Alienware m16 R2 Review – Your Daily Driver Solution for Gaming

Alienware m16 R2 Review – Your Daily Driver Solution for Gaming

The Alienware m16 R2 isn’t precisely the kind of computer I would anticipate from the company. In addition to providing good gaming performance, this 16-inch laptop prioritizes portability and long battery life. Not even the most expensive GPUs are available as an upgrade. In actuality, it only supports RTX 4070; if you’d like an RTX 4080 or RTX 4090, you’ll need to purchase another laptop.

Although Alienware told me that its target market for this laptop was gamers who wanted a PC for more than just gaming — one that could go to school or the office — the signature flashing alien head insignia are still present. Alienware met my expectations, however there’s one thing I would have done differently. Continue reading to find out more.

Alienware m16 R2: Specs

There are numerous hardware options for the Alienware m16 R2. At $1,849, the laptop we evaluated featured a 1TB SSD, 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card, and an Intel Core Ultra 7 155 CPU. For an additional $200, you can purchase a model with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics. According to Alienware, machines with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 graphics will be available shortly and will cost much less.

Furthermore, according to Alienware, configurations with an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H processor, up to 64 GB of RAM, and up to 8 TB of storage will be available. In addition, Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4 will be offered as options; the base model already has Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 6E radios.

  • CPU: 155H Intel Core Ultra 7
  • Memory: DDR5 5600MHz 16GB
  • Graphics/processor: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070
  • Display: 240Hz, 2560 x 1600 IPS, 300 nits
  • Storage:1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD
  • Webcam: 1080p HDR webcam
  • Connectivity: Two USB-A 3.2 ports, one Thunderbolt 4 / USB-C 4 Gen 2 with 15W Power Delivery and DisplayPort 1.4, one USB-C / USB 3.2 Gen 2 with DisplayPort:1.4, one HDMI 2.1 port, one Ethernet port, one headphone jack, and one microSD card reader
  • Networking: Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 6E
  • Biometric Windows Hello facial recognition 
  • Capacity of battery: 90 Watt-hour
  • Dimensions:14.33 inches by 9.82 inches by 0.93 inches
  •  Weight: 5.62 pounds
  • MSRP: $1,849 ($1,649 base) as tested

Design and build quality of the Alienware m16 R2

With great pride, Alienware informed me that the m16 R2 is now 15% smaller than the previous m16 laptop since the “thermal shelf” at the back of the device has been removed. Cooling on the Alienware m16 R2 is still rather effective. During extended gaming sessions, the keyboard maintained a pretty comfortable temperature, and unlike some gaming laptops, the majority of the hot air seemed to be venting out the rear of the device rather than directly onto my mouse hand through the right vent.

The design is elegant and rather conservative, with an Alienware vibe. The lid is made of anodized aluminum and has a greyish color. The Alienware logo is centered on the lid and illuminates when the laptop is powered on.

Within, in the center of a few vents, is a bright Alienware logo that doubles as a power button and is located above the keyboard. An attractive LED light strip surrounds the touchpad, and the keyboard has RGB backlighting. The keyboard deck is made of pleasant, rubbery “soft-touch” plastic rather than poor, creaking plastic or hard, cold metal.

The construction quality is strong. It’s probably not a good idea to pick this laptop up out of the corner and hold it all the time because it’s a little heavy, but I did it a couple of times and it seemed sturdy and didn’t flex oddly. The laptop’s hinge is smooth to open and close, and it can be extended to 180 degrees to lay the laptop flat. Nothing negative to say about this; the build quality is about as good as it gets.

Keyboard and Trackpad for Alienware m16 R2

Typing on the keyboard is also rather satisfying. There was ample travel, and I was pleased with the keyboard whether I was typing or had my fingers glued to the WASD keys for movement in a game.

Be advised that this isn’t a mechanical keyboard if you’re a fan and that feature is essential to you. However, any kind of keyboard can provide you with a wonderful typing experience, and this particular keyboard is good.

It’s also a pleasure to utilize the touchpad. (We PC users these days are spoilt with excellent touchpads.) You can easily move your finger over it and find it to be responsive. It’s rather large, and I like how the LED light bar looks. The rubbery-feeling covering here isn’t quite as nice as some of those glass touchpads I’ve tried, but overall, this is a good glass touchpad. I’ve had somewhat better experiences. In any case, you’ll probably utilize a gamepad or mouse for gaming.

Speakers and display of the Alienware m16 R2

For the pricing range, this display makes perfect sense. A 16-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600 resolution) display with a quick refresh rate of 240 Hz is what you get. It is compatible with AMD FreeSync, NVIDIA G-Sync, and Dolby Vision HDR.

On paper, everything appears excellent and seems very good. However, this screen is not OLED; rather, it is IPS. That should come as no surprise considering that this falls considerably more into the “affordable” category of gaming laptops. However, it’s important to note that more gaming laptops are now available with OLED screens. It makes sense that some people would prefer to look for a laptop with an OLED display instead, but those models are usually more expensive.

I’m perfectly OK with using an IPS laptop for daily use. Nevertheless, some of those OLEDs I’ve been looking at lately are very stunning. (However, they cost more as well!) In conclusion, although it is an IPS panel, it is a perfectly fine monitor.

Webcam, microphone, and biometrics on the Alienware m16 R2

The Alienware m16 R2 has an infrared camera for Windows Hello support, which allows biometric logins using your face, twin array microphones, and a 1080p webcam with HDR.

The 1080p webcam appears good. It works just great for a laptop used for gaming. There are gaming laptops that I have seen with significantly poorer webcams, or even without any webcams at all! Additionally, you may use Windows Studio Effects because this contains an Intel Meteor Lake chip that features a neural processing unit (NPU). This effects package includes methods that can, for example, give the impression that you are constantly looking directly into the camera.

Yes, you may use the built-in microphone. Professionals using far poorer microphones have been in online meetings I’ve attended. Although my co-op partner believed the audio quality was much better, I wouldn’t say the microphone was outstanding because I chose to use an external USB microphone for my gaming session. For the optimal audio experience, though, you probably already know that if you’re reading this, you should plug in a headset or separate headphones and a microphone.

This is a rather basic Windows Hello webcam, yet it too functioned flawlessly in my experience. Support for biometric logins is beneficial.

Connectivity on the Alienware m16 R2

On the back, the Alienware m16 R2 features a dependable power port in addition to an HDMI 2.1 port. Furthermore, there are two USB-C connectors with different logos: a USB 3.2 Gen 2 port (which also has DisplayPort 1.4) and a Thunderbolt 4 connector (which has DisplayPort 1.4, USB 4 Gen 2, and 15W Power Delivery).

The HDMI port and the USB 3.2 Gen 2 connector are directly connected to the discrete GPU (the Nvidia GeForce GPU), not the integrated GPU. If you intend to play games on one of these ports, you can connect an external display to it instead of using the built-in GPU for better performance.

There are two conventional USB-A ports (USB 3.2 Gen 1) and a microSD card slot on the laptop’s right side. There is a headset jack and an RJ-45 connector for wired Ethernet networking on the left side of the laptop.

The connectivity choices are rather robust overall. You probably don’t need a laptop dock with many ports or a dongle.

Performance of the Alienware m16 R2

Let’s go right to the point now. Indeed, the Alienware m16 R2 boasts a competitive port variety, a smart design, and good build quality. However, the cost-to-performance ratio is the first thing I consider whenever I’m shopping for a gaming laptop.

One of Intel’s new Meteor Lake chips, the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, was installed in the Alienware m16 R2 that we evaluated. Performance is not as important as it was with the old Raptor Lake gear. Additionally, it has an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card, which is neither the cheapest nor the most advanced for a laptop. However, we can spend all day discussing specifications on paper; how does it function in our common benchmarks?


Alienware M16 Gaming Laptop

We know from the specs that we’re looking at a more mid-range, portable gaming laptop before we even look at benchmark results. Neither the most powerful CPU nor the most robust GPU are found in this. It doesn’t have the most extravagant cooling setup because it is small. That’s alright: Extremely powerful laptops could be much larger, heavier, more expensive, have shorter battery lives, and be substantially larger.

Battery life of the Alienware m16 R2

Generally speaking, gaming laptops have short battery lives. Often, getting the most out of the device while plugged in is the main worry. However, this Alienware aims to be a “daily driver” in addition to a gaming laptop. Here, Intel’s recently released, more power-efficient Meteor Lake CPUs also assist.

The battery life of the Alienware m16 R2 is 90 watt-hours. That is one of the highest values available; to be allowed to board an aircraft, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration mandates that batteries have a capacity of no more than 100 Watt-hours.

Conclusion

One excellent laptop is the Alienware m16 R2. Together with respectable CPU performance, it offers powerful graphics performance courtesy of its Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070. Additionally, it has a lengthy battery life away from an outlet—long enough for a gaming laptop, anyway—while delivering all of that. The display is a decent IPS screen, albeit it is a little dull, which may bother certain users.

Given its specifications, this Alienware system is a superb deal; at retail, it costs less than comparable systems like the HP Victus 16 (2023) and the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16. It could have to make some compromises if you locate an RTX 4070 laptop for an even lower suggested retail price. It might, for instance, feature a screen with a lesser resolution and refresh rate. It’s a terrific option if you’re looking for a laptop in this price range and you want something that can do more than just play games and be attached to a desk. I simply wish the display had a little more brightness, but given everything else this laptop does well, it’s not a deal breaker.

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