Meta review: Editors were generally impressed with the Alienware m15, highlighting that it’s well built, performs great and offers good value compared to competitors such as the Razer Blade 15.
Alienware m15 Prices
|Price history for Alienware M15 Thin and Light 15" Gaming Laptop i7-8750H, GTX 1070 Max Q, 128GB NVMe SSD + 1TB SSHD, 16GB DDR4 2666Mhz, 17.9mm Thick & 4.78lbs, Magnesium Alloy Chassis|
15-inch models have been available in Dell’s Alienware lineup for many years. The 2019 Alienware m15, however, differs a great deal from its predecessors by being noticeably thinner and lighter. It is configurable with a range of Nvidia RTX and GTX graphics cards, PCI-Express NVMe storage, different display panels and more.
Alienware m15 Configurations
There are several ways to customize the Alienware m15, but the choice of processor is at the time of writing restricted to the 6-core Intel Core i7-8750H – the most common high-end CPU in gaming laptops in 2019.
The m15 has two RAM slots that can be equipped with up to 32 GB in total. Additionally, there are numerous storage configurations available when you configure the m15 (and others can of course be retrofitted). If you decide on a larger, 90 Wh battery instead of the default 60 Wh, there will be no room for a conventional hard drive. But there are still two M.2 slots for desktop-class PCIe/NVMe solid state drives.
Your most important choice in terms of gaming performance, however, is as always the graphics card. In the Alienware m15, you get to choose between everything from a previous-generation Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 all the way up to the much more powerful RTX 2080 Max-Q.
Another deciding factor is your choice of display. If you don’t upgrade, the default choice is a 1080p, 60Hz IPS panel. You can upgrade it to a 144Hz 1080p (IPS) panel, a 2160p/4K IPS display, or even a 4K OLED panel, which is the most expensive option.
Networking is handled by a Killer Wireless 1550 2×2 AC (Bluetooth 5.0) in all configs.
Alienware m15 Performance
Frame rates and overall gaming performance will depend entirely on your choice of GPU. An Alienware 15 equipped with a GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q is about twice as powerful as a system with the mid-range GTX 1060.
The above scores are rounded-off averages of a range of user-submitted and professional reviews benchmark runs. Exact scores will vary between systems and even individual runs.
All laptop versions of the RTX cards use lower clock rates and other optimizations to balance thermals and fan noise. This is especially true for the Max-Q versions of the RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 used in the Alienware m15. These parts’ performance are significantly lower than their desktop counterparts, but they are still among the most powerful laptop GPUs on the market in 2019.
It’s important to remember that with a 4K display, the GPU has to handle four times as many pixels as a 1080p panel (2160p panels are 1080p squared). So for 4K gaming, it’s advisable to couple the high-end display with a similarly high-end graphics card.
In combination with the Intel Core i7-8750H used in the Alienware, any of the available GPUs will run all games from 2019 smoothly in 1080p resolution – often at 60 FPS using high settings. At 2160p/4K, however, the GTX 1060 is usually inadequate and even the RTX 2060 may struggle to reach acceptable frame rates in demanding games.
To keep the weight to a minimum, Dell has used magnesium alloy for the m15. You can get the Alienware m15 in ‘epic silver’ or ‘nebula red’, depending on your configuration. To get it in red, you have to select a 144Hz display upgrade. The m15’s keyboard is RGB backlit in different zones, but the keys are not individually lit.
In terms of connectivity, the Alienware includes a set of Killer wireless (1550) and wired (E2500) network adapters. It is also comes with a 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 port.
Note that the available professional reviews at the time of writing deal with the model with a GTX 1070 graphics card, which is around 15-20% slower than the RTX 2070 Max-Q (and lacks ray tracing features).
HotHardware (Core i7-8750H + RTX 1070 Max-Q, 4K panel)
Dell’s Alienware M15 is an excellent system. It looks sharp, feels durable, and it just screams quality.
Notebookcheck (Core i7-8750H + GTX 1070 Max-Q, 1080p panel)
he Alienware m15 works as a solid middle-ground for gamers who want super-thin designs without sacrificing the rigidity of larger alternatives.
Engadget (Core i7-8750H + GTX 1070 Max-Q, 1080p 144Hz panel)
It’s not as light as MSI’s, and it’s not as sleek as the Blade, but it’s powerful and attractive enough for any gamer who wants a more portable gaming rig.
- Excellent performance
- Good build quality
- Much more compact than predecessor
- Somewhat noisy
Specification: Alienware m15