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.
If you’re on the prowl for 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.
The Quick List
Best Alienware laptop overall
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, it obliterated the competition when it came to our synthetic tests.
best all-round laptop
Best all-round Alienware laptop
The x15 sports an 11th Gen Intel Core i9 processor and upwards of 32GB of RAM, which packs a considerable punch for peak performance and multitasking. Add an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 to the mix and you’ve got yourself a hefty one-two combo.
best M-series laptop
Best Alienware M-series laptop
The m17 R4’s mighty 10th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU and GeForce RTX 3080 graphics (with 16GB of VRAM) really kick things up a notch. Bonus: the bright and vivid display has a super-fast refresh rate of up to 360Hz.
best OLED laptop
Best Alienware OLED laptop
This gorgeous 4K OLED display covered 149.5% of the DCI-P3 color gamut in our testing, resulting 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.
best AMD laptop
Best Alienware AMD laptop
Blending the portable power of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU with the punchy performance of an AMD Ryzen 7/9 CPU, the two make for an impressive combo — delivering power, performance and sleek head-turning looks.
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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.
Best All-Purpose Alienware Gaming Laptop
2. Alienware x15
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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.
Best M-Series Laptop
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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.
Best Alienware OLED laptop
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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.
Best AMD laptop
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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.
How to Choose the best Alienware gaming laptops
When shopping for a gaming laptop, there's a lot to consider. To help you choose a system, here are five key points to keep in mind when choosing a system.
Budget: What you get for the money
You can find good inexpensive gaming laptops for under $1,000. However, more powerful mainstream gaming laptops are often priced between $1,500 and $2,000. Premium systems typically cost more than $2,000 and come stacked with a host of high-powered goodies such as high-powered specs and tricked-out software.
Screen Size: 15 inches is the go-to
It's very rare that you'll find a 13 or 14-inch gaming laptops nowadays as smaller bezels and lighter frames have paved the way for seriously thin-and-light gaming laptops. That means the days of chunky 15.6-inch laptops putting a strain on your back are over (almost).
From there, you have the 17.3-inch desktop replacements that like their smaller counterparts are becoming super svelte. But there are still the big behemoths that don't skimp on the specs. However, weighing upwards of 8 pounds, those big boys are made for your home gaming station.
Screen Resolution: 1080p for high refresh rates, 4K for detail
When it comes to gaming laptops displays, you want to strike a balance between frame rates and aesthetics. And in case you're planning to get a truly mobile system battery life is also deserves consideration. We recommend checking out a system with a 1080p resolution. Panel makers are now serving up screens with high refresh rate, topping out at 360Hz with a 3 millisecond response rate. But don't count out 4K screens yet as we're starting to see laptops with 4K displays with 120Hz. Keep in mind that laptops with lower resolutions tend to have longer battery life overall.
Refresh rate: 120Hz is the sweet spot
Depending what kind of games you're playing, particularly first person shooters and MOBA, you'll take anything that will enhance accuracy. Surprisingly, the higher a display's refresh rate is, the more accurate your shot become. It's a phenomenon that we've experienced first hand during many demos. And while 60Hz is passable, right now we recommend investing in a panel with at least a 120Hz refresh rate.
Intel or AMD?
A couple of years ago, the answer to this question would have been undoubtedly Intel. But AMD has made a furious comeback with its new Ryzen CPUs, which are delivering great overall performance. Thanks to the architecture in the new Ryzen chips, they're super power efficient without sacrificing productivity. The Ryzen 5000 series CPUs have consistently impressed with its performance versus battery life.
Not to be outdone, Intel's 11th Gen chips are nothing to sneeze at. Laptop manufacturers have started rolling out systems with the Intel's 11th Gen H-series Tiger Lake chips. The 10-nanometer chips are extremely powerful, but still at the low-end of the spectrum with the overclockable HK-series CPU, due to launch soon. Why do you want to invest in an overclockable processor, because with the touch of a button, you can squeeze even more power out of the system. It comes in handy when you're multitasking or playing a really demanding game.
Battery Life: At least 4.5 hours
Unless it's plugged in, gaming laptop battery life tends to be very short, especially when gaming. However, gaming laptop battery life has gotten increasing longer over the years. So much so, that anything under 4.5 hours is considered below average. But we've just reviewed our first gaming laptop that's lasted into the double digits. With results like that, we expect gaming laptops will match their non-gaming counterparts sooner than later. Our most power-efficient gaming laptop ran over 11 hours and sits on our longest-lasting laptops page.
Specs: 1080p / Core i5 / 16GB Are Best Bets
You can spend a lot of time delving into specs, but here are the key components to think about. If you just want really good mainstream performance, go for a Core i5 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 1080p screen.
How We Test the best Alienware gaming laptops
We put each gaming laptop through extensive benchmark testing — both synthetic and real-world — before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate each aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers and heat management.
In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop's display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests.
To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution.
We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, a runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise.
These tests are complemented with extensive hands-on testing from our reviewers who critique everything from the laptop's materials to the feel of its touchpad.
See this page on How We Test Laptops for more details on our benchmarking procedures.
Why Trust Laptop Mag
Laptop Mag reviews over one hundred different laptops every year, from paperweight ultralights to everyday workhorses to lumbering gaming notebooks that scorch the frame rates of even the hottest AAA games. We're not just experts in the laptop field, as we go one step further by meticulously testing smartphones, tablets, headphones, PC accessories, software, and even the latest in gaming.
We are 100% independent and have decades of experience to help you buy with confidence. In fact, Laptop Mag has been testing and reviewing products for three decades, and we continue to deliver trustworthy reviews you can rely on.
Our experienced team of writers and editors scour the available information about the laptop and put it through its paces to determine which is best for you. But before they start, the testing team subjects each system to a rigorous regimen of synthetic and real-world tests to see how a system handles the type of work and games you’re most likely to throw at it.
Our editorial trustworthiness is enforced by one of the world's largest technology publishers, Future Publishing. As a company, we have unrivaled experience across every tech sector — and we're the group's specialist for all things mobile tech.
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Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.