A couple of things hit me when the Alienware x15 R2 arrived at my door - its flashy design and surprisingly light weight. As is their selling point, Alienware knows how to impress. Though it's not a perfect piece of tech, my two weeks with this laptop showed off so much more than this.
Often likened to Apple, they have a knack for putting together systems that just work incredibly well. You may be able to get better performance for the money or a few machines with nicer specs but the entire package is impressive - the user experience is key.
This is something I noticed upon first boot-up. The keys lit up with RGB and that impressive little screen shone to life. This is the type of laptop you impress your friends with.
The Set Up
The Alienware x15 R2 is a very light laptop with a great look. Clocking in at just over 2.27kg, with a width of 359.70mm and a depth of 277.33mm, you can bring this with you, as long as you have the backpack space.
When you finally get everything plugged in and you've got a look at the colourful lights, you'll probably notice just how quick everything feels. It's a snappy laptop with a great screen and super quick bootup. Those impressive specs show themselves almost immediately.
Our model came with the following specifications:
- CPU - i7 12700H
- RAM - 32GB, 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- Screen - 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080)
- GPU - NVIDIA(R) GeForce RTX(TM) 3080 Ti 16GB GDDR6
- Clocking in at £3,028.99
Running through Cinebench R23 multiple times, we got a single core score of 1732, placing the i7 12700H somewhere between Apple's M2 chip and the Intel Core i7-1255U. Moving to multi-core tests, it scored a 15763, putting it around the performance of an Intel i9 11900K, according to Cinebench.
These pretty strong Cinebench scores not only add to your gaming performance but, alongside 32GB of RAM, make it an impressive laptop for productivity and general use. Moving from here, our gaming performance was rock-solid too.
On Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the very highest settings without Ray Traced Shadow Quality, I got an average FPS of 142 with a minimum of 113 and max of 227. With Ultra Ray Traced Shadow Quality, I got an average frames per second (FPS) of 110, with a minimum of 93 and max of 203. Moving over to God of War on the ultra preset, I got an average FPS of 85 with a high of 102 and a low of 64
Over to Control, with both the highest settings and highest Ray Tracing, my framerate sat at a very consistent 63 FPS with highs of above 70 and a low of 54.
These figures prove that it can run pretty much anything you throw at it. At that price range, it should be able to. This being said, not everything about the Alienware x15 R2 justifies its price. The input options are pretty mediocre, only giving one USB 3.2 Type A, USB 3.2 Type C and Thunderbolt. There are lots of options but not many of them. This means if you want to use a mouse to avoid relying on the trackpad and want an external keyboard too, you may have to get an adapter.
No One Can Hear You Scream
As well as this, the laptop offers a performance mode that is incredibly loud and hot. Though I suppose one could use it while rendering or performing some productivity task, it wasn't worth the heat and volume to run it while gaming. Outside of this, the heat wasn't too bad when gaming. It has fans attached surrounding the keyboard, leading to tonnes of ventilation in there. With your fingers on the WASD keys, you shouldn't have too much problem with the heat.
Unfortunately, the Alienware X15 R2 does struggle with its poor battery life and webcam. When plugged out, I rarely got more than two hours running games and just one more than that browsing the web. Though serviceable, the camera is fuzzy and hard to make out - definitely something you won't be using in a morning meeting.
All of this leads you to see that this is a laptop bought for a specific type of person. You likely won't bring it with you on road trips or Skype your parents from it but you may hang out with your friends on Discord or play some competitive games online. It struggles in some areas but those are things you would never realise when you're being whisked away to the RTX-lit skyline of Night City or the meaty viscera of DOOM.