Dell’s gaming laptop offshoot Alienware has always been about flashiness — applying to both its design and power. And you don’t have to look further than the company’s latest Alienware x16 laptop to see those two aspects at play.
The laptop is the latest in their premium gaming laptops X Series line, providing users with a device that promises style alongside performance for their portable gaming needs.
Throughout my time using the machine, the Alienware x16 has shown itself to be an intense and powerful laptop to use for gaming, though it does come with some quirks that you may need time to adjust yourself to.
Design and Build
Like its namesake, the Alienware x16 presents an otherworldly look with its design. The facade comes with an eye-catching silver colour scheme, with the lid showcasing the familiar Alienware logo and a more subtle ‘X’ signature on the bottom right side. The venting system at the back and bottom also features hive-like cutouts to further cement the aesthetic of the overall design.
Once you power on the laptop, the full gamer look is in play. The logo, rear, keyboard, and even the trackpad all showcase bright and colourful RGB lighting, which you can customise on the Alienware Command Centre software. The customisation gets pretty flexible— you can choose the colour and effects of individual keys, the trackpad, the Alienware logo, and even four zones from the rear.
Needless to say, the Alienware x16 is a very prominent-looking laptop to bring around. But it is pleasing to look at despite my usual aversion to gamer-centric laptop designs. It is a flashy device, but the overall look has a particular classiness. The lunar silver colourway and glowing lights are very aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Part of it is also due to the form factor. The laptop is surprisingly slim, which adds to the sleekness. That being said, it still is pretty heavy, owing to the materials used for the build — though for a gaming laptop, it is par for the course. But what you’re getting in return is a very sturdy laptop. From the lid of the laptop to the keyboard deck, very little flex can be seen.
One thing that unfortunately gets sacrificed is the ports. The Alienware x16 gets two Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, two Type-C ports with power delivery, an HDMI 2.1 port, a Mini DisplayPort 1.4, a Micro-SD card reader, and an audio jack. Pretty decent in terms of variety, but the problem lies in where they are located.
To keep the design of the laptop sleek, rather than placing the ports along the sides, they instead are all found at the back. I’ve found that the placement makes it rather inconvenient to plug anything in, particularly the audio jack. It’s a constant losing battle trying to aimlessly find the right place to insert it.
While I may not have good things to say about the port placement, I do have some for the keyboard. It’s rare to see a laptop keyboard equipped with mechanical keys, but the Alienware x16 has them right here.
These special ultra low-profile CherryMX keys boast a total key travel of 1.8mm and feel great. Typing on the keys feels very satisfying, with the keys amply spread out so that it does not feel cramped. Plus, the clicky noises are subtle enough not to be distracting when typing something out.
The touchpad is slightly on the small side, but otherwise, the smooth and responsive glass surface makes this sufficiently good to use. Of course, the main highlight is its RGB capabilities which add an extra form of dazzle every time you use it.
For the screen, the Alienware x16 comes with a generously-sized 16-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and a QHD+ 2560 x 1600 resolution.
My experience with the display has largely been good. Whether I’m gaming or watching videos on the device, the screen provides a sharp image to see, and colours appear well on it. It is, however, dimmer than I would like, and I find myself upping the brightness rather often to see darker scenes. The anti-glare protection on it certainly does not help its case.
Our Alienware x16 unit also offers a fast 165Hz refresh rate for its display, but there is an even higher 240Hz refresh rate option available for you to choose from as well. If you want the fastest on offer, there is a 480Hz version, but the resolution is bumped down to FHD+ 1920 x 1200. Regardless, even the 165Hz version provides a good time and is silky smooth in motion for both gaming and regular browsing.
There’s a six-speaker setup on the Alienware x16 that promises great sound performance, though I found it lacking. The laptop can get very loud and remains clear at higher volumes, but it otherwise lacks any sort of punch with the bass. It is an okay speaker system at best.
With the Alienware name, you’d expect some crazy specs with the Alienware x16, and you’d be right. Inside, our unit contained a 13th Gen Intel i9-13900HK with 32GBs of memory and an NVIDIA RTX 4080 GPU.
Gaming on the laptop seems effortless. It simply steamrolls most of the games I’ve tested on it. Control is a fairly demanding game with many destructible elements and great-looking environments — the Alienware x16 easily runs it at an average of 70fps with quality settings set to max and without DLSS enabled. You’ll get an improved 85fps with DLSS.
It fares very well on games with lots of ray tracing as well. Portal with RTX has lots of ray tracing effects going on, and the laptop gets between 70fps and 80fps while running on DLSS, which is very good considering how intensive the game is on the GPU.
Similarly for creative programs, the device also runs great; the i9-13900HK handles encoding software like Handbrake with no issues. General productivity tasks and web browsing also run completely fine, even with multiple programs running.
However, the caveat of doing such intensive tasks is the noise. The Alienware x16’s fans get loud, to the point where it gets borderline annoying — something to keep in mind while gaming.
Battery performance on the Alienware x16 tracks similarly to other gaming laptops on the market — which is to say that it isn’t terrific despite the 90Whr battery capacity.
While on close to max brightness, the device lasted around 4 hours while doing a mixture of web-browsing, video-playing and productivity work. If you’re gaming, expect to get just over an hour’s worth of battery life before you need to recharge it.
The included 240W charger is at least smaller than other gaming laptop chargers, so it isn’t as troublesome to bring around should you need to charge while bringing the laptop out.
Overall, the Alienware x16 is a highly impressive laptop showpiece that catches the eye for its looks and performance capabilities. For portable gaming, only a few other devices are available with a premium build, which can also breeze through graphically-intensive AAA games like this one.
But you will definitely need to pay for those features. The laptop does not come cheap and comes alongside other niggling issues like the port placement and battery life to consider.
Still, the Alienware x16 is a laptop that will last you a good number of years in terms of gaming performance — something that I believe is a significant factor in whether it is worth splashing the cash to get it.
The Alienware x16 retails starting at S$3,699, with multiple configurations available. You can visit Dell’s Official Website to purchase the laptop.
Photos by Marcus Lim of the DANAMIC Team.