Alienware m17 R2 review: A 17-inch showstopper?

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The Alienware m17 R2 is the larger-screened alternative to one of our favourite gaming laptops. Like the Alienware m15, this 17-inch laptop is built from the ground up – with a focus on creating a thinner and lighter gaming notebook without on compromising power. 

With Alienware’s trademark styling, it’s also a looker. But is the beauty of this machine just skin deep, or more than just style over substance? We’ve been gaming, working and streaming with the Alienware m17 for a couple of weeks to find out. 

A refined design for a gaming powerhouse

  • Magnesium alloy chassis in Lunar Light, Dark Side of the Moon finishes
  • 9th Gen Intel processors
    • Intel Core i5 to i9-9980HK
    • 8/16GB DDR4 2666Mhz RAM
  • Nvidia Geforce GPU options
    • GTX 1650/1660 Ti, RTX 2060/2070 or RTX 2080 Max-Q
  • Killer Networking E2600/E3000, Intel Dual Band Wireless, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Dual Raid 0 SSD storage, various size options

Like its smaller sibling, the new m17 has been revamped with a snazzy finish compared to its predecessor. It’s been lovingly crafted from a lightweight magnesium alloy and comes in a choice of bold and striking colour options: Lunar Light (white) and Dark Side of the Moon (black). 

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Alienware says this m17 R2 is the “thinnest and smallest” gaming notebook the company has ever made. Supposedly it’s leaner and punchier than its predecessor, but let’s not forget there’s other competition out there making super-time gaming laptops, such as the Razer Blade.

Under the hood, the Alienware m17 R2 certainly means business. There is a range of specification options to choose from, including everything from Intel Core i5 processors right up to the Core i9-9980HK.

On the graphics side, you’ll also get the latest and greatest options of Nvidia GPU, ranging from the GTX 1650 to the RTX 2080. Performance, in this case, will certainly depend on the size of your bank account, but there are plenty of options to choose.

To ensure gamers get the most out of their shiny new Alienware notebook, the company has made some other improvements to the design as well. The R2 has larger fans blades and enhanced cooling performance – delivering a 25 per cent increase in airflow over the previous model, according to the company.  

Cool and portable

  • Ethernet port
  • Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port
  • 2x USB 3.1/1x USB 3.1 with PowerShare
  • Thunderbolt 3 with DisplayPort, 1x HDMI 2.0/1x Mini Display Port 1.4
  • Enhanced airflow design with Alienware Cryo-Tech 3.0 cooling system

A large exhaust system at the rear of the m17 R2 ensures hot air is blown backwards rather than downwards, so the laptop is ideal for lap gaming as much as it is desktop play.

You’ll also note this area features a nifty RGB lighting ring to round off the overall style of the device. That lighting, along with keyboard, and the Alienware logo on the lid, can all be controlled from the Alienware Command Centre. There you can not only do things like individually adjust the RGB lighting for those zones, but also customise power and performance settings to enhance your gaming experience.

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