Alienware m16 R2 Review: A Multi-Purpose Sleeper Gaming Laptop

Alienware m16 R2 Review: Battery Life, Acoustics, Thermals And Our Conclusion

alienware m16 r2 plugged

As mentioned earlier, the Alienware m16 R2 is powered by a 6-cell / 90Wh battery. To see how well the machine fared in terms of battery life with its relatively large battery and efficient CPU, we fired up PCMark’s Video Loop test that runs a 1080p video playback workload in a continuous loop with the Windows 11 Movies and TV player, with the display lit up the entire time, until the battery is exhausted. In all tests, Windows Quiet Hours / Focus Assist has been enabled, and the displays are calibrated with lux meters on pure white screens to as close to 115 lux as possible. Wi-Fi is left enabled though, which we feel is a common use case.

Alienware m16 R2 Battery Life

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The Alienware m16 R2 ended up lasting a healthy 8 hours and 28 minutes, which is particularly strong for a gaming laptop with such a high-resolution display. We were not able to hit the nearly 10-hour mark that Alienware claims, but this is a very good result for a machine in this class nonetheless.

Alienware m16 R2 Acoustic and Thermal Performance

Generally speaking, the Alienware m16 R2 is quiet for a machine in this class, and will remain so under most mainstream workloads. Like all gaming notebooks with discrete GPUs, the fans in the system will spin up when the CPU and GPU are under load to bring temperatures down, but the Alienware m16 R2 remains quieter than most.


While running the the 3DMark stress test, which loops CPU and GPU tests to heat up both chips, our sound level meter recorded results between 38.7dBa and 48.2dBa. These results are not silent by any means, but well below the 55+dBa we've recorded with many other gaming laptops.

For gamers that like to wear headsets, the noise emitted from the Alienware m16 R2 should be a non-issue. If you are in an office environment, the sound probably won't escape your cubicle or be at all offensive, so long as the system isn't pegged and running at full tilt for an extended period of time. We did notice a slight whine at some points along the fan curve, but realistically it was not a big deal in our opinion.


With respect to thermals, we went ahead and use the same 3DMark stress tests to see what kind of heat the Alienware m16 R2 kicks out after a long, sustained load. We let the machine heat up for a while before taking any readings and along the top edge of the keyboard deck, near the Alienware logo, was where we saw the highest skin temps, peaking around 117°F.

Of course, you are not likely to ever place your hands there during normal use, so we also took a reading at the WASD area which peaked around 105°F. The relatively tame skin temps are thanks to the redesigned cooling system in the Alienware m16 R2, which draws air in from the top and bottom using dual 94-blade fans, and exhausts out of the right, left, and rear of the laptop. 

Alienware m16 R2 Review Conclusions

The redesigned Alienware m16 R2 is somewhat of a departure from traditional Alienware laptops. While the overall aesthetic borrows some elements from previous-gen machines, the m16 R2's smoother curves and rich aluminum finish give it more of a premium look and feel that we prefer over the glitz and gaudiness of some more over-the-top gaming laptops. In that regard, its more understated looks make the Alienware m16 R2 a sleeper to some degree. The machine combines solid performance for both gaming and productivity workloads, with a style that'll be received equally well in a game room or board room. And Alienware carries this philosophy over into the m16 R2's functionality as well, with a dedicated hotkey (F2) that immediately drops the machine into Stealth Mode, which disables the AlienFX lighting, changes the keyboard backlight to white, and sets the laptop's power/performance profile to Quiet.

alienware m16 r2 close

Aside from the lighting and design elements, the Alienware m16 R2 also loses the "shelf" behind its display that is present in many older Alienware laptops. Previously, the shelf would house the bulk of the IO and parts of the cooling solution. With the shelf gone, it allows for some nice features like a 180-degree display hinge and redesigned, improved cooling setup. Overall, the laptop has a 15% smaller footprint, while simultaneously featuring a cooling solution that Dell-Alienware claims is up to 43% more efficient.

The smaller footprint of the Alienware m16 R2 is also partially enabled by Intel's latest Meteor Lake mobile platform and the company's decision to offer the GeForce RTX 4070 as its top-end GPU configuration. The Intel Core Ultra 7 155H and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 combo in our test system are not the fastest mobile CPU and GPU available, but they are a solid pairing that represent a good balance. As configured, the Alienware m16 R2 may not be the fastest gaming notebook in its class, but it offers excellent gaming chops and strong productivity performance, with very good battery life and tamer acoustics and thermals than many other machines in this category.

That said, the Alienware m16 R2 is not exclusively designed for a single type of user, such as enthusiast gamers. This machine is meant to be somewhat of a go-between device that's perfectly capable of handling any productivity or content creation workload one minute, while gaming the next and maintaining a low profile if you'd like to as well. We consider the Alienware m16 R2 a good option for anyone who games, but also has to be on the go and get serious work done -- which is a large mainstream demographic these days.

Regardless of your use case, the Alienware m16 R2 is a good looking, well-balanced, all-around gaming laptop that holds its own at its price point. As tested, the configuration featured here with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 and Intel Core Ultra 7 155H comes in at $1,849, but this laptop line starts at $1,499.99 base price. Topping out the machine at a GeForce RTX 4070 may be a drawback for some consumers, depending on priorities and point of view but it's hard to argue with Alienware's well-balanced approach here, regardless. We think the Alienware m16 R2 asserts itself in the market prominently and believe its balanced performance and aesthetics will serve users well. Alienware has put forth a very compelling offering with the m16 R2, and we have no qualms recommending it for your shortlist of laptops for both work and play.

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