Alienware m15 Review: Thin, Light, Dense, Deadly

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Alienware M15 Review: Design And Build Quality

Dell didn't spare any expensive when it came to building its new Alienware m15. The exterior of the machine is entirely constructed out of metal, predominantly aluminum and magnesium alloy. This makes the system exceedingly durable and it also helps to passively cool the internal components as well. The most striking feature of the notebook's exterior is the Alienware logo that is RGB backlit behind the eyes and around the alien's face. There is also a notable Y shaped groove on the lid that is reminiscent of many other Alienware predecessor design signatures.

Alienware m15 back lid full left

In contrast the laptop's bottom panel is rather plain, but it does give us a look at the large series of air intake vents that are essential to keeping the PC cool pulling in fresh air through the systems fans and over its labyrinth of heat pipe cooling that we'll get a closer look at in our thermals section.

Alienware m15 Bottom

Dell spread the ports on the Alienware m15 out to three of the four sides of the notebook. The right-side has two USB 3.0 ports, whereas the left-side has a single USB 3.0 port, an audio combo jack, and a compact wired Gigabit Ethernet port with Killer Networks gaming NIC technology on board for packet prioritization of your gaming sessions.

Alienware m15 left edge keyboard
Alienware m15 right edge keyboard
The remaining ports are situated on the back of the machine behind the display and between the rear fan exhausts. The ports found here include the power port, mini DisplayPort 1.3, and an HDMI 2.0 port. There is also an Alienware Graphics Amplifier port here and a full speed Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C port located here. Surprisingly, there isn't a card reader to be found anywhere on this notebook, though there appears to be room to accommodate one. 

Alienware m15 back ports

Opening up the clam-shell we are greeted by sleek black keyboard and rubber palm rest. They keyboard has RGB LED backlighting and it is actually one of the best features of this laptop. It has standard chicklet style keys that are well spaced, have reasonable travel distance with tactility that feels quite nice. It still doesn't stand a chance against a solid mechanical keyboard, and some of us on the team aren't fond of chiclet decks, but honestly this might be the best chiclet style keyboard we've ever used. The trackpad is also big, accurate and responsive.

Alienware m15 top cooling vents

Above the keyboard is a metal segment that is perforated with holes to further help cool the PC with a faint warm are exhaust. A power button in the shape of an Alienware logo with RGB LED lighting is also set in the middle here. The design aesthetic is quite nice actually, with a honeycomb mesh styling that Dell claims ads rigidity while offering maximum airflow.

Alienware m15 keyboard trackpad
Alienware m15 display full

The Alienware m15's 15.6" IPS display is also a treat to behold in this laptop, though its top bezel admittedly is a bit on the beefy side. Regardless, the high-quality 4K panel option we tested is extremely crisp, and its 400-nits brightness paired with 100% sRGB color support leaves colors looking exceptionally bright and vibrant. We photographed the display here, but unfortunately it's just one of those things you can't truly appreciate without seeing it in person. Finally, skeptics that feel the m15's NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU isn't up to the task of 4K gaming at max IQ settings in cutting-edge game titles can take solace in the fact that this panel also scales well, down to 1440p or 1080p resolutions. You'll then also have all those gorgeous pixels for video content, content creation or the like, on the desktop. It's a $150 up-charge on one of the higher-end configs of this machine, but we'd offer it's well worth it since any laptop display impacts user experience so heavily.

Speaking of experience, let's look at the software side of things with the Alienware m15...

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