ALIENWARE have been making top-notch gaming hardware for as long as anybody, and as a result they’ve always done their own thing.
They haven’t felt the need to follow trends or make changes to keep up with or match anyone else, because their approach has served them so well for so long.
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Their focus on raw performance has meant their gaming laptops have always been portable powerhouses that serve as great desktop replacements but have also really stretched the definition of ‘portable’.
The m15 RTX looks to change that as Alienware finally breaks into the thin-and-light market with a laptop that’s almost 1.5kg lighter than its previous top-of-the-line 15-inch gaming laptop.
Despite being almost 40 per cent lighter than its predecessor, the m15 RTX is still very much at its best when it’s sat on a desktop.
And it’s best really is quite special — this really is as high-performing a gaming machine as you need right now.
No, it won’t drive an array of four 4K displays, massage your feet and give you snacks, but if you want to just play the latest games at top quality and at a high framerate on a single screen the latest m15 does the job admirably.
The high power RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card, coupled with the latest Intel i9 processor does really deliver the sort of performance Alienware fans will expect, but is also where the company shows this is the first time it’s tried this sort of hardware.
The m15 is Alienware’s first attempt at a thin-and-light high performance device
It groans and creaks when pushed to the limit, and fails to hit the heights of performance while gaming that you might expect unless you’ve got it on a stand because it just can’t dissipate the heat build up fast enough no matter how hard the fans try.
That having been said the throttling on performance and quality of that cooling system means that it doesn’t get as hot under pressure as some laptops we’ve tested recently, but it can still get uncomfortably warm.
The form factor also means you need to choose between battery life and storage — if you want the biggest battery on offer, you’ll have to sacrifice one of the drive slots to do so.
That does back up its credentials as a desktop replacement, though, because if you can enhance the storage with an external drive that lives on your desk for things you don’t need on the go you can have the best of both worlds.
The RTX 2080 has dedicated hardware support for the ray-tracing technology that’s starting to make its way into top games, making it a much more future-proof laptop than most.
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The bright 144Hz 1080p display more than does the job — that Max Q graphics package does push framerates high enough that the 144Hz display really shines.
Overall, the m15 is a great laptop, but more importantly it’s a great step forward for Alienware into devices that aren’t back-breaking to use on the go as well as being great at home.
Given you can spend over £3,000 on standard configurations with the i9 chip and RTX 2080 graphics card you’d hope to have fewer compromises, and to get a device that doesn’t need to be stuck on a stand and slotted into an existing set-up to really get the most of out it.
At the same price you can get very similar performance elsewhere and fewer compromises, a little less weight and even less bulk — and there just isn’t a single compelling reason why you should choose this one over the rest.
Still, it’s a step in the right direction and a solid gaming machine in the right circumstances.