Dell Alienware is Dell’s top gaming series and it has mainly been consisted of big, rather bulky, gaming laptops. Even the 13.3″ model was relatively ample. This time around, Dell makes a decision to squeeze it and shape a new gaming machine, thinner and relatively lightweight, names the Alienware m15 (“m” for mobile?).
It will probably be available from Dell’s Alienware online store at first. The I5 + GTX 1050 Ti version is stated to be available around mid-November this year. This is interesting, perhaps pointing out that the new Nvidia GPU series won’t be available by then?
This model weighs only 4.78lbs / 2.17kg (starting weight) and is only 0.83″/21mm in thickness. It also sports quite a high capacity 90Wh battery, which is impressive. While it barely can be considered thin & lightweight in the non-gaming ultrabook world, this is considerably lower than the regular Alienware 15 which is at least 1.3kg heavier and around 4mm thicker. It’s also more lightweight than laptops like the Lenovo Y720 (>3kg) and the popular Acer Helios 300 (2.8-2.9kg). However, compared to the thin & lightweight poster boy, the Razer Blade 15, it is a bit heavier and few millimeters thicker. Personally, I don’t think there it matters by itself – the performance in practice, like thermal performance, matters more.
The m15 comes with a GTX 1050 Ti, GTX 1060 OC or a GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU. These are good choices, but in few months these are going to be obsolete (unless Nvidia fails to deliver, which is very unlikely), so I wouldn’t recommend getting it just yet (plus, that’s a good reason to wait for reviews).
As for the difference between the 1070 Max-Q and the 1060 – it depends on the game and how good the m15 thermals are and what resolutions are considered – FPSs in benchmarks vary greatly (1, 2, 3). Hard to tell, but on average the difference isn’t huge, probably 15-25% on average across multiple games, so it might not be not so beneficial for the gaming experience anyway. Price is the key here. The “OC” in the 1060 case is mostly marketing in my opinion and won’t provide a lot more than regular GTX 1060.
Remember that Dell Alienware is marketed as having high build quality, very good thermals and other traits suitable for gaming. All models include features like Thunderbolt 3 port, Alienware Amplifier eGPU connection and a massive thermal solution. However, in practice the regular Alienware 15, at least in some generations, wasn’t that great – mediocre 1080p display, strangely suboptimal thermal handling and so on (read).