If you’re in the market for one of the great gaming laptops that offers a powerful CPU and a robust GPU, there are lots of superb contenders. A reasonably equipped gaming laptop can be had for less than $1,000, but if you’re willing to stretch your budget, Alienware’s m15 R7, which is most of the exceptional gaming laptops under $1,500, is available.But it’s easy to see that this system has average overall performance and that Alienware paid close attention to the details.
Alienware opted for AMD strength with the m15 R7, which in this example is the Zen 3+-based Ryzen 7 6800H. That powerful mobile CPU joins 16GB of dual-channel DDR-4800 RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU fueling a 15.6-inch, 1080p display. Tested at $1,449.99, the M15 R7 doesn’t come cheap. But it’s easy to see that this system has an average overall performance and that Alienware paid close attention to the details.
Design of the Alienware m15 R7
Even though it only has a 15.6-inch screen, the Alienware m17 R5 has the same Legend 2.0 design as the company’s previous laptops. Our review unit is painted in the “Dark Side of the Moon” colorway, which is gorgeous.
A 15.6-inch display is indicated by an etched “15” on the lid, which also features an RGB alien head logo. A full-size keyboard with honeycomb cutouts is visible on the deck when the lid is opened. Near the upper right corner of the deck is another RGB alien head (it also doubles as the power button).
On the right side of the chassis, there are two USB 3.2 Type-A Gen 1 ports, and on the left, there is a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet connector and an audio combo jack. Between the two exhaust ports that resemble honeycombs at the back of the m15 R7 are all the other ports. On this panel, there is one USB 3.2 Type-C Gen 2 connector, one HDMI 2.1 port, and a proprietary charging port in addition to one additional USB 3.2 Type-A Gen 1 port.
The entire rear panel is surrounded by an oblong RBG lightning element that may be color-synchronized with the laptop’s other lights (the alien head on the lid, the power button alien head, and the keyboard backlighting). All RGB color configurations are handled by the Alienware Command Center software tool.
Despite being entirely made of plastic, the m15 R7 doesn’t feel cheap. The absence of creaking in the chassis is evidence of Alienware’s careful consideration of the material selection and quality. Our m15 R7 weighs 5.53 pounds, compared to 4.96 pounds for the MSI Sword 15 and 4.41 pounds for the Asus TUF Gaming F15, which is likely in part due to the strong chassis.
The 86 WHr battery in our evaluation item is perhaps another factor contributing to the higher weight (base systems weigh 5.35 pounds and feature a 56 WHr battery). You’ll see later in our tests how the larger battery helps it outlast its rivals in terms of endurance.
The m15 R7 is 14.02 by 10.73 by 0.94 inches in size (356.20 x 272.50 x 23.95mm). The laptop’s footprint places it roughly in the size range between the TUF Gaming F15 (13.94 x 9.88 x 0.78 inches) and the Sword 15 (14.13 x 10.20 x 0.98 inches).
Alienware m15 R7 Specifications
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 6800H
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB GDDR6, 1,702 MHz Boost Clock, 140 W Max Graphics Power)
Memory 16GB DDR4-4800
Storage 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Display 15.6-inch, 1920×1080, 165 Hz, 16:9
Networking MediaTek MT7921 Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 1x USB 3.2 Type-C Gen 2, 3x USB 3.2 Type-A Gen 1, 1x HDMI 2.1, 3.5mm headphone jack, Ethernet
Battery 86 Whr
Power Adapter 240 W
Operating System Windows 11 Home
Dimensions (WxDxH) 14.02 x 10.73 x 0.94 inches (356.20 x 272.50 x 23.95mm)
Weight 5.53 pounds (2.5 kg)
Price (as configured) $1,449.99
Gaming on the Alienware m15 R7
An AMD Ryzen 7 6800H CPU, 16GB of DDR4-4800 (dual-channel), a 512GB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, and a 165 Hz, 1920 x 1080 display are all included in our Alienware m15 R7 review unit. This configuration allowed the laptop to show off its gaming prowess.
Before starting our tests, I decided to play a few games on my own to acquire a feel for the system, including the free-to-play esports title Overwatch 2. I noticed about 200 frames per second while playing the game at 1080p on the Epic setting without using V-Sync, which is a terrific way to push the high-refresh screen.
The m15 R7 finished third (69 fps) in the Shadow of the Tomb Raider test (1080p Highest), just behind the MSI Sword 15. (70 fps). With 74 frames per second, the Asus TUF Gaming F15 won. The GeForce RTX 3060 GPU is present in each of the gaming laptops in this group.
The m15 R7 finished in second place (84 fps) in Much Cry 6 (1080p, Very High), far behind the performance of the Asus TUF Gaming F15 in the first place (99 fps). At 60 frames per second and 70 frames per second, the Alienware x14 and Sword 15 lagged.
Grand Theft V (1080p, Very High) tightened up the benchmark standings, and the m15 R7 won by averaging 95 frames per second. The TUF Gaming F15 and Sword 15 tied for second with 90 frames per second, while the x14 once more came in last with 70 frames per second.
Similar results were achieved with Borderlands 3 (1080p, Badass settings), where the m15 R7 recorded 72 frames per second against the Sword 15’s 69 and the TUF Gaming F15’s 65. Unsurprisingly, at 54 frames per second, the x14 once more saw the taillights of its rivals.
Finally, the TUF Gaming F15 and m15 R7 took a tiny advantage over one another at 60 frames per second in the Red Dead Redemption 2 benchmark (1080p, Very High) (59 fps). The x14 finished in the bottom with 48 fps, while the Sword 15 wasn’t much behind at 57 fps.
We stress-test gaming laptops using Metro Exodus (1080p, RTX), running the benchmark 15 times in a row to obtain a sense of the performance and heat generated during extended gaming sessions. During the test, the Ryzen 7 6800H ran at an average frequency of 3,390.7 MHz and a maximum frequency of 4,666 MHz. The CPU registered an average temperature of 77 degrees Celsius across the 15 cycles (170.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
An average frequency of 1,807 MHz and an average temperature of 64 degrees were recorded by the GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. Our 15 runs yielded an average frame rate of 59.15 fps.
itsit is multi-score lagged behind all rivals.
Our 25GB file transfer test was hard on the m15 R7, which finished last at 529.78 MBps. The TUF Gaming F15 came in second, clocking in at 607.46 MBps, while the X14 won out, clocking in at 1,156.07 MBps.
Using Handbrake, the m15 R7 took 5 minutes and 36 seconds to change the resolution of a 4K video to 1080p. This placed it third behind the x14 and TUF Gaming F15 (4:49). (5:04).
Display on the Alienware m15 R7
A 15.6-inch, 1080p display with a matte surface and a refresh rate of 165 Hz is used by the Alienware m15 R7. The display has a coverage rate of 71.1 percent for DCI-P3 and 100 percent for sRGB. Even though the MSI Sword 15 and Alienware x14 do a better job with sRGB, it does a good job with DCI-P3.
The m15 R7’s panel brightness is rated at 300 nits, and in our testing, 289 nits were just shy of that number. The Sword 15 came in last at 247 nits, while the Asus TUF Gaming F15 (324 nits) and X14 (377 nits) were substantially brighter. We should point out, meanwhile, that the M15 R7 worked flawlessly in both a home office environment and outside on a partly cloudy day.
James Cameron’s “The Abyss,” one of my favorite films, was shown in its entirety on the M15 screen, and I was blown away by how well it reproduced color. There are many gloomy parts in the film because it is set deep underwater, which can be difficult for IPS displays with low contrast. The screen could not go completely black; instead, it was more of a dark gray. Nevertheless, it still looked good. The aquatic aliens’ bioluminescence also shone with mesmerizing pink and blue tones.
Keyboard and Touchpad on the Alienware m15 R7
The Alienware m15 R7 keyboard doesn’t have a number pad, and its layout is mostly standard. The top function row is half as tall as the conventional keys, while the right side has special keys for volume, mute, and the microphone.
I had no issue writing 96.5 words per minute using keyhero.com with 92.25 percent accuracy because the keys were highly sensitive to my touch. That wasn’t too far behind my typing speed on a desktop keyboard, which was 86.43 words per minute and 89.46 percent accuracy on the MSI Sword 15.
The RGB backlight for the keyboard can be adjusted using the Alienware Command Center program, which is a great touch. You can adjust the colors to suit your preferences. Our review unit, however, has just one RGB zone for the keyboard. It costs $50 to upgrade to per-key RGB lighting on Dell’s website.
The size of the touchpad, 4.125 inches by 2.375 inches, was enough to use Windows 11 on the device. I had enough area for my left palm while gaming with 4 inches between the left edge of the laptop and the touchpad. But while I’m playing games at my desk, I prefer to use one of the best gaming keyboards and mice for some intense sniping action.
Audio on the Alienware m15 R7
Similar to the m17 R5, the Alienware m15 R7 has two downward-firing speakers close to the front of the chassis. They work well with music and movies and are suitable for gaming. I didn’t hear any distortion when the volume was turned up.
The low-end yield was missing, so explosions in Grand Theft Auto V and other games just went off with a crash instead of a lot of sound effects. It was what was happening with music as I started up John Mayer’s live presentation of “If I at any point find time to live” on Letterman and left unamused with the absence of bass and the general metallicity of the sound.
The R7’s sound settings (Detailed, Balanced, Warm, Off) may be changed using the Dolby Access app. However, in my testing, the changes had no effect on the content (music, videos, and games). Your results may be different, but at least anyone who wants to try out customization can use the software.
If sound quality is important to you in order to increase immersion, you can always choose one of the best gaming headsets.
Upgradeability on the Alienware m15 R7
The Alienware m15 R7’s bottom panel may be accessed by unscrewing eight Phillips screws (two of which are captive). By putting my fingernail between the bottom panel and a USB-A port, I was able to easily remove it.
There are two DDR4 slots inside, both of which were filled in the review unit. On the device, there are two M.2 slots, and one of them was filled with a Micron 3400 M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD (MTFDKBA512TFH). This indicates that adding extra storage in the future is a simple upgrade path. It is easy to reach the Wi-Fi module, which is located next to the first M.2 SSD slot. Some screws must be removed to change the 86 Whr battery, which should be simple to do.
Battery Life on the Alienware m15 R7
The 86 Wh battery of the Alienware m15 R7 is comparatively substantial. For instance, the MSI Sword 15 only has a 53 Wh battery, whereas the Asus TUF Gaming F15 has a 90 Wh battery. The battery used by the Alienware x14 is 80 Wh.
Even though the m15 R7 has a smaller battery than the TUF GamingFried, it did well in our test and lasted 8 hours and 57 minutes. Our battery test uses a 150-nit screen brightness, while web browsing, streaming video, and OpenGL testing are all done over Wi-Fi. The MSI Sword 15 had the weakest endurance, as expected, but the TUF Gaming F15 gave out almost an hour and a half earlier (7:35). (3:55).
Heat on the Alienware m15 R7
After 15 runs of our Metro Exodus stress test in a row, the Alienware m15 R7 got hot. As you can see in the photos below, the vents above the keyboard had the highest temperatures, at 45.3 degrees Celsius (113.54 degrees Fahrenheit).
The distance between the G and H keys was measured at 34.3 degrees (93.7 degrees Fahrenheit), although we didn’t notice any excessive heating of the keyboard while playing games.
We measured a high of 133.3 degrees Fahrenheit (56.3 degrees Celsius) at the bottom of the chassis. That’s considerably hotter than the Alienware x14 at 44.4 degrees Celsius or the MSI Sword 15, which both reached 46.1 degrees (114.98 degrees Fahrenheit) (111.9 degrees Fahrenheit).
Webcam on the Alienware m15 R7
The 720p webcam that comes included with the Alienware m15 R7 is only adequate. My face and clothes seemed to match the colors, but the detail was very subtle. The camera was also terrible in low light, making the background look weird and turning my face into a brown, grainy mess.
But most buyers of inexpensive gaming laptops don’t do so with the hope of getting a good 1080p (or 4K) webcam. You can always upgrade your setup with one of the best webcams for that purpose.
Software and Warranty on the Alienware m15 R7
The Alienware m15 R7 comes with Windows 11 Home and all of the other extra software that comes with it. For example, Adobe Express, Disney Plus, and Spotify are unnecessary programs.
Also, Dell installs a few pieces of hardware-specific software, like the Alienware Command Center and My Alienware, which are mostly useless but give you quick access to warranty and community support information. With the latter, you can quickly open the Dolby Access software, overclock components, change power settings, and check on system performance. Alienware Command Center is a key piece of software that lets you finely adjust the RGB lights around the laptop and displays performance data.
A one-year guarantee covering parts, labor, and support is included with every M15 R7.
Alienware m15 R7 Configurations
Our entry-level Alienware m15 R7 is equipped with an RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of DDR4-4800 memory, a 512GB SSD, and a Ryzen 7 6800H processor. As configured with Windows 11 Home, it costs $1,449 directly from Dell (opens in a new tab).
There are other options available, including one that adds a $350 upgrade to a Ryzen 9 6900HX processor. A 4TB SSD, 64GB of DDR4-4800 memory, and GeForce RTX 3070 Ti or 3080 Ti GPUs are all options. There are additional 15.6-inch panels with QHD 240 Hz and FHD 360 Hz upgrades available.
You will have to pay $2,349.99 for a “mid-range” configuration that includes a Ryzen 7 6800H, 32GB of DDR4-4800, 1TB of SSD, a GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, a 240Hz QHD display, and a per-key AlienFX RGB keyboard.
At $1,449.99, the Alienware m15 R7 is a reasonably priced gaming laptop. The m15 R7 either won or wasn’t far behind in the gaming benchmarks thanks to its AMD Ryzen 6800H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU.
The Alienware laptop has a 15.6-inch, 1080p screen with a refresh rate of 165 Hz and a lot of RGB light around it. champ, the build quality is great, as we would expect from Alienware, and the tested battery life of nearly 9 hours was unparalleled (even beating out the previous champ, the Asus TUF Gaming F15).
The M15 R7 isn’t difficult to dislike. Its productivity performance was subpar in some areas, especially the storage benchmark, and it weighs 5.53 pounds, which is a touch slobby. We won’t go into detail about other things that people don’t like about the m15 R7, like its tinny sound and poor 720p webcam performance, because they could also be said about its competitors.
Based on its superior all-around performance and endurance, the m15 R7 from Alienware is the clear winner in our comparison. Although it is by no means inexpensive at close to $1,500, it is a much more appealing option for gamers than the MSI Sword 15 ($1,349) and the Asus TUF Gaming F15 ($1,499).