ALIENWARE M15 R7 Review | Powerful gaming notebook

 It's no secret that gaming notebooks have become more attractive over the past few years thanks to smaller but powerful GPUs and powerful processors. Gone are the days when a really powerful machine weighed almost five kilograms. The Alienware m15 has been in this category for a while and now has even more power with the R7 variant. Although this has its price, it should make gamers very happy overall.


Alienware kindly loaned us an example of the m15 R7 for testing and they weren't stingy with the configuration. Our copy has a 15.6" full HD display with a fluffy 360 Hz refresh rate, 32 GB DDR5-4800 RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti in the notebook version with 140W and a fast Intel i7-12700H as the processor. The configuration has its price and ends up in the Alienware store for just under 2,500 euros - but it should already be known that Alienware is not necessarily something for bargain hunters.


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ALIENWARE M15 R7 Review | Powerful gaming notebook

There are also alternative configuration variants. When it comes to the graphics card, there are still the RTX 3060, 3080, and 3080 Ti as alternatives. The RAM variants are 16, 32, and 64 GB. You can even go a step further with the processor if you want more performance and have an i9-12900H installed. Alternatively, you can also have AMD CPUs installed - you can choose between the AMD Ryzen R7 6800H and the R7 6900H.


The fast M.2 SSD is available in 1, 2, and 4 TB variants. There is also an alternative for the display, namely a QHD display with 2,560 x 1,440 pixels and 240 Hz. Alienware has dispensed with 4K displays, but 4K makes relatively little sense with a 15.6" notebook. To top it off, there's also an option for a mechanical keyboard with Cherry switches. The cheapest variant is therefore just under 1,700 euros, the most expensive at around 3,500 euros. So we pretty much got the middle model.


The design of the m15 R7 differs only marginally from its predecessors and is very attractive. The matte "Dark Side of the Moon" color goes in the anthracite direction with smaller decorative elements and makes a lot. It is pleasing that the surface is not very sensitive to fingerprints. The display is again shifted slightly to the front, the hinge covers almost the entire width. The hinge could be a bit tighter, but at least the notebook can be opened easily and the wobbling of the display is within an acceptable range.

ALIENWARE M15 R7 Review

Despite the potentially strong innards, the notebook is relatively flat at almost 21 mm and the weight is also okay at around 2.5 kg. However, you should be aware that the external power supply is quite a suitcase and you should always have it with you in view of the rather mediocre battery performance.


Alienware more or less restricts itself to the essentials when it comes to connections. There are two USB 3.2 ports on the right side, and the LAN port with Killer 2.5 Gbit Ethernet and a 3.5 mm audio jack on the left. The rest is on the back: power, HDMI 2.1, another USB 3.2 port, and a Type-C connection with Thunderbolt 4. Alienware has not included a card reader, which may not appeal to everyone. Intel WiFi 6 and BlueTooth 5.2 ensure wireless connectivity. Oh yes, there is also a 720p webcam hidden in the display lid – no, unfortunately not 1080p.


The keyboard of the m15 R7 makes a very good impression. The keys have a comfortable key travel and nice feedback when hit. This allows you to type quickly and without errors. As mentioned, there is also a mechanical keyboard with Cherry switches as an alternative, which we were not able to take a look at. The touchpad is comparatively small and offsets a little to the left, but reacts precisely and with pleasant click feedback. For gaming, however, you tend to use a mouse anyway.


ALIENWARE M15 R7 Review

At least in this configuration, Alienware relies on an IPS panel from AU Optronics with Full HD resolution (1920x1080) and a full 360 Hz refresh rate for the display. The built-in GeForce RTX 3070 Ti fits in quite well to get three-digit frame rates in esports titles at all. The display isn't a shining star in the sky, but it doesn't have any weaknesses worth mentioning either. The color representation is rock solid, as is the brightness.


The inner workings are just bursting with power. It starts with the strong Intel Core i7-12700H, which can handle games anyway and performance-hungry applications as well. The fast DDR5-4800 RAM is exactly the right support for this, as is the very fast M.2 SSD. The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti in our device can cope with all games in combination with Full HD resolution and overcomes the 60 fps hurdle with ease.


We don't even worry about the optional QHD display in the combination, especially since the more powerful 3080 and 3080 Ti are also available as alternatives. With a strong 11,251 points in TimeSpy and 6,635 points in the RTX benchmark Port Royale, the notebook clearly shows that it can cope with just about anything. However, this has its price, because the m15 R7 is not exactly a quiet stroller. If things get really serious, the fans will whistle a concert at almost 55 db around your ears - a headset is strongly recommended.


Overall, however, the cooling does a decent job; the brakes are only pulled under really extreme load due to the temperatures. Then the CPU sometimes reaches 100 degrees, apparently the sweet spot for throttling the performance. The GPU stays below 80 degrees across the board and is therefore completely within the green range. In normal operation and when gaming, this should hardly ever be the case. The temperatures in the keyboard area just stay within an acceptable range and don't exceed the 50-degree mark. However, you shouldn't park your stylus on the ventilation shafts above, as it gets relatively uncomfortable there.


CONCLUSION

Powerful gaming notebook

If you are looking for a new gaming notebook, the Alienware m15 R7 is definitely a valid option. Apart from the useful and modern configuration options, the notebook delivers a strong gaming performance and is also a very pleasing device in terms of design. The workmanship is impressive, the connections are up to date and the keyboard and touchpad are also convincing. If anything, there are basically only two real sticking points: on the one hand, the rather bulky power supply unit and only if you travel a lot, on the other hand, the fans, which can reach quite unpleasant noise levels - a lot of performance also has a price.


Pros

  • attractive design
  • strong gaming performance
  • modern connections
  • good workmanship
  • sensible configuration options
  • fast display with clean representation
  • good keyboard

Cons

  • pretty loud fans
  • no card reader
  • bulky power supply

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