Alienware 17 R4 Review – The Best Gaming Laptop
Hey, how's it going guys. This is my Alienware 17 R4 Review.
Alienware 17 R4 is their flagship model. It's the biggest, it's the baddest, it's the most expensive Alienware gaming Laptop.
It's got an overclockable i7, GTX 1080, kick-ass speakers, Tobii eyetracking, that's not something I would use very often, but it is there. It's got four drive bays, it's a beast.
It's expensive, but if you're in the market for a hardcore 17" gaming laptop, this should be included in your choices.
What I Disliked on the Alienware 17 R4
First are the RAM slots, there's only two slots, so you can get up to 32 gigs of RAM. If you do, like, tons of VM or if you run crazy CAD software, you might need more than 32 gigs. So, if you do, that's a limitation.
Second thing are the ports. It has a decent number of ports, but for a 17" laptop, I feel like there could have been more USB ports. There's a total of four, two of them being Type-C.
The third thing is the overclocking software. Like I mentioned before, it has an overclockable CPU, but there's no "Alienware easy mode software". You have to go into the BIOS or run stuff like Throttle Stop or the Intel XTU program to overclock. I wish there was something that was built by Dell. There probably will be in the very near future, but right now, there isn't.
The other thing is that the power supply is really big, it's 330 watts. If you're going to properly power a GTX 1080, you kinda need the wattage.
So, those are some things that I don't like about this laptop.
What I Liked on the Alienware 17 R4
There's obviously a bunch of things that I do like, but I'm going to focus on three things that kinda really separate this laptop from the others in this space.
First is build quality, of all the 17" laptops in this price range, Alienware does it the best. They aren't super thin or super light, but this thing is a tank. It's got steel and magnesium on the inside, carbon fiber composite for the exterior, it just feels really durable. I think this is the toughest 17" gaming laptop.
The Alienware lighting is also cool, light-up trackpads are always fun, the light strips on the side are especially cool. I don't think that this is a design for everyone, but I do think they're made really well.
The second thing I like is the performance. It's running the Kaby Lake i7 7820 HK and a GTX 1080.The performance on this machine is obviously really nice, but any laptop with these components are going to deliver something similar. What make this laptop special, is the thermal management. I don't know if I got lucky with a really good thermal paste job, but I was ready to open it up, re-paste and re-pad it, but looking at these temperatures, I'm not even going to bother.
The fan noise on this system is good. I expected it to be loud because of the video card, it's definitely not silent, and the fan often runs on idle, but under load, it's quieter than most GTX 1080 laptops I've used.
So, we're getting good performance with good thermals and good fan noise; what's not to like, right?
The last thing I really like about this laptop, and this is a big one for me, is the screen. In particular, it's a Quad HD panel. It is a TN panel, but before we say GTFO because it's a TN panel, trust me, it's really nice. Great color accuracy, 120Hz with G-Sync, this thing was built for gamers. There are gaming laptops out there with 60Hz panels. It's not that it's wasteful because these cards are capable of pushing out so much more, it's more that you're missing out on really good gaming experiences if you're just capped at 60Hz. Playing on a 120Hz panel is so much better, stuff just looks super smooth.
In terms of pricing, Dell tends to fluctuate a lot, they have, like, seasonal sales and stuff like that, but right now, you get this system, so a GTX 1080, overclockable i7, and a 120Hz G-Sync panel, for 2,400 dollars. It's expensive, but if you can afford it, you'll be playing buttery-smooth games for years.
Okay, with the Alienware 17 R4 you're getting one of the best-built 17" laptops for the money. Heavy, but it's built to last. You're getting a 17" TN panel that gives one of the best gaming experiences. You get the classic Alienware keyboard, it's not the more common chiclet style, but it's a nice typing experience and it's easy to get used to. You get a solid trackpad that lights up with RGB LEDs. And inside you get a Kaby Lake i7 and a GTX 1080 that are cooled really nicely so you can comfortably overclock. You get four drive bays and two RAM slots, all of which are easy to access and upgrade. And then you get a 99Wh battery, which is actually the legal limit for bringing this laptop onto a plane, can't go any bigger than that, and even then, you're getting four hours of battery life.
Overall, it's a really good laptop, obviously it's super powerful, obviously it's very expensive, but if you're in the market for something like this, like a really high-end, top-tier gaming laptop that you can competitively game with, take a look at this one, it's pretty awesome.
If you're hard to the CORE about games, get one with a 120Hz panel. It's a massive difference in visual performance.