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Best Alienware laptop 2022: all the latest models compared

Alienware gaming laptops
(Image credit: Dell)

The best Alienware laptops represent the top end of the market. These are powerful machines that pack the latest components into thoughtful design schemes and often slap some of the best displays available on top of them. From mechanical keyboards to new thermal controls, the latest Alienware gaming laptops are taking the brand even further up the ranks of the best gaming laptops on the market. 

With the slimline design of the X15 and X17 models and the decreased price of the M15 R5 and R6, then, there's plenty to love here. We're big fans of Alienware laptops 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. 

Like the best Alienware gaming PCs, these machines do come with a premium, and one that the company often receives a bit of flak for, yet these rigs are still incredibly popular. They sell by the bucket load too, giving an idea of their quality. 

To help break the choice down a little, we've rounded up a shortlist of all the best Alienware laptops available right now. Based on our own testing, and the components up for grabs in each model, this list is compiled from both hands-on experience and price-checking competitors for value for money. 

We've also listed all the lowest prices from around the web to ensure you save as much money as possible while making such a sizeable, but well-placed, investment. You'll find all the best Alienware gaming laptops available just below, but bargain hunters among you will also find plenty of cheap Alienware laptop deals.

The best Alienware gaming laptops available now

1. Alienware X15 R2

The best Alienware gaming laptop overall

Specifications

CPU: i7-12700H | i9-12900H
GPU: RTX 3060 | RTX 3070 Ti | RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: up to 32GB
Storage: Up to 4TB
Display: FHD at 165Hz / 360Hz | QHD at 240Hz

Reasons to buy

+
The latest 15.6-inch Alienware laptop
+
Powerful configurations available
+
Big storage potential

Reasons to avoid

-
Far more expensive than previous flagships

Our favorite configuration:

Alienware X15 R2 | Intel i7-12700H | RTX 3070 Ti at Dell (opens in new tab)
The Alienware x15 R2 is a premium piece of kit, so we'd recommend boosting your GPU up to an RTX 3070 Ti to get the best value over the baseline RTX 3060 option. There's around $300 between the two configurations, but that's cash well spent when you're at this level of investment.

There's a new Alienware laptop in town, now that Dell has refreshed its like of X15 and X17 machines for 2022. The new releases are now available on the shelves, though you might have to crack open the piggy bank - these are not cheap rigs. 

That's why we've put the 15.6-inch model above the 17.3-inch version in our guide to the best Alienware laptops. You're still getting that sleek form factor, Intel 12th generation chipset, and radical RTX 3080Ti opportunities, but without dropping an insane amount of cash. Don't get us wrong, these are still premium machines - but with prices cutting slightly under those of the 17-incher things are that little bit more reachable here. 

The Alienware X15 R2 brings with it Intel's new 12th generation processors, the capacity to build up to Nvidia's RTX 3080 Ti GPU, and extra attention paid to the LEDs running along the back of the chassis. It's still the slimline, highly powerful rig we've all come to welcome onto the premium shelf, but refreshed to keep up with cutting edge developments from key component developers. 

2. Alienware M15 R5 / R6

Currently the cheapest Alienware laptop

Specifications

CPU: i5-11400H | i7-11800H | i9-11900H
GPU: RTX 3050Ti | RTX 3060 | RTX 3070 | RTX 3080
RAM: up to 32GB
Storage: up to 2TB SSD
Display: FHD at 165Hz / 360Hz | QHD at 240Hz

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible performance
+
Makes the most of the RTX 3080
+
Amazing 360Hz display

Reasons to avoid

-
Gets extremely hot and loud
-
Heavy for its size

Our favorite configuration:

Alienware M15 R5 | RTX 3070 | Ryzen 7 5800H at Dell (opens in new tab)
Now that the new R7 models are on the shelves, the Alienware M15 R5 / R6 is the cheapest Alienware laptop available. We're seeing significant discounts hitting this range these days, so for the best value we'd recommend hitting the an RTX 3070 configuration - we've seen this rigs in the price range of $1,399 for a few weeks now.

The Alienware M15 line is still going, with the R5 and R6 hitting the shelves in 2021. Previously the flagship model, there are some price-cutting sacrifices in the latest iteration, now that Dell is focusing on its X range for its premium customers. The plastic chassis and slimline RGB lighting will be disappointing for some, but you're still getting that classic design that makes the best Alienware gaming laptops so interesting. Plus, you're getting it for a better price than previous iterations as well. 

In our testing, the Alienware M15 R6 (Intel-based) absolutely smashed RTX 3080 performance, but did run a little warm as a result. We were recording temperatures in the high-90s while pushing this rig in gaming or processor-intensive tasks. 

Still, with a slightly thinner frame and powerful display this is a machine that you'll be running from your desk just as much as you will on the go. You'll want to make sure you let this machine breathe, but considering we were hitting average framerate of 122 fps on Metro Exodus's high setting (and 95 fps on ultra), it's worth leaning into what this rig can do when it gets going. 

It's worth noting that the Alienware M15 R7 is also now on the shelves (opens in new tab), with Intel's 12th generation processors in tow. However, that means we're seeing some particularly good prices on the Alienware M15 R5 and R6 right now, some skirting close to $1,000 / £1,000. 

The M15 R5 (AMD-based) is listed above, but you'll find all the lowest prices on the Alienware M15 R6 just below. 

Read more: Alienware M15 R6 review

3. Alienware X17

The best Alienware laptop for big screen gaming

Specifications

CPU: i7-12700H | i9-12900H
GPU: RTX 3060 | RTX 3070Ti | RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: up to 64GB
Storage: up to 4TB SSD (2x2TB)
Display: FHD at 165Hz / 360Hz | UHD at 120Hz

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful components
+
Fantastic gaming performance
+
Mechanical Cherry MX keyboard

Reasons to avoid

-
Premium prices
-
Gets hot

Our favorite configuration:

Alienware X17 R2 | i7-12700H | RTX 3060 at Dell (opens in new tab)
The Alienware X17 R2 is the biggest and best Alienware gaming laptop on the market on paper. Its premium cost keeps it from the very top of this list, as most gamers will be able to spend X15 prices and still enjoy the luxury. However, there's plenty to dig into with this RTX 3060 configuration, balancing plenty of power from the Alder Lake processor.

If you're looking for a larger display, the absolute best Alienware laptop for you is the brand new X17 R2. There's plenty of power under the hood here, with the very latest 12th generation i7 and i9 processors, up to 64GB of RAM, 4TB of SSD storage and a glorious display to top it all off. 

That Alienware X17 form factor remains, with all the luxury accents and deep-backed hinges. However, the LED trackpad that we so loved with the R1 release has been removed for the R2. Still, there's no point grieving RGB when there's so much power available under the hood. We managed to squeeze 30fps in our 4K testing, something we can't say for the similarly priced Razer Blade Pro 17, and thanks to that reinvented cooling system and larger design, temperatures never climbed as high as the Alienware M15. 

Of course, this isn't going to be the best Alienware laptop for everyone. You're going to be spending quite a few beans locking in this purchase, and the heavier form factor and desktop-grade configurations won't be right for the majority of players. However, if you do have the budget to put into a larger device, this is the Alienware laptop we would recommend.  

The Alienware X17 still follows the slimline design of the X15, but adds a little extra thickness with that mechanical keyboard the additional ports. If you're after a premium big-screen experience, the specs on offer here are unlikely to disappoint. This laptop looks and feels great, a statement piece for those who take their gaming seriously.

We'd aim for those 12th generation Intel processors on the new R2 release, with an RTX 3070 Ti or RTX 3080 Ti GPU to ensure you're getting the best value for your cash.

Read more: Alienware X17 R1 review

4. Alienware X15 (2021)

The best Alienware laptop for price to performance value

Specifications

CPU: i7-11800H | i9-11900H
GPU: RTX 3060 | RTX 3070 | RTX 3080
RAM: 16GB | 32GB
Storage: up to 4TB SSD (2x2TB)
Display: FHD at 165Hz / 360Hz | QHD at 240Hz

Reasons to buy

+
Still excellent components inside
+
Likely to see more discounts soon
+
Slimline, premium design

Reasons to avoid

-
No 12th gen Intel processors
-
No RTX 3070 Ti or 3080 Ti options

Our favorite configuration:

Alienware X15 | Intel i7-11800H | RTX 3060 at Dell (opens in new tab)
The Alienware X15 offers a premium experience, but you'll find some excellent value in the mid-range here. An RTX 3060 GPU may feel a little weak in such a powerful rig, but there's plenty going on under the hood here that you don't need to spend more on a flashy GPU to see value for money.

While the M15 range was previously leader of the pack, Alienware made way for a new flagship in 2021, refreshing once again in 2022. The X15 (and X17 for those after a larger display) offers up the most powerful components on the market in a slimline chassis designed to hit the thinner, lighter aesthetic of top of the range machines today. While pricey, it's the best Alienware laptop on the market right now, with some impressive display specs and powerful baseline configurations. 

Alienware gaming laptops are already packed with power, which can sometimes result in some unfortunate thermal frustrations. However, the X15 has been outfitted with plenty of smart cooling features and some new thermal limiting tech as well. While you are dropping the mechanical keyboard of the X17 here, the price to performance ratio is all the more friendly here and you're still getting the very latest hardware. 

5. Alienware x14

The smallest Alienware laptop

Specifications

CPU: i5-12500H / i7-12700H
Graphics: RTX 3050 / RTX 3050 Ti / RTX 3060
RAM: 16GB - 32GB DDR5
Storage: : 512GB - 2TB SSD
Screen:: 14-inch, 1080p, 144Hz

Reasons to buy

+
Super slimline form factor
+
Impressive performance
+
More affordable than other Alienware rigs
+
Sleek aesthetic

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited configurations available
-
Increased depth leaves larger footprint
-
Matte display can dull colors

Our favorite configuration:

Alienware x14 | Intel i7-12700H | RTX 3050 Ti at Dell (opens in new tab)
The Alienware x14 is best served with an RTX 3050 Ti GPU and 12th generation i7 processor. After all, there's only $100 between this boosted version and the i5 / RTX 3050 configuration and the extra power is well worth the slight bump in price. You're picking this machine for its impossibly thin form factor and luxurious design, rather than its ability to pump out three-figure framerates, and there's diminishing returns the further up the price scale you go.

Dell has shrunk its premium line of gaming laptops with the Alienware x14. Taking the luxury design of the x15 and x17 models and shrinking it down to a new 14-inch form factor, this is the smallest Alienware laptop currently on the market. That means you're dropping down a few pegs in terms of your configuration, especially compared to the high-flying specs of the larger models. 

The x14 comes with an RTX 3050, RTX 3050 Ti, or RTX 3060 GPU, paired up with either an Intel i5-12500H or i7-12700H processor. Those new-generation processors (and the DDR5 RAM that accompanies them) certainly push those graphics cards to some new heights, even in this smaller form factor. We were impressed with the 108 average frames per second on Highest settings in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and while more demanding titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 did present more of a challenge, we were still benchmarking at 55fps in High. 

Those smaller specs mean that this is one of the cheapest Alienware laptops currently available, when configured as such. We tested an RTX 3060 / i7 configuration, but that rig costs close to $2,000. We thought that was a little hard to swallow considering every Alienware x14 ships with the same 1080p 144Hz display. However, down at the bottom end of the price scale there's actually some solid value for money. That's why we'd recommend checking this machine if you're after form factor over performance, aiming for an RTX 3050 GPU. 

You're paying for the high-end engineering, design, and build quality here - all wrapped up in a super skinny machine that can slide easily into any backpack. 

Read more: Alienware x14 review

Which Alienware gaming laptop should you buy?

If you're looking in the current generation of Alienware gaming laptops, it's worth noting that the M15 R5 / R6 will be the perfect sweet spot in value for most. It's already stacked out with plenty of room for a powerful configuration, and you're getting a lower price than the previous mainline entry. Plus, you'll be able to pick up a lower spec model for far less cash if you don't think you're going to be playing demanding titles.

However, if you need more room for more substantial components, it's worth checking out the X15 instead. You're getting the new form factor, but also the ability to move up to an i9 processor if you want, as well as up to 4TB of SSD storage. That's a particularly costly spec, but well worth it if you're looking to spend more than $3,000. 

The Alienware X17 is largely reserved for those who don't mind something that will take up far more desk space. This is a large laptop, and one that won't be easily transported. 

How much does an Alienware laptop cost?

The best Alienware laptops can soar in price, especially when outfitted with the latest and greatest components. These are powerful machines with plenty of additional power keeping everything running under the hood, which means you're not exactly picking up a budget buy here. 

The cheapest model in the current lineup is an entry level configuration of the Alienware M15 R6. This machine starts at $1,379.99 / £1,499 for an i7-11800H processor, RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 256GB SSD storage and 8GB RAM. 

Meanwhile, the new X line pushing things into a more premium category. The Alienware X15 starts at $2,099.99 / £2,149 and the X17 model sits at $2,199.99 / £2,299. 

Are Alienware laptops worth it?

At first glance, Alienware laptops 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 laptops come ready-made and good to go, without a thoughtful design in both engineering and aesthetic.

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 often easy enough to open the case and upgrade your rig yourself. 

How we test Alienware laptops

Finding the very best Alienware laptops is no mean feat. Of course, Dell only produces so many ranges and models per year - but not each one carries its price tag the same way. We run all gaming laptops that pass our desks through a series of industry tests, while working and playing with them for a considerable amount of time in every day life. That way we can accurately judge the value proposition on offer, and determine just how far that price tag will take you. 

Our testing covers everything from GPU performance to storage speeds, using 3D Mark, Cinebench, PC Mark 10, and Crystal Disk Mark to ensure we have a set of baseline data to compare models. After that, we see how each Alienware laptop fares in the real world, with framerate tests across Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Total War: Three Kingdoms, Metro Exodus, The Division 2, and Red Dead Redemption 2. 

These laptops also slot directly into our everyday lives when we're testing, which means we have the chance to see exactly how they fare against daily work and play, while also testing battery, portability, and overall quality of life as well. 

You can find more information on how we review the products we recommend in our full Hardware Policy, and we're also showing you exactly how we test gaming laptops for more details as well. 

If you're shopping between brands, check out our guide to the best Razer laptops on the market, and our roundup of the latest cheap Razer laptop deals as well. Or, to kit out your new rig, take a look at the best gaming mouse, best gaming keyboard, and best gaming monitor options available now. 

Tabitha Baker
Tabitha Baker

Currently Managing Editor of hardware at GamesRadar+, I originally landed in hardware at our sister site TechRadar before moving over to GamesRadar. In between, I've written for Tom’s Guide, Wireframe, The Indie Game Website and That Video Game Blog, covering everything from the PS5 launch to the Apple Pencil. Now, i'm focused on Nintendo Switch, gaming laptops (and the keyboards and mice that come with them), and tracking everything that suggests VR is about to take over our lives.