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Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 Review

Dell makes cool gaming laptops. Some people may not be familiar with them, because the gaming series of laptops are marketed under the Alienware name. The Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 in this review isn’t actually all that new, but despite being launched some nine months ago, is still a very performant gaming laptop.

As its name says, this is a laptop powered by AMD’s Ryzen processor. The AMD Ryzen processors have become increasingly popular the last few years because of their impressive performance. This particular configuration is fitted with the powerful Ryzen 9 5900HX processor which has 9 cores/16 threads and clocked at 3.3 GHz, with boost clock up to 4.6 GHz.

The m15 R5 isn’t particularly flashy looking like you might expect of gaming laptops, but it does have some blue hued colour highlights on its back that unmistakably identify it as one. The subtle curves and rounded corners give the laptop a futuristic vibe.

The matt-finish 15.6-inch display is just Full HD (1920×1080) resolution. It may not bother gamers that much. More important to them would be the 165 Hz refresh rate, along with 3 ms response time. I measured peak brightness at 288 nits, which is good, but might be a little of a struggle in outdoor usage.

In my Spyder5PRO colourimeter test, the m5 Ryzen Edition R5 scored 97%, 71%, 76%, and 79% in the sRGB, NTSC, AdobeRGB, and P3 colour gamut coverage respectively. This is good enough for gaming, though perhaps not got those needing to do colour-accurate creative work.

There’s a 720p webcam situated atop the display, something that seems to be missing in several other gaming laptops. The quality is passable, good enough for casual game streaming perhaps, though might not be best suited if you need good video for business videocalls. A dual-array microphone also sits at the top with the webcam.

The four-zone RGB backlit keyboard with mechanical key switches is pleasant to type on. It has a generous 1.8 mm of key travel, and supports N-Key rollover and anti-ghosting. There’s tactile feedback is good. This would have been an overall truly excellent keyboard.

Except that I want to quibble about the layout. There’s nothing seriously wrong, however, and maybe this won’t be a showstopper for most people. The inverted-T arrow keys is good. However, I just don’t like having extra column of keys to the right of my Enter key. Alienware put volume control keys and microphone mute keys there, and while I do appreciate dedicated keys, I’d rather they found some other space on the keyboard deck to accommodate them.

Given the need for extra ventilation, I get it that gaming laptops are sometimes constrained for space, even though the keyboard deck is relatively large. In the case of the Alienware m5 Ryzen Edition R5, this ends up with a trackpad that isn’t very big. Though, again, this is less likely to bother gamers since they’d probably game with a proper mouse.

Alienware has elected to put ports on both sides as well as the back of the m15 Ryzen Edition R5 laptop. Starting on the left, there’s a 2.5 Gbps RJ45 Ethernet port with an extendable door, and a 3.5 mm combo audio jack.

On the right side, there are two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A ports (5 Gbps). One of ports support USB PowerShare, a feature that enables power to be supplied to an external device even when the laptop is in standby (off).

On the back, there’s one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C port, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A port, a HDMI 2.1 port, and a DC power jack.

The Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 is quite focused on its gaming purpose. You’ll see a repeating theme here, that there are several things that could be a concern in a laptop designed for other purposes, but none of them would really matter to a gamer. For example, more more USB Type C ports would have been better. There’s also no support for any form of Windows Hello login methods.

Fortunately, this laptop performs very well where it really matters to gamers. The base configuration comes with a decent Ryzen 7 5800H processor, upgradeable to the Ryzen 9 5900HX. There is 16 GB of DDR4 3200 MHz RAM. You can choose between a NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with 6 GB GDDR6 RAM or RTX 3070 with 8 GB GDDR6 RAM. The storage options are either 512 GB or 1 TB of M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD.

My review unit is configured with the Ryzen 9 5900HX, 16 GB RAM, RTX 3070, and 1 TB of storage.

There are my PCMark 10 Extended benchmark scores:

  • Overall: 8599
  • Essentials: 10189
  • Productivity: 8941
  • Digital Content Creation: 9138
  • Gaming: 17751

These figures blow the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 and ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 UX582 out of the water, though they did level up in the Geekbench 5 scores. Here are the Geekbench 5 figures for this m15 Ryzen Edition R5:

  • Single-core: 1472
  • Multi-core: 7296
  • Compute: 17089 (integrated graphics), 114993 (discrete GPU)

In 3D Mark, this laptop scores:

  • Time Spy: 9252, 4519 (Extreme)
  • FireStrike: 21551, 11554 (Extreme)

These are quite impressive, also easily surpassing the aforementioned ASUS laptops. This is probably among the best you can get with gaming on a laptop at this time, and the m15 Ryzen Edition R5 will not have problems chewing through the most demanding games.

If you ever had to use this laptop away from a power source, the 85 Whr battery gets you 4 hours and 34 minutes on PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test, while achieving a score of 6365.

Other features include: Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 802.11ax 2×2 wireless LAN, and Bluetooth 5.2 support. Good to know also, that, the RAM is user-upgradeable post-purchase.

The power brick included in the box is rated 240 W, relatively compact given its rated capacity.

This laptop is quite hefty, weighing in at 2.69 kg. The height varies from 12 mm (front) to 19.25 mm (back), and has a form factor of 356.2 x 272.5 mm.

The Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 retails as configured in this review retails at $2,999.

Conclusion

The Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 is a laptop built for gamers. It has really good performance, pulling ahead of other laptops configured with similar specifications.

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