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Alienware x15 R2 Review: Stellar By All Means
Time and again, the Alienware gaming laptop series has redefined the category. Last year the company launched the Alienware X series of gaming laptops with a premium build, top-of-the-line hardware, and a compact form factor. This year, the company introduced the 2nd generation X series laptop, which includes the Alienware x15 R2, powered by the 12th Gen Intel Core processor.
- Premium design
- Slim formfactor
- 360Hz display
- No RJ45 ethernet jack
- 720p web camera
Despite packing best-in-class hardware, the Alienware x15 R2 is leaner and meaner than its contemporaries. However, it does come with a cost. The model we are testing is equipped with the Intel Core i7-12700H CPU and RTX 3070 Ti laptop GPU retails for Rs. 2,89,990 in India.
I have been testing the Alienware x15 R2 laptop for the last few weeks, and here is our review of Dell's Alienware x15 R2. Is this just about looks or does it pack substance? Let's find out.
Alienware x15 R2 Review: Looks Classy And Premium
The Alienware x15 R2 is one of the classiest-looking gaming laptops that we have tested this year. Unlike some other premium gaming laptops like the ROG Strix Scar, the x15 R2 might not come across as a gaming laptop with flashy RGB lighting all around it. However, it does have some elements like the RGB-lit skull logo and the rear-side I/O, subtly adding the gaming elements.
While I did like the streamlined I/O at the back, it felt like a missed opportunity to include an RJ45 ethernet jack. While it has a microSD card slot, an SD card slot would have made things more interesting. Do note that, the laptop does have 3.5mm headphones on the right side, which looks very much in place with the overall design of the device.
While it is a thin laptop with a height of 15.9 mm (1.6cm) it is as heavy as most laptops of this class weighing 2.36KG, so, there is some heft to it and the laptop does feel heavy and sturdy. Overall, the Alienware x15 R2 is a well-built laptop that should easily last for years.
Alienware x15 R2 Review: Gaming Centric Display
Most laptops of this price range offer a 1440p display. However, the Alienware x15 R2 is an exception, as it still comes with a 1080p display. The display offers a refresh rate of 360Hz with a 1ms response time. On top of that, the display also has NVIDIA G-Sync certification along with Dell's ComfortView Plus technology to reduce blue light.
Before testing the Alienware x15 R2, I was using the ROG Strix SCAR 15 (2022) G533 (review) with a 1440p display and the display on the Alienware felt pixelated at first due to the lower PPI count. However, after a few days of usage, my eyes got accustomed to it.
The same also goes for contrast and colors. Again, it is definitely not as good as the ROG Strix SCAR 15 (2022) G533's ROG Nebula display. However, it does offer good color reproduction, and the contrast ratio is on par with other gaming laptops with IPS LCD screens.
The display has a peak (rated) brightness of 400nits, and it's bright enough for indoor usage. It does have Dolby Vision certification, which is also commonly seen on much cheaper gaming laptops. The higher refresh rate on the Alienware x15 R2 with 1080p resolution makes it one of the best FPS-centric gaming laptops in the market.
Neat Keyboard With Small Trackpad
The Alienware x15 R2 has a well-space chiclet-style keyboard with per-key RGB lighting, which can be customized from the Alienware Command Center app. The keys have a travel distance of 1.5mm along with technologies like N-key rollover technology and anti-ghosting technology. Similarly, the laptop also has dedicated media control keys on the right-hand side, which does come in handy while gaming and streaming.
While the keyboard on the Alienware x15 R2 is as good as it gets, I can't say the same about the trackpad. This laptop has one of the smallest trackpads that I have seen on any gaming laptop of 2022 and there isn't much to say about it. To summarise, gamers will enjoy gaming and typing on the Alienware x15 R2.
Improved Speakers, Same Old Web Camera
The Alienware x15 R2 definitely has a much-improved stereo speaker setup with support for Dolby Atmos. The laptop is equipped with a dual 2W stereo speaker setup with dedicated stereo tweeters. The speakers deliver plenty of bass in most scenarios. However, the speakers are still not as clear or loud as the ones on the 16-inch or even the 14-inch MacBook Pro.
Unfortunately, the laptop is still using a 720p web camera. While it does come with a pair of IR sensors that helps with Windows Hello face unlock, I would have definitely liked to see a 1080p web camera on the Alienware x15 R2.
Alienware x15 R2 Performance
While there is a high-end variant of the Alienware x15 R2 with the Intel Core i9-12900H and RTX 3080 GPU, we are testing the mid-tier variant with the Intel Core i7-12700H and the RTX 3070 Ti GPU with 32GB DDR5 RAM and 1TB PCIe Gen 4 WD SN810 NVMe SSD.
The laptop uses Element 31 as a thermal compound (gallium-silicone) a liquid metal with higher thermal conductivity when compared to the regular thermal paste. Not just that, this is also one of the few mainstream gaming laptops to come equipped with four fans dual opposite outlet (DOO) fan, which on paper claims to offer better cooling.
On CrystalDiskmark, the storage device offered a sequential read speed of 6.9GB/s and a sequential write speed of 5.2GB/s. These numbers are on par with other high-end SSDs based on PCIe Gen4 SSDs and help the laptop with boot speed and game opening speed.
Alienware x15 R2 CPU Performance
The Intel Core i7-12700H on the Alienware x15 R2 is a flagship-tier gaming CPU with 14 cores and 20 threads. The CPU uses a hybrid architecture with six P or performance cores and eight E or efficiency cores, delivering best-in-class single-thread and multi-thread performance.
On Geekbench 5, the Intel Core i7-12700H powered Alienware x15 R2 posted 1694 and 12994 points on single-core and multi-core tests. Similarly, on the CPU-Z benchmark, the laptop posted 722.7 points and 7936.5 points, respectively.
On Cinebench R23, the Intel Core i7-12700H based Alienware x15 R2 posted 1789 points and 14839 points on single-core and multi-core tests. In all these tests, the laptop did outperform the Asus ROG Strix G15 (2022) G51 with the Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU. Similarly, the performance was almost identical to the Intel Core i7-12700H-based Asus TUF Gaming F15 2022.
Alienware x15 R2 GPU Performance
On the 3DMark Time Spy Extreme benchmark, the Alienware x15 R2 with the RTX 3070 Ti laptop GPU posted an overall score of 10,193. The benchmark also claims that the laptop can offer over 95 and 115fps on Battlefield V at 1440p and 1080p resolution. Again, these numbers are clearly up with the other RTX 3070 Ti laptop GPU-based gaming laptops.
With liquid thermal paste and a quad-fan design, I was expecting a bit more cooling from the Alienware x15 R2. However, as per the 3DMark benchmark, the CPU got as hot as 100 degrees and the GPU got as hot as 80 degrees and the back of the laptop got pretty hot within minutes. However, despite the higher temperature, the laptop did sustain the higher CPU and GPU clock speeds with no visible throttling.
It looks like the compact and thin chassis of the Alienware x15 R2 is the main culprit here. While I liked the fact that the device did not thermal throttle, it did get extremely hot and loud. While it does offer good performance, Alienware does have to work on improving the cooling solution on the Alienware x15 R2.
Alienware x15 R2 Gaming Performance
We tested games like GTA: V and with the graphics quality set to high, we got an average FPS of 141. Similarly, on the Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the laptop offered an average fps of 106 with the ray-tracing quality set to ultra, and with ray-tracing turned off, we got an average fps of 132.
Similarly, we also tested Stray on the Alienware x15 R2 and got an average FPS of over 200. Interestingly, we ran the built-in benchmark on Far Cry 6, the frame rate was locked to 60fps despite turning off V-Sync and the laptop easily offered a solid 60fps output.
Verdict: Premium Gaming Laptop
When it comes to performance, the Alienware x15 R2 is at par with the competition. However, it costs a bit more than most similarly specced laptops. With the Alienware x15 R2, you get a more premium build quality, thin chassis, and a laptop that looks classy and high-end. If you want a gaming laptop that looks fancy and still delivers good performance, the Alienware x15 R2 is one such device.