The Alienware m15 midrange gaming laptop we’re reviewing here is in a bit of a weird spot at the moment, caught mid-refresh. In October of 2018 the Alienware m15 debuted—at long last, a slimmed-down version of its longtime Alienware 15 laptop. But only a few months later that version is seemingly on its way out, with the announcement at Computex that the product line will soon be updated with the “Legend” design language first seen on the flagship Alienware Area-51m.

The first-gen m15’s not dead yet though. Just before Computex, Alienware sent us an updated version of the original m15, bumping up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics and a stunning OLED display. The company confirmed that this model will be around through the holidays, overlapping with the redesigned versions. And if you hadn’t guessed already, it doesn’t come cheap. 

Hardware

Not cheap at all. Our m15 variant lists for an eye-watering $2,780. For that, you’ll receive an Intel Core i7-8750H, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB M.2 SSD, a supplemental 1TB hybrid drive, and the aforementioned OLED display.

And sure, you can get a more expensive Alienware m15. The top-of-the-line model is an OLED-equipped variant with an Intel Core i9-8950HK, RTX 2080 Max-Q and 32GB of RAM which lists for $4,480 through Alienware’s site. That’s mortgage-your-house money.

Alienware m15 IDG / Hayden Dingman

Up against that kind of exorbitance, $2,430 seems almost affordable. That said, it’s worth noting we just reviewed another laptop with similar hardware last month—the Lenovo Legion Y740. It features the same Core i7-8750H and RTX 2070 Max-Q, but for only $1,920 list. Plus it was on sale when we reviewed it, dipping as low as $1,540.

The Legion Y740’s 144Hz G-Sync display didn’t look nearly as nice as Alienware’s OLED option. I called it “nothing special,” to be specific. But for almost $1,000 less? Well, it might be better to take the mediocre built-in screen and buy yourself a nice, large monitor on the side. Or a fancy mouse and keyboard. Your call, I guess.

There are also plenty of options if you want a cheaper m15. The low-end model starts at $1,330 and features a GTX 1660 Ti—essentially an updated GTX 1060—plus a Core i5-8300H, a piddly 8GB of RAM, and a single 1TB hybrid drive. You can mix and match practically every part between that and the $4,000 monstrosity listed above to configure your perfect machine.

Design

The Alienware m15 isn’t that much larger than the Razer Blade or other small form-factor gaming laptops, but it feels larger. I’m going to guess it’s the blunt angles, a proclivity for flat planes and sharp angles on the m15 where the Blade chooses curves. It feels aggressive.





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