Alienware 17 R4 2017 Gaming Laptop Review: Powerful And Refined

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Alienware 17 R4 2017: Final thoughts And Rating

Performance summary: Alienware’s 17 R4 is the fastest notebook we’ve tested. It delivers performance that’s comparable to some high-end desktops in a portable form factor. It dominated in every benchmark we threw at it, even with all of the in-game eye-candy enabled. Its performance in PCMark shows it’s not a one-trick pony either -- this machine can tear through video and image editing with ease.

Alienware17R4 DTR2

The strong performance comes in a stylish package that looks at home at a LAN party or even in a work space. Alienware kept styling cues simple and functional with high-quality touch surfaces and sturdy aluminum covers, which gives it a hint of gaming flair without going overboard with crazy vents and jet fighter-inspired design cues. Despite our complaints of smudges appearing on the rubbery-textured surfaces, we absolutely love the look and feel of the material. It’s a minor annoyance for something that always feels good to touch.

You do pay for the performance with battery life. However, if you’re shopping for a 17-inch gaming notebook that can keep up with desktops and provide an excellent all-in-one VR experience, we doubt you’re worried about being away from an outlet for very long. It’s a desktop replacement that can move around with you – whether you’re experiencing the dorm life and want to pack up for home as quickly as possible, a regular LAN party goer, or you enjoy carrying big notebook around. It is on the heavy side at close to 10lbs as well, but still lighter than a complete desktop and monitor.

We found the TN LCD panel acceptable, but still favor IPS panels for better color reproduction and viewing angles. If gaming is the only purpose for the laptop, opt for the G-SYNC LCD panel, but the UHD 4K IPS option is more appealing to us for everyday use, which includes video and image editing. We suggest approaching the Tobii eye-tracking option cautiously, too. It’s fun to try at first, but loses some of its luster and usefulness when the cool factor wears off. The blinking red LEDs associated with the tracker can be distracting as well.

Overall, if you’re looking for a desktop replacement that delivers form and function, the latest Alienware 17 is a fantastic option. At a smidge under $3,000, it’s a pricey notebook for sure, but we found a similarly configured Sager NP9876 to cost more without the excellent look and feel of the Alienware 17. If it were up to us, we’d go for the model with the GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080p IPS display for $2,299, which drops the price enough for an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive

hothardware recommended
 hot not 
  • Outstanding performance
  • Subtle and stylish design
  • Upgrade-ability
  • Plenty of Rear IO
  • Can get noisy under full-load
  • Tobii Eye-Tracking technology needs refinement

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