The New Alienware X15 is a Thin and Fast Gaming Laptop

Alienware recently announced a new line of thin gaming laptops, the X Series. The launch model in the series is the X15, a stunning 15-inch gaming laptop that’s thinner than you’d expect.
Has Alienware finally broken into the thin gaming laptop market with a superior device? Or do the trade-offs outweigh the benefits? Learn what you need to know in this quick preview.

Dimensions

Alienware’s previous thinnest gaming laptop was the M15. It’s not like the X15’s predecessor was exactly overweight or chunky, but what the company has done with the X15 is deeply impressive. Depending on the configuration you purchase, you’ll likely get an X15 that’s just 15.9mm at its thickest point. That’s an entire 3.6mm thinner than the M15 R2 and almost 7mm thinner than the M15 R5.
For comparison, a MacBook Air — far from a gaming laptop — is actually thicker, at 16.1mm.

Base Model Specs

As is typical for any laptop, there are all kinds of specification customizations you can make. These include adding better and faster processors or GPUs, more or better storage and so forth. But the most important set of specs is the base model, since that’s what you get for the list price.
Even in the base configuration, the X15 is impressive. The Verge provides a helpful rundown of the specs:
  • 11th gen Core i7-11800H processor with boost up to 4.6GHz
  • 16GB of (non user-upgradeable) RAM
  • 256GB of user-upgradeable NVMe storage (two slots total)
  • Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU
  • 15.6 inch display with 100% sRGB color gamut HD
  • 165Hz refresh rate
  • 3ms response time
That’s a beefy machine even without upgrades. However, the one drawback on this display is brightness: you’ll only get 300 nits, likely due to the incredible thinness of the device.

Ports

The Alienware X15 is so thin, it doesn’t have ports on the sides other than for power and headphones. Everything else is around back on the device’s thickest edge. Here are the ports available:
  • 1 USB-A 3.2
  • 1 USB-C 3.2
  • 1 Thunderbolt 4
  • 1 MicroSD card slot
  • 1 HDMI 2.1 port (4K up to 120Hz)

Starting Price

Dell has announced that the X15 base configuration starts at $1,999. The company hasn’t yet made pricing available for the various upgrades, but many of them won’t come cheap.

Upgrade Options

While Dell hasn’t announced the pricing on these upgrade options, it has announced what kinds of upgrades will be available starting June 15. These include upgrading the processor up to a Core i9 11900H and storage to a 2TB NVMe M.2 SSD. You can also max out RAM at 32GB (which is a worthwhile upgrade for most gamers).
On the graphics front, the best available card is the 8GB RTX 3080. There’s also a very worthwhile display upgrade that gives you:
  • 400 nits of brightness
  • Higher-resolution QHD screen with G-Synch
  • 240Hz refresh rate
  • 2ms response time
  • 99% on the more demanding DCI-P3 color gamut scale

Potential Drawbacks

Heat management tends to be an issue in gaming laptops and is one reason why they tend to be so big. Thinner models can struggle more with cooling, but Dell has added new tech to try to overcome this. There’s a new thermal interface material, plus a new Alienware quad-fan system, so hopefully heat management won’t be an issue.
Also, if you plan to game in brightly lit environments, those 300 nits of brightness won’t get you very far.
Lastly, The Verge notes that Alienware’s graphics amplifier port isn’t included, which means you’ll be limited to whatever onboard graphics configuration you choose. Most people won’t care about this, but it could be a factor for hardcore hardware enthusiasts.
Despite these small drawbacks, the Alienware X15 is a deeply impressive gaming laptop.

Considering the X15? An Upsie Extended Warranty Is a Must

If you’re considering an Alienware X15 gaming laptop and plan to use it for its intended purpose, an Upsie extended warranty is a must. Your gaming laptop has to withstand long periods of intense use. The internal components take a beating as the CPU and GPU process those AAA games, and the keyboard has to put up with sometimes aggressive and repetitive inputs. You might also be playing in less than ideal locations, where spills or drops are more likely.
Given how much cash you’re dropping on your new machine, it makes sense to protect it with one of the best extended warranties available. Upsie warranties protect you from accidental damage, defects and component failures beyond what the manufacturer warranty covers. And prices are surprisingly affordable.

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