Alienware 15 Gaming Laptop Review: GeForce Infused, Bang For Your Buck

Introduction and Specifications

Dell’s Alienware gaming team impressed us with its Area 51 desktop earlier this year and we’ve been impatiently awaiting the 2015 version of the Alienware 15 mobile gamer ever since. The laptop is finally here, and there’s a twist: Instead of sending a money-is-no-object configuration (like it did with the Area 51), the company sent us a more budget-friendly Alienware 15 – assuming, that is, that your budget is in the $1,500 range.

At $1,499.99, the Alienware 15 we checked out is in the middle of the price range for Dell’s 15-inch Alienware gamer laptop series. Gamers with tighter budgets can pick up an less powerful Alienware 15 for $1,199.99; the high end starts at $2,399.99. With the exception of a 4K, touch screen display on the high-end model, the price affects the Alienware 15’s guts more than its external features. Every version has the same chassis, same slick keyboard (we’ll get to that) and the same array of ports.

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Dell Alienware 15
Specifications & Features
 Windows 8.1 64-bit
 Display: 15.6-inch 1920x1080 IPS Anti-Glare 300 nits Display
 CPU: Intel Core i5-4210H Dual-Core 2.9GHz (3.5GHz w/ Turbo)
 PNY GeForce GTX 980 4096MB GDDR5 RAM
 RAM: 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L
 Storage: 128GB M.2 SSD (operating system)
 1TB 7200RPM HDD (storage)
 Networking: Killer Wireless-AC 1525 802.11ac
 Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet
 Bluetooth 4.0
 4x USB 3.0 (PowerShare Technology)
 1x Mini DP
 1x HDMI
 1x Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port
 1x Audio Out
 1x Line In Mic
 1x Lock port
 Dimensions: 15.19 x 10.64 x 1.3 inches
 Weight: 7.07 pounds
 Battery: 8-cell Li-Ion 92Wh
 Software: Alienware AlienAdrenaline, AlienFusion, AlienFX, Command Center, TactX
 Accessories: Alienware Graphics Amplifier w/ PNY Nvidia GeForce GTX 980
 Warranty: 1 Year Alienware Enhanced Support
 Price: $1,499.99 (as configured)
 $2,099.98 (as configured, with Graphics Amplifier, GTX 980)

Although there are several gaming notebooks out there with display sizes under 15 inches, few really deliver an immersive gaming experience. A 15.6-inch display is fine, though, and the Alienware 15’s 300-nit, anti-glare display is a good fit for this price range. You can bump up to a 4K display for this model if you prefer, but I like the brightness and look of the standard 1920x1080 display on this system.

The Alienware 15 we tested features an Intel Core i5-4210H (Haswell) processor. It’s not every day that we see a dual-core processor in a gaming laptop, but the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M graphics card is a familiar face in these parts. Alienware rounds out the package with 16GB of RAM.

Storage is a tough category to skimp on when you’re building a gaming computer because you want the speed of an SSD for your operating system, but you need plenty of room for space-hogging games. The expensive answer, of course, is to go with a high-capacity SSD, but in a mid-range gaming notebookr like the Alienware 15, a 128 GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive at 7200rpm sounds about right.

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Killer provides your wired and wireless connectivity in the Alienware 15, which is a nice touch for a gaming laptop. The Killer Wireless-AC 1525 (which also appears in the Eurocom P5 Pro we recently took for a spin) is designed to prioritize gaming data. The same goes for the Killer E2200 Gigabit Ethernet support.

Now that we’ve covered the system’s insides, let’s take a look at Alienware 15’s design...

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