Which Slim Gaming Laptop Wins?




Gaming laptops have been losing weight as of late, even 17-inch models which only a few years ago were hulking pieces of machinery. And don’t get me wrong, while I still love my BBGL (Big Beautiful Gaming Laptops), there’s something about fitting a skinny 17-inch system into a backpack without back strain. Case in point: the Alienware m17 and the Razer Blade Pro 17.

Alienware has always been known as one of the bigger kids on the block, boasting laptops that weigh in excess of 9 pounds. But with the latest m17 R2 laptop, Alienware is making a clear play for the thin-and-light market. Sporting a svelte, elegant redesign, the m17 is bringing an overclockable processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU to the table.

Not to be outdone, the Razer Blade Pro 17, one of the originators of thin-and-light gaming, brings with its own Core i7 processor and RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU. Both laptops bring power and portability, but which system reigns supreme? 












  Alienware m17 R2 Razer Blade Pro 17
Starting Price (as configured) $3,579 $3,199
CPU 2.4-GHz Intel Core i9-9980HK processor 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-9750H processor
RAM  16GB  16GB 
Storge 2 512GB PCIe NVMe SSDs in RAID 0 configuration 2 512GB PCIe NVMe SSDs
GPU Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU/Intel UHD 630 Graphics GPU Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU/Intel UHD 630 Graphics GPU
Key Travel/Actuation 1.4 millimeters/79 grams 1.1 millimeters/79 grams
Display 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080
Battery Life 4 hours 3 hours, 12 minutes
Size 15.7 x 11.6 x 0.7~0.8 inches 15.6 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches
Weight 5.7 pounds 6.1 pounds

 

Design

The Blade Pro was the last in the Razer lineup to get the company’s retro-chic aesthetic with the boxy edges. Made from lovely black anodized aluminum, the Blade Pro is still one of the most captivating gaming laptops on the block. However, I would absolutely love to see this system in Mercury White like the Blade 15 or even Quartz Pink like the Blade Stealth.

alienware-m17-r2

Decked out in Alienware’s new Legend design, the m17 is more of an evolution than a redesign. Gone are the sharp angles and copious LED lights of the Epic design. Instead, you have sleek curves with bold honeycomb patterns and alluring colors like Dark Side of the Moon and Lunar Light. This first generation of the notebook takes a more measured approach to the exterior light show with only the lid-mounted alien head and rear vent featuring customizable lighting.

Razer-Blade-Pro-17-002

Weighing 5.7 pounds and measuring 15.7 x 11.6 x 0.7~0.8 inches, the m17 is actually lighter than the Blade Pro (6.1 pounds, 15.6 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches) and slimmer at its smallest point.

Winner: Alienware m17 R2

Buy Alienware m17 R2

Display

When it comes to displays, Alienware is one of the best in the business. The m17’s 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 matte display continues the tradition. The notebook’s screen reproduced 140% of the sRGB gamut, beating the Blade Pro’s (17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 display) 109%. And when we measured for brightness, the m17 R2 averaged 395 nits while the Blade Pro delivered a below-average 267 nits.

Winner: Alienware m17 R2

Keyboard

With 1.1 millimeters of key travel, the Blade Pro’s island-style keys are shallower than our 1.5mm minimum, but its 79-gram actuation (we look for a minimum of 60g) more than makes up for it. The Alienware m17 is a bit under key travel threshold at 1.4mm, but also has a 79-gram actuation force.

Razer-Blade-Pro-17-006

Although the Alienware is more comfortable to type on, when it comes to customization, the Blade Pro is a force to be reckoned with. Razer Synapse has been revamped to allow for some serious customization. Not only can you set color and functionality for every key, but there’s also a new Pen feature that lets you essentially draw the light pattern you want in editor. Or, you can use the Paint feature and color large sections of the board at once. But if you don’t want to go that in-depth, you can also use the presets. And of course, you can create macros for different games with specific profiles.

Alienware-M17-004

You can customize the m17’s keys in the Alienware Command Center under the FX hub. Though you still have 16.8 million colors to play with, but you have only six zones not counting the two alien heads and the rear vent. I’m hoping the next iteration of the software will let you tweak individual keys.

Winner: Razer Blade Pro 17

Buy Razer Blade Pro 17

Gaming, Graphic and VR

Both systems are armed with Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPUs with 8GB of VRAM and each system managed to stay above the premium laptop average. However, the Alienware m17 R2 came out on top on most of our benchmarks.

alienware-m17-r2_3339191563390627

For example, the notebook notched 102 frames per second on the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark while the Blade Pro 17 hit 72 fps. It was a lot closer on the Hitman test with the m17 and Blade Pro reaching 111 and 110 fps, respectively. But the gap was wider on the Far Cry New Dawn benchmark, as the m17 obtained 94 fps while the Blade Pro got 81 fps.

MORE: Best Dell and Alienware Laptops

But the Blade Pro 17 got some revenge on the Grand Theft Auto benchmark, hitting 92 fps to the Alienware m17’s 82 fps. And on the Middle-Earth: Shadow of War test, the Blade Pro and Alienware m17 reached 106 and 100 fps.

The Blade Pro and Alienware 17 were equally matched on the SteamVR Performance test, both turning in a perfect 11.

Winner: Alienware m17 R2

Performance

Not only is the Alienware m17 R2 is a serious gaming powerhouse, it also has multitasking chops as well thanks to its overclockable 2.4-GHz Intel Core i9-9980HK processor with 16GB of RAM and 512GB M.2 PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 configuration. The Razer Blade Pro 17 has a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, 16GB of RAM and a pair of 512GB PCIe NVMe SSDs which isn’t as powerful as the overclocked CPU, but still packs a wallop.

Alienware-M17-007

On the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, the m17 scored 30,267 while the Blade Pro hit 19,217. When we ran the Handbrake test, the Alienware transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 6 minutes and 55 seconds compared to the Razer’s 10:39.

During the File Transfer test, the Alienware m17 R2 duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in 5 seconds for a transfer rate of 1,017.9 megabytes per second. The Blade Pro 17 completed the task one second faster for a rate of 1,272.3 MBps.

Winner: Alienware m17 R2

Battery Life

Gaming laptops are not known for their battery life, but Alienware’s tend to be the exception to the rule. The same goes for the m17, which lasted 4 hours on the Laptop Mag battery test. The Blade Pro clocked 3:12, which was 2 minutes beneath the 3:14 category average.

Winner: Alienware m17 R2

Value

Premium laptops offer high-end components and performance, hence the exorbitant price. However, the base model of the Alienware m17 R2 costs $1,499 and offers a 2.4-GHz Intel Core i5-9300H CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD, an Intel UHD 630 Graphics GPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of VRAM.

Alienware-M17-008

The $2,199 midtier build has a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-9750H CPU with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD, an Intel UHD 630 Graphics GPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM.

MORE: Razer Laptops – Brand Review and Rating – Laptop Mag

We reviewed the $3,579 version of the Alienware m17 R2, which has a 2.4-GHz Intel Core i9-9980HK processor with 16GB of RAM, two 512GB M.2 PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 configuration, an Intel UHD 630 Graphics GPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM. If you need more storage, the $4,699 model has 4TB to spare.

Razer-Blade-Pro-17-003

The Razer Blade Pro 17 is more expensive with the base iteration of the Advanced model costs $2,499 and has a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-9750H processor and 16GB of RAM, a pair of 512GB PCIe NVMe SSDs, an Intel UHD 630 Graphics GPU and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM.

The $2,799 model upgrades the GPU to an RTX 2070 Max-Q GPU, while the $3,199 high-end version has a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU with 8GB of VRAM. And in case you need more storage, each version of the Blade has additional space for up to 2TB of m.2 storage.

Winner: Alienware m17 R2










  Alienware m17 R2 Razer Blade Pro 17
Design (10) 9 8
Display (10) 9 8
Keyboard (5) 4 3
Gaming, Graphics and VR (25) 23 22
Performance (20) 19 18
Battery Life (15) 15 14
Value (15) 13 12
Overall (100) 92 85 

Bottom Line

Both the Alienware m17 R2 and Razer Blade Pro 17 are formidable gaming laptops. Not only are they both powerful, but they’re also thin, light and incredibly stylish. The Blade Pro straddles the line between gaming and content creation, making it ideal for gamers and creative professionals alike. However, the Blade Pro 17 costs a pretty penny, with the base model starting at a budget-damaging $2,499.

The Alienware m17 R2 is an absolute head turner with a refined redesign that’s slimmer and lighter than the Blade Pro. The system also offers a bright, vivid display with powerful specs including an overclockable processor and over four hours of battery life, which is great for a gaming laptop. Even better, the laptop has a starting price of $1,499. It’s ideal for gaming, multitasking and everything in between.

Credit: Laptop Mag






Alienware

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