Alienware M15 Gaming Laptop Review. In the gamer circles, Dell’s M15 Gaming Laptop is a brand name well known for big and chunkier gaming systems, something that most people weren’t a fan of. But with the all-new M15 Gaming Laptop, it’s quite evident to see Alienware tried to offer a portable gaming laptop on par with rival systems like Razer Blade 15 and MSI GS65 Stealth Thin. The M15 Gaming Laptop is 18mm thick/0.7inch, making it their most slimmest gaming laptop to date. It’s no secret that the competition has a better hold over the market when it comes to powerful and portable game systems, but with the entry of M15 Gaming Laptop in the market, you might find it on par with the current standing competitors.
If we touch on the specs a little, the M15 Gaming Laptop comes with a heavy Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia Max-Q GPU, and Windows 10 Pro operating system. If you prefer more GPU power, just plug in Alienware’s custom amplifier and a desktop graphics card. Weighing at 4.8 pounds, or 2.16kg, this gaming laptop is the most lightweight Alienware equipment ever, surpassing its predecessor. However, it is not the most lightweight in the overall gaming laptops category. The lid of the laptop is made from anodized aluminium, with the trademark backlit LED alien head logo in the middle. The top lid has a smooth downward slope and plastic vents adorn the back, as well as the bottom. The display boasts a 15.6-inch size with reports of the LED displaying high-quality colors and visuals. Alienware display has always been touted as one of the most vibrant experiences you can get, and the M15 Gaming Laptop gives you a 150% reproduction of sRGB color gamut, which is on par with the Stealth Thin. The ports include 3 USB 3.0 connections, a gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI, mini display port, and a USB-C with Thunderbolt 3. All this with the addition of a Graphics Amplifier port, offering PCIe x16 bandwidth for external Graphics dock if gamers decide to go that path. The Alienware Graphics Amplifier (AGA) port is described to be a proprietary connection for Alienware’s proprietary eGPU system (meaning you can’t use it with non-Alienware computers). Standard SKUs come equipped with Killer 1550 with integrated Bluetooth 5, with advantages of having Killer Control Center software and customizable network prioritization features in the Alien Command Center program. Gamers that have used this laptop have reviewed that they have been able to adjust some things, like the keyboard backlit color, but not all settings. Overall, you get a much smaller profile with lesser weight, a new keyboard, and a full internal revamp.
Enough about the specs, you came here for the reviews. People described it as “surprisingly light despite a burly-looking machine”. It was reported to have no flexing in the base and being solidly put-together. The lid and hinges were said to have no wiggles, creaks or flops and held reasonably stiff. Apart from gaming, buyers said it to be a good choice for other intensive tasks like photo/video editing. The screen has been touted as one of the best features of the M15 Gaming Laptop, being anti-glare with a matte finish, which doesn’t require one to turn on the brightness level to the highest setting. With buyers who used it for lighter work like browsing the web or lightweight work, the battery lasts 4 hours on average, unplugged, screen set at minimum brightness. Some gamers appreciated the dual-channel RAM for a performance boost. Regarding keyboard, key travel was said to be decent, and size sufficient enough for most. Backlighting was touted to be great, with six RGB zones. However, most people found the keyboard’s rubber finishing to be off-putting due to being a “fingerprint magnet”, albeit easy to clean with a soft cloth.
Of course, some downgrades had to be made in order to present the masses with a bite-sized hardware version. There is no SD card reader present, which was absent in the larger models as well. The battery is on the smaller side, which means performance suffers about 30% when unplugged. Regarding weight, the m15 still lags with regards to competition. The M15 Gaming Laptop also has reports of utilizing a “connected” standby feature, which enables it to still receive updates. This also uses more battery life (approximately 1% per hour) and has been reported to waking up when it’s not supposed to, like when it’s in a backpack. To bypass this, gamers go for the hibernate setting instead. The M15 Gaming Laptop also has issues with heating, where the i7-8750H has a max temp of 100 degrees, the performance pushes it too close to that temperature for some people’s comfort. As a laptop too, well, put in your lap, it is not a good option because the air intake vents are present on the bottom. One person shared that the top area of their keyboard reached 130 degrees F, as measured by their infrared thermometer, and an internal temperature around 200F. Most users had to raise their M15 Gaming Laptop about an inch off the surface to achieve good airflow. This seems to be a recurring issue in ultrabook-sized laptops, where there is not enough space for adequate airflow. That’s not too surprising, given that downscaling is a hard line to walk, where you lose some to win some.
To summarize, the M15 Thin and Light 15 Gaming Laptop is well built with a competitive price point, although it can still vastly improve some flaws that come with downscaling. As long as Alienware continues to improve and build upon performance as well as aesthetics, they’re likely to be a sure-fire win amongst the gaming category sometime soon.