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Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R5 (2021) Review
Alienware now has a Ryzen Edition of the gaming laptop m15 R5 with a contemporary AMD processor. It's not just a simple update of the popular m15 R4, the chassis has been fully rebuilt, and the port situation has changed. Alienware uses current Nvidia GPUs with Ryzen CPUs, starting with the GeForce RTX 3060 and going up to the RTX 3070 as an option.
The Alienware m15 is no longer the flagship laptop; instead, the new Alienware x15, which uses Intel processors and costs $1,599, has taken its place.
Aren't Alienware gaming computers big and expensive? It may have been the scene a few years ago, but it is no longer the case. Take, for example, the new Alienware m15 R5, the most recent model for 2021, which costs about $1,599.
This makes it one of Alienware's most cheap laptops, putting it firmly in the mid-range market rather than the more elusive high-end. This makes it an attractive offer on its own, but has Dell made any concessions to obtain these prices?
DESIGN AND BUILD
The m15 R5 sticks to Alienware's well-known design language, so it doesn't bring anything new to the table. ...
... It still features hexagonal grilles, rear-mounted RGB LEDs, and futuristic logos, so that's not a problem.
The build quality is good, Alienware is also strong enough to throw in a bag, although there is visible movement around the keyboard deck and base. With a thickness of 23mm and a weight of 2.47kg, this isn't the thinnest or lightest notebook on the market. These problems aren't fatal, they're not specific to Alienware, and the only way to fix them is to spend more money.
It's attractive, and the m15 comes with adequate gaming connectivity. A full-size USB 3.2 Gen 1 port and a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with power delivery are located on the back. The HDMI output is also located on the back.
This is advantageous since it allows you to attach devices and displays without the cords getting in the way. Two more full-size USB ports can be found on the right side, while the 2.5Gbps Ethernet and an audio jack can be found on the left. There's also a webcam, which supports Windows Hello authentication.
That's all you'll need for everyday gameplay. If you also need a laptop for work, the Alienware isn't as good: the USB ports could be quicker, the USB-C port doesn't support Thunderbolt, and there are no card or fingerprint readers.
KEYBOARD AND TRACKPAD
The m15 R5 comes included with a chiclet keyboard with four-zone RGB illumination. The Alienware doesn't have a number pad, like other laptops, its size, but it does include extra volume keys and full-size cursor buttons.
The keys have a 1.8mm travel and a lively, consistent, and pleasant action with a satisfying sharpness when bottoming out. On a gaming laptop, it's about as excellent as it gets for a chiclet keyboard. You can modify this machine with low-profile CherryMX mechanical switches for £100 or $100, which are faster, crisper, and more pleasant. If you're a fan of eSports, it's a good investment.
The trackpad isn't great. The buttons push down too far, and the surface could be a little smoother and more sensitive. Whatever type of gaming you intend to do, a USB gaming mouse will be superior.
SCREEN AND SPEAKERS
The display on the m15 is 15.6 inches. It's an IPS panel with Nvidia G-Sync and a 3ms response time that peaks at 165Hz. G-Sync ensures that games run smoothly and without tearing.
The level of quality is also satisfactory. The high contrast ratio of 1454:1 makes sure the display has plenty of punch and vibrancy, while the Delta E of 2.09 provides accurate colors. The panel's backlight level of 349 nits is sufficient for outdoor use, and it exhibited 97.5% of the sRGB gamut.
This display isn't capable of handling HDR games or Adobe RGB workloads (73.8 percent coverage), but at this price, that's not surprising; instead, it provides the quality needed for mainstream gaming.
The speakers, on the other hand, aren't great: the bass lacks nuance and muffles mid-range sounds, while the top-end is a tad tinny. It might be prudent to invest in a gaming headset.
SPECS AND PERFORMANCE
Although this is a gaming laptop, the processor, rather than the graphics card, is the most interesting component. AMD's Ryzen 7 5800H processor offers eight multi-threaded cores with 3.2GHz and 4.4GHz clock speeds, as well as AMD's outstanding Zen 3 design.
It performs similarly to Intel's new eight-core i7-10875H, which is found in PCs costing more than £2,000, such as the XPS 17 9700. It's only roughly 800 points below the Core i9-10980HK, which is only found in larger laptops costing twice as much, such as the Alienware m17 R4.
The 5800H's single-core Geekbench result of 1,403 beat all of the Intel chips discussed here. AMD has a history of being weak in single-core tests, but that isn't the case here.
Considering its low price, the Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 gets a lot of things right. On the inside, the RTX 3060 delivers solid mainstream gaming performance, while the AMD Ryzen 5 5800H is an excellent choice for mainstream workloads and content creation (if 74 percent Adobe RGB is acceptable). The Alienware also offers a good IPS display, a satisfying keyboard, and bold, familiar aesthetics.
Compromises are unavoidable in some sectors. Both the trackpad and the speakers are disappointing. External connectivity is beneficial for gaming. However, it is not suitable for all workloads. The battery life is adequate but not exceptional, and the gadget does become hot when used frequently. It's also thicker and heavier than many 15.6-inch gaming laptops.
The m15 R5 nails the essentials, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a budget-friendly gaming laptop.
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