Reviews and Guide

Alienware M15 R3 Laptop with Smooth Performance and Multitasking

Alienware is one of the absolute luxury brands when it comes to gaming. Alienware is always something special, especially when it comes to design and workmanship . This is especially true for gaming notebooks. The most popular model here is the Alienware M15 R3. This has a current Intel CPU, large Nvidia RTX graphics card and, above all, a compact and stylish design! But you also pay a decent price for this.

Design

Certainly one of the biggest highlights of the Alienware M15 R3 is the design and the workmanship! You can certainly argue about the Alienware design, but I think it’s extremely successful. The M15 R3 is designed to be very eye-catching, especially in the white version, but it exudes something “special”. It’s so “over the top” that it’s stylish again. This applies in particular to the rear extension of the housing including the LED ring.

I consider the M15 R3 to be the fanciest gaming notebook currently on the market.Even if you don’t like the design that much, there is no dispute about the outstanding feel. The exterior of the notebook is apparently made of plastic, but this appearance is somewhat deceptive. We have a thick layer of paint, but under this there is a metal body.

This gives us the comparatively “soft” feeling of plastic on the palm rest, but the solidity of metal. And yes, the Alienware M15 R3 is incredibly massive! Modern gaming notebooks distance themselves more and more from the plastic bombers of the past, but the Alienware M15 R3 plays in a different league in terms of quality and solidity.

However, this is also reflected in the weight, which is not low at 2.5 KG, although the M15 R3 is relatively thin at 19.9 mm and not too wide. The notebook looks comparatively “tight”.

On the connection side we have a 3.5mm headphone / headset connection, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 1x Gbit Lan on the left. On the back we find HDMI 2.0, mini Displayport 1.4, Thunderbolt 3, a connection for the proprietary GPU housing from Alienware and the power supply.

On the right we have another 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 and a microSD card reader. 3x USB

  • A 3.1 Gen 1
  • 1x Thunderbolt 3 USB C
  • 1x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x mini Displayport 1.4
  • 1x Gbit LAN
  • 1x 3.5 mm headset connection
  • 1x microSD card reader

So basically everything is available what you could want.

Display

Dell currently offers the Alienware M15 R3 with three different display options:

  • 1920 × 1080 144Hz, 300cd / m², 72% NTSC
  • 1920 × 1080 300Hz, 300cd / m², 100% SRGB
  • 3840 × 2160 60Hz, OLED, 400 cd / m², DCI-P3

The OLED panel will definitely look the best, but I would definitely recommend the Full HD 300Hz panel. Not only because of the 300Hz, but primarily because of the significantly better color space coverage. My test device also has this 300Hz panel and it looks great!

The sharpness of Full HD on 15 inches is not absolutely outstanding, but it looks good so far. It’s not like the picture is muddy or “roughly” out of focus. Especially in games, Full HD fits well on 15 inches, especially since this is also a resolution that the notebook can operate comfortably. The display also looks great apart from the sharpness! It’s bright, clear and colors look rich.

The 300Hz display of the Alienware M15 R3 does quite well! This is certainly not quite on the level of a “professional” monitor, especially since the calibration is okay, but not outstanding, but is also quite suitable for some photo and video editing.

Sound

The Alienware M15 R3 has two speakers, which primarily “let out” the sound via the front ports. However, even if you keep these speaker ports closed, the sound continues to come out of the case more or less unhindered.

As a result, the surface on which the notebook is standing has little or no influence on the sound.

Basically, the speakers of the M15 R3 sound okay. I would rate this as average. The notebook sounds sufficiently clear and clean, but it clearly lacks depth and volume.

For example, the Dell XPS 17 sounds a lot fuller and richer than the Alienware M15 R3.

Input devices

I’m a big fan of Dell and Alienware keyboards. And the keyboard of the M15 R3 is also absolutely successful! This feels wonderfully firm and full. This means that the keyboard cannot be depressed or twisted, even with great force.

This in combination with the crisp pressure point of the keys results in a perfect feeling of use. This does not only apply to gaming! The Alienware M15 R3 can also fully convince with normal typing. This has the best keyboard I have seen in a notebook for a long time.

Even the layout fits! As usual, Dell relies on the very classic QWERTZ layout, without any abnormalities. Only the F keys have two special functions.

The trackpad offers a little more reason for criticism. Basically it feels great and the tracking is great, but the interface is easy. I suspect this is not wanted, because the game feels a bit bigger in the left front than right front. So there is a little “mistake” here. Apart from that, the trackpad is good.

Performance

The Alienware M15 R3 is available in dozens of configurations. Let’s start with the choice of the CPU:

  • Intel Core i5-10300H (4 cores, 2.5-4.5 Ghz)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H (6 cores, 2.6-5.0 Ghz)
  • Intel Core i7-10875H (8 cores, 2.3-5.1 Ghz)
  • Intel Core i9-10980HK (8 cores, 2.3-5.3 Ghz)

I would clearly advise you to use the i7-10750H or i7-10875H. The i5-10300H just doesn’t make that much sense in such an expensive gaming notebook and the i9-10980HK is only slightly faster than the i7-10875H.

On the side of the GPU we have the following options:

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti with 4 GB GDDR6
  • AMD Radeon RX 5500M, 4 GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with 6 GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, 6 GB, GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER graphics card with 8 GB GDDR6
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER graphics card, 8 GB, GDDR6 with Max-Q design

For the GPU, I would at least recommend the version with GTX 1660Ti / RTX 2060 or better.

As far as memory and working memory are concerned, you are flexible. But be careful! The RAM of the Alienware M15 R3 is soldered! So be sure to choose the 16GB or even better the 32GB version.

Battery life

Dell Alienware 15 (Model R3) non-Tobii non-touch notebook computer, codename Viper.

Dell has installed an 86Wh battery in the Alienware M15 R3. Not a bad capacity, but the notebook’s good equipment naturally also takes its toll.

The notebook’s runtime of around 2.5-3 hours when watching videos is rather semi-good. If you turn the display brightness down, etc., you can be independent of the network for almost 4 hours.

However, if you have Stream, the EPIC Launcher etc. all open in the background, then the battery is quickly empty in less than 2 hours.

Conclusion
The Alienware M15 R3 is the Lamborghini among gaming notebooks. Without question, you get cheaper gaming notebooks with a comparable performance and equipment. So if you are looking for the maximum gaming power for the money, look at ASUS, XMG, Acer and Co.

The special thing about the Alienware M15 R3 is the “packaging”. The notebook looks really beautiful and also stands out from the crowd. The case is also wonderfully slim, but still massive!

Alienware uses a base made of a magnesium alloy that has been painted. This gives us the gleaming white housing that would only be possible with plastic, but the solidity of an all-aluminum notebook.

The Alienware M15 R3 is the most valuable gaming notebook I’ve ever come across! There is also an excellent keyboard, a world-class display and, in principle, a very good touchpad. The latter was easy for me, but this may only be the case with my test device.

Another highlight is the performance. An Intel i9-10980HK + Nvidia RTX 2070 Super is of course a strong combination that easily manages 60 FPS + in 99% of AAA games. Even Cyberpunkt with ray tracing on Ultra reaches 40 FPS + and is therefore the worst case.

Dell offers the Alienware M15 R3 in X configurations, please do not use the smallest one and pay attention to the RAM, the latter is unfortunately not upgradeable (which I think is a weakness).

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