The R3 came out in 2016 and was a completely revamped version from the previous two: the Alienware 17 R1 and R2. Since then, Alienware also came out with the R4 in late 2016. They also have a smaller, 15-inch version of the Alienware gaming laptop (Alienware 15). The R3 was upgraded from the previous two models with a new CPU processor: the 6th generation Intel Core i7 and a new graphics processor: the Nvidia 980M Graphics and the base model for this laptop comes with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD.
Alienware 17 Design
As mentioned, the Alienware 17 design was revamped. It still maintains the spaceship-inspired design which the brand is known for as their signature design, but they made some changes to the chassis. The revamped version is made of anodized aluminum and magnesium alloy which is reinforced with steel and it is thinner than some other gaming laptops on the market and thinner than their previous models.
This is due to the redesign of the chassis and also the “hinge-forward design” that they’ve incorporated into the laptop. Instead of the internal cooling system being underneath the keyboard itself, the heatsinks have been moved to the back of the laptop, behind the hinge. Not to mention, the top half of the laptop is made with only a single piece of metal and a thin optical stack which has resulted in a flatter and sharper design.
Alienware 17 Display
The display on the Alienware 17 is a 17.3-inch anti-glare, 4K UHD screen that provides sharp, precise and vibrant color payoff. The brightness and color gamut of this gaming laptop is the best of its class, sitting at 318 nits of brightness and 173.5 percent sRGB range. Its color accuracy is very strong, however, is not the best out of its competitors. It’s ultra-high definition, the 4K display makes for a perfect movie and gaming experience.
Alienware 17 Gaming and Graphics Features
In terms of gaming and graphics, the Alienware 17 by itself doesn’t stand much of a chance against its main competitors. In the 3DMark’s Fire Strike Ultra graphics test it reached a result of 2,270 which was slightly below that of some of the other popular gaming laptops on the market and it could only handle 37.17 fps during a game test of Metro: Last Light.
However, Alienware has a cutting-edge advantage in this area. Along with the Alienware 17 gaming laptop, they have a special graphics amp which almost any type of desktop GPU can be added. It is connected to the laptop through a special port in the back. With this amp, graphics results rise to 3,865 which is up to 60 percent better than the competing gaming laptops. Fps in Metro: Last Night also rises up to 62fps, exceeding that of the competition also.
The greatest thing about the graphics amp is that Alienware is currently the only brand currently offering this with their gaming laptops. This graphics amp also enables you to upgrade your graphics in the future for when new GPUs come out. This means that the Alienware 17 is future-proof for any updates in graphic quality in the future.
Alienware 17 Keyboard and Touchpad
They keyboard is comfortable, with a very deep 2.6mm of travel and an actuation weight of 65 grams. The new Alienware 17 has a rapid-response feature registers more than 108 key commands per minute and features fully customizable colored backlighting. The one downside to the keyboard, though, is that it is noticeably slower to type and less accurate.
The 3.8 x 2.8-inch touchpad is a stand-out feature on this gaming laptop for its colored light that appears whenever you touch it. It’s very responsive, smooth to the touch, accurate and fast. It also features two separate dedicated mouse buttons for left and right.
Alienware 17 Audio
In terms of audio quality, it’s very arcade-like. It’s not optimum for immersing in cinematic sound and in some situations, it can make sounds muffled or have a lack of bass. It is best to connect to external speakers to enhance the quality of the sound.
Alienware 17 Battery Life
The Alienware 17 has a larger 99WHr battery that can last just over 6 hours while on continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of brightness. This is much better than the average in the gaming laptop market which is about 4 hours of battery life. It exceeds many of its competitors in this area such as the Eon17-SLX and GT72 Dragon Edition which run on just under 3 hours of battery life.
- Slim and thin design
- Flatter and sharper feel
- Extremely high-quality display (4K quality)
- Graphics amp provides impressive gaming experience and upgrade ability
- Comfortable, rapid-response keyboard
- Customizable lights and backlights
- Good battery life
- Low audio quality
- Not portable due to graphics amp
- Longer and larger, won’t be able to fit in a normal backpack
Overall, the Alienware 17 is the latest, most attractive gaming laptop in the market right now. Its performance is on par with many of the top competitors in the gaming laptop market and it has an edge with its revolutionary graphics amp that not only gives the gaming laptop the ability to upgrade graphics quality in the future but also boosts gaming and graphics performance way above the specifications of other top gaming laptops.
However, despite its slimmer, flatter and sharper design, it, unfortunately, is not a very portable laptop unless you are willing to sacrifice gaming quality when out and about because the graphics amp provides the Alienware laptop to perform at the top-quality performance. Audio could also be improved, but the best option to improve it right now is to attach external speakers to the laptop.