Alienware 13 R2 Introduction And Specifications
If we're being totally honest (as we always are), passionate consumers come out of the woodwork whenever the Alienware name is invoked. Some are rational and offer up observational criticism or praise, as well as personal anecdotes, though we've seen our share of both blind bashing and enthusiasm as well.
We bring this up because the Alienware 13 R2 gaming laptop is yet another finely crafted and interesting product that shows why the boutique brand is in the right hands, and to characterize it one way or another just because it's an Alienware system would be a mistake. It's not perfect, nor is it inexpensive, but there's a lot to like about this specialized machine, starting with its optional 3200x1800 resolution display.
To accommodate a variety of budgets and needs, there are actually three display options, including an HD 1366x768 panel, a Full HD 1080p 1920x1080 IPS panel, and the aforementioned QHD+ display, which is an IGZO IPS display with touch support.
As configured for this review, the 13.3-inch machine is powered by a 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6500U dual-core processor (Skylake), 16GB of DDR3L 1600MHz RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M GPU. A 256GB PCIe SSD keeps things moving along as the boot drive, and the rest of the specs you can peruse below.
6th Gen Intel Core i7-6500U (4M Cache, 2.5GHz to 3.1GHz)
||13.3-inch QHD+ (3200x1800) IGZO IPS TrueLife 400 nits w/ Touch|
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M w/ 2GB GDDR5
PNY GeForce GTX 980 XLR8 w/ 4GB GDDR5 via Graphics Amplifier
||16GB DDR3L 1600MHz (8GBx2)
||256GB PCIe Solid State Drive|
||Killer 1535 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1|
||USB 3.1; Audio Out 1/8" ports; Headphone 1/8" port; Noble Lock; Power/DC-in Jack|
||Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C); USB 3.1; GbE LAN|
|Interface (Back)||HDMI 2.0; Alienware Graphics Amplifier port|
||Full HD 2MP w/ dual digital microphones|
||Windows 10 Home 64-Bit|
|Battery||4-cell Lithium Ion (51 Wh)|
|Dimensions||Front: 1.04 inches (26.34mm)
Rear: 1.098 inches (27.9mm)
Height (base): 0.69 inches (17.5mm) to 0.72 inches (18.3mm)
Depth: 9.252 inches (235mm)
Width: 12.913 inches (328mm)
||4.537 pounds (2.058Kg)
|Pricing||$2,599.97 as configured ($1,699.99 w/o Graphics Amplfier + GTX 980)
It's a solid foundation, though for some it might be tough to get excited about a GeForce GTX 960M. This is where things get interesting. Dell also offers (and sent us for testing) an Alienware Graphics Amplifier accessory. It's an external box that holds a desktop class graphics card -- in this case, a PNY GeForce GTX 980 XLR8 -- and plugs into the back of the Alienware 13 over a custom connector. The idea is to offer higher end graphics performance at home in desktop replacement fashion while still functioning as a serviceable gaming laptop on the road.