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Alienware m15 R6 Gaming Laptop Review
Review By @ 05:07pm 14/10/21

Product: Alienware m15 R6
Type: Gaming Laptop
Price: from $2999 AUD (RTX 3080 model reviewed)
Availability: Out Now
Link: dell.com/en-au/shop/gaming-and-games/alienware-m15-r6-gaming-laptop

With the arrival of NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series we’ve seen a number of gaming laptop refreshes hit the scene this year, with those powered by GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop GPUs offering up the very best of third-generation ‘Max-Q’ technologies.

Dynamic Boost allows for the power balance to shift between the CPU and GPU as needed in a way that acts like dynamic overclocking without actually overclocking in the traditional sense. Advanced Optimus shifts graphics control away from the GPU when in desktop mode for battery life whilst WhisperMode offers up the best performance without pushing laptop fans into the “jet engine” realm.

Alienware’s gaming laptops have always been at the forefront of offering some of the best tech and components, covering everything from the aforementioned GPU and CPU through to the display and even things like the keyboard.

The Alienware m15 R6 is the latest revision, it sports Alienware's Legend design for a sleek look and feel that even features some Tron-like lighting strips on the back. As with many laptops there are variations based on components and with that we’re taking a look at the premium model -- the one with an RTX 3080 and a 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) 360Hz NVIDIA G-SYNC display. The sort of screen that impresses the moment you boot into Windows 10, and continues to do so when you fire up a game.

Look and Feel




As a gaming laptop in the Alienware range, the new m15 R6 features excellent build quality. It’s thin and relatively light too, with the width topping out at 356.2 mm on the account of some cooling-related elevation towards the rear. There’s no doubt that in addition to being focused on high-end gaming it benefits from the RTX 30 Series’ unmatched productivity performance. But as it hasn’t been designed purely as a lightweight and portable ultrathin, the look and feel is pure gaming. On that front even though we’ve seen major strides in recent years, Alienware continues to sleek-ify its range. At a glance this is as stylish as it is a futuristic machine with neon-blue lighting.


Even though we’ve seen major strides in recent years, Alienware continues to sleek-ify its range. At a glance this is as stylish as it is a futuristic machine with neon-blue lighting.



The star of the show though, once you get past the build and rock-solid hinge, is the display. Even though Alienware has opted to keep with 1080p as the resolution (our initial review of the RTX 3080 Laptop GPU focused quite heavily on the tech’s 1440p capabilities) it ups the performance to 360Hz with a 1ms response time and G-SYNC. 360Hz in a 1080p display isn’t common, in fact it’s rare even in the desktop space. What it does though is highlight the competitive performance for titles that employ NVIDIA Reflex and NVIDIA DLSS technology. Looking at games like Rainbow Six Siege and others, getting higher than 144-fps is possible with the RTX 3080.

The display here also hits a peak brightness of higher than 300 nits with full sRGB coverage for a vibrant image. It’s impressive, though not the brightest or most accurate display on the market, and in that sense presents a few compromises made to hit 360 Hz. Which again, is pretty rare. It’s certainly good enough for productivity, whilst being exceptional to game with.

Under the Lid




As the top of the range Alienware m15 R6 it’s no surprise that the main components here are some of the best currently available. From the 125W rated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 to the 11th Gen Intel Core i7 11800H, you’ve also got 16GB of fast DDR4 memory and a fast 1TB of M.2 SSD storage.


The star of the show though, once you get past the build and rock-solid hinge, is the display. Even though Alienware has opted to keep with 1080p as the resolution it ups the performance to 360Hz with a 1ms response time and G-SYNC.



All of this comes together with all of the ports and expansion you’d expect, plus a couple of nice additions. One of these is the included webcam for facial recognition and the other is a proper HDMI 2.1 connector on the back. This addition in particular is very cool, it means the Alienware m15 R6 can double as a crisp and smooth PC when connected to a modern HDMI 2.1 capable display -- like, say, the latest LG OLED. Where it gets all of the benefits from HDMI 2.1 and the rendering capabilities of the RTX 3080.
Processor: 11th Generation Intel Core i7 11800H
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) 360Hz 1ms with ComfortView Plus, NVIDIA G-SYNC and Advanced Optimus
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 8GB GDDR6 (125W)
Memory: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
Storage: 1TB PCIe M.2 SSD
OS: Windows 10
Interfaces: 3 Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (one with PowerShare), 1 Type-C port (Includes Thunderbolt 4i, USB 3.2 Gen 2, Display Port 1.4, and Power Delivery 15W Output (5V/3A) capabilities), 1 HDMI 2.1 Output port, 1 Power/DC-In port, 1 Killer E2600 1 Gbps rated RJ-45 Ethernet port, 1 Global Headset jack

Again, all of the bits work together with NVIDIA’s Max-Q tech to make full use of the vibrant 360 Hz display. But even so there are a few considerations, getting titles to hit anywhere close to 360 frames-per-second means it’s either a well-optimised competitive title or something that’s a few years old. As a 2021 device our benchmarks cover modern cinematic AAA titles with detail settings cranked, for that whole C+C Music Factory ‘Gonna Make You Sweat’ effect.

Gaming Performance




Alienware laptops all include software to manage performance profiles and cooling, stuff that will help with day-to-day battery life or stop things from getting out of hand in the fan department. On that note all of the testing below was carried out using the Balanced profile, and even though fan noise was somewhat typical for a modern gaming laptop -- the ability to enable WhisperMode via NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience app meant that we are able to get indistinguishable performance without the noise thanks to the magic of the impressive G-SYNC display.


With most 1080p displays tapping out at 144 Hz, seeing DOOM Eternal surpass that with ray-tracing enabled is impressive on the Alienware m15 R6.



With most 1080p displays tapping out at 144 Hz, seeing DOOM Eternal surpass that with ray-tracing enabled is impressive on the Alienware m15 R6. It showcases the all-round performance improvements made with the RTX 30 Series line-up in addition to solidifying the Intel Core i7 as a great choice for not being an unwanted bottleneck in the pushing frames game. With G-SYNC and detail settings cranked you don’t really need to worry about performance at all here. And to take full advantage of the 360 Hz display you’ll only need to dial back a few settings here and there to push visually demanding titles into the 200+ fps range.




Though this once again brings up the idea that perhaps 360 Hz is a tad overkill. For those that want that cinematic immersion a 165 Hz 1440 display might be the better choice. Alienware does offer a 1080p 165 Hz model with the RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 versions. But if you’re going to play something like DOTA 2, well, there’s just nothing quite like what you get here. It’s a strange feeling but going back to a 60 Hz display after maxing out a 360 Hz one presents a night and day difference.

Make no mistake about it, the RTX 3080 powered Alienware m15 R6 is a beast of a gaming laptop. It’s also sleek, stylish, and is fun to use in any capacity. Even for whipping up a review. In the end there are some draw-backs, battery life is decent but not amazing and it gets warm after extended gaming sessions. And without WhisperMode enabled, quite loud too. But, it’s a testament to the great design found in the Alienware gaming laptop range and the desktop next-gen like power you get from the latest in PC gaming hardware.
What we liked
Impressive 360 Hz G-SYNC display
RTX 3080 performance and Max-Q tech
Stylish look and feel
Great Alienware software
HDMI 2.1 output
What we didn't like
Average battery performance
360 Hz might be overkill for most gamers
Runs warm and loud when not optimised
We gave it:
8.5
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
tim
Posted 01:12pm 17/10/21
wow that looks amazing whish I could get one.
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