Dell hopped on the ultra-portable gaming-PC bandwagon with a revamped Alienware laptop designed to appeal to serious and wannabe gamers alike. The new Alienware m15 touts its thin-and-light design as one of its best traits: users can bring the 4.7-pound laptop around with them more easily than any other Alienware laptop, and they won’t have to sacrifice performance when they do so.
I briefly demoed the Alienware m15 while it was surrounded by Alienware’s other laptops, and the difference in heft was immediately noticeable. Not only is the m15 lighter than Dell’s other gaming laptops, but it also uses its chassis space more efficiently, making it thinner and more attractive. Much like the redesigned HP Omen 15 laptop, the Alienware m15 has slimmer top and side bezels around its 15.6-inch display, narrow edges hugging the keyboard, and a new honeycomb speaker bar that sits right below the hinges.
Strategically placed venting peppers the bottom, sides, and edges of the m15’s magnesium alloy and copper chassis. They push hot air out and keep the surfaces of the laptop cool during periods of peak use. Dell also claims that the thermal-management system allows for 100 percent GPU wattage, meaning the GPU won’t be throttled even when under extreme conditions.
Whereas the original Alienware laptops were updated to include per-key lighting, the Alienware m15 has zone RGB lighting on its keyboard. Users can choose from an FHD or 4K display panel, and the laptop will support up to Core i5 and i7 processors, Nvidia 1060 or 1070 Max-Q graphics, up to 32GB of RAM, and up to 1TB SSD drive or dual drives with PCIe and SSD combinations. Dell estimates that the device’s 90Wh battery will last up to 17 hours on a single charge.
Even with the design updates, Dell manages to stick a bunch of ports on the m15 by using the side edges and a flat portion along the back edge. It has a power port, an Ethernet port, three USB Type-A 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt 3 port, an HDMI port, a miniDisplay Port, a lock slot, a audio combo port, and a port through which users can connect a graphics amplifier.
The m15 is the thinnest and lightest Alienware laptop Dell has made to date, but Dell isn’t being an absolutist when it comes to labeling the m15. The m15 is still a gaming laptop, after all, and it’s hard (nearly impossible) to give the same thin-and-light treatment to such devices that require prolonged periods of power. I hope that the 13-, 15-, and 17-inch Alienware laptops get some of the design upgrades found on the m15—Dell doesn’t need to make them as thin and light as the m15, but narrow bezels, updated thermal systems, and overall improved space efficiency can breathe fresh air into any laptop line.
While the original Alienware lineup gives gamers more spec options, the m15 gives them more versatility in one device. Rather than investing in one device for work and another for gaming, some users may see the Alienware m15 as a good-enough combination of power and portability that lets them do both no matter where they are.
The Alienware m15 will be available on October 25 starting at $1,099.