Best Alienware laptops for gaming 2022

Alienware x17 R2
(Image credit: Future)

The best Alienware laptops for gaming are a highlight reel of the industry’s most premium and cutting-edge gaming machines. Alienware laptops have always been known for their abundance of power (and their sizable price tags). In the past, the brand has garnered a reputation for placing most of its efforts into function over form. However, in recent years, the Dell subsidiary has showcased a real penchant for pairing that power with some impressively modern and functional designs.

What the Alienware catalog lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality. Alienware’s new range of flagship laptops, dubbed the X-series, features some of the best components currently available and are genuine powerhouses in the best gaming laptop category. While Alienware’s M-series laptops aren’t flagship standard, they’re still incredibly competent machines, and also include some high-spec components. Newer revisions of M-series models, like the Alienware m17 R4, have done a great job of keeping the lineup relevant, and these devices are still some of the best for gaming.

While there’s technically no such thing as a true budget buy when it comes to Alienware, the M-series laptops are a great fit for those looking for a solid machine without paying ultra-premium prices. That being said, even these more affordable Alienware laptops can cost a pretty penny, which is why it’s always important to do your research before buying. If your budget can’t accommodate these pricey performers, there’s plenty of choice in our list of best cheap gaming laptops. But if you’re a gaming enthusiast looking to crank those sliders as far to the right as possible, look no further than the best Alienware laptops.

What are the best Alienware laptops?

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The x17 R2 is the best of the best when it comes to Alienware’s offerings. Packed with high-spec components, this flagship laptop makes use of Intel’s latest 12th Gen CPUs to dominate when it comes to overall performance. Meanwhile, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU can make light work out of even the most demanding titles, delivering excellent visuals and solid frame rates. In terms of power, no other laptop of Alienware’s holds a candle to the impressive potential of the x17 R2, and as such, it secures a well-earned place at the top of our list.

Alienware x17 R2

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re seeking out a laptop with some serious graphics potential, why not also invest in one with a truly impressive display? The Alienware m15 R4 is an impressive gaming laptop in its own right, and delivers excellent performance in games and VR. If, like me, you've ever been accused of being something of a videophile (though nothing was ever proven in a court of law), the m15 R4’s incredibly bright and vivid 4K OLED display will almost certainly catch your eye. Bring your games and media to life like never before and enjoy a crisp 4K picture, true blacks, better contrasts, and impressive viewing angles.

Alienware’s x15 is a fantastic all-rounder that somehow manages to cram impressively high spec components into one of their slimmest and trimmest chassis ever. It may lack the raw power of its x17 R2 sibling, but with an impressive 11th Gen Intel Core CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, the x15 isn’t left in the shadows. Other standout features include a gorgeous 1080p display with refresh rates of up to 360Hz and significant improvements in thermal management. The Alienware x15 is a solid pick for those looking for powerful flagship performance, sleek style and impressive portability from their gaming laptops.

(Image credit: Alienware)
The best Alienware laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-12900HK
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: 64GB
Storage: dual 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD
Display: 17.3-inch, 1080p @ 165Hz, 360Hz / 4K @ 120Hz
Dimensions: 15.7 x 11.8 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 7.1 pounds

Reasons to buy

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Blistering transfer speeds
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Excellent audio
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Powerful overall and gaming performance
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Beautiful design

Reasons to avoid

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Nearly $5K for top configurations

Alienware’s new flagship gaming laptops are a sight to behold. They’re the thinnest, fastest, and most powerful laptops the brand has ever created, and some of the best gaming laptops presently available. There’s a clear focus on premium performance, and when paired with Alienware’s gorgeous Legend design you get a device that exudes quality — inside and out. The X-series of laptops are indeed impressive, but when it comes to Alienware’s x17 R2, it feels like the Dell subsidiary is simply flexing on the competition.

Sporting one of Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake chips, the x17 R2 offers a level of multitasking prowess that would make a conjoined octopus jealous. Paired with 64GB of RAM, Alienware’s notebook obliterated the competition when it came to our synthetic tests. And when it came to gaming potential, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU didn’t let us down, either. Pitting the x17 R2 against some of gaming's most demanding titles resulted in fantastic visuals, and impressive frame rates to boot. 

If that level of power and performance doesn’t sway you, there’s plenty more to sweeten the deal — from ultra low profile CherryMX mechanical keys to a set of bottom-mounted speakers that deliver impressive Dolby Atmos audio. The x17 R2 also has some fantastic high refresh rate panel options, including a brilliant 120Hz, UHD display that makes the x17 R2 one of the best 4K laptops available. No expense was spared when Alienware designed their most premium laptop to date, and with configurations costing upwards of $4,799, you’ll need a similar mindset if you want to get your hands on it.

See our full Alienware x17 R2 review.

(Image credit: Alienware)

2. Alienware x15

The best all-round Alienware laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-11900H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070
RAM: 16GB, 32GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Display: 15.6-inch, FHD @ 165Hz, 360Hz
Dimensions: 14.16 x 10.91 x 0.64 inches
Weight: 5.2 pounds

Reasons to buy

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Impressive cooling tech
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Powerful performance and graphics
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Super fast refresh rates
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Slim design

Reasons to avoid

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Disappointing storage for $2K+ starting price

The Alienware x15 is the true all-rounder of Alienware’s new flagship X-series laptops. It strikes a balance between the power of the x17 and the portability of other modern 15-inch notebooks. The X-series laptops are some of the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops Alienware has to offer, and they make the days of their notoriously chunky and cumbersome gaming laptops seem like a far off distant memory. While the frame and overall weight of the x15 has been impressively trimmed down, a lot of the components found under the hood have had some considerable beefing up.

The x15 sports an 11th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and upwards of 32GB of RAM, which packs a considerable punch when it comes to performance and multitasking. However, add an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 to the mix and you’ve got yourself a hefty one-two combo that will see you taking on AAA titles with ease over the coming years. At present, the x15’s display is limited to a 1080p panel, but it is capable of super fast refresh rates of up to 360Hz.

The slim design of the x15 when paired with the powerful components within could easily lead to a number of thermal headaches. Luckily, Alienware is one step ahead of things and has improved airflow with four dynamically controlled fans, and improved the thermal interface material to allow faster heat dispersal from the CPU. All in all, the x15 is a well-rounded machine that’s capable of some impressive performance. It’s both more portable than the x17 and a great middleground in terms of power when compared with the M-series laptops that came before it.

(Image credit: Alienware)
The best Alienware M-series laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-10980HK
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
RAM: 32GB
Storage: x2 1TB PCI m.2 SSDs
Display: 17.3-inch, 4K @ 60Hz / FHD @ 144Hz, 360Hz
Dimensions: 15.7 x 11.6 x 0.7~0.9 inches
Weight: 6.6 pounds

Reasons to buy

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Excellent graphics and performance
+
Customizable keyboard
+
Bright, vivid, high-refresh rate display
+
Attractive chassis

Reasons to avoid

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Poor battery life

The fourth revision of Alienware’s fantastic m17 is one of our favorite gaming laptops, and with good reason. If you’re in the market for a new laptop and gaming is a priority, then the m17 R4 should appear on your shortlist. It’s one of Alienware’s better looking offerings, but the beauty here isn’t skin deep. Alienware’s gaming goliath is also packed with some serious hardware, including a genuinely impressive 17.3-inch screen. It won’t come cheap, but snagging one will grant you more power than Popeye after a seven-day binge on leafy greens.

While there’s an abundance of power to be found in the m17 R4’s mighty 10th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU already, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 graphics with 16GB of VRAM really kicks it up a notch. Crank out some impressive performance and capture every frame on the m17’s bright and vivid display with a super-fast refresh rate of up to 360Hz. Top that off with 32GB of RAM and some super speedy SSDs, and it’s easy to see how Alienware’s m17 made short work of the competition in our benchmark testing.

Alienware has recently announced the all-new m17 R5, touting it as “the world’s most powerful 17-inch AMD Advantage laptop.” From what we know of it so far, that claim is no tall tale. This new revision has some powerful configurations available that top out with a Ryzen 9 6980HX CPU, and the option of either an Nvidia GeForce or AMD Radeon GPU. If you’re a fan of AMD’s offerings it may well be worth waiting to look into further.

See our full Alienware m17 R4 review.

(Image credit: Alienware)
The best Alienware OLED laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7-10870H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 3070, 3080
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: 15.6-inch, 4K OLED/4K @ 60Hz, FHD @ 144Hz, 300Hz
Dimensions: 14.2 x 10.9 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 5.3 lbs.

Reasons to buy

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Awesome performance
+
Gorgeous 4K OLED display
+
Stylish design

Reasons to avoid

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Short battery life

The Alienware m15 R4 might be smaller in scale than its m17 sibling, but that doesn’t mean it’s smaller in ambition. Our review model was outfitted with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, though configurations with the more powerful RTX 3080 are available for purchase. However, our benchmark testing still saw the 15-inch laptop topple averages across the board in games like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Alienware’s m15 excelled in our overall performance testing as well, no doubt due to its 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and zippy 1TB SSD.

However, the specs of the m15 R4 aren’t the only impressive thing to behold as it also sports an absolutely gorgeous 4K OLED display. Not only was the display crisp and bright, it covered 149.5% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which resulted in an incredibly vivid and colorful picture. While the 4K OLED model is limited to a refresh rate of 60Hz, other configurations allow for a Full HD panel with refresh rates of up to 300Hz. Whichever option you go for, Nvidia’s Optimus and G-Sync tech are available to help eliminate screen tearing, optimize performance, and ensure the smoothest gaming experience available.

It’s worth pointing out that while we have great things to say about the Alienware m15 R4, there are newer revisions currently available. The m15 R6 features a multitude of improvements including: an 11th Gen Intel Core CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics, more RAM, and even higher refresh rates of up to 360Hz.

See our full Alienware m15 R4 (3070) review.

(Image credit: Alienware)
The best Alienware AMD laptop

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen R7 5800H / Ryzen 9 5800H, 5900HX
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 3070
RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB PCIe m.2 SSD
Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p @ 165Hz, 360Hz / 1440p @ 240Hz
Dimensions: 14 x 10.7 x 0.5~0.9 inches
Weight: 5.4 pounds

Reasons to buy

+
Solid overall and gaming performance
+
Comfortable keyboard
+
Great display and high refresh rate
+
Sleek, attractive design

Reasons to avoid

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Below-average battery life

The sight of an AMD-based Alienware laptop might be rare, but whenever you do see one it’s almost always worth taking note. The m15 Ryzen Edition is another impressive revision of Alienware’s brilliant gaming laptop, this time blending the power of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with the punchy performance of an AMD Ryzen 7/9 CPU. While some would prefer an all AMD system, the two make for an impressive combo — delivering power, performance and sleek head-turning looks.

Our benchmark testing saw us put the Ryzen R7 5800H CPU to the test, and it didn’t disappoint. When it came to overall performance, Alienware’s notebook surpassed the premium laptop average in synthetic testing, 4K video transcoding and file transfer speed. When it came to gaming performance, our testing saw the m15 deliver high frame rates across a range of demanding AAA titles at medium settings. While testing games on their highest settings, the m15 did struggle to meet the premium gaming laptop average, but it managed to hit 60 frames per second in most titles.

Alienware’s laptops are known for their power, but both the X- and M-series of notebooks have some fantastic displays, and the m15 Ryzen Edition is no exception. Expect super-fast refresh rates no matter which of the available panels you choose, with 1080p displays capable of up to 360Hz and 1440p of 240Hz. Both screens offer impressive brightness and color reproduction, along with speedy response times between 1 to 3 milliseconds. This combination of picture and performance isn’t one you’ll want to overlook, especially with its sub-$2000 price tag.

See our full Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition review.