At CES Alienware announced a major redesign, featuring devices with soft-touch plastic and an overall look that was meant to be less aggressive with its gamer aesthetics. But new design only launched on Alienware’s enormous and enormously powerful Area-51M, a laptop that starts at £2,220 and requires a significant emotional investment due to its price and size. Now the more user-friendly redesign is trickling down to the thinner m15 and m17, and at first glance, this looks like one of the slickest gaming laptops we’ve seen.
At 20.5mm, it’s 0.5mm thicker than HP’s new dual-screen gaming laptop, and 1.5mm thicker than Razer’s 15-inch Blade. What it has that those devices lack is a wider variety of displays options. The standard model will come with a 60Hz 1080p display, but you can also opt for a 144Hz or 240Hz 1080p display or go for a 60Hz 4K OLED displays that also has Tobii eye tracking built in.
Notably, none of the displays support G-Sync. This is by design, according to Dell. G-Sync displays require the GPU always be on, which can negatively impact battery life.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)
GPU-wise the m15 will can be outfitted with an Nvidia GTX 1650 or 1660 TI, or the RTX 2060, and for more power, there’s also the option for the RTX 2070 or 2080, both of which are Max-Q design products, which means they’ll sacrifice a little power and performance for better battery life, and a less work from the fans.
For the processor, you’ll be able to choose from four different 9th-Gen Intel CPUs – the i5-9300H, i7-9750H, i9-9880H, or the overclockable i9-9980HK.
If a 15.6-inch laptop is too small, the same design changes are coming to the larger m17. It sports a 17.3-inch display – though there will only be two display options available, either a 60Hz 1080p display or a 144Hz 1080p display that will also include Tobii eye tracking and low blue light technology.
What the heck is low blue light technology? It’s the newest buzzword from laptop makers. Most displays hit your eyeballs with a lot of blue light. Blue light is thought to keep you awake – so it’s great at 8 a.m., but can seriously disrupt your sleep if you’re getting a blast of it at 8 p.m. Products like Gunnar blue light blocker glasses and software like Flux are intended to block this blue light, so your circadian rhythm isn’t shot to hell.
The blue light technology found in the Dell laptops, Eyesafe, does things differently. It claims to block the blue light in the display itself. The catch is that it does so without affecting what colours you see. So instead of looking at a screen with a yellow tint, as you would with the glasses or the software, you’re just looking at a normal display with lots less invisible blue light.
We won’t know if it works until we get to spend some time with the laptop (and subject it to a few tests). The Alienware m15 and m17 start at £1,400.