ALIENWARE’s gaming laptops have long been a popular choice for gamers, combining style and function to create well-regarded systems offering a quality gaming experience on the go (or anywhere you want to set it up, really).
The Alienware M15 R4 is the latest version of the M15 gaming platform and from a design, appearance and functionality perspective the system is identical to the R3, which I was impressed by.
The big change in the version I reviewed is the graphics card and processor – the system is running an Intel i7-10870H 2.2Ghz processor and a Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics card, backed up with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. The display on the review unit was a 15.6in 1080p screen with a 300hz refresh and 3ms response.
It’s a pretty beefy gaming rig and the 3DMark scores backed this up, with an impressive score of 11401 on the Time Spy demo (the standard gaming benchmark for DirectX 12 systems) and 7090 on the Port Royal demo, which measures raytracing ability.
Both benchmarks were undertaken with standard settings – ie, I hadn’t fiddled around with anything in Alienware Control Centre or the like – so right out of the box the M15 R4 is offering an excellent gaming experience.
The SSD also performed exactly as you’d expect for an M.2 device, with Crystal Disk Mark returning a read speed of 3087MB/s and write speed of 2913MB/s.
The battery life was also decent too; under normal internet/streaming use I was easily getting 2-2.5 hours out of it, and that could be extended by adjusting power settings at the like.
Given the grunt under the bonnet you won’t be surprised to hear the M15 R4 had no trouble playing any game I threw at it – just for something different I fired up Doom Eternal and it was smooth. Even with a screen full of demons, explosions, fireballs, blood splatter, giblets, and assorted lighting effects that accompany pretty much any fight in the game, the R4 handled it without missing a beat. The same was true for everything else I tested the system with, which – to be fair – isn’t surprising considering the system specs and the whole “Having an RTX 3080 GPU in it” thing.
Weight-wise, the R4 is still a comfortable 2.5kg; light enough to carry around without being troublesome, heavy enough that accidentally sneezing near it won’t cause it to get knocked off the table.
The unit still gets quite warm under heavy gaming use, which is something I would have liked to see addressed. It’s not as much issue for desktop/tabletop use but it’s not ideal on your lap if you are gaming on the couch or in bed.
The Alienware M15 systems aren’t cheap but all in all, everything I said about the M15 R3 still applies – If you’re looking for a stylish and capable gaming laptop with the power and capabilities to handle pretty much anything you want to throw at it games-wise, the Alienware M15 R4 has you covered.