REview: Alienware 17 R3 gaming laptop

A beautiful brute.

REview: Alienware 17 R3 gaming laptop
Supplier: Alienware
Price: $4315.00

In many ways, this is a very, very similar laptop to the 15-incher opposite, but on steroids. There’s an accompanying price hike to go with it, but if you’re looking for one of the finest 17.3-inch laptops around, look no further. It’s an old-school behemoth that’ll chew through its battery in minutes rather than hours, and weighs more than a small bus (Alienware don’t actually list its weight anywhere). But that’s exactly what some gamers are looking for: a gaming laptop that they only need to move occasionally, with a screen to rival desktop gaming machines. 

Once again we see a beautifully crafted anodized aluminium chassis, and Alienware has backed this up with an aerospace-quality carbon fibre skeleton. Basically it’s built like a brick outhouse. The same unique LED strip surrounds the edges, and again the touchpad glows to life when you power it up. We’re not sure how they managed to make a touchpad that glows, but it sure looks pretty. 

The move up to a 17.3-inch screen hasn’t led to any compromises. It’s still got a ridiculously fast 120Hz refresh rate, along with G-Sync. To enable these kinds of speeds, Alienware uses a hybrid TN+WVA panel, which is basically a TN panel that borrows the wide viewing angles of an IPS display. Colours are crisp, contrast is off the charts, and overall it’s stunning. Alienware has wisely bumped the resolution up to 2560 x 1440, making spotting pixels next to impossible. Tobii eye-tracking features once again – you’ll love showing your friends how it works, then probably never use it again. 

The extra size has allowed for one more USB 3.0 Type-C connection, with two in total. At least one of these is Thunderbolt 3 compatible as well. There’s also two standard USB 3.0 Type-A connections, HDMI 2.0, mini-DisplayPort 1.2, and an RJ-45 Ethernet connector. Alienware has gone for Killer’s networking solution, delivering 802.11ac – we only wish it used a 3x3 radio/antennae connection rather than the 2x2 found here.

The same i7-6700HQ CPU is found inside, along with an accompanying 16GB of DDR4 memory in dual channel mode. However, the storage has been given a big boost, up to a whopping 512GB PCIe SSD and back-up 1TB mechanical drive. The biggest improvement though is the upgrade to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card. This is more than fast enough to drive the 2560 x 1440 panel, especially with G-Sync enabled.

It’s possible to buy similarly configured laptop for a lot less money, but they simply won’t be built to the same stellar standards of this whopper. Like its little sibling, bumping the GPU one rung up on Nvidia’s ladder to a GeForce GTX 1080 wouldn’t be a bad idea, and when you’re paying this much already, why not pony up a few hundred more? 

Even without the upgrade, though, this is one of the most beautiful, powerful, and well-built 17.3-inch laptops we’ve seen. 

• Amazing craftsmanship
• High quality display
• Very fast
• Dollar eating
• Heavy
9 10
If you don’t mind paying more for the best, the Alienware 17 R3 is one of our favourite 17.3-inch laptops on the market.
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