Alienware gaming laptops have always looked great and are so fast they can become unstable. Here is the new 16-inch m16 R1, which features both a 13th Gen Intel processor and a 40-series Nvidia graphics chip. Can the latest generation silicon fix some shortcomings of its predecessors?
Design and processing quality
Not surprisingly, the m16’s finish matched its great looks. The alien gray lid with black casing and illuminated RGB details looks like an alien ship and feels downright bombproof in construction. Details include the Alien logo on the head cap and the “Stadium” base that surrounds the exhaust port as if about to fly into hyperspace. It’s all understated, but really cool.
Open it to reveal the black palm rest, keyboard, display frame, and sleek hexagonal vents. RGB details illuminate every key and also the Alien Head power button. We love it.
The Scrabble tile keyboard looks great when everything is lit. It’s a bit stiff for prolonged typing, but at least all keys are now easy to grasp. There are full-size arrow keys and a handy array of media keys conveniently spaced. The trackpad is smooth and precise, while the buttons move smoothly (if a little sluggishly).
A Full HD webcam sits above the screen, capturing an impressively sharp image even in low light, while the surrounding microphone array does an excellent job of suppressing background noise when recording audio. It also has an IR partner camera for Windows Hello and facial recognition login.
However, the audio output from the speakers was a bit disappointing. It gets loud, but the bass is disappointingly lacking. We’ve heard much better about much thinner laptops, including parent brand Dell’s ultraportable XPS 13.
The 16-inch IPS screen is impressive. It’s bright (300 nits), has a UHD resolution of 2,560 x 1,600, and displays a crisp Windows desktop. Multimedia looks good with vivid colors and good contrast (details remain visible in light and dark areas). True Blacks might be a little washed out, but at least enemies won’t surprise you when they spring from the shadows. There are often subtle bandings in both color and monochrome gradients, but that’s not a bad thing and we’ve seen far worse results on other gaming displays.
The screen also has a 165Hz refresh rate to keep motion looking smooth. However, it doesn’t have the fastest pixel response time, which means that some particularly fast-moving objects can become a bit blurry. However, only gamers like competitive FPS players would complain, but we’ve seen better elsewhere.
The Alienware m16 is powered by an Intel Core i7-13700HX processor that has 8 Performance and 8 Efficiency cores and runs between 3.7 and 5 GHz. It is supported by 16GB of DDR5-4800 RAM and a 1TB hard drive. Together they deliver impressive 2D performance that can handle all general computing and rendering tasks at around the speed we’ve seen from laptops powered by Intel’s top-end last-gen (12th gen) Core i9 processors. have seen. It’s not a slacker.
A mid-range Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics chip takes care of the 3D performance. In our gaming tests, it’s shown that it can average around 60fps on the latest and greatest games. However, with some of the super-complex newer ray-traced titles, you’ll probably need to dial back a few settings to ensure things run smoothly.
As for stability – something that caused problems in its predecessors – there have been significant improvements, but not everything is fully fixed. One of these is the contoured rubber base, which helps channel airflow when the device is placed on a flat surface.
Nevertheless, the m16 R1 feels warm even when switched off. The fan can spin up in Balanced Power mode with minimal usage, but when it’s maxed out, it keeps things cool under load. However, there was often a low, swaying, high-pitched howl.
The Alienware Command Center app has been updated to provide a significantly less counterintuitive, Alien-like user experience. However, there are so many things to update – and some require updates in other apps without telling you which ones. We’ve tested this laptop multiple times between updates, each time getting different results (some faster, some slower). There’s no apparent thermal throttling like there used to be, but stability is still a question that hasn’t been fully answered.
ports and connections
The Alienware m16 R1 features Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connectivity. Meanwhile, all cable connections are distributed on the left side and on the back. There are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports (one with PowerShare), an SD card slot, HDMI 2.1, miniDP, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a 2.5G network port . This is a very complete complement of connections.
How portable is the Alienware m16 R1?
The robust build quality of the m16 suggests it should withstand life on the road with ease. However, it’s not light: 3 kg is what we expect for a gaming laptop on 17 and 18-inch models. The slim power adapter and cables add an additional 810g to the bulk, which while it’s not light, we’ve seen a lot worse.
We were disappointed with our battery tests, where we saw the latest generation Intel-Nvidia combo laptops achieve 10 hours of battery life. Although the test was repeated several times, the 86 Wh battery lasted only five hours. The cooling and energy management are still not quite right.
ChannelNews is testing the Alienware m16 R1 so early that we don’t have a price for this model yet. It’s in a highly competitive field – compared to models like the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro, Asus Zephyrus m16, MSI Raider, and (if you can actually find one in a store) the Acer Predator Helios range. Many people will prefer the Alienware’s design, but while it’s not the hot mess of its predecessors, it can still be a bit lukewarm.
Ultimately, it’s still a good buy if you like the design, can live with the slight heat and so-so battery life issues, and find it at a price point that suits you.
It looks great and performs well, but the latest m16 R1 still has a few minor issues. 7/10
Looks good and is well made.
The Alienware Command Center app has been significantly improved.
Portability is hampered by poor battery life and heavy weight.
It runs warm and the fan is often somewhat audible.