Gaming laptops are often bulky, because of the components they feature that make your games run smoothly. That doesn’t have to be necessarily true, as shown by the X series from Dell. For the last two weeks, I tested the Dell Alienware x15 R2, a Rs. 3.6 lakh gaming laptop that has the top-of-the-line hardware currently available in the market. This includes the latest Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU. In addition, this gaming laptop is also considerably slim for the power it packs inside.
Besides being one of the thinnest laptops from the company so far, the Alienware x15 R2 is equipped with Intel’s latest and greatest, 12th Generation Core i9 processor. The stunning looks of the device alone are sure to be a head-turner, but does it justify its price and the FHD screen? Let’s take a look into the finer details and find out if this is the best a gamer can buy right now.
Here are the specifications of the Alienware x15 R2 that I tested:
- Model: Alienware x15 R2
- Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920×1080), 360Hz
- Processor: 12th gen Intel Core i9-12900H (24MB cache, 14 cores, 20 threads, up to 5.00 GHz Turbo)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU with 16GB GDDR6
- Memory: 32GB LPDDR5 5,200 MT/s
- OS: Windows 11 Home
- Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
- Webcam: 720p
- Ports: 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 port with PowerShare, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port with DisplayPort and Power Delivery, 1 x Thunderbolt 4 port with DisplayPort and Power Delivery, 1 x Universal Audio Jack, 1 x HDMI 2.1 port, 1 x MicroSD card slot
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 (6E Pre-certified) AX1675 802.11ax 2×2 Wireless LAN and Bluetooth 5.2
- Dimensions: 14.16 × 10.91 × 0.626-inches (WxDxH)
- Weight: 2.75 kg
- Price: Rs. 3,66,000
Alienware x15 R2 – Gaming Performance and Benchmarks
Intel’s 12th-Gen Core i9-12800H processor, Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti with 16GB GDDR6 memory power this laptop. They are supported by 32GB DDR5 5,200MT/s memory and a total of 1TB of SSD storage. The processor comes with a total of 14 cores and 20 threads, with a Turbo Boost of up to 5.00 GHz.
With specs like these, the Alienware x15 R2 can run anything you throw at it without issues. However, it is always better to see how well it performs in the real-world. Let’s get to the gaming performance and benchmarks without any delay.
Multitasking with the x15 R2 is a breeze. The laptop feels snappy and fast, and I am sure the 360Hz display adds to that. I experienced no hiccups while working with multiple programs and shuffling through them as part of work during the review period.
When it comes to gaming, the x15 R2 impressed me. From loading times to frame rates, everything was fast and the performance in games was smooth. I got an average frame rate of 70 frames per second in Forza Horizon 5. This is with every single graphics setting turned up to the max. In Red Dead Redemption 2, the average frame rate was 58 frames per second. Again, with every graphics setting enabled to push the limits. I saw 95 FPS on Shadow of the Tomb Raider with everything set to ultra.
However, the battery life is poor, and I had to plug in the charger around four hours in even while doing something simple like internet browsing. This is a norm with high-powered gaming laptops, but still something to keep in mind if you intend to use it for other purposes.
Thermal performance of Dell Alienware x15 R2
The fans of the laptop were quite noticeable whenever I would start playing a game. So, if you plan on gaming with absolute immersion, use headphones to drown out the fan noise. Speaking of fans, the laptop can get hot. Packing these powerful components in a slender design meant that the laptop is prone to getting overheated during heavy gaming sessions. While playing Control, for example, the temperature of the CPU reached 92 degrees Celsius. The CPU was at 83 degrees Celsius while playing Cyberpunk 2077.
Alienware x15 R2 – Design and keyboard
You would imagine a gaming laptop like this to be a heavy, bulky, monstrosity. However, the x15 R2 has a very elegant and sleek design. It is one of the best-looking laptops out there, and it is bound to turn heads if you pull this bad boy outside, like in a café, for example.
The laptop manages to have a design language that is not as flashy and eccentric as some other gaming laptops aim to target. But it retains some of the aesthetics which make it clear that this is, in fact, a laptop made for gaming.
The iconic alien head logo on the back can light up and was one of my favourite parts of the design. The keyboard, on the other hand, features a row of media control keys such as dedicated keys for volume controls on the right side. There are also keys to mute your mic and your speakers. There is no num-pad on the keyboard. The touchpad is small, but I found it convenient enough to use. The click on the touchpad also felt nice to use. However, I found myself more comfortable using a mouse because of the small size of the touchpad, which I wasn’t used to.
A small aspect I want to highlight about the keyboard is its off-center design. It is situated more towards the right side, and I often found myself mistyping while writing articles or responding to emails. This wasn’t too much of an issue while gaming, but it did frustrate me the rest of the time. Of course, with time, one would get used to the keyboard’s positioning.
Alienware x15 R2 – Display and Audio
The 15.6-inch FHD 1920×1080 display with a 360Hz refresh rate appeared a bit washed out to me. I was expecting the laptop’s display to be vibrant and produce vivid colours. The screen was sufficiently bright, and I had to keep it at 40% at most times during my testing. Though the refresh rate might be overkill, overall, the display is decent. Still, I would have wished to see a resolution above 1080p at this price point. One can find laptops sporting displays with higher resolutions (albeit with a lower refresh rate) in this price range from other manufacturers.
One thing that surprised me the most about the Alienware x15 R2 is its speakers. There are a total of four speakers in the laptop, which give a balanced audio output. Everything from games to music to video sounded clear and crisp on the laptop’s speakers. They were impressively loud, even with my ceiling fan on I didn’t feel the need to use headphones while watching YouTube videos as everything sounded rich and loud.
The webcam of the laptop, however, is disappointing. The footage it captures is grainy and straight up terrible. You may not be attending Zoom meetings all day on this laptop, but when you do want to have a video call, it’d be better to just use your phone instead.
Alienware x15 R2 – Software
The Alienware x15 R2 comes with a few programs and apps preinstalled. The Alienware Command Center software can be used to overclock the CPU, manage unique power management modes tailored for specific games, lighting, and so on. I found the software very clunky to use. When using it for the first time to customize the lights, I found it complicated to use. The program could have been much simpler instead.