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Alienware m15 R3 Laptop Review: A Gaming Powerhouse That’s Not An Overkill
Alienware undoubtedly produces some of the best gaming laptops in the industry. Though the Alienware laptops might carry a hefty price tag than the competition, they offer some unique propositions that are not generally found on the contemporaries.
- 5.3GHz CPU
- Most Powerful Mobile GPU
- 4K OLED Display
- No SD Card Slot
The Alienware m15 R3 is the latest gaming laptop from Dell's gaming arm and it seems to bring along everything that a gamer, professional video editor, or a graphics designer might want from a portable computer. With the starting price of Rs. 1,99,990 this is not for everyone, except for those who want to have a gaming laptop with almost no compromise.
I have been testing the Alienware m15 R3 for the last few days and here is what I think. The unit that I am reviewing is the most powerful variant and it retails for Rs. 3,39,990 which makes it an expensive gaming laptop. At this price point, you should get a gaming machine that has almost no compromise and this is probably one of the laptops you can consider if you are ready to spend an amount like that.
Alienware m15 R3: Hardware Specifications
- Model Name: Alienware m15 R3
- CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10980HK @ 5.3GHz 16MB Smart Cache
- GPU: 8GB Nvidia RTX 2080 Super MaxQ
- RAM: 32GB DDR4
- Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
- Display: 15.6-inch OLED (3840 x 2160p)
- Power Adapter: 240W
Alienware m15 R3: Design
The Alienware m15 R3 looks a lot like its predecessor -- the Alienware m15 R2 and it is not a bad thing. The laptop feels very premium with matte finish paint and the entire unit is made using aluminum, making this unit light and sturdy at the same time. FYI, the latest iteration of the M15 is slimmer, lighter, but more powerful than the m15 R3.
The laptop weighs 2.16KG, and it has a thin bezel design with a web camera on the top and Tobii eye-tracking hardware at the bottom bezel and this is the first 15-inch laptop to support this technology. It comes with either a 1080p display with a 300Hz refresh rate or a 4K display with a 60Hz refresh rate. So, one must choose between a higher refresh rate and higher resolution.
This is also one of the first gaming laptops in the market with support for native HDR, allowing users to stream HDR content directly from platforms like YouTube, Prime Video, and Netflix. Not just that, there are also tonnes of games that support native HDR graphics rendering, offering stunning visuals and graphics quality. I tested out this feature, and it works like charm, even on YouTube.
The model that I am currently reviewing comes in Lunar Light color, which is a mixture of white and grey, giving this machine a premium look. The keyboard is RGB backlit and offers 1.7mm of travel, which is good for both gaming and typing. Similarly, it has a flushed trackpad design, made of glass and it also feels very premium like the trackpad found on some of the previous-generation Apple MacBooks.
You can carry this laptop to your workplace or college without any issue. Even with hints of gaming design, it will look good even when you are giving a presentation in a board meeting. So, the overall fit and finish of the product give this laptop a unique expression that works for students, gamers, and professionals.
Alienware m15 R3 Display: Best In The Business
Most laptops, even the high-end gaming machines come with an IPS LCD screen, probably with a higher refresh rate that will have lower saturation and contrast ratio. The Alienware m15 R3, on the other hand, has the most practical solution, where one can opt between a high-resolution panel and a high refresh rate panel, both with OLED tech.
With no backlight required, OLED panels do consume less power and offer uniform coloring with no screen-bleed, they are also much vibrant and offer better contrast ratio with a higher amount of brightness. So, you will have elevated gaming and multi-media experience and it also supports 10bit color.
If you are a content creator, then going with the Alienware m15 R3 with 4K resolution at 60Hz makes sense. For gamers, it is best to choose the 300Hz panel at 1080p resolution. A creator can natively edit 4K videos and color grade them (even to HDR standard) with this laptop, and gamers can easily play games like CS: Go at higher frame rate to get more insightful gaming experience.
Between the two, I would pick a 4K panel any day and I am happy that I get to test the same. You can enable HDR from the display settings menu for an immersed cinema watching experience on OTT platforms like Netflix. So, the Alienware m15 R3 is one of the best laptops in terms of display technology, which comes at a cost.
Alienware m15 R3 Performance: Flagship Mobile CPU From Intel
The Alienware m15 R3 is powered by the 10th Gen Intel Core i9-10980HK octa-core CPU with a peak clock speed of 5.3GHz. Coming to the GPU, it is fitted with the Nvidia RTX 2080 Super MaxQ with 8GB video memory.
The Intel Core i9-10980HK is a 45W CPU with 16MB of the cache.
It has a base frequency of 2.4GHz and a Max Turbo Boost Frequency of 5.3GHz. This is claimed to be one of the most powerful mobile processors from Intel that competes against the Ryzen 9 4900H. On Geekbench 5, the CPU scores 1257 points on single-core and 7750 points on multi-core CPU performance.
Though the benchmark numbers don't always translate to real-world performance, these figures do indicate that the device can game well (gaming mostly depends on single-core performance) and can also be used for professional tasks like animation, video, and photo editing that uses multiple CPU cores simultaneously.
On Cinebench R20, the device scored 4068 points. This is one of the highest-scoring laptops on CinebenchR20 which tests the full performance of the CPU (both single-core and multi-core). These numbers indicate that the laptop can easily handle tasks like 4K video rendering without any issue.
Alienware m15 R3 Performance: Best Mobile GPU From Nvidia
The RTX 2080 Super MaxQ is also the most powerful mobile GPU with support for real-time ray tracing. On Superposition GPU benchmark tool (based on DRX12), the device offered an average fps of 56.18 at 4K resolution and 93.69 at 1080p resolution.
As this is a MaxQ series graphics card, it consumes less power but still offers the same amount of performance as a full-sized GPU. With this GPU at the helm, the Alienware m15 R3 can play almost any game without any issues. However, you might not be able to play some of the most demanding titles at 4K, especially at the highest graphics settings.
If you are into AAA gaming, then you might have to choose between resolution and graphics quality. At medium graphics, the laptop can play most games at native 4K resolution with an average FPS of around 60. GTA: V, even though a few years old titles require a lot of horsepowers, and here are the following results that we obtained.
Due to the limited time, we could not test many games but we did find time to run GTA: V, and the results are as follows. At 1080p resolution (max graphics) we noticed an average FPS of around 135, at 4K we the frame rate was averaging around 60fps. This indicated that the laptop does not just have a 4K resolution screen, but you can also play games at that native resolution.
Alienware m15 R3 Benchmarks: 3DMark And PCMark 10
3D Mark is a tool that is used to analyze the performance of a graphics card or a GPU. There are several modules based on various APIs. DirectX 12 is the latest and most of the modern games are based on this title. We ran the TimeSpy module on 3DMark based on DirectX 12 and the device scored 8518 points with an average FPS of 55.16. This again indicates that the RTX 2080 Super MaxQ can play even the demanding titles at 4K resolution, offering a performance of around 60fps.
On PCMark 10, a synthetic computer benchmark that tests all the aspects of a computer (GPU and CPU), the laptop scored 5910 points with a max noted CPU temperate of 99 degrees centigrade and the CPU was clocked at 4.5GHz on an average.
Alienware m15 R3 Stress Test
We used FurMark to stress the GPU for 30 minutes in two different settings. At 1080p resolution, the graphics card offered an average FPS of 130 with 95 percent GPU usage and a peak GPU temperature of 77 degrees centigrade. Similarly, at native 4K resolution, the laptop scored an average FPS of 50 with 95 percent CPU usage and a peak temperate of 77 degrees.
At the beginning of the stress test, the laptop was very quiet and as the test continued, we did hear the fans cranking up the speed. The takeaway point here is that the GPU on the Alienware m15 R3 will not cross 77 degrees centigrade even with 95 percent usage for a continuous period.
Alienware m15 R3: Best Performing Gaming Laptop
This might not be the most powerful gaming laptop, as the gaming monstrosities like the Acer Predator, 21 X packs a dual GPU, and a desktop-class GPU. However, machines like that are not very practical and it is almost impossible to carry those under day-to-day scenarios. In this case, the Alienware m15 R3 is a thin and light machine with desktop-grade performance that is also priced relatively (considering the price of the individual components).
With the limited usage, I did not find any issue with respect to the performance of the laptop. However, I could hear the fan noises while gaming, and even the keyboard got slightly hot even though the CPU and GPU temperature. The Alienware m15 R3 seems to have everything that a great gaming laptop should have. We are withholding our verdict for the final review on how this beefed-up machine performs under day-to-day conditions.
This is a laptop than can easily last for the next three years and can run all the games that might launch in the market without any issue. Besides being a good gaming laptop, the Alienware m15 R3 is also a great computer for video editing and other professional tasks that might require a computer with high-performance GPU and CPU.
For most of the regular users, this specific variant might be overkill, but not so for gamers. There are other variants of the m15 R3 with different SKUs with an identical form factor and the price for the same starts at Rs. 199,990. So, depending on your budget and requirement, you can get the Alienware of your choice. Overall, the Alienware m15 R3 is the laptop for those who want a modern-looking laptop that does not compromise on the performance, in other words, it is the most powerful gaming laptop that makes sense.