Technology

Alienware’s slimmed-down M15

The great XPS 13 and 15 were among the best PCs we audited all year, and our hands-on with the Alienware-marked M15 left us salivating over the winter break. We’re back now and prepared to uncover our full survey in the wake of investing a very long time with a standout amongst the most fascinating updates to Alienware’s PC lineup in a while.

I utilize the word ‘intriguing’ in light of the fact that the M15 speaks to a takeoff from what we’ve come to know and adore about Alienware PCs — the M15 is neither HUGE nor canvassed in ostentatious lights. My perspective has been broken; I exist in a pit of misery.

The review unit TNW received contains a GeForce GTX 1070 (Max-Q) with 8GB GDDR5 RAM. I mention this because Nvidia announced at CES that the Alienware M15 would support its new RTX cards. The RTX cards aren’t currently available in the M15 and, presumably, the performance increase they provide will also come with a cost increase. Otherwise, this review should be applicable to both versions.

Here are the specifications for the model we reviewed:

  • Processor: 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H (6-Core, 9MB Cache, up to 4.1GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
  • GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 Max-Q design with 8GB GDDR5
  • RAM: 16GB, 2x8GB, DDR4, 2666MHz
  • Display: 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz IPS, 300-nits 72% color gamut
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD
  • Power supply: 180W
  • Battery: Lithium ion 90Wh
  • Wireless: Killer Wireless 1550 2×2 AC and Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dimensions: 21 mm. x 275 mm. x 363 mm
  • Weight: 2.16 Kg. (4.76 Lbs.)
  • Ports: (4x) SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Type A, HDMI 2.0 Output, Mini-Display Port 1.3 Output, Thunderbolt 3, Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port, Power/DC-In, Noble Lock, Killer Networks E2500 Gigabit Ethernet NIC, Audio Out 1/8″ Port

The M15 comes in Epic Silver and Nebula Red. It’s worth mentioning that you can’t get a 4K screen option in the red model (at least not that we could find). Here are the available configurations for the M15’s display, per Dell‘s website:

  • 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 60Hz IPS, 300-nits 72% color gamut, Narrow-Border – Epic Silver
  • 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz IPS, 300-nits 72% color gamut, Narrow-Border – Epic Silver
  • 15.6″ UHD (3840 x 2160) 60Hz IPS, 400-nits, sRGB 100% color gamut, Narrow-Border – Epic Silver
  • 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz IPS, 300-nits 72% color gamut, Narrow-Border – Nebula Red

Gamers might be quick to point out the 144Hz refresh rate will probably be more useful than the UHD screen with 60Hz, but one consideration is that I used the M15 primarily for VR.

And, while I personally do prefer the FHD screen with 144Hz refresh rate because I play non-VR games too, I can’t help but think I might get more use out of the M15 if I could watch Netflix or Prime Video in 4K on it. If you prefer the Epic Silver to the Nebula Red you can pick either screen.

The FHD screen I used on the Nebula Red model was brilliant – literally. The colors were vibrant and seemed to pop right off the screen. I’m always impressed by Alienware’s ability to make its displays seem unnaturally bright and deep, the M15’s is no exception.

I love everything about the screen, even the big (but small by Alienware standards) bezels and the angular shape of its lid. This is the bridge between the boring new square gaming laptops that are trending and Alienware’s old break-out-the-wheelbarrow notebooks that the world needs.

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