Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop Review


Alienware M15

Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop Review

Until recently, laptop models geared more towards gamers had been too expensive to justify buying, not to mention that their thick chassis did not offer much portability.

Alienware has always been about making bulky laptops with a great build quality, but due to the fierce competition led by brands like Razor Blade whose main goal is to supply consumers with the thinnest gaming laptops on the market, there is no better time than now to rethink this strategy. The 2018 M15 is Alienware’s stab at creating a powerful device in a smaller chassis. Was it a successful attempt, though, or a bust? Here is what we think of it.

Build Quality

Alienware has always been known for their great build quality. Just a few years ago, if you wanted the most durable gaming laptop on the market and did not care about it being bulky, you would go for Alienware. Fortunately, the M15 is a sturdy laptop despite it being thinner and lighter than other Alienware models. It is not as thin as Razor Blade laptops, though.

The base model weighs around 4.7 pounds, which means that it offers great portability. The M15 is fully made from metal (copper alloy and magnesium). When pressure is applied to the chassis, there is not any noticeable flex—a testament to how durable the laptop is.

Design

Alienware laptops have never been the prettiest models on the market. They have always felt as if they are built like tanks, for lack of a better word. The M15, however, is more aesthetically pleasing than Alienware’s older models. It does not have any sharp edges, which makes using it a blast. If you are feeling daring, you can go for the Nebula Red design that features a bright red lid with a black keyboard and bezels.

On the other hand, the Epic Silver model is better suited for those who have a more traditional taste. Although the M15 looks premium on the outside, the material on the keyboard and bezels feel a bit cheap. The keyboard has a somewhat rubberized material that feels comfortable enough for typing but is also a fingerprint magnet.

The glossy plastic finish of the top and bottom bezels takes from the overall aesthetic of the laptop. Despite the side bezels being narrow, the top and bottom ones are too big for our liking, even when compared to 2018’s design standards. It is a minor drawback that most users can get over, though.

Keyboard and Trackpad

Laptops users often have to do without mechanical keyboards that offer long travel distances. This is the case as well with the Alienware M15; it sports a chiclet keyboard that has a 1.44mm travel distance. So, the keys do not feel too mushy or too tactile; most users will find the typing experience pretty satisfying.

Even though some laptop enthusiasts like plugging in a traditional mouse instead of using trackpads, you’d be surprised by how responsive Alienware M15’s one is. It does not have the flashy lighting associated with most Alienware models, but it uses Windows precision drivers. The only complaint the one might have about it is that it looks asymmetrical, considering that it is placed a bit to the left instead of in the middle.


Display and Graphics Card

When buying a laptop, you should never discard color accuracy and brightness because they play a big role in influencing your overall experience. Luckily, the M15’s display is gorgeous. Of course, it all boils down to which configuration you end up choosing, but even the basic IPS FHD 60Hz 300 nit panel is still great to look at. There are various options you can opt for depending on your budget and needs. You can go for the base configuration we’ve just mentioned or upgrade to a 144Hz panel for a higher refresh rate and smoother animations. If you have a big enough budget or do a lot of editing that requires high color accuracy, consider getting the 4K UHD display that sports a refresh rate of 60Hz and a brightness level of 400 nits. As for the graphics card, you have three choices: RTX 2060 with 6GB GDDR6, GTX 1070 Max-Q with 8GB GDDR5, or GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5. Regardless of which card you get, you will not face any problem running modern releases.

CPU, RAM, and Storage

To ensure a superb experience for fans of multitasking, the M15 comes equipped with a 6-core 8th generation i7-8750H with a clock speed of 2.20GHz and a maximum speed of 4.1 GHz when Turbo Boost is activated. The base model comes with 16GB of RAM, but you can downgrade to 8GB or upgrade to a whopping 32GB of RAM, depending on what you intend to use the laptop for. Modern releases require plenty of storage, which is why the M15 sports a maximum storage space of 1GB HDD and 256GB SSD.

Ports and Battery

A fan of having a wide array of ports? Well, the M15 is then sure to impress you! It has an RJ75 port, an audio in-jack, and a USB 3.0 port on the left side. On the back, you have a mini display port, full-sized HDMI, DC in-jack, and USB Type C Thunderbolt 3. This is a smart design choice since it helps prevent cables from tangling. Finally, on the right side, there are another two USB 3.0 ports. Battery life is adequate; however, consider upgrading to the 90Wh battery for 6 hours of use if you are getting the 4K panel.

Known Issues

The Alienware M15 is prone to overheat, though, due to its thin chassis. When putting the CPU and GPU to the test, the surface temperature can go as high as 60oC (140oF), which makes using the device too uncomfortable. To solve this problem, you may want to get a cooling pad.

The Alienware M15 is a total beast and the best fit for pro gamers looking for a light-weight option with an inconspicuous, sleek design. However, it is an undeniably expensive device. Based on your chosen configuration, it can cost anywhere between $1300 and $3900.

This 2018 model also feels a bit outdated, given the introduction of 10th gen intel cards in the newer M15 R3. It remains a good purchase, though, if you are a fan of Alienware products but do not want to settle for the brand’s thicker models.


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Updated 1 month ago