Alienware 15 R3 Review
Alienware 15 R3
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- Massively powerful
- Excellent build quality
- Excellent cooling
- Thunderbolt 3
- Poor battery life
- Big and heavy for 15-inches
- sound could be better
Alienware 15 R3 review – Get dangerously deep in the game.
The perfect balance of power and portability come together in the Alienware 15 gaming laptop. Engineered with incredible NVIDIA 10-series or AMD Radeon RX™ graphics and overclocked processors to tilt the game in your favor.
The Alienware 15 is almost everything you could ask for in a midsize gaming laptop. It’s a stylish, powerful machine with the latest GPU architecture, Intel’s new seventh-gen CPUs and a fantastic build quality — it’s just a little large for a machine of its class.
That’s not a deal-breaker, but it is a little weird. Fifteen-inch gaming rigs usually fill a sweet spot between portability and power, but the Alienware 15’s oversized footprint throws that balance off. If you’re dead set on the Alienware brand and are sure you want the machine’s GTX 1070, it’s still not a bad option — but if you find yourself looking at the laptop’s cheaper 1060 configuration, consider looking at the Alienware 13 instead. Bigger isn’t bad, but it’s not always better, either.
The Alienware 15 R3 is not a gaming laptop for everyone. Its big and heavy size and expensive, top-of-the-line configurations will turn a lot of gamers away. But, for those who stay stationary most of the time, the 15 R3 is an excellent laptop.
Gaming performance is impressive, and we enjoy the Alienware’s tank-like build. Thermal performance is excellent, allowing the Alienware 15 R3 to run at 100% for extended periods without losing a beat. We were equally impressed by the optional 120Hz Full-HD display that made games look buttery smooth.
If you like the design of the Alienware 15 R3 and don’t mind its bulk, you’re going to be very happy with its performance, display and build quality.
The visuals of the third revision of the Alienware 15 R3 are beyond any doubt (except for the protruding fan area). There is currently no other gaming notebook with such a sophisticated, stable, and well-built chassis. Then there is also the unique design, great input devices and numerous illumination elements.
There should not be any problems in the next couple of years, either. When the GPU is not powerful enough anymore, you can just attach an external solution via Thunderbolt 3 or the Graphics Amplifier port. The 120 Hz display leaves mixed feelings. Response times, luminance and the contrast are great, but viewing angles, black value and color accuracy are below average. This is the result of the TN technology (60 Hz model is based on IPS).
However, the main problem of our test model was the temperature and noise development under load, which – as explained in the section Emissions – is probably connected to the uneven warming of the CPU cores. Almost 50 dB(A) in 3D scenarios is a lot, although the Alienware 15 R3 is surprisingly slim at 2.5 cm. Maybe we will review another configuration of the 15-inch system to see whether this is a bug on our test model or a general problem. We deduct 1% from the overall rating because of the fan and temperature problems.
If you ignore this detail as well as the mediocre sound, the Alienware 15 R3 convinces in almost every respect. The Core i7-7700HQ and the GeForce GTX 1070 can handle all modern games in the Ultra preset at 1920×1080 pixels.
The Alienware R3 is a worthy upgrade on its predecessor, slimmer but more powerful than before, with a stylish design and sturdy high-quality construction. You get plenty of premium features including custom lighting and copious storage, but these add up to a pricey proposition relative to its gaming power. The HP Omen 17 offers the same graphics card and similar performance across the board, plus a 4K screen, for $1,799. With its plastic build, it’s not as high end, but it remains our midrange Editors’ Choice for threading the needle on performance, features, and price. If you like the R3’s top-notch feature set and design, but can’t afford the price tag, consider configuring a less expensive
There’s a lot to like on the Alienware 15. For $2,299, you get a modern take on the interstellar theme that’s sleek and sophisticated, with a comfortable keyboard, excellent sound, strong gaming performance and a lovely G-Sync-enabled display. The Tobii software adds a fun, but useful eye-controlled functionality for more seamless productivity, even if it’s not for playing games. For the full Tobii treatment, you’ll want to step up to the Alienware 17.
But the Alienware 15 is more than its eye-tracker. Thanks to some rather robust hardware, including an overclockable Core i7 processor, Nvidia GTX 1070 GTX and a G-Sync display, the laptop serves up buttery-smooth frame rates whether you’re playing traditional or VR games.
The system does stumble a bit when it comes to battery life, and if endurance is important to you, the $1,899 Razer Blade might be a better fit. It’s also more portable than the 7.4 pound 15-inch Alienware. If you want something with a faster SSD, consider the $1,999 MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro. But, if you want a fairly portable 15-inch system with all the bells and whistles, the Alienware 15 is a great choice.