Among a wealth of graphical and processing power to play all the games you love, the ideal gaming laptop should also be lightweight and have a long battery life. It should give you access to a keyboard with keys that provide a good tactile feel, short travel distance and fast response rate. It should also be reasonably priced. With these hardware specifications in mind, your options are somewhat limited, as most gaming machines have to make compromises in size and battery life to rival desktop machines.
However, for novice and mid-level gamers, your quest for the perfect gaming laptop can safely begin and end with the Alienware X15 R1 laptop. Not only does this Windows 11 gaming laptop perform like an ideal gaming machine–it looks like one too. Sure, it has a few drawbacks, like a short battery life and a higher price than most would want to pay for a laptop in general, but overall, this is a well-designed laptop that gives off an impressive gaming vibe.
Alienware x15 Gaming Laptop
Alienware X15 R1 In a Nutshell
- Awesome design and appearance
- Ideal hardware configuration options for entry- to mid-level gamers
- Stunning AlienFx RGB lighting effects
- Really nice display and immersive sound
- One or two additional USB and USB-C ports would have been nice
- Loud internal cooling fans
- Short battery life when playing games
- The weight of the laptop is a bit on the heavy side
Alienware X15 R1: Technical Specifications
Processor: 11th Generation Intel Core i7 (11800H) or Intel Core i9 (11900H) | Storage: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB |Memory: 16GB / 32GB | Battery: 6.3 hours (approximate) | Dimensions: 0.642 x 14.16 x 10.915 inches (16.2mm x 359.7mm x 277.25mm) / Weight: 5.2 pounds (2.36kg) / Operating System: Windows 11 Home or Windows 11 Pro
From the Dell website, you’re able to truly customize the hardware configuration of this laptop, which has a starting price of $2,099.99 (MSRP). An easier option, especially for someone who is not too tech savvy (but still enjoys gaming), is to choose one of the four pre-configured options (ranging in price from $2,099.99 to $3,029.99).
For starts, choose between the 11th generation Intel Core i7 or Intel Core i9 processor. For graphics, the lower-end configuration comes bundled with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6, although with most configurations, you’ll get the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB GDDR6. With either option, your favorite games are going to look amazing.
Next, choose your laptop’s internal SSD capacity (options include 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB), and the desired amount of RAM (16GB or 32GB). Obviously, these choices will impact your gaming experience, as well as how much you’ll pay for the laptop. For the best gaming experience, go with 16GB RAM and at least a 512GB SSD, if you can afford it.
Alienware X15 R1: Unboxing Experience
Literally within minutes of taking the Alienware X15 R1 out of its box, you’ll be immersed in your favorite games and experiencing them in a way that’ll truly impress even the most jaded gamer. The laptop comes packaged in a custom-designed box that opens to reveal this stunning laptop that truly beckons to be used. The moment you plug in and power up the laptop, the Alien FX RGB lighting comes to life. If you already have a Microsoft Account, the setup and Windows update process takes just minutes.
You’re then ready to visit the Microsoft Store to purchase and install your favorite games or register your Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Account for immediate access to more than 100 games that you can install and start playing (also within minutes). If you don’t yet have a Microsoft Xbox Game Pass, a one-month trial is available for just $1.
Using optional apps, you’re also able to watch TV shows and movies through any of the popular steaming services (such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video). Even without headphones or wireless ear buds, your viewing and listening experience will be amazing thanks to the large display and quality speakers. Of course, streaming music from any popular service is just as rewarding (except for when the cooling fans are running).
Alienware X15 R1: Design
The casing of this laptop looks amazing. It’s appearance alone will make other gamers envious. The chassis is made of heavy duty plastic as opposed to an aluminum alloy, which helps give this laptop a unique and appealing look. For you, the gamer, looks may be important, but what’s inside this laptop is what will make your gaming skills shine.
From an appearance standpoint, the Alienware X15 R1 has built in AlienFX Lighting Zones that are programmable with up to 16.8 million distinct colors. This is above and beyond the keyboard’s RGB LED AlienFX lighting. Instead of featuring a generic (ultra-boring), solid black or grey casing color like most laptops, the Alienware X15 R1 showcases a two-color (off-white and black) color scheme that’s unique, futuristic looking and attractive. When you combine this with the RGB lighting, this laptop looks stunning.
Alienware X15 R1: Display
Built into the Alienware X15 R1 is a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080 resolution) LCD display with a 165Hz 3ms refresh rate. It was designed to deliver an extremely vibrant and detailed visual experience. The larger size screen, however, impacts the overall size and weight of the laptop, which makes it larger and heavier than most non-gaming laptops. On the plus side, it’s very thin (just 0.642-inches when closed).
With this laptop, you can kick up the resolution to a 15.6-inch QHD (2650 x 1440 resolution) LCD display with a 240Hz 2ms refresh rate, or a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 by 1080 resolution) LCD display with a 360Hz 1ms refresh rate for an even better visual experience.
All display options utilize Alienware’s proprietary ComfortView Plus functionality. This automatically reduces potentially harmful blue light emissions and provides a flicker-free viewing experience designed to optimize eye comfort, especially during marathon gaming sessions.
Alienware X15 R1: Speaker System
Beyond just focusing on graphics and animation, many of the latest games put a strong emphasis on music and sound effects to draw you into the game. Even without using a gaming headset, the audio generated by the Alienware X15 R1 is impressive thanks to the stereo speaker system, which includes two 4W speakers. For multi-player games, it uses dual-array microphones, which should make it easier to be heard taunting your adversaries and clearly communicating with your allies.
If you choose to utilize the built in speakers while gaming (as opposed to a gaming headset), you’ll often need to crank up the volume extra loud to compensate for the rather noisy cooling fans that are built into the laptop and that will kick in when the during prolonged gaming sessions.
Alienware X15 R1: Keyboard, Ports and Wireless
The built in keyboard is Alienware’s signature mSeries thin keyboard with per-key AlienFX lighting. The keys have 1mm travel. There’s also a multi-touch premium precision glass touchpad with integrated scrolling.
Overall, the feel and response of the full-size, tenkey-less keyboard is really nice (and very quiet), especially when playing games without using a controller. The size of the touchpad is generous, so it does require some extra hand movement to reposition between being able to right-click and left-click on the touchpad.
If you’re going to add just one gaming peripheral to this laptop, consider a quality gaming mouse to use instead of the touchpad when playing your favorite games. It’ll provide greater precision and comfort.
Some of the hot air exhaust vents built into the laptop are located directly above the keyboard, so when the computer’s temperature rises, the noise from the fans emanates from this area, which overpowers any noise from key taps on the keyboard.
As for ports, you’ll discover one USB 3.2 Gen 1 port (with PowerShare), one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port (with Power Delivery and DisplayPort), 1 Thunderbolt 4 port (with Power Delivery and Display Port), one headset port, one HDMI 2.1 port, and one power adapter port. With the exception of the power port and 3.5mm headphone jack, all ports are located on the back of the laptop, surrounded by a touch of RGB lighting.
There’s also one microSD card slot. In other words, chances are you won’t need to use an optional hub to connect additional gear, such as an external monitor, gaming headset, external gaming keyboard, and/or a gaming mouse.
By the way, Alienware offers its own line of peripherals designed to work seamlessly with the Alienware X15 R1 and all sync with the AlienFX lighting effects from the computer. Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.1 are also built-in for high-speed wireless connectivity.
Optional Gaming Peripherals from Alienware
ALIENWARE 510K LOW PROFILE RGB MECHANICAL GAMING KEYBOARD – Lunar Light
ALIENWARE WIRED/WIRELESS GAMING MOUSE AW610M – Lunar Light
New Alienware 7.1 Gaming Headset: AW510H
Alienware X15 R1: Performance
Using Alienware’s quad fan design, the laptop is made for extended gaming sessions. It offers innovative cooling technology that moves more air through the system and draws heat away from the CPU and GPU more efficiently than competing laptops. Each fan works independently and automatically, as needed, although at times, the fans get a bit loud–especially during intense and prolonged gaming sessions.
Another awesome feature of the Alienware X15 R1 is the Alienware Command Center integration, which is continuously updated to provide features designed specifically for gamers and specific games. This command center offers auto-tuned game profiles, a responsive user interface, overclocking options that are easy to adjust, and customizable AlienFX light settings.
From the Command Center, simply choose your favorite game’s profile (there are many to choose from) to automatically optimize the laptop’s appearance and performance for a customized experience catered to the game you’ve selected. You’re also able to tweak the laptop’s hardware performance using the pre-installed Killer Control Center.
Using the 3DMark Benchmark test, the overall Spy Time Score for the laptop was 6691, with a graphics score of 6580 and a CPU score of 7400. This result was reported as being better than 52 percent of all results (compared to other gaming laptops), so in terms of performance compared with other gaming laptops, it ranked in the middle. The graphics test resulted in a FPS rate between 36.88 and 44.03.
Using 3DMark’s Fire Strike test, the Alienware X15 R1 scored 8528 with a Graphics score of 11470, a Physics score of 19108, and a combined score of 2272. This time, the graphics test resulted in an FPS rate between 45.89 and 54.62.
Using the PCMark 10 Benchmark Test, the Alienware X15 R1’s overall score was 6283, so compared to all laptop computers tested by this software, it scored better than 78 percent of them. Furthermore, the computer scored 8818 in the PC Mark 10 software’s Essentials category, 7999 in the Productivity category, 6283 in the Digital Content Creation category, and 10829 in the rendering and visualization category. Long story short, it should comfortable handle most games at high settings depending on the framerate you’re targeting, and it should smash through all other multimedia and multitasking productivity with ease.
After starting with a fully charged battery, however, what was rather disappointing was that between downloading several games from Xbox Game Pass and running the 3DMark Benchmark Tests on battery power, in about 90 minutes, the battery level dropped to just 16 percent. In less than two hours, the battery level dropped to a mere 4 percent, which resulted in a pop-up window message stating that the laptop needed to be plugged in immediately.
When actually playing graphic and action-intensive games, like Age of Empires IV, Fortnite: Battle Royale, HALO: The Master Chief Collection, and Destiny 2, for example, when starting with a fully charged battery, the battery life was less than 90 minutes before the computer needed to be plugged in. Thus, depending on what games you’ll be playing, don’t expect to experience prolonged gaming sessions running on battery power. A machine like this is a desktop replacement, after all, so it’s to be expected, but you’ll want to carry the charger with you if you’re planning to play a lot away from home.
Is the Alienware X15 R1 Worth It?
In two words, the answer is “heck yes!” Right out of the box (without adding any optional hardware or peripherals), the Alienware X15 R1 looks, feels and performs like the ideal gaming machine. Oh, and it will nicely perform all sorts of other tasks too–like streaming movies, word processing and spreadsheet management, photo or video editing, and email or web surfing.
Alienware x15 Gaming Laptop
If you intend to use it primarily as a gaming machine, invest in the most RAM and highest SSD capacity you can afford. While having the power of an Intel Core i9 is certainly beneficial for gaming, in this case, it’s not required since the Intel Core i7 processor, combined with the laptop’s other hardware, will certainly serve you well in most titles. The only major downside besides its heft (which is lighter and thinner than average) is a paltry battery life, though that’s a categorical trend that won’t easily subside without sharp advancements in battery and power tech.
Within minutes after you start playing your favorite games on the Alienware X15 R1, you’ll see why Alienware is a world leader when it comes to superior gaming hardware. The Alienware X15 R1 is not cheap. It’s definitely one of the higher-priced gaming laptops on the market, but the engineers who created it packed a lot of computing power and wrapped it with enough striking aesthetic to make it worth the buy for anyone who wants a machine that’s as powerful as it looks.