9.2 Awesome

The upgraded 2017 version still has the best-looking graphics. It has got all that you need plus its portable and VR ready. OLED panel is the option which you should think of but it will be expensive compared to the base model. The TechSeer will give it a 9.2 out of a solid 10.

Alienware 13 may not be the most powerful laptop but it sure is a multiple prize winner and one of the most admirable machines out there. It is portable enough to carry around with VR equipped and gorgeously designed. It will cost you around US$ 1199 or AU$1600.

However, this laptop is worth buying due to its standardized features like temperature is well controlled, a great keyboard and great build quality. It’s got the most gorgeous display and a design with the ease of upgradeability. The battery might not be brilliant, compared to some less powerful laptops out there and the fan gets too loud. Looking deep into specifications will give you an in-depth understanding that will help you to choose whether it’s best for you or not.

Alienware 13 R3 Review

Pros

  • OLED panel
  • High-quality display
  • Temperature is controllable
  • Best keyboard layout

Cons

  • No SD card slot
  • Low battery life on gaming
  • Loud fan noise on heavy gaming

Alienware 13 R3 Specs we reviewed

Screen Size 13.3-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) OLED Technology, 400-nits Display with Touch Technology
PC CPU i7-7700HQ (Quad-Core, 6MB Cache, up to 3.8GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
Memory 16GB DDR4 at 2666MHz (2x 8GB)
Storage
512GB PCIe SSD (Boot)
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit)
Graphics Card NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5

Design

Build Quality: Quality build across the entire device is superb- everything just feels solid. One complaint is with the design of this laptop comes down to the screen hinge mechanism. It’s not strong enough to eliminate almost all of the screen wobble you’d normally get when using the touchscreen. The unconventionally shifted forward design lets the display open all the way flat which is nice. It’s just a tiny bit too heavy to open without rocking the whole device. There’s no cut out on the front to help you lift it up without digging your nails into it.

Ports: To the left, you will find a Kensington lock port, one USB 3.0 type A, and headphone and microphone jacks. On the right, there is a USB 3.1 gen 1 and a USB 3.0 type A, and on the back, you will find your Ethernet, Display port and HDMI, power in, Thunderbolt 3 and Alien ware’s external GPU connector.  If someone who shoots a lot of photos and videos than it’s not beneficial for them as it lacks an SD card slot. You can use Graphics Amplifier or Razor Core with this laptop now.

Webcam: The camera comes with Alienware HD+IR presence detection technology. You can use facial recognition with the help of infrared technology installed in the webcam which has a pretty average result. It can also be used for locking and security purposes.

Keyboard and touchpad and Audio

Keyboard: Moving into the device you’ll find Alien ware’s Tact X keyboard. The layout is pretty much perfect for a 13 Inch form factor and we don’t think we have seen a laptop with fewer keyboard flex than this. It feels different than traditional keyboards. There’s a 2.2mm of distance which makes it perfect for typing. There are 2 dedicated “Pageup” and “Pagedn” keys on the sides of cursor keys. This could be annoying if you play from cursor keys as you could accidentally hit them.

Touchpad: The trackpad is the one which is used in its older 15-inch model. It uses synaptic drivers to light up the surface and you can choose from 1000s of different colors. Accurate tracking and solid buttons build. This is the first time they have introduced this trackpad in the 13 inch model.

Speakers: It has good speakers with nice volume surround. It comes with Alienware Sound Center and Audio Recon software. You can hear it clearly up till 80 percent of the total volume. Bass is pretty average because there are no subwoofers.

Display

Alienware 13 is available in a few display options.

  • 13.3-inch HD (1366 x 768) TN Anti-Glare 200-nits Display, Non-touch
  • 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare 300-nits Display, Non-touch
  • 13.3-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) OLED Technology, 400-nits Display with Touch Technology

If you know anything about this panel, it’s as good as you are expecting. We reviewed 13.3-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) OLED as extract following results.

  • 380 nt
  • RGB: 100%
  • ARGB: 100%

Colors are vibrant although hardly accurate so you will want to adjust this if you plan on doing any color related work on it and the response time is noticeably faster than others in the market. This screen is great in almost every regard with the two clear drawbacks being a little high price and the fact that there is a risk of burn-in. We played several games on it and the screen results were tremendous. It would be great if it has a slightly higher refresher rate and G sync would have taken the screen to the next level for gaming.

Performance and Gaming

Hardware: Alienware has been refreshing all of their laptops with Intel’s Kaby Lake CPUs. Last year they went with dual core before coming on to quad-core Sky Lake and now quad-core Kaby Lake. It’s a pretty small upgrade which is why most of the things are similar but the performance and battery life results are slightly better in more recent models. This machine is spaced out with 16GB of DDR4 RAM at 2666MHz with a 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ processor together with NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5. It can handle most of the latest games at 1080p. For the gaming performance features, Alien ware includes Deus Ex Mankind Divided at 1440p just by lowering few settings. If you are happy with 1080p you can lower it down accordingly. You can execute anything pretty fast due to 512PCIe SSD installed in it. It is recommended for video editors on an average budget as well.

Game FPS
Battlefield 1 87 fps on ultra settings at 1080p
Dota 2 100 fps on ultra settings at 1080p
The Witcher 3 47 fps on ultra settings at 1080p
Shadow Warrior 2 58 fps on ultra settings at 1080p

VR Mode: Yes this machine comes with VR option as well and you can use your Oculus Go, Rift, and Vive Pro with it. We did not feel any throttling during our VR Gameplay.

Battery life, Noise, and Heat

Under a light load of web browser and word processing, we are able to get around 4 hours but if start loading it will fall pretty quickly. It reached 10 percent from a full charge when we played a 65 minute of Dota 2 on high settings. It sure is portable but it needs to be plugged in if you want to play games.

One thing that light and thin laptops are known for is making a lot of noise in some cases up to hairdryer levels. However, in this model at idle and light loads this machine can run entirely fanless, making it actually a lot quieter than a lot of less powerful laptops on the market. Though if you stuff this much power into a frame size the fans are going to spin at some point. When they do they are bit quieter than some other laptops in the same size and performance such as Dell Inspiron 15 7000. However, this machine does get loud just like most of the gaming laptops at heavy load.

Temperatures are fairly well controlled with idle temperatures around 45 and 40. With the load of 70 and 67 degrees Celsius on the CPU and GPU respectively. Thermal throttling is absolutely not something you need to worry about for this laptop.

If you have got a machine that gets that loud, you will probably want some powerful speakers to drown that noise out. Even though they are the side facing they are still pretty loud and they have some of the best speakers I have heard on a laptop overall.

Upgrading

Another area Alienware has gained its popularity is how easily upgradable this machine is. Popping off the bottom cover is easy. There are standard Phillips head screws and once you are in you will see everything you need, neatly arranged in front of you with some nice little labels to help you find your way around. So there are really three components you can upgrade in this machine- the RAM, the storage where Alienware includes just one M.2 slot and the wireless card. If you want to upgrade your storage you just need to change the drive. It’s clear that Alien ware considered the ease and safety of its user for upgrading this machine.

Under a light load of web browser and word processing, we are able to get around 4 hours but if start loading it will fall pretty quickly. If you are gaming then it runs out under an hour. For this stuff, you should really be using this machine plugged in.

Verdict

The upgraded 2017 version still has the best-looking graphics. It has got all that you need plus its portable and VR ready. OLED panel is the option which you should think of but it will be expensive compared to the base model. The TechSeer will give it a 9.2 out of a solid 10.

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