Dell is putting thin and light Alienware laptops in Area-51m skin

Dell is putting thin and light Alienware laptops in Area-51m skin
Dell is putting thin and light Alienware laptops in Area-51m skin

I didn't like the Alienware Area-15m. Others did, and I get it—it's a relatively compact desktop replacement whose 'Legend' design language stands out as one of the more tasteful things the celestial-themed Dell subsidiary has done probably ever. But the Area-51m is held back by two power bricks and a GPU upgradeability claim that isn't technically true. 

The Alienware m15 and its 17-inch counterpart, on the other hand, are good laptops. And they're about to get even better. Ahead of Computex 2019, I was briefed on yet another refresh of the thin and light Max-Q gaming laptops. Though slightly thinner and lighter than before, the real focus this time around is on design. Dell has adapted the m15 and m17 to an Area-51m-like chassis, renaming them m15 R2 and m17 R2, respectively, in the process. Subtle yet chic, both have their respective numerical monikers etched on their lids.

My earlier complaints about the bottom and top bezels have been addressed as well. No longer does each measure an inch long. Rather, the 2019 Alienware m15 and m17 models have taken the narrow border high road on all four sides. The keyboard is a little deeper, too, with 1.7mm of travel as opposed to the 1.4mm it had before. In my own testing, typing on the m15 and m17 was noticeably smoother, dare I say the antithesis of the butterfly keys on the latest MacBooks.

On the inside, not much has changed since the last time we saw an Alienware m15/m17 refresh. Then again, that was *squints at calendar* just over six months ago. They are, of course, being treated to Intel's 9th generation H-series processors, ranging from i5-9300H to i9-9980HK. This time around there's no in configurations between sizes. The Alienware m15 and m17 both offer anywhere from Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 to RTX 2080 GPUs, 256GB PCIe M.2 to 4TB RAID 0 SSDs and 8 or 16GB of RAM. You might even say the 15-inch m15 is the more premium option, since it can be configured with a 4K OLED display. 

As for the color scheme, like the Area-51m, you can get the m15 and m17 in Lunar White or Dark Side of the Moon (aka black), depending on what type of goth you are. Specs and color aren't the only unifying factors either. When they launch on June 11, the renewed Alienware m15 and m17 will start at $1,499.99. 

In addition to the Alienware redesigns, Dell is refreshing its budget-flavored G3 15 with an all new soft-touch finish and a fingerprint reader built into the power button. Set to release on May 28, it's now being treated to 9th gen Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, 4-zone RGB lighting on the keyboard and the Game Shift 'G' key we saw on the G5 and G7 back at CES. For the uninitiated, it serves as a snappy shortcut to the Alienware Command Center performance mode. That's right, the Dell G3 15 now supports proprietary Alienware software too. These upgrades do come at a cost, however, since the GTX 1050 starts at $799.99. 

Previously, the base model Dell G3 15 sold for $649.99 from the Dell website. Those were the days.

Gabe Carey
Gabe has been writing about the intersection of games and technology since the tender age of 16. Previously seen on TechRadar, Digital Trends and PC Magazine, he currently serves as a Senior Writer on the central hardware team spanning PC Gamer and GamesRadar. In his leisure time, you can find him amassing Razer products, playing games and watching superhero movies ranging from bad to mediocre in his cramped Manhattan apartment.