Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Which is better?

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2
(Image credit: Future)

Looking for a 16-inch gaming laptop that you can champion through the night (and day)? There's an ocean's worth of rigs out there to get your hands on, but what will provide that jaw-dropping gaming experience you felt when you were a kid? I got you.

When we talk about the best gaming laptops, Alienware's name pops up, but Lenovo's Legion series is the underdog that keeps punching up, banging out incredible machines. So if we have a Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2 face-off, which will come out on top?

Both are 16-inch beasties, and both fall just under $2,000. So for a similar price, how different are these two mainstream gaming laptops? Let's jump in and find out where your money is going.

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 | ★★★★ Editor's Choice

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 | ★★★★ Editor's Choice

Pros: Vibrant display; Bouncy keyboard and silky touchpad; Powerful performance and graphics; Cool thermals

Cons: Scratches will strip paint; Mediocre audio; Short battery life

See our full Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 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.

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Specs compared

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Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2
ModelLenovo Legion 7i Gen 9Alienware m16 R2
Price$1,999 (starts at $1,699)$1,849 (starts at $1,649
CPUIntel Core i9-14900HXIntel Core Ultra 7 155H
RAM32GB16GB
GraphicsNvidia GeForce RTX 4070 8GBNvidia GeForce RTX 4070 8GB
Display16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz
Weight5.1 pounds5.8 pounds
Dimensions14.08 x 10.33 x 0.69 inches14.3 x 9.8 x 0.9 inches

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Price

The Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 and Alienware m16 R2 aren't quite premium, nor are they budget gaming laptops. They're higher-end mid-range gaming laptops, landing somewhere between $1,500 to $2,000. The price is so similar, but which gets you more?

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 review

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

For $1,999, the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 offers an Intel Core i9-14900HX processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 8GB GPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz display.

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 CPU is the most significant difference between these two gaming laptops.

The Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 starts at $1,699, while the Alienware m16 R2 starts at $1,499. The starting GPUs are different: RTX 4050 vs. RTX 4060. You can get an RTX 4060 in the m16 R2 for just $1,599. They both cap out at RTX 4070, but the CPU is the most significant difference between these two gaming laptops. Intel's 14th-Gen series is stronger than the company's newest Core Ultra series.

The Alienware m16 R2 is more affordable, but what you get for the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 at just $100 to $200 more is well worth the additional paper.

Winner: Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Design

This section is a little more complicated than I expected it to be. I like the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9's overall design better, but I'm leaning toward the Alienware m16 R2. Let me tell you why.

Alienware m16 R2

(Image credit: Momo Tabari/Laptop Mag)

The m16 R2's aluminum chassis is suited in a gray that looks like a piece of machinery from a sci-fi film. I'm getting bored of gray, so the Legion 7i's milky white chassis was refreshing to see. Unfortunately, the Legion 7i's design is flawed. Scratches will strip the paint. 

The Legion 7i is thinner and lighter, at 5.1 pounds and 14.1 x 10.3 x 0.7 inches, versus the m16 R2's 5.8 pounds and 14.3 x 9.8 x 0.9 inches. I'd give this victory to the Legion 7i on size alone, but if you accidentally scratch your system, those gray marks will be an eyesore.

Sorry, Lenovo.

Winner: Alienware m16 R2

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Display

I've always thought the display is more important than the GPU, so this section is the most fun. The Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 and Alienware m16 R2 both have a 16-inch, 2560 x 1600, 240Hz panel, so this is as fair a fight as it's going to get. But that doesn't stop one from demolishing the other.

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 review

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

It's time for the benchmarks. The Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 covered 81.6% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and averaged 479 nits of brightness, while the Alienware m16 R2 covered 69.9% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and averaged 288 nits of brightness.

That is such a stark difference that you'd think these two gaming laptops were in completely different price brackets. Nope, they're similar in price, and somehow, you get one display that's nearly 200 nits brighter. Need I say more?

Winner: Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Graphics

Like the display, the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 and Alienware m16 R2 are specced out the same. They sport an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM. Still, only one comes out the victor.

Alienware m16 R2

(Image credit: Momo Tabari/Laptop Mag)

On the Far Cry 6 benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), the Legion 7i hit 96 frames per second, and the m16 R2 fell shortly behind with 89 fps. At their native resolutions, the Legion 7i averaged 68 fps, but the m16 managed 71 fps—a bit of a draw.

The Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 nailed 90 fps on the Borderlands 3 benchmark (Badass, 1080p), falling behind the m16 R2 (102 fps). At native resolutions, the Legion 7i and m16 scored 60 fps and 65 fps, respectively.

On the Red Dead Redemption 2 benchmark (Medium, 1080p), the Legion 7i managed 68 fps while the m16 R2 fell off the horse around 65 fps. Natively, the Legion 7i and m16 matched at 40 fps.

Skydiving into the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (High, 1080p), and the Legion 7i landed on 96 fps while the m16 R2 let the wind carry it to 101 fps. At their native resolutions, the Legion 7i averaged 54 fps, and the m16 got 56 fps.

The graphics performance between the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 and Alienware m16 R2 is comparable. However, the m16 earned a few more victories across the board.

Winner: Alienware m16 R2

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Performance

As stated above, the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 is sporting the more powerful Intel Core i9-14900HX processor, while the Alienware m16 R2 features the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU. It's also important to note that the Legion has 32GB of RAM, while the Alienware has only 16GB.

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 review

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

On the Geekbench 6.3 overall performance test, the Legion 7i scored 17,261, while the m16 R2 crashed a few miles back at 12,784.

When the machines transcoded a 4K video to 1080p on our HandBrake benchmark, the Legion 7i completed it in 3 minutes and 8 seconds, while the m16 R2 finished in 3 minutes and 46 seconds. The difference is not as stark, but it's present.

Lenovo’s 1TB SSD scored a transfer rate of 1,705 megabytes per second, slower than the m16’s 1TB SSD, coming in at 2,015 MBps.

Yeah, the Alienware m16 R2's SSD is faster, but the overall performance is so wildly different between an Intel 14th-generation and a Core Ultra CPU that I wouldn't be comfortable with choosing anything but a 14th-generation processor.

Winner: Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Battery life

Battery life standards in gaming laptops are increasing each year. Do the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 and Alienware m16 R2 live up to that? Even if they do, which is better?

Alienware m16 R2

(Image credit: Momo Tabari/Laptop Mag)

Yikes. The Legion 7i lasted only 3 hours and 1 minute on the Laptop Mag battery test. Okay, what about the Alienware? Well, the m16 R2 banged out 6 hours and 13 minutes. That's the double-time I want to see.

Don't bother gaming on either of these laptops unplugged. You'll get 47 minutes on the Legion and 53 minutes on the Alienware. Still... Alienware is better.

Winner: Alienware m16 R2

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 vs. Alienware m16 R2: Heat

I rarely discuss heat in a face-off between gaming laptops. Why? Because they're inheritably spicy. However, the thermal difference between the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 and Alienware m16 R2 is so stark that it may be your deciding factor. 

For context, our comfort threshold is 95 degrees, but everyone has a different tolerance.

Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 review

(Image credit: Future/Rami Tabari)

After 15 minutes of playing a game, the Legion 7i clocked in at 85 degrees Fahrenheit on its underside, 101 degrees at the center of the keyboard, and 82.5 degrees at the center of the touchpad. The hottest part of the underside was located near the top center of the laptop, on the rubber feet, hitting 100 degrees.

Meanwhile, the Alienware m16 R2 registered 95 degrees on the underside, 108 degrees on the keyboard, and 76 degrees on the touchpad. The hottest part was 150 degrees, located on the far rear underside.

You could put one of these laptops on your lap, and the other should go in the freezer (don't actually do that).

Winner: Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9

Overall winner: Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9

That was a tight race. There are many arguments for why you should go with the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 or Alienware m16 R2. However, the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9 is the better overall gaming laptop.

The display alone sold me on the Legion 7i, but it also offers more for the price, better overall performance, and better heat management.

However, if you value a strong design, long battery life, and every single additional frame you can scrap together, then the Alienware m16 R2 is a solid choice.

But it'll never be as good as the Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9. A gaming laptop is about the visuals. It's your window into the art form beloved by billions. So that better be a damn pretty window.

Winner: Lenovo Legion 7i Gen 9

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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.