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Alienware laptops are a sight to behold and, frankly, that’s been the case for as long as one can remember. They’re sleek, beautiful, and alluring beyond measure. They’re amongst the most unique gaming laptops on the market and have always been seen as “trailblazers” and luminaries — sometimes for their tremendous power, other times for their looks.
That, however, has changed. They’re still amazing in a myriad of different ways but, one could argue, they no longer have that unique allure which made them stand out back in the day. The market has gotten a lot more competitive, with basically all OEMs now offering dedicated gaming laptops — machines imbued with powerful internals, stellar inputs, a great and varied selection of ports and, in some cases, a level of build quality that matches — if not exceeds — that of a top-tier Alienware model.
Still, Alienware offerings will probably be the first to catch your eye, in no small part because of their stellar (and wholly unique) looks. It all boils down to personal preference, but one thing’s for certain: they’re objectively beautiful and, perhaps equally as important, different from their competitors.
Most gaming laptops follow a very similar formula when it comes to their aesthetics and, sadly, that formula is as prosaic as it is boring. Alienware ones, on the other hand, can be recognized even from a distance and, needless to say, they leave one heck of an impression.
Alienware Laptops — Product Stack Breakdown
Alienware’s portfolio of laptops isn’t nearly as diverse as one would expect which, for the most part, is a good thing; picking the right model, therefore, isn’t as big a challenge as it is with most other OEMs. There are two distinct laptop lines — the X and M series — and five different “form factors” or, rather, screen sizes to choose from: 14”, 15”, 16”, 17”, and 18.”
The X-series is essentially the very best Alienware (and, by extension, Dell, which is its parent company) has to offer. Those laptops are the thinnest and most jaw-dropping. The M-series, on the other hand, comes with many of the same components and features, but isn’t nearly as thin — or, in some cases, as advanced feature-wise — as its more expensive X-labeled brethren.
Some of them come with vapor chambers, others still rely on traditional heat pipe cooling assemblies. Some are equipped with two fans, whereas others come with a whopping four. In any case, these two lines aren’t nearly as distinct as we’d like and, to make things even more complicated, they often tend to share the exact same features and specifications.
It really varies from one generation to the next, so make sure to read the fine print if any of them happen to have piqued your interest.
The M-series is generally more powerful, so if you’re looking for an actual desktop replacement, they’re the ones to go for.
How Do Alienware Laptops Stack Up Against the Competition?
They are, in short, mighty competitive but also somewhat lacking. Some models still come with 16:9 displays, others offer no more than three hundred nits of maximum brightness. Their build quality is stellar, but so is that of an ASUS ROG, a Razer Blade, or a Lenovo LEGION. All in all, it really depends on the particular SKU you’re interested in, as some models have a lot more going for them than others.
The latest and greatest models are, essentially, the only ones worth discussing.
Their keyboards are pretty stellar but their trackpads are anything but; they’re laughably small. Perhaps worst of all, certain Alienware laptops are known for being obnoxiously loud, even with mid-tier specs. They forgo function in favor of form, hence the less-than-stellar acoustics.
Alienware laptops have also gotten thinner and thinner which brought a series of downsides in tow. Worse thermals, higher fan noise, no upgradeable RAM on the smaller models, subpar speakers, and so on and so forth. It’s one of Alienware’s key selling points and yet, in all fairness, most people really couldn’t care less about thinness — they’d much rather “put up” with a thicker, heavier laptop if it had a better selection of ports, a more competent cooling solution, and lower fan noise.
With all of that being said, Alienware laptops are still amongst the most fascinating on the market. They’re unique, in all fairness, and that’s probably not going to change any time soon. They might not be as well-rounded — or as well-priced — as their competitors, but they are worth taking a look at, doubly so if their distinct aesthetic allures you.
Are Alienware Laptops Worth It?
That depends. They’re somewhat “niche” products. On the surface, they’re nothing more than spec’d out gaming laptops, but they do have their own unique allure. They’re capable performers with a wholly distinctive design, but other than that, there’s not a whole lot to write home about.
Their price is also an issue; Alienware gaming laptops are often way too expensive when compared to the competition and yet, in most cases, they don’t offer any tangible performance difference or, say, a “halo” feature which would make them stand out.
They’re essentially “cookie cutter” gaming laptops that are better built and, in most cases, better designed than what most other OEMs have to offer. Now, that is by no means a negligible benefit (at least not if you’re visually inclined), but it’s not something the average consumer will be willing to spend extra money on.
If you have the money to spare, and are absolutely transfixed by the whole Alienware aesthetic, then they are worth the investment. They’re some of the finest gaming laptops out there. Are they better than the rest? Not really, nor do they offer a better value proposition, but — for some — their looks alone may well be worth the price of admission.
Just make sure to read and watch as many reviews for the particular model you’re interested in as their qualities — and, by proxy, flaws — tend to vary wildly from one generation to the next.
Gamers are spoiled for choice these days and, unfortunately, Alienware laptops — beautiful though they are — no longer provide enough value to warrant the asking price. Their aesthetics do make them stand out, but other than that, they don’t have any particular feature worth talking about and, in fact, oftentimes come with inferior displays and cooling solutions when compared to the competition.
And so: are Alienware laptops worth it? Far from it. They’re stellar options overall, but you’d still be better off going with, say, an ASUS ROG model or, if you value aesthetics highly — and have an appropriately large budget — a Razer Blade.