Dell’s Alienware laptops are typically well-built performance monsters, with the downside that they’re very thick and heavy relative to their size category. The current 13-inch Alienware, for example, weighs in at 5.8 lbs/2.6 kg, which is quite heavy even for a 15-inch laptop. This changes with the Alienware m15.
Dell has just announced its latest Alienware model, and it certainly breaks with the brand’s tradition of not caring whatsoever whether its laptops are enormous compared to the competition. The 15-inch m15 is actually lighter than the current-gen 13-inch model, which is something that Dell highlights in this official launch video:
Another – and perhaps more relevant – comparison is to the current Alienware 15, where the m15’s thickness is down from 1” (25.4 mm) to 0.83 inches (21 mm), while the weight has been reduced from 7.69 lbs (3.5 kg) to 4.76 lbs (2.16 kg). The m15 also has a smaller footprint and considerably thinner bezels than its predecessor.
A Thin Design Poses New Challenges
There are, of course, some good reasons why gaming laptops have been thick and heavy in the past, which, incidentally, is the same reason why previous Alienware laptops have generally performed exceptionally well.
High-end CPUs and power-hungry graphics cards generate lots of heat that must somehow vacate the chassis, something that becomes easier in larger form factors. More efficient hardware and better cooling solutions will help, but only up to a point. Thin-and-light gaming laptops also have less room for user maintenance and upgrades such as additional hard drives.
Nevertheless, some of the most popular gaming laptops right now are rather slim, including the latest models from Razer, Asus, MSI and Gigabyte. So, it’s not surprising that Alienware has also decided to lose weight, starting in the best-selling 15-inch category.
Nvidia Max-Q Improves Efficiency (at the Cost of Some Performance)
To help the heat escape from the thinner enclosure, the m15 uses Nvidia’s Max-Q GPUs, which offer less performance but considerably higher efficiency compared to standard GeForce GTX graphics cards.
As for the rest of the hardware you will, as usual, have lots of options for configuring your Alienware m15 as you like it. You can get it with up to:
- Nvidia GTX 1070 Max-Q
- An Intel Core i7-8750H CPU (6 cores)
- 32 GB of RAM
- 1 TB of PCIe SSD or hybrid HDD storage
- 1080p 60Hz, 1080p 144Hz or 2160p (4K) 60 Hz display
- 60Wh or 90Wh battery
The starting price is $1,299, but that doubtlessly involves lower-end CPUs and possibly an entry-level GPU such as the GTX 1050 Ti.
Liliputing has had the opportunity to take the m15 for a spin:
As have PCWorld/IDG: