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Alienware gaming laptop guide: get one of the best in the business for less

Alienware m15
(Image credit: Alienware)

An Alienware gaming laptop is one of the cream of the crop. One of the top dog s in portable powerhouses. And, yes, absolutely one of the best gaming laptops money can buy. We're a big fan of them here at GamesRadar and while we know very well that they demand a steep price of admission, the machines go a long way to justify that and they're so tough to beat on gaming clout alone. The gaming nuts under Dell are well known for making premium gaming machines that ensure you're ready to game at the highest levels straight out of the box. 

Now, this does come with a premium, and one that the company often receives a bit of flak for, yet Alienware gaming laptops are still incredibly popular. They sell by the bucket load too, giving  an idea of their quality. 

With a newer, more modern aesthetic now established across Alienware's three main models, the design and build of them all is as slick and strong as ever, meaning that the usual excellence in performance can now by teamed with a proper, modern, eye-catching design too. They're unlike anything else on the market right now and they'll provide you with some of the best experiences in portable gaming.

To help break the choice down a little, we've rounded up a shortlist of solely Alienware gaming laptops so you can discern between them all and make an informed decision about which one is the best Alienware gaming laptop for you. We've also listed the sales, discounts, and bargains you shouldn't miss to ensure you save as much money as possible while making such a sizeable, but well-placed, investment. 

And one last thing: we know that there will be yet more refreshes of the latest Alienware gaming laptops due to Nvidia's and AMD's new graphics cards, and the imminent arrival of Intel's new processors. We'll update this page as we get more concrete info on the R4 range, but our price-finding tech will still root out the best prices for you - and they may even include those machines with the newest components if they sneak out onto the retailers' shelves.

So, let's get started - here are the best Alienware gaming laptops available right now.

Best Alienware gaming laptops

Alienware gaming laptops: Alienware Area-51m

(Image credit: Alienware/Dell)

1. Alienware Area-51m

Literally the best Alienware gaming laptop money can buy

Extremely powerful
Cool design
Great keyboard
Incredibly expensive
Loud fans

This is the laptop that really manifests and demonstrates the approach to gaming laptops that Alienware machines often exude. It's a bit of a chonk, but the design of this machine is seriously cool and out of this world. And that chassis has got to be robust and spacious to fit all the awesomeness inside it and to keep it all cool.

Speaking of which, it's one of the best gaming laptops of 2020 in terms of raw power and sheer gaming chops. And that's because, when you turn this up to 11, a 9th-generation i9 processor, with a 2080 graphics card and up to 64GB of RAM, can devour any game or task that's thrown at it. Even the 'toned down' variants featuring i7 processors or 2060 graphics cards will have you gaming away the hours with ease and incredibly smoothly. Whatever the configuration, it'll look great on that 17.3-inch screen too.

Yes, it'll be a bit loud at times in the fan department, and it really does demand a high price tag, but if you want something that can reach dizzying heights of performance and design style, then the Area 51m is the machine for you.

Alienware Area 51m | View on official website
The behemoth of the powerful family, the Area 51m is a triumph in making the best laptop for gaming in almost every conceivable way. It'll offer everything players could ever hope for from a laptop and the price can reach some dizzying heights. That's why it's always useful to check in regularly with Dell's laptop deals to see if an Area-51m has a tasty discount.
UK store: Alienware Area 51m dealsView Deal

Alienware gaming laptops: Alienware m15 R3

(Image credit: Alienware/Dell)

2. Alienware m15 R3

The next-best Alienware gaming laptop - and a slimmer sibling

Excellent screen 
Premium component options
Sci-fi-inspired design
Expensive

If you're looking for the best Alienware gaming laptop in terms of bang for buck, the m15 is arguably the machine to beat. After a terrific redesign that re-imagined the m15 both inside and out, it's thin, light, and powerful thanks to Nvidia Max-Q graphics and up to an i9 processor. As with everything else from Alienware, you can also configure your m15 however you like before hitting the checkout. 

Although this new design replaces the older GPUs with the newer ones - of course - that doesn't mean the m15 is overpriced. It's still a fair bit cheaper than its biggest competitors, and you're getting top-notch performance for your money. The keyboard, touchpad, and screen are excellent as well.

Sure, there's still the Alienware premium to consider. However, it's a joy to use and does a good job with any task you throw at it. If you can stomach the slightly higher price, the m15 is one of the best Alienware gaming laptops you can get anywhere in the world at the moment.

Alienware m15 R3 | View on official website
This is a gorgeous machine no matter how you slice it. From a new design and excellent build-quality to superb performance, the R2 is a great choice for any gaming or office setup. We'd argue that it's the best overall Alienware gaming laptop in terms of availability and performance, even if the R3 is newer.
UK store: Alienware m15 R3 dealsView Deal

Alienware gaming laptops: Alienware m17 R3

(Image credit: Alienware/Dell)

3. Alienware m17 R3

The best plus-size Alienware gaming laptop

Amazing 17-inch screen
Lots of choice to suit most budgets
Thin and light
Battery life is poor

What makes the Alienware m17 laptop special? On paper, it's similar in design and specs to the m15. However, sit them beside each other and the difference becomes obvious. As the name would suggest, the m17 boasts a larger, 17-inch screen. That makes it the superior choice if you value top-notch visuals.   

Much like its m15 sibling, though, the m17 is impressively petite for a gaming laptop. In fact, it's thinner and lighter than much of the competition. It's more than a match for them in terms of specs, too. More specifically, you can fit the m17 with an RTX 2080 graphics card if you have the budget to do so. That makes it pretty future-proof.

Yes, more modest versions of the m17 are available. But even those builds will handle the latest games well. That makes this one of the best Alienware gaming laptops for any budget.

Alienware m17 R3 | View on official website
Want a slightly larger gaming laptop? The m17 is your best option. It packs a 17-inch screen with the same design and range of specs as the m15, making it a solid choice for those hunting down a new setup.
UK store: Alienware m17 R3 dealsView Deal

Why buy an Alienware gaming PC or laptop?

Alienware gaming PC

(Image credit: Dell)

At first glance, an Alienware gaming PC might seem overpriced - you'd be justified in calling them the 'Apple' of gaming. However, they earn that price tag with accessibility, ease-of-use, and smart design that sets them apart from other manufacturers. 

Alongside fierce technical capabilities that allow them to run today's games at their best, Alienware gaming PCs come ready-made and good to go. That means you don't need to faff about with construction or debugging - the hard work is done for you. In other words? Plug it in and start playing.

Happily, Alienware is keen to make sure there's something to suit your budget as well. The official website lists a variety of builds with different costs, allowing you to pick and choose what you want. And if you decide you should have opted for more power down the line? It's easy enough to open the case and make those upgrades yourself. As a general rule, Alienware gaming PCs are built with easy (and often tool-free) expansion in mind.

More deals

Want more options? We've got you covered. The team here at GamesRadar+ have pulled together recommendations on everything PC-related, up to and including laptops, monitors, and must-have accessories like keyboards or mice. Check out the links below to start planning your perfect gaming setup.

Best gaming PC (US) | Best gaming PC (UK) | Best gaming laptop
Best gaming mouse | Best gaming keyboard | Best gaming monitor

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I'm one of the Hardware Editors for GamesRadar+, and I take care of a whole host of gaming tech reviews, buying guides, and news and deals content that pops up across GamesRadar+. I'm also a qualified landscape and garden designer so do that in my spare time, and lean on it to write about games' landscapes and environments too.