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Alienware m16 R2 Review: Design, Performance, and Portability

The latest Alienware m16 R2 refresh successfully trims down the bulky size of its predecessor by an impressive 15%, a notable feat. The 16-inch display maintains its excellence, boasting a 240Hz refresh rate tailored for hardcore gamers and professionals. Notably, the port selection is robust, featuring an essential ethernet port, often omitted in other desktop replacements.

Pros:

Cons:

Alienware m16 R2 Review:  Design, Performance, and Portability

Dell persists in revamping its product designs, exemplified by the Alienware m16 R2 refresh. The new, compact chassis enhances portability, coupled with upgraded specs and an improved ventilation system.

Comparing the new m16 R2 with last year’s model, the size difference is striking. Besides the size reduction, various design improvements and upgraded specifications contribute to the impressive appeal of this gaming laptop.

From my observation, the m16 R2 presents itself as an impressive and more manageable powerhouse, promising both power and performance. It has the potential to stand out as one of the best gaming laptops available.

ALIENWARE M16 R2 REVIEW: PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

Unveiled at CES 2024, the Alienware m16 R2 is slated for a January 11 release in the US and Canada. The base model kicks off at $1,499, while beefier configurations hover around $1,649. Additional choices are anticipated in Q1 2024.

As of now, pricing details for the UK and Australia are pending. We anticipate similar pricing as its forerunner, drawing parallels from the US figures.

The m16 R2’s pricing aligns sensibly with the specifications it packs (refer to the table below). A Dell representative emphasized that capping the graphics at GeForce RTX 4070 aimed to maintain a more accessible price point. This contrasts models like the Alienware x16 R2, which flaunts GeForce RTX 4080 and GeForce RTX 4090 options. Despite this, Alienware may encounter fierce competition from gaming giants such as Asus, MSI, and Acer, renowned for crafting robust yet compact machines.

ALIENWARE M16 R2 REVIEW: PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

ALIENWARE M16 R2 REVIEW: SPECIFICATIONS

Quickly overviewing the Alienware m16 R2 specs:

ComponentSpec
DisplayUp to 16-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600), 240Hz
CPUUp to Intel Core Ultra 9 185H
GraphicsUp to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070
RAMUp to 64GB LPDDR5
StorageUp to 8TB PCIe 4 SSD
Port selection2x USB Type-C, 1x RJ-45, 1x power, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x 3.5mm jack, 2x USB Type-A, 1x micro SD, ethernet
Weight2.61kg (5.75 lbs)
Dimensions14.33 x 9.82 x 0.93 inches; 363.9 x 249.4 x 23.5 mm (WxDxH)
ALIENWARE M16 R2 REVIEW: SPECIFICATIONS

ALIENWARE M16 R2 REVIEW: DESIGN

The Alienware m16 R2 underwent a noticeable transformation, shrinking by 15%, primarily by ditching the bulky rear ventilation system from its predecessor. To compensate, Dell introduced the Alienware Cryo-tech thermal system, though not as potent, it effectively cools the machine.

A unique aspect is the screen’s ability to flatten to 180 degrees, offering a workaround for hinge strain, though it falls short of a complete 360-degree rotation like a 2-in-1 laptop. The keyboard, while resembling its predecessor, gains space with the removal of rear cooling, resulting in an expanded trackpad adorned with Alienware FX lighting.

Introducing the ‘Stealth Mode,’ it swiftly transitions from vibrant RGB colors to a subtle white, catering to those who toggle between work and play. Alienware opts for its switches over the Cherry MX ones, deviating from previous models.

Despite its slimmer profile, the 16-inch QHD+ display maintains screen real estate. With a 240Hz refresh rate, it guarantees smooth gaming, demanding adjustments in settings for optimal performance.

Remarkably, the m16 R2 maintains a robust port selection, accommodating an Ethernet port even with a slimmer build. This feature is crucial for users envisioning it as a potential desktop replacement, ensuring a reliable internet connection through a wired setup.

ALIENWARE M16 R2 REVIEW: DESIGN

ALIENWARE M16 R2 REVIEW: PERFORMANCE

Once benchmarks emerge and we conduct our tests, the true capabilities of the Alienware m16 R2 will become clear. With Intel Core Ultra CPUs and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000-series GPUs, this laptop promises robust performance. Supported by a 240W GaN charger, it’s set to be a powerhouse.

The shift to the latest RTX graphics enables the m16 R2 to leverage Nvidia’s DLSS 3.5 upscaling tech, delivering high-quality visuals without compromising performance. Boasting up to 64GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD storage, it’s an enticing option for content creators, offering ample power for video rendering.

While the RAM and SSD are user-upgradable, the high RAM capacity may be excessive for pure gaming. The user-friendly upgrade option allows flexibility for future enhancements.

Activating Stealth Mode with ‘Fn’ + ‘F2’ sets the laptop to Quiet, perfect for outdoor gaming without jet-engine-like fan noise. Dell improves the webcam with FHD resolution, a commendable move considering gaming laptops often neglect this feature. Its performance in various lighting conditions remains to be tested.

ALIENWARE M16 R2 REVIEW: PERFORMANCE

EARLY VERDICT

The Alienware m16 R2 impressively revamps last year’s model, notably shrinking its chassis while retaining the stellar 16-inch display. Boasting an outstanding display with a high refresh rate, a robust port selection, and an improved keyboard with responsive switches, Alienware adds valuable quality-of-life features.

For those seeking a powerful yet compact gaming laptop or an efficient desktop replacement, the m16 R2 emerges as a top contender. Striking a balance between portability and high-end specs, it manages to shed unnecessary weight without compromising performance.

In essence, the m16 R2 exemplifies a well-executed refresh and redesign, enhancing the product without sacrificing its core appeal. Full testing is essential to validate these improvements, so keep an eye out for our comprehensive review.

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