Alienware m17 first look Review

Alienware M15: Meet Alienware's lightest 17-inch gaming laptop yet

Verdict

Alienware's lightest and smallest ever 17-inch gaming laptop has the potential to boss the market, as long as the price is right

Key Specifications

  • 17-inch Full HD display
  • RTX graphics card
  • Up to 8th-Gen Intel Core i9 K-Series
  • 8GB GDDR6 RAM
  • Weight: 2.6kg

What is the Alienware m17?

The Alienware m17 is basically a bigger and more powerful version of the Alienware m15. With the latter being one of my favourite gaming laptops of 2018, the m17 looks an exciting option for those who fancy a mega display to soak up their virtual romps.

Measuring 23mm deep and weighing in around 2.6kg, this is one of the thinnest and lightest 17-inch gaming laptops on the market. In fact, it’s a stunning 40% lighter than the Alienware 17.

Alienware m17

It isn’t only the size of the device that will get tongues wagging. The Alienware m17 comes packing Nvidia’s new RTX graphics cards to enable the wonder that is ray tracing. Add an Intel Core i9 K-series processor to proceedings, and you have an ultra-powerful gaming setup with top-of-the-line specs.

How has Alienware been able to create such a thin laptop with such beefy specs without turning it into a self-combusting nightmare? It’s all thanks to the Alienware Cyro-Tech v2.0 technology, which ensures all hardware is kept cool and running at an optimal performance. This rounds off a package that could well be one of best gaming laptops in 2019.

Related: Best gaming laptops 2019

Alienware m17 price

Pricing has yet to be confirmed for the Alienware m17, but you expect multiple configurations, with various RTX graphics card and CPU options. Judging by the specs, this is likely to be a pricey laptop that will easily exceed the £2000 mark.

Alienware m17 release date

The Alienware m17 will be available to buy from 29 January 2019.

Alienware m17 – Design

Think of the Alienware m15, but bigger. There really isn’t much else between the two devices in terms of physical appearance. The m17 features a premium design with a sturdy hinge and a quality RGB keyboard.

Alienware m17

The bezel surrounding the display remains thin, but not quite as reduced as you’d find on the Razer Blade 15. The top bezel – where you’ll find the webcam lurking – is unnecessarily large, although I’ve begun to warm to it as it adds a splash of personality to make the m17 easily identifiable as an Alienware laptop. The Alienware logo, which you’ll find positioned above the keyboard and on the lid, also helps to add some sci-fi charm.

Fans can be found running along both the back and sides of the system for maximum airflow. There’s also a smattering of ports both on the rear and sides. You’ll find connections for USB-C, USB-A, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI – essentially everything you could possibly need as a gamer.

As is the case with the m15, you also get a choice of two lid colours with the m17: Epic Silver and Nebula Red. Personally, I prefer the latter, which gives the laptop a unique look in the world of laptops where black and silver dominate.

Alienware m17

It’s the dimensions and weight that are the greatest eyebrow-raiser here, however. Alienware claims that this is the thinnest and lightest 17-inch laptop it’s ever created. That’s not doing it justice, as I’m struggling to think of another 17-inch gaming laptop – even outside of Alienware’s lineup – that can boast a more compact frame.

Weighing approximately 2.6kg, this laptop is still leaning towards back-breaker rather than ultra-portable. It’s designed to be stationed at your desk for the majority of its lifespan, although its heft isn’t so ungainly to warrant a wince if a friend were to ask you to bring it round for a multiplayer LAN party. 

Related: Alienware Area-51m first look

Alienware m17 – Performance

The Alienware m17 has a seriously impressive spec sheet, flaunting the RTX graphics cards, up to an 8th-Gen Intel Core i9 K-series CPU and 8GB of GDDR6 RAM. This all combines to deliver a laptop that should be capable of a super-speedy performance.

Alienware is yet to confirm which configurations will be available, but expect to have the option of Nvidia’s RTX 2060, RTX 2070 Max-Q, and RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics cards. Thanks to the potential of the i9 CPU, Alienware suggests the m17 will feature dynamic overclocking, enabling you to squeeze every ounce of power out of this beast.

Alienware m17

I had a brief time to play around with the m17, booting up Hitman 2 and fawning over the gorgeous environments rendered by the RTX 2080 Max-Q. Surprisingly, I did notice the odd frame rate drop, but that’s forgivable since the m15 had been running all day at a CES 2019 showcase, suffering under the grime-laden fingers of a multitude of journalists.

Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to witness this laptop running ray tracing, as Battlefield V – the only game to actively support the technology at the time of writing – wasn’t playable at this demo event.

While I haven’t been able to run any benchmarks on the m17, I’m optimistic that they’ll be impressive following the heights the Alienware m15 achieved.

Related: What is ray tracing? Everything you need to know

First impressions

The Alienware m15 was up there as one of my favourite gaming laptops of 2018. The m17 is essentially just a more powerful and bigger version, so I’m expecting a similar quality with the added bonus of a 17-inch display and support for ray tracing.

My one concern at this point is the price. The m15 was a tad more expensive than its rivals, preventing it from mounting a serious challenge for the top spot in our rankings. If Alienware is able to find a fair price point for the m17, however, I believe this could be the gaming laptop of choice if you’re pining for a 17-inch blockbuster experience.

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