Alienware m16 R2 overview: threading the needle

A top down view of the Alienware m16 R2.
Alienware m16 R2
MSRP $1,850.00

“The Alienware m16 R2 fixes many of its predecessor’s flaws and performs well too.”

  • Smaller footprint, streamlined design
  • Nice touches of RGB
  • Great gaming efficiency
  • Convenient ports
  • Upgradeable
  • Limited configurations
  • Lackluster display
  • Flimsy touchpad

The Alienware m16 R2 appears like a contemporary begin for the brand’s gaming laptops. In the period of compact, discreet laptops just like the Razer Blade or ROG Zephyrus G14, Alienware laptops haven’t at all times adopted the development. The m16 laptops, notably, had been the defiantly chunky ones within the lineup.

But with the Alienware m16 R2, lots of the hallmarks of the corporate’s designs have been traded out for one thing that appears and feels extra typical. The finish result’s an general better gaming laptop that fixes a few of its predecessor’s design issues. It’s a bit too costly in comparison with previous-gen laptops, however some latest adjustments to pricing make it value contemplating.

Alienware m16 R2 overview replace

Our Alienware m16 R2 overview was initially printed February 15, 2024, and written by Luke Larsen. It was initially scored a 6 out of 10 and was not given a Recommended badge, primarily due to pricing points. There had been very restricted configurations accessible, and what was there was overpriced in comparison with the competitors. That excessive value made issues just like the lackluster display and touchpad more durable to abdomen.

Dell not too long ago launched a less expensive beginning configuration for the Alienware m16 R2. It now begins at $1,500, coming with an RTX 4050, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The soar to the RTX 4060 solely prices $100, which is extremely really useful in the event you’re shopping for this laptop computer. It will make an enormous distinction in efficiency. From there, the higher-end RTX 4070 configuration is available in at $1,900. Now that we’ve seen another 2024 Intel Core Ultra gaming laptops, these haven’t proved to be excessively costly by comparability.

Right now, nonetheless, you may really purchase the RTX 4060 mannequin for $1,400, which is a good worth. It’s been at this value for nearly two months, which is simply low sufficient to make this gaming laptop computer value shopping for.

Do a fast seek for an RTX 4060 gaming laptop computer, and also you’ll discover different 16-inch laptops for even cheaper although. The downside is the efficiency parity with choices from 2023. I assume it’s the explanation why many firms selected to not replace lower-tier or midrange gaming laptops this yr. You want another cause to spend more money on this laptop computer apart from efficiency. The ROG G16, which is priced carefully, solves this with its high-end OLED display possibility and significantly thinner chassis.

Still, the RTX 4060 at $1,400 is simply sufficient to bump the overview rating as much as a 7 out of 10 with a Recommended badge. Hopefully this configuration stays in place, and we see additional value cuts on the RTX 4070 sooner or later too.

The remainder of the overview follows as was printed.

Specs and pricing

  Alienware m16 R2
Dimensions 0.93 x 14.33 x 9.81 inches
Weight 5.75 kilos
Processor Intel Core Ultra 7 155H
Graphics RTX 4060
RTX 4070
RAM 16GB (2x8GB) GDDR6
Display 16-inch 2560 x 1600 240Hz 3ms
Storage 1TB SSD
Touch No
Ports 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1x USB-C Thunderbolt 4
1x HDMI 2.1
1x RJ45 Ethernet
1x MicroSD card slot
1x 3mm headset jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1
Optional WWAN
Webcam 1080p at 30 fps
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 90 watt-hour

Alienware at the moment affords only a single configuration show and processor possibility. It gained’t keep like this endlessly, as Alienware plans to ultimately supply as much as a Core Ultra 9, 8TB of storage, and 64GB of RAM. There will even be a less expensive RTX 4050 configuration that begins at $1,449.

But for now, the one configuration on supply for Alienware m16 R2 is as follows: an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, and choices for both an RTX 4060 or RTX 4070. It additionally comes with a 2560 x 1600 240Hz IPS show.

The RTX 4060 configuration begins at $1,650 or $200 extra for the RTX 4070, which is what I reviewed. It’s priced simply $50 cheaper than the Alienware x16, although we don’t but have pricing on the 2024 R2 mannequin. Meanwhile, the Dell G16 is available in at $300 cheaper for an almost an identical configuration.

In truth, the Alienware m16 R2 is the primary Core Ultra gaming laptop computer we’ve reviewed, so we’ll have to attend and see how pricing rolls out on other similar gaming laptops.


The back of the Alienware m16 R2 on a table.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

The second era of the Alienware m16 is a whole redesign of the road, which feels uncommon for a way new it’s. The chassis has been thinned right down to 0.94 inches, together with trimming 1.42 kilos off the general weight. It’s a big 16-inch laptop computer, considerably thicker than one thing just like the Razer Blade 16, Alienware x16, or MacBook Pro 16.

It additionally has a extra typical hinge, a a lot smaller backside bezel underneath the display, and a extra centered touchpad (now with a top level view of RGB). These are all good issues, modernizing practically each side of the appear and feel.

But the most important change is the elimination of the “thermal shelf,” the massive protrusion on the again of the hinge space, which was at all times offered as additional air flow and a greater place for ports. Lenovo Legion laptops additionally use the same thermal shelf, however Alienware was the primary to make this a giant a part of its design ethos. This additionally means the elimination of the Tron-like ring of sunshine — one other hallmark of the Alienware model that’s gone right here.

Again, that’s not essentially a foul factor. In some ways, it’s the said objective of the m16 R2. It’s meant to be a laptop computer that blends in, and I feel Alienware has pulled it off with out compromising an excessive amount of of its swagger.

The Alienware m16 R2 open on a table.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

Don’t get me flawed: this design nonetheless has loads of Alienware-isms. The light-up Alienware brand continues to be there (now centered above the keyboard), as is the honeycomb sample throughout the highest vents and the “racing stripe” title on the lid. But it feels a bit extra like Alienware branding plastered onto a extra generic, off-the-shelf midrange gaming laptop computer. The construct high quality is respectable, however as you utilize it, you’ll actually be reminded that it’s not something too high-end based mostly on the supplies used.

The greatest design downside all these adjustments fixes is the positioning of the keyboard on the unique m16 although. In the earlier mannequin, it was awkward, to place it evenly. It had a large footprint on the desk, but it left little room to your palms or a bigger touchpad. The m16 R2 resolves all that discomfort and further measurement, lowering the general footprint by 14% and growing the dimensions of each the touchpad and palm rests.

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard and touchpad of the Alienware m16 R2.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

The keyboard is likely one of the stronger components of the Alienware m16 R2, and now that the palm rests are bigger, it may be loved to its fullest extent. The 1.8mm journey is lush, whereas the keys nonetheless really feel snappy and correct for typing. They’re emphasised by per-key RGB backlighting, all managed by the Alienware Command Center. I like this structure, too, offering some helpful perform keys on the correct and saving the complete quantity pad for the Alienware m18.

Alienware has moved the touchpad nearer to the middle this time, which appears to be like a lot much less awkward. As talked about above, it additionally has a hoop of RGB outlining the touchpad, which is extra nuanced than your complete floor lighting like on different Alienware fashions. This feels refined, which, once more, is the secret right here.

The touchpad itself, sadly, isn’t the most effective. It has a plastic-feeling floor, making for a lackluster monitoring expertise. It’s usable, nevertheless it’s simply not going to be as easy as a glass touchpad, such because the one on the Alienware x16.


Despite the truth that the thermal shelf is gone, there are nonetheless ports situated again there. That’s the place you’ll discover your energy, HDMI 2.1, one Thunderbolt 4 port (with 15-watt energy supply), and one USB-C port 3.2. Gen 2 with DisplayPort 1.4. You can energy by the Thunderbolt 4 port, however gaming on it isn’t really useful. I just like the place of those ports, making for a handy location for fast entry to energy and exterior show assist.

On the edges, you’ll discover two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, an RJ45 Ethernet jack, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Unfortunately, each USB-A ports are on the correct facet, awkwardly near the place your mouse is likely to be (for right-handed people). One on both sides would have been best.

It’s additionally a little bit of a bummer that the full-size SD card slot on the unique m16 has been changed by a microSD card slot. Dell is doing a similar thing with its new XPS machines, and I’m not a fan.


The Alienware m16 R2 on a white desk.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

As of now, there’s only a single show possibility accessible for the Alienware m16 R2. It has a 2560 x 1600 decision, 240Hz refresh charge IPS panel, and a 3-millisecond response time. The show additionally comes with Nvidia G-Sync and Advanced Optimus.

Alienware has stored its gaming laptop computer screens pretty modest, sticking with typical IPS panels. Many of Alienware’s opponents have opted for OLED or mini-LED, whether or not it’s Asus, Razer, MSI, or Lenovo. The new ROG Zephyrus G16 even goes for a shiny panel to attract out the readability of the visuals. But with Alienware, even its most premium entries proceed to stay with a normal matte LED. That’s a disgrace.

Now, I don’t essentially anticipate the m16 to have an OLED possibility because it’s not essentially the most high-end possibility in Alienware’s lineup. But it’s value mentioning that choices just like the 2023 ROG Zephyrus G14 with its mini-LED display promote for the same value. Also, the outdated Alienware m15 used to supply an AMOLED possibility.

OLED or mini-LED would supply higher HDR and improved coloration accuracy. The Alienware m16 R2’s display is a bit off, with a Delta-E of two.19. It’s additionally a reasonably dim display, with a max brightness of simply 289 nits. You’re actually getting a greater IPS display on the Alienware x16, which is brighter and has higher coloration protection.

But general, it is a stable show for gaming. It’s quick and sharp sufficient; I simply want it had been somewhat brighter and extra color-accurate.


The Alienware m16 R2 is likely one of the first gaming laptops to return out that use the brand new Meteor Lake Core Ultra chips from Intel. In specific, this one has the Core Ultra 7 155H. On the floor, this is similar chip you’ll discover in much less highly effective laptops, such because the Asus Zenbook 14 or Dell XPS 14, for that matter. That doesn’t imply you’ll get the identical efficiency, although, for the reason that Alienware m16 R2 can run this chip at 45 watts. As complicated as that is likely to be for a mean laptop computer purchaser, that’s hardly Dell’s fault.

The firm appears to be saving the 14th-gen Raptor Lake Refresh HX 55-watt chips for the higher-end (and bigger) laptops on this lineup. It must be famous, nonetheless, that the m16 R1 featured a 55-watt HX chip, with even an alternate AMD possibility on supply. You have only one alternative now for chips.

Don’t get too enthusiastic about NPUs and such on the Core Ultra 7, but in addition know that it’ll go well with you simply nice for many situations, whether or not that’s gaming, productiveness, or content material creation.

Geekbench 6
Cinebench R24
PCMark 10
Alienware m16 R2 (Core Ultra 7 155H) 2366 / 12707 63 103 / 1040 7028
Asus ROG Strix 18 (Core i9-14900HX) 2946 / 17622 65 124 / 1533 7621
Framework Laptop 16 (Ryzen 7 7840HS) 2470 / 11484 70 99 / 876 n/a
HP Omen 16 (Ryzen 9 7940HS) 2692 / 12137 n/a 105 / 937 n/a
Alienware x16 (Core i9-13900HK) n/a 57 n/a 7948
Asus Zenbook 14 2024 (Core Ultra 7 155H) 2270 / 12149 86 103 / 493 6348

But at the beginning, it is a gaming laptop computer. And right here, the Alienware m16 R2 is a stable performer. It outdoes different laptops we’ve examined with the RTX 4070 at 3DMark Time Spy, together with the HP Omen 16, Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, and MSI Creator Z17 HX Studio. You’re actually getting essentially the most out of this GPU, and the result’s some respectable body charges in even essentially the most intense video games. It performed Cyberpunk 2077 at 1200p Ultra Ray Tracing at a mean of 61 fps (frames per second) with DLSS 3 on. Or, for a smoother gameplay expertise, you may get it as much as 117 fps at 1,200p Medium with FSR 2.1 on, making higher use of that quicker refresh charge display. Of course, an RTX 4080 laptop computer just like the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i will do you a lot better, as a lot as 33% quicker.

Meanwhile, in a recreation like Red Dead Redemption 2, the Alienware m16 R2 averaged 69 fps at native decision and Ultra graphics settings. All in all, it’s a formidable gaming machine for what’s underneath the hood and the reductions in chassis measurement, all with out making floor temperatures overly sizzling.

The solely actual trade-off, once more, is in fan noise. When this factor ramps up, it’s loud. Like jet engine loud. You’ll seemingly be gaming with a headset on anyhow, given the standard of the audio system. Still, it may be fairly distracting for different individuals round. You can set it to “stealth mode,” after all, however that’s not one thing you need to do whereas gaming.

As with the CPU, there’s solely a single configuration at the moment accessible by way of reminiscence and storage (16GB and 1TB), however all of it’s accessible and expandable. It even comes with an additional m.2 slot to simply enhance storage. The two nook screws on my unit gave me a little bit of hassle, however with some cautious tightening, I used to be capable of get the underside cowl off with out stripping the screws.

Don’t anticipate a ton of battery life from the Alienware m16 R2, however having Nvidia Advanced Optimus helps out. The 90-watt-hour battery will get you simply round six and a half hours of battery on native video playback, however that considerably drops when working or gaming (clearly). You can get just a few hours away from the wall to get some work accomplished however don’t anticipate an excessive amount of greater than that.

Webcam and audio system

Gaming laptops often minimize corners on quality-of-life options like a webcam or audio high quality. The Alienware m16 R2 doesn’t do something to reverse this development. The audio system are fairly terrible — not one thing you’d even need to take video calls on, not to mention watch movies or play music.

The webcam is equally unhealthy. It’s 1080p decision, however the digicam struggles in every little thing however essentially the most good lighting circumstances. Even in a well-lit workplace setting, the image high quality appears to be like blurry and lacks element.

My authentic copy of the overview said that the laptop computer doesn’t embody an IR digicam for Windows Hello facial authentication, nevertheless it does the truth is — and works fairly effectively. It’s a pleasant function to have, even on a gaming laptop computer, to make sure you’re not caught logging in with only a password.

Improvements aren’t sufficient

The lid of the Alienware m16 R2.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

The Alienware m16 R2 is in a clumsy spot. On one hand, it’s an try by Alienware to modernize its most inexpensive laptop computer and compete with the “stealthier” competitors. It’s principally profitable in that pursuit, even when it doesn’t go far sufficient to actually problem Razer or a few of ROG’s new releases. But functionally, it’s extra compact and the enlarged palm rests are a welcome change.

But the choice to revamp this mannequin into one thing extra typical does really feel a bit unusual by itself, particularly given the way it’s priced in comparison with the Alienware x16. After all, that laptop computer was supposed to emphasise a smooth profile and a extra trendy design — or so I assumed.

The Alienware x16 nonetheless has a way more premium really feel and in addition affords a greater variety of configurations, with choices as much as an RTX 4090. And but, there’s solely $50 separating the Alienware x16 R1 from the Alienware m16 R2. Of course, the x16 R2 is coming quickly, and we don’t know precisely how that pricing will change. Still, the Alienware m16 feels a bit purposeless within the lineup at this value, unable to drop down less expensive with out consuming into the Dell G-series laptop. Part of the issue is that there isn’t a less expensive storage possibility accessible, equivalent to a 512GB mannequin. Considering you may improve storage your self, providing a less expensive configuration would have been good, even with the cheaper RTX 4050 configuration that can ultimately come out. All that may sound like a facet word, however the best way Dell positions these units internally results in the choices that find yourself within the closing product.

Overall, the Alienware m16 R2 is a reboot of the design and units the muse for the place issues might go. But we’re not there but. If yow will discover the Alienware m16 R2 discounted by a pair hundred bucks, it is likely to be a stable pick-up, particularly in the event you’re a fan of Alienware. It does what it units out to do, and fixes lots of the points with the unique mannequin. But at this value, there are some higher choices on the market, a lot of which include last-gen gaming laptops that carry out simply as effectively. Amazon and Best Buy are stuffed with RTX 4070 gaming laptops proper now for considerably cheaper.

It’s not this laptop computer’s fault that new cell GPUs haven’t launched in 2024, however the efficiency parity with final yr’s gaming laptops means newer units really want to make an announcement with its design, show, or value. The Alienware m16 R2 simply barely misses the mark in strolling that stability.

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