer the cleaner look of the m15 r2. an illuminated alien head sits near the top, and a futuristic number 15 is etched in the bottom right corner.
One distinctive design element of the Legend aesthetic is the rounded, elongated bar. This bar runs down the front of Alienware’s Aurora gaming desktop, and it’s found along the back of the m15.
It actually houses the hexagonal mesh vent through which hot air leaves the laptop, and it’s a key part of the laptop’s look.
The laptop also comes with a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port.
The m15 r2 isn’t that much thinner than its predecessor though, measuring 20.5mm at its thickest point. It also features a magnesium alloy chassis this time around to slightly reduce its weight, but it still comes in at 2.16kg. That said, it’s still a massive upgrade from where alienware was just a few years ago. build quality is also really solid, and there’s no obvious flexing when typing or pushing down on anywhere, even the intake grilles above the keyboard.
My one gripe would be the hinge, which doesn’t open with quite as fluid a motion as I’d like. you can’t really open it with just one hand either, so it seems like alienware could have done more work on adjusting the resistance of the hinge.
My review unit came with a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 144Hz display with a peak brightness of 300 nits. It’s brighter than the screen on most other gaming laptops, and colours appear vivid and punchy without any obvious skew toward either the warmer or cooler end of the spectrum. It’s a good display, one that’s framed with thankfully slim bezels. This still isn’t quite the edge-to-edge display you see on laptops like the Gigabyte Aero 15, but they’re slim enough that you won’t find them much of an eyesore.
The HDMI 2.0b and Mini DisplayPort 1.4 outputs sit at the rear.
The cooling system has been upgraded too to Alienware’s Cryo-Tech v3.0. It comprises two fans, each with 106 fire-resistant, liquid crystal polymer fan blades, and dense copper heatsink fins and composite heat pipes. The fan diameter has also been increased slightly, which means they can push more air as well.
Once you’ve got Tobii set up, you can do nifty things with it like turn the screen on simply by looking at it. Your computer will also notice when you’re not around and automatically dim the screen to save battery. you can even use it to switch applications when you hold down alt + Tab, and the system will switch to whichever application you’re looking at in the grid.
Elsewhere, alienware has upgraded the keyboard on the m15 r2. The keys now sport a slight concave design, which make them that bit more comfortable to use. In addition, key travel distance is now further at 1.7mm, compared to 1.4mm from before. I can’t really say that the extra 0.3mm makes a huge difference, but I found the keyboard overall rather pleasant to type on.
Of course, there’s per-key RGB customisations available as well, so you can go to town tweaking the lighting effects to suit you.
The precision glass trackpad is excellent too. It isn’t quite as large as I’d like it to be, but it’s really more than sufficient, complete with integrated buttons that click satisfyingly.
Gaming performance is what you’d expect from a GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q, and the laptop will run just about any game at 1080p with good frame rates. However, it’s also rather expensive for what it offers and is somewhat bogged down by mediocre battery life and thermal performance.
AT A GLANCE
Display 1,920 x 1,080-pixel 144Hz
Processor Intel Core i7-9750H processor
Memory 16GB DDR4-2666
Graphics card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q
Storage 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD
A fast and attractive gaming laptop, but it could use better battery life.