Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2: What's the difference?

Alienware x16 R2 vs Alienware m16 R2
(Image credit: Future)

Even as an expert in all things laptop, especially gaming laptops, it's difficult to find the right one you're looking for when they're all named by someone really into semantics. I feel like that one dad who runs through six different names before getting to the right one.

Alienware, makers of the best gaming laptops around, is also guilty of asinine naming conventions — the most recent being the Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2. One lowercase letter carries so much weight. You probably caught onto the fact that both laptops sport a 16-inch display, but what is actually different?

It's simple. The Alienware m16 R2 is a mid-range gaming laptop (sub-$2,000), whereas the Alienware x16 R2 is a premium gaming laptop ($2,000+). But why does one cost more than the other? Let's jump in and find out where your money is going.

Alienware x16 R2 | ★★★★ Editor's Choice

Alienware x16 R2 | ★★★★ Editor's Choice

Pros: Impressively thin design; Excellent keyboard & touchpad; Strong performance and graphics; Solid battery life; Great thermals

Cons: Price-to-performance ratio is rough; Display isn’t the best for a $3K+ gaming laptop; Messy audio

See our full Alienware x16 R2 review.

Alienware m16 R2 | ★★★½

Alienware m16 R2 | ★★★½

Pros: Excellent redesign; Phenomenal gaming power; High productivity performance; Stealth Mode is great; Satisfying keyboard

Cons: Subpar color; Dim display; Loud fans; Underwhelming audio; Battery life could be better

See our full Alienware m16 R2 review.

Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Specs compared

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Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2
ModelAlienware x16 R2Alienware m16 R2
Price$3,199$1,849
CPUIntel Core Ultra 9 185HIntel Core Ultra 7 155H
RAM32GB16GB
GraphicsNvidia GeForce RTX 4080 12GBNvidia GeForce RTX 4070 8GB
Display16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz
Weight5.9 pounds5.8 pounds
Dimensions14.4 x 11.4 x 0.7 inches14.3 x 9.8 x 0.9 inches

Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Price

If you read the above, you already know how this section will play out. The price gap between the Alienware x16 R2 and Alienware m16 R2 is wide enough for most people to stop reading and decide. But let's break down what you're getting so you know if it's worth that extra money.

Alienware m16 R2

(Image credit: Momo Tabari/Laptop Mag)

For $3,199, the Alienware x16 R2 offers an Intel Core Ultra 9 185H processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 GPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, a 16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz display, and a CherryMX mechanical keyboard.

For $1,849, the Alienware m16 R2 features an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics chip, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, and a 16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz display.

The Alienware m16 R2 starts at $1,499, whereas you need to take an elevator to the Alienware x16 R2's floor, which is $2,099. The GPUs are different: RTX 4050 and RTX 4060. However, you can get an RTX 4060 in the m16 R2 for just $1,599. The m16 also caps out at RTX 4070, while the x16 goes up to RTX 4090.

The Alienware m16 R2 will be more affordable regardless of how you configure these two.

Winner: Alienware m16 R2

Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Design

All the coin Alienware x16 R2 is pilfering isn't just for its internal components. There a huge difference in design compared with the Alienware m16 R2.

Alienware x16 R2 review

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

Color is the first giveaway — the x16 R2 sports Alienware's Lunar Silver, while the m16 R2 features the company's Dark Metallic Moon — fancy names for silver and gray. I'm partial to the silver, but the colors themselves aren't particularly alluring.

However, the x16 R2 is rocking RGB lights all over its chassis, including the infinity loop on the hinge and even the whole touchpad. If you're a fan of RGB lights, the m16 R2 lacks those fancier features, but it still supports lighting on the logos, keyboard, and surrounding touchpad.

Then there's the size difference. Despite both laptops being 16-inch units, the Alienware x16 R2 weighs 5.9 pounds and measures 14.4 x 11.4 x 0.7 inches, while the Alienware m16 R2 weighs 5.8 pounds and measures 14.3 x 9.8 x 0.9 inches. 

Even the style of the chassis profile is different. The x16 doesn't feature any ports on the side and instead supports vents and an intricately carved design. The m16 looks more like your standard laptop but doesn't have a big back. Despite being slightly thicker, the Alienware m16 R2 is more portable due to the shorter depth.

Overall, the Alienware x16 R2 offers the most premium design.

Winner: Alienware x16 R2

Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Display

The display is where the heart is for a gaming laptop — I think it's even more important than the GPU. Since the Alienware x16 R2 and m16 R2 are specced with a 16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz panel, you'd assume that they support the same display. You'd be wrong.

Alienware x16 R2 review

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

The specs are the same, so let's jump into benchmarks.

Okay, what about benchmarks? The Alienware x16 R2 covered 78.9% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and averaged 334 nits of brightness. The Alienware m16 R2 covered 69.9% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and averaged 288 nits of brightness.

Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of either of these displays. Both fall way below what we expect of them at their price points. However, the numbers don't change, the Alienware x16 R2 features the brighter and more colorful screen.

Winner: Alienware x16 R2

Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Keyboard

We usually don't dive into the keyboard experience in a face-off, but there's an exceptional difference between the Alienware x16 R2 and Alienware m16 R2.

Alienware x16 R2 review

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

The Alienware m16 R2 supports your standard membrane keyboard but features anti-ghost technology, so no keystroke is unregistered while gaming. We found it comfortable to type on and were happy it came with full-sized arrow keys.

Meanwhile, the Alienware x16 R2 slides in with a full-blown CherryMX ultra-low-profile mechanical keyboard. Each key produces a satisfying click followed by a sturdy bounce.

Mechanical crushes membrane every single time.

Winner: Alienware x16 R2

Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Graphics

The Alienware m16 R2's Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 8GB GPU will have to fight dirty with the Alienware x16 R2's RTX 4080 12GB to keep up. We know this isn't a fair fight, but let's see what your top money can buy.

Alienware x16 R2 review

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

On the Far Cry 6 benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), the Alienware x16 R2 hit 88 frames per second, and the Alienware m16 R2 surprisingly led with 89 fps. At their native resolutions, the x16 averaged 85 fps, and the m16 managed 71 fps, which seems more in line with their respective GPUs.

The Alienware x16 R2 scored 139 fps on the Borderlands 3 benchmark (Badass, 1080p), surpassing the m16 R2 (102 fps). At native resolutions, the x16 and m16 scored 94 fps and 65 fps, respectively.

On the Red Dead Redemption 2 benchmark (Medium, 1080p), the x16 R2 averaged 90 fps while the m16 R2 lost the reigns around 65 fps. Natively, the x16 reached 58 fps while the m16 achieved 40 fps.

Both machines highjacked the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (High, 1080p), and the Alienware x16 R2 hit 143 fps while the Alienware m16 R2 slowed down to 101 fps. At their native resolutions, the x16 averaged 85 fps, and the m16 got 56 fps.

If you don't mind sticking to the standard 1080p resolution, you can get a lot out of the Alienware m16 R2. However, the Alienware x16 R2 will give you the most out of its 1600p display.

Winner: Alienware x16 R2

Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Performance

While the Alienware x16 R2 and Alienware m16 R2 sport Intel's latest Core Ultra CPUs, they sport different configurations. The former rocks the high-end Intel Core Ultra 9 185H processor, while the latter takes a step down to the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU. Let's see how far that gap is. (Important note: the x16 R2 and m16 R2 featured 32GB and 16GB of RAM, respectively, when we tested them.)

Alienware m16 R2

(Image credit: Momo Tabari/Laptop Mag)

On the Geekbench 6.3 overall performance test, the Alienware x16 R2 scored 13,874, while the Alienware m16 R2 fell slightly behind at 12,784.

When the machines transcoded a 4K video to 1080p on our HandBrake benchmark, the Alienware x16 R2 completed it in 3 minutes and 33 seconds, while the Alienware m16 R2 finished in 3 minutes and 46 seconds.

The x16’s 1TB SSD scored a transfer rate of 1,776 megabytes per second, which is slower than the m16’s 1TB SSD (2,015 MBps).

The Alienware x16 R2 is stacked with better performance, but its overall performance isn't shockingly different from the Alienware m16 R2. I'd only advocate for getting that 32GB of RAM. Plus, the m16 R2 supports a faster SSD, which can make all the difference when booting and operating games.

Considering you can outfit the Alienware m16 with the same CPU and RAM as the x16 and that the m16's identical 1TB SSD netted a decently faster score, I will give it to the m16 on this round.

Winner: Alienware m16 R2

Alienware x16 R2 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Battery life

Honestly, I'd throw this section out entirely if the Alienware x16 R2 and Alienware m16 R2 didn't have impressive battery life. Gaming laptops with long battery life are still tough to find, but these two try their best.

Alienware x16 R2 review

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

The Alienware x16 R2 powered through 6 hours and 32 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test, which is 19 minutes faster than the Alienware m16 R2 at 6:13.

When gaming, the x16 R2 lasted 1:19, whereas the m16 R2 managed 0:53. I advise against playing games while unplugged, as it reduces performance, but if you're trying to squeeze in an extra 20 minutes, the Alienware x16 R2 is your choice.

Winner: Alienware x16 R2

Overall winner: Alienware x16 R2

Now you know the difference and see that it was an unfair fight most of the way through. The Alienware x16 R2 is the premium option compared with the Alienware m16 R2 mid-range alternative. Naturally, the Alienware x16 R2 came out on top.

The Alienware x16 R2 boasts superior graphics performance, a more premium chassis and keyboard, a vivid display, and longer battery life. Of course, it also costs as much as a down payment on a car.

That's why the Alienware m16 R2 is still a great alternative if you're looking for a mid-range gaming laptop with excellent performance and some of the premium aspects that come with Alienware-designed tech.

However, another critical note we didn't get into is the thermals: The Alienware x16 R2 is cooler overall than the m16 R2. We're talking hottest point: 102 vs. 150 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.

The Alienware x16 R2 is an excellent choice if you can afford it. Its quality components make Alienware a household name for gaming laptops. Except for the display. I won't get over it, Alienware.

Winner: Alienware x16 R2

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Rami Tabari
Editor

Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.