Introduction – Dell Alienware m15 R4
Dell launches the first gaming laptop PC with a true Cherry MX mechanical keyboard. We were able to test this already very convincing first generation.
This is a first, or almost, in the gaming PC market. If we put aside a PC launched by MSI in 2017 which weighed nearly 4.7 kg and which offered a fixed PC keyboard integrated into a Laptop PC, Dell launches with Alienware m15 R4 the first true portable mechanical keyboard. The product was designed in partnership with Cherry Mx which gamers are familiar with. It is from this manufacturer that most brands will be equipped to develop mechanical keyboards, with the famous Brown, Blue, Red or Silent switches.
Here, Cherry Mx and Alienware have developed a new switch MX ultra-low profile that we wanted to test and put to the test. However, it should be noted that the mechanical keyboard is offered by Dell in QWERTY. Asked about the subject, the brand confirmed to us that an AZERTY keyboard was not planned to date. We will therefore probably have to wait for new generations to see it happen.
Dell Alienware m15 R4 Datasheet
This copy was loaned to us by Dell.
Design: a successful mechanical keyboard
We have already tested the second generation Alienware m15 in 2019 and since… not much has changed. We are therefore not going to dwell too much on the general design of the machine. We are faced with a gaming ultrabook that remains rather sober, despite the Alienware logo and the LEDs that light up with use. The connection is very generous with a micro SD port and two USB ports on the right, an Ethernet port, a USB port and a jack port on the left, and the power port, a Thunderbolt port, an HDMI port and a miniDisplay port on the left. the back.
The finishes are good, although the chassis uses a lot of plastic, especially around the screen with a rather unsatisfactory gloss coating. The main event is obviously to be found on the keyboard side. This famous mechanical keyboard.
Here we can say that the bet is successful. Of course, the Qwerty layout of our model takes a little getting used to when we grew up with azerty under our fingers. This detail aside, we are really a fan of this mechanical keyboard. Typing is very pleasant. We find this click and this physical feedback so distinctive of mechanical keyboards. Be careful, however, like most mechanical keyboards, typing is louder than with a keyboard. Chiclet Classic. This is the price to pay for this very satisfactory additional typing comfort. If your job involves writing or typing a lot, this is exactly the type of device you're looking for. So let's hope that we will see this type of keyboard arrive in azerty and in other PCs in the future.
Another benefit of the mechanical keyboard is its great reactivity and this is undoubtedly what explains Dell's choice in this gaming PC. Not only is the keystroke detected very quickly, but it is possible to press several keys simultaneously without the PC losing its mind. On a classic keyboard, it's easy for a game to get tangled up by pressing keys too quickly or using more than two keys at the same time.
A well calibrated screen
The Alienware m15 R4 is equipped with a 15.6-inch Full HD screen with a refresh rate of 300 Hz. Dell also offers a 4K UHD 60 Hz OLED model, but you have to add 225 euros to the bill. Our glossy Full HD panel is rather pleasing to the eye, in particular thanks to its brightness, which we raised to 330 cd / m².
Thanks to our probe and Calman Ultimate software, we also see 92% coverage of the sRGB spectrum. We therefore do not have a very large range of colors compared to what is done on high-end PCs in 2021, but we have on the other hand a good calibration of the colors displayed with an average delta E of 1.9 and a maximum of 4.3. The average color temperature is 6860K and the contrast is 1139: 1.
We therefore have a more than correct screen under the eyes, which may not be suitable for very precise content creation, but will suffice for everyday use, especially on video games.
As we have said, the main event of this laptop is the optional mechanical keyboard, but it is also an opportunity for us to test the Intel and Nvidia combo offered by Dell on this generation of machines. We therefore have an Intel Core i9 10980 HK processor supported by 32 GB of RAM, with 1 TB SSD storage and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics chip on which we will come back.
The technical sheet already put us on the voice: Alienware wanted to maximize performance in this PC by not making any compromise on consumption or the cooling system. This is immediately felt in our series of office benchmarks with a score of 8719 points on PC Mark 10, one of the best to date on our PC tests and good results on Cinebench (1314/10 378 points in solo and multi hearts).
If we isolate this last test, which primarily assesses the performance of the processor, it should be noted that AMD offers better with its Ryzen 9 5900HX.
One of the new features of the Alienware m15 R4 is the use of GeForce RTX 3000 and more precisely the 3080. Here the chip can fully express itself with a 140 W TGP, the highest among the PCs we have tested so far.
Remember that it is this TGP that is one of the most important indicators for evaluating the performance of a graphics chip in a laptop PC. The more power it allocates to this chip, with the appropriate cooling circuit, the more efficient the PC will be in the game and could actually use its graphics card.
On 3D Mark's Time Spy test, the PC obtains an overall score of 11,192 points with 12,163 points for the GPU score (and 7709 points for the CPU score). This places the machine among the best we have tested on Frandroid.
This excellent result is confirmed by a series of games that we have tried. We can thus run Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition and Cyberbunk 2077 with the options set to Ultra, with ray tracing and DLSS enabled. Watch Dogs Legion runs at 55 frames per second with graphics at maximum.
The important thing to remember is that this is an excellent gaming machine, capable as it is to run all games, even with ray tracing effects especially thanks to DLSS.
Autonomy at half-mast
As mentioned above, Alienware has made no concessions on consumption to maximize performance. Obviously, the concession is suddenly made on the autonomy of the PC. However, with a nice 86 Wh battery, the PC has very limited autonomy.
The PC held 2 hours and 14 minutes on the test Modern Office From PC Mark is one of the worst scores we have seen with this benchmark. Let's be clear, you will never have to stay far from an outlet to use this PC. A use that brings it closer to “transportable” PCs despite its relative finesse and lightness which could make you think of an ultraportable.
Availability and prices
The Alienware m15 R4 is available for 2800 euros on the Dell site.
The configuration we tested is offered at 3748 euros. It is necessary for particular to integrate the international keyboard option Cherry MX at 99.99 euros.
Source: Gaming – Frandroid by www.frandroid.com.
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