Starting price: $1,199.99
Warranty: 1yr - 4yrs
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Good to great performance options
Alienware 15 comes with 4 GPU options - GeForce GTX 980M, GeForce GTX 970M, Radeon R9 M295X and GeForce GTX 965M with 3DMark's 1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Graphics benchmarks showing scores of 9774, 7440, 6767, 5398 respectively and as of March, 2015 are the top two mobile graphics cards on the market. Still, it should be noted that the 980M is about 25% faster than the 970M, 30% faster than the M295X and almost 45% faster than the 965M.
In the real world, GTX 980M allows running Evolve, Shadow of Mordor, Battlefield 4, on ultra at 62, 66, 72 fps on average respectively, GTX 970M allows running same games on ultra at 51, 52, 55 fps on average respectively. R9 M295X can run Crysis 3 on ultra at 34 fps on average and GTX 965M can run Shadow of Mordor on ultra at 28.8 fps on average.
There are also 2 CPU options - i5-4210H, i7-4710HQ with PassMark's scores of 4,676 and 7,956. As of March, 2015 the top laptop CPU has a PassMark score of 10,087. So while the i7-4710HQ is a strong choice, the i5-4210H should be avoided.
Can be configured to have either 8 or 16 GB of RAM. Just enough to handle most gaming without any hiccups.
The laptop has 1TB of HDD and 128GB or 256GB or 512GB of SSD can be added on top of that. Files read from SSD will load quicker so it's recommended for the operating system and software or games that are run regularly or can take advantage of the quicker load times.
Pro Solid build quality
The laptop has a rigid aluminum chassis and is built using carbon-fiber filled materials making the machine sturdy while keeping it reasonably light.
Pro Customizable backlighting for keyboard and touchpad
AlienFX tool, accessed from the accompanying Command Center software, allows setting own keyboard and touchpad illumination colors. Colors can be set on a per predefined zone basis and even configured to morph between variations or pulse at a set tempo.
Pro Good keyboard
The keyboard has four zone illumination and a dedicated macro field with five keys that can be switched between three sets.
Pro Excellent battery life
On average the battery will last about 4.5 hours. Heavy gaming will drain it in about 1.5 hours. And it can idle for up to 11.5 hours.
Pro Performance can be improved via Alienware Graphics Amplifier
The Alienware Graphics Amplifier is essentially an external GPU that can be used to handle graphics intensive games. It includes 350-watt PSU and 16 x PCI-E slots so most cards can fitted within it. To use it, boot the laptop with the amplifier attached.
Pro Good anti-glare 1080p and touchscreen 4K display choices
There are two IPS display options available - a 300-nit, 1100:1 contrast ratio 1920x1080 anti-glare version that's capable of reproducing 81% of the sRGB color gamut and a 350-nit 3840x2160 touchscreen version.
Con WASD placement may be odd for some
It's essentially a 60% keyboard with an extra column of keys on the left and plenty of space on each side, making the keyboard placement a bit unusual with wasd keys near center of the device.
Con Graphics Amplifier costs extra
Alienware Graphics Amplifier that can be used to improve the graphics performance costs additional $299 + the price of a desired GPU.