The Alienware M16 was introduced last year as a powerhouse gaming laptop to take on the likes of the Razer Blade 16 but with its second iteration, the brand is already pivoting. The new M16 R2 has a more timid look and milder specifications, all to appeal to a more mainstream audience.
- New mainstream designAlienware has reigned in its eccentric design to take a shot at a wider market.
- Stealth modeAlienware has introduced a mode to quickly tame lighting effects and fan noise.
- Modern gaming powerIntel Core Ultra H CPUs and Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs onboard.
The Alienware M16 burst onto the scene last year – an attempt from the Dell sister brand to topple high-performance gaming laptop rivals. It was an impressive laptop but the new model looks to have completely different aims as the Alienware M16 R2 is made to be a far more mainstream gaming laptop pick.
Alienware laptops have long been a bit of a mixed bag. The design is often stark and it typically aims to pack in features that enable high-end gaming performance over all else. The M16 was very much within this mould and we rated it a strong 4.5-stars, but it seems Alienware has different ambitions to its competitors within this space.
Gaming laptops that can do it all are nothing new, with the likes of the Razer Blade 14 and Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 fitting within this category. We’ve even seen the new HP Omen Transcend 14 launch this week with similar aims. The new M16 R2 remains even more targeted at gamers than its rivals but a broader audience is its key demographic. Late last year, I got to go hands-on with the new gaming laptop in New York, and here are my early thoughts.
Price and Availability
Unfortunately, we don’t have UK pricing quite yet but we know that the new Alienware M16 will start at $1,649.99 in the US when it arrives on January 11th. The base model with follow later in the year for $1,499. The release date for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) is set for March 14.
- Slimmer and lighter design
- Looks less typically “Alienware”
- New Stealth Mode
There are likely to be two schools of thought when it comes to the new look of the Alienware M16 R2, and it’ll depend on how much you like Alienware’s typical outlandish design philosophy. Alienware laptops usually look unique but the new M16 R2 goes for something simpler that almost ventures into being seen as boring. There’s no chunky section sticking out the rear of this laptop (the Thermal Shelf as Alienware calls it), and there are no large hexagonal vents that sit above the keyboard. It’s not been replaced with anything either.
As such, the new Alienware M16 R2 has a far more generic look than its predecessor, giving off vibes that are slightly more Acer Predator, HP Victus or, looking closer to home, the Dell G-Series, rather than Alienware devices that have gone before. Whether the new design is for you, what you do get is a gaming laptop that is thinner and lighter, with a 2.61kg weight and coming in at 23.5mm thin. Those are compared with the 3.25kg and 25.4mm measurements of the original M16. Despite its overall 15% smaller footprint, Alienware does manage to pack in a larger palm rest and touchpad. The chassis itself is a stylish and stealthy Dark Metallic Moon anodized aluminium.
Now, Alienware is one of the pioneers of RGB-ridden flashiness on laptops but the new M16 R2 has something that asks all that to just chill out a little bit. The new Stealth Mode turns the keyboard backlighting to white, switches off all other lightning zones and changes the power mode to Quiet. It sticks with the new mainstream goals of this laptop, aiming to appeal to those wanting to work in a coffee shop as well as those who like to game at a desk.
The port selection remains pleasingly strong, with a Thunderbolt 4, one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, an HDMI 2.1, a MicroSD card reader, an Ethernet port, a headphone jack and the Power/DC-In port.
Specs and Performance
- New Intel Core Ultra processors
- 16-inch QHD+ 240Hz display
- Up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070
The redesign of the Alienware M16 R2 is undoubtedly the biggest talking point but the specifications are refreshingly modern too. It comes equipped with the brand spanking new Intel Core Ultra chips, with a choice between a Core Ultra 7 155H and Core Ultra 9 185H. Alongside, the top-end graphics chip option is a 115W TGP Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070, with lower RTX 4060 and RTX 4050 options available as well.
It adds up to a selection of CPU and GPUs that aren’t shooting for the stars like the original M16 was, instead, something that remains very capable in the AAA gaming realm but is likely to afford better battery life as well as enable the newly thinner and lighter chassis. Rounding out the rest of the components are up to 64GB RAM and up to 8TB SSD.
Due to the focus on the mainstream realm, the display isn’t something that’ll knock your socks off as that would inevitably raise the price. Instead, you get a 16-inch QHD+ 240Hz panel with no fancy OLED or Mini LED technology. It does come with an anti-glare coating and 3ms GtG response time as well as support for Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync.
The battery itself is a decent 90Whr size cell that charge rapidly via the 280W standard adapter. If you want even more speed and a more compact size block then you can shell out for a 240W GaN charger instead. There’s also a 1080p webcam with dual-array microphones, further cementing this machine as an all-rounder.
We were huge fans of the previous Alienware M16, with the AMD edition wowing us with its raw power. However, Alienware clearly has other plans that line up with the rest of the industry in 2024, with brands like HP, MSI and more all showing new Intel Core Ultra gaming laptops that err on the side of a more mainstream audience. As with many gaming laptops that go down this route, the proof will be in how much such a move affects the pudding, as performance often takes a knock. The new Alienware M16 R2 could very well achieve its goals as a new all-rounder for the gaming brand but it could struggle to stand out in a crowded field.