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Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R5 Gaming Laptop » EFTM

Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R5 Gaming Laptop » EFTM

Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R5 Gaming Laptop » EFTM

A few weeks ago we reviewed Asus’ ROG AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX gaming PC and were left suitably impressed with it.  Now it is Alienware’s turn to be put to the test in the form of the Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5.  Although less time and effort has been put into styling the Alienware m15 R5 than the ROG laptop that does not affect how well it games.

Once again I put the gaming machine through its paces with the “chore” of playing a number of games on it including Battlefield V Year 2 Edition, Forza Horizon 4, Titanfall 2: Ultimate Edition, Aces of the Luftwaffe (yes, I love this old skool game), Moto Racer 4 and a few more.  I also used the laptop as my workhorse for a couple of weeks and came away suitably impressed.

Hardware and design

The design of the laptop looks like very much an afterthought on the outside when it is off.  The front lid has the usual RGB Alienware logo but very little else.  The sides and equally plain but the rear has a RGB oval around it.  No colour in this machine aside from the RGB light variety.  Of course it has been given a “colour” name by Alienware: Dark Side of the Moon with High Endurance Clear Coat and Silky Smooth Finish…….

Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R5 Gaming Laptop » EFTM


Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R5 Gaming Laptop » EFTM

As is the standard fare with most laptops these days the bezels around the 15.6-inch display are fairly minimal.  The top bezel this time though has a HD webcam which supports Windows Hello — handy because there is no fingerprint sensor anywhere to be found on the laptop.  

Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R5 Gaming Laptop » EFTM

The display itself is a 15.6-inch 1080P display with a 165Hz refresh rate in standard mode.  I tested it with a number of games and managed to easily clock up that 165Hz refresh rate most of the time.  This 165Hz rate is possible whether the power cable is plugged in or not which is a nice bonus — something the ROG G15 did not do (it dropped to 60Hz on battery power).  Higher refresh rate displays for this laptop are available in overseas markets but not here — at this stage.  Gaming did not miss a beat with “only” 165Hz refresh rate and it was a refresh rate that so many games we tried supported on this laptop.  The display is once again a matte display making it easy on the eye when gaming in all sorts of lighting conditions.

The keyboard itself is very different to that in the ROG G15.  As soft and buttery as the keys were on the G15, the clicky the keys were on the Alienware R5.  The Alienware mSeries 4-Zone AlienFX RGB keyboard is something you need to get used to but after using it for a couple of hours of work I loved the travel of them with each key having quite a bit of travel and nicely tactile to the touch.  It is a laptop keyboard so don’t expect miracles, but it is quite decent for gaming.

Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R5 Gaming Laptop » EFTM

Alienware have not included many dedicated gaming buttons for quick shortcuts for various gaming features and functionality — the only real one being the mic mute button (which my son found by accident after panicking, thinking his gaming headset was broken).  The touchpad is smaller than that on the G15 but it did not bother me one little bit — never while working and even less while gaming.  

Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R5 Gaming Laptop » EFTM

Port-wise there are enough but the laptop is not overly endowed with ports but there is one strange choice — the left-hand side Ethernet port.  The rear of the laptop has a USB-C USB 3.2 Gen2 port, a SuperSpeed USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A port, a HDMI 2.1 port and the power DC in port.  Unfortunately the Ethernet port is not on the rear which, given the number of other ports on the rear, is a big surprise.  If all of these ports are likely to be used, why isn’t the Ethernet port there?  I survived but could have done with that port being on the rear for a nicer setup.  The right-hand side houses a couple of USB-A ports as well to round out the ports.  

Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R5 Gaming Laptop » EFTM

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