The Alienware 13 R3 is the updated version of the Alienware laptop which was released at the end of 2016. It comes 21% thinner, has a GTX 10 series card and it’s running a quad-core CPU. It starts at $1200 with the top and bottom panels having the same colors as before. The Alienware 13 R3 has an aluminum chassis with the iconic Alien head logo. The screen hinge shifted forward significantly which is different from what you get on most other PCs.
The build quality of this device is top-notch. Display as well as the chassis are both rigid. The hinge is well-made and has pretty good tension. Laptop is thinner than the previous generation, but it isn’t exactly light as Alienware continues to focus on long-term durability, even using steel to reinforce it, giving the device extra strength.
You can easily access the device, the WiFi is upgradable, there are 2 RAM slots which can be upgraded up to 32GB and there are also two M.2 drive bays. The 76hr watt battery is underneath the shroud, and you would get up to four and a half hours of regular use.
Keyaboard and Trackpad
The keyboard is nice with great typing experience. It has got a cushy 2.2 millimeters of travel and feels really responsive. The keys use zonal lighting, and the positioning of the up and down keys are not very convenient which means you might hit them when trying to use the arrow keys. The track pad uses synaptic drivers which is the same style of track pad as the 15-inch from last year. It has a lit up track pad surface with several colors to choose from, and has got a great surface texture with accurate tracking and nice physical buttons.
There are audio jacks, two USB 3’s, two USB C’s, the one on the back even supports Thunderbolt 3 and there’s also display outputs, Ethernet and the Alienware graphics amps port meaning external GPU options work right out of the box. The webcam is okay, not the best image quality but it has infrared capabilities, so it works with Windows Hello for facial recognition.
Video and Audio
The resolution of the screen is 2560 x 1440, it’s bright, has a high color gamut, and looks amazing. The speakers produce sounds from the sides, and it’s pretty nice, staying clear up to around 80% volume. The bass isn’t strong, but most persons would be happy with this audio system.
The performance is solid, and the upgrade to a quad-core processor is a highlight of this device. The skylake 6700HQ processor and GTX 1060 GPU would handle most of the current generation 3D titles at 1080p resolution. On a 13-inch screen, it’s difficult seeing the effects of 1440 in games, so it’s recommended you benchmark everything at 1080p. It would handle medium graphics games at around 80fps and heavy graphics games at around 40fps. Video edits are a breeze, and it’s fully VR capable and the fans perform pretty well gaming or otherwise. Heat output is very comfortable even under heavy use, and the thermo management is on point.
In conclusion, you are getting a very well-built laptop in a relatively dense package, the OLED display option is bright and one of the best out there. The keyboard is comfortable to use and feels responsive when gaming. The track pad lights-up and is also really good, the Skylake i7 and the GTX 1060 delivers excellent performance and are very well cooled.
The RAM and the drives are easy to access and upgrade and the 76 hr watt battery would last for around 4 and a half hours of regular use. Alienware put in a lot of work into this device, and it’s easily the most improved laptop for 2016. It does have its limitations though, like it’s a 13-inch device so you’re not going to get big screen gaming but overall, there’s very little to dislike about this laptop. If you don’t like it you can always sell your laptop and buy another one that will better suit your needs.