Alienware 17 R5 Laptop Review: A no-compromise gaming laptop

    The New Alienware 17 R5 laptop from Dell is aimed at the on-the-go gaming enthusiasts and is available in India for Rs 1,86,432. At this price point, the New Alienware should really be good at everything, as no one likes a sloppy performance from a device which costs a fortune. Is this the best gaming laptop, say under Rs 2,00,000? Let's find out.

    The gaming laptop market is booming in India. Companies like Asus ROG and MSI have been launching a great number of laptops meant for gaming and the New Alienware 17 R5 is Dell's offering in the same line. And now, Alienware has more competition than ever before and the company has to offer the best without any compromise.

    Specifications

    • Display:17.3-inch FHD 1920 x 1080p, 60 Hz IPS LCD Display with an Anti-glare coating (Nvidia G-Sync enabled) with 300 nits brightness
    • Dimension: Height: 29.9mm (1.181) x Width: 424mm (16.7) x Depth: 332mm
    • Weight: 4.42 KG (without the power brick)
    • Processor: 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H (6-Core, 9MB Cache, up to 4.1GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
    • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 OC with 8GB GDDR5
    • RAM: 16GB, 2x8GB, DDR4, 2666MHz
    • Storage: 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD Class 40 + 1TB 7200RPM HDD
    • OS: Windows 10 Home Plus Single Language, English
    • Wireless Connectivity: Killer 1550 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0
    • Battery: 68Wh
    • A/C Adapter: 240W

    Design

    It looks like a typical Alienware laptop with minor improvements and design changes. The laptop has a metal and plastic build quality, where the top portion is made using aluminium, which gives a rigid-look to the laptop and there is no flex in the display panel as well.

    As this is a gaming laptop, the device has one vent on each side to take cool air in and two vents on the back side to send out the hot air. Compared to the older generation, this new offering from the company has a new and improved thermal system to offer optimal gaming performance.

    The laptop has almost every I/O port that one can think of. It has dual USB type C port, dual USB A 3.0 ports, HDMI Port, Mini Display port, Ethernet port, 3.5 mm headphone jack, microphone port, 1 Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port (to connect Alienware peripherals). However, the laptop misses out on an SD card slot, which is a bummer.

    The main attraction of the New Alienware 17 Laptop R5 is the RGB lighting system across the laptop, which can be tweaked via Alienware Command Centre application. The laptop has a total of 13 RGB lighting programmable zones across the laptop. The highlight of the RGB lighting is the trackpad; the entire trackpad lights up and differentiates itself from the normal gaming laptops.

     

    Display

    The New Alienware 17 Laptop R5 has a 17.3-inch IPS LCD display with anti-glare coating (no touch input). This is a Nvidia G-Sync enabled display, which offers a seamless gaming experience and the display does deliver what it claims. Hoawever, as this is a premium laptop, 300 nits of brightness seems a bit less and even the 60 Hz refresh rate does not do the justification, as the GPU can handle most of the games in 1080p with greater frame rate than 60fps.
    Other than gaming, watching movies or videos on the New Alienware 17 Laptop R5 is a joyous experience.

    The display is really vivid and the big 17-inch really enriches the overall multimedia consumption. Even the bezels around the display are very prominent and bulky, which makes this laptop a bit odd in appearance. Overall, a great display hindered by lower refresh rate.

     

    Sound and Camera

    The laptop has a single speaker setup and it is pretty loud, but not the loudest that we have seen. However, the laptop supports Dolby Atmos via the headphone jack and the audio output via headphone jack is enjoyable and enabling the Dolby Atmos really makes a difference in the sound quality.

    The laptop has a single web-camera on the top portion of the display, which can record native 1080p videos at 30fps. Just like most of the laptops, the quality of the photos and videos taken on the camera are average and the device does not support Windows Hello (face unlock on Windows 10) as well. The camera is pretty average, which can be used to make normal video chats.

     

    Performance

    One thing that the New Alienware 17 Laptop R5 is pretty serious about is the performance and it is probably one of the best laptops under Rs 2,00,000 price range, which can offer desktop-class gaming experience/performance. The laptop is powered by 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H 6-core processor coupled with 16 GB 2666 MHz RAM and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 OC 8 GB GPU.

    If we look at the benchmark scores, the laptop flies high and is probably the best laptop at this price point. On Geekbench, the laptop scores 4602 points on a single core and 20011 points on multi-core. On Heaven Benchmark 4.0, the device scores 1653 points with an average FPS of 65.6.

    The results were the same in the real-life scenario as well. On GTA V on high graphics settings, the laptop was offering a frame rate between 85 to 98 and on the Far Cry 4, the laptop was offering a frame rate between 75 to 90 at all the time.

    In the event of continues gaming sessions, the fans on the back of the laptop get pretty loud. However, there were no heating issue or thermal throttling even after 2 hours of continues gameplay and the laptop would still stay cool to touch.

     

    Keyboard

    The Alienware 17 Laptop R5 also has a great keyboard with four different lighting zones. The keypad offers great tactile feedback while gaming and it is good for doing office work as well. From last few weeks, we have been using this laptop to publish articles and we are very happy with the amount of response that the keypad offers.

    Then comes the macro keys, where the laptop has a total of 9 macro-keys, which can be assigned to different functions to improve the gaming experience. These keys can also be assigned to different tasks. E.g. One can programme a key to open the mail app and it works like a charm. The keypad has three zonal RGB lighting and these settings can be tweaked from Alienware Command Centre app.

     

    Battery

    The laptop has a pretty big 68 Wh battery and the device can last up to 4 hours 30 minutes in the best battery life mode. We did turn off the entire lighting on the laptop (in the best battery life mode) and there was no drastic difference in the overall battery performance. While playing games (in the best performance mode) the battery lasted between 1 hour and 1 hour 20 minutes.

    The laptop comes with a 240W power supply (which is also heavy) and can charge the laptop from 0 to 100% in less than two hours. Make sure that you have connected your laptop to a power source before gaming, as the battery drains pretty quickly while gaming.

     

    Verdict

    The New Alienware 17 Laptop R5 is a stellar gaming laptop. Additionally, the laptop can also handle CPU intensive tasks like video editing and render as well. But it does have a bit of shortcoming.

    Here are the improvements that we expect in the next gen Alienware laptop

    • The display could have been a bit better in terms of brightness and refresh-rate
    • Thinner bezels
    • Support for Windows Hello + a biometric scanner like a fingerprint sensor
    • Though it is a "laptop", it is very difficult to carry on a day to day basis
    • SD Card Slot

    The New Alienware 17 Laptop R5 is one of the best "gaming laptops" that we have seen recently in its price-range and our test results commemorate the same. However, it is not the best "laptop", as it weights at 4.5 KG (without the power source) and it is difficult to carry a machine, which weighs almost 5 KG and most of the backpacks are also not designed to fit in a laptop with a huge 17-inch screen with massive bezels.

    This is strictly for gamers and if you are looking for a more productive laptop with similar features (except for the GPU), the new MacBook Pro series might fit-in your budget. However, if you are pretty serious about gaming and do not bother about carrying a laptop (which cannot be used by keeping on your lap) or a workstation, then the Alienware 17 Laptop R5 seems like a nice fit-in.

    If you are looking for a 1080p gaming laptop with latest CPU and GPU, then the New Alienware 17 Laptop R5is a great choice as it has everything that a 1080p gaming machine should have and is sort of a future-proof laptop with M.2 SSD, fast wireless connectivity and other perks like customizable RGB lighting.

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