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Dell Alienware m16 R2 Review: Gaming Power in a Business Suit

Dell Alienware m16 R2 Review: Gaming Power in a Business Suit

The Alienware m16 R2 uses a 2,560 X 1,600-pixel resolution IPS display that’s decent for its price but not particularly remarkable. The display lacks HDR support, instead opting for a basic sRGB color gamut. This isn’t a huge deal, but when similarly priced laptops like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 pack vibrant OLED panels, it’s hard to ignore.

It peaks at 300 nits of brightness, which is slightly lower than some gaming laptops I’ve recently tested. Sitting next to a window during the day, I could still easily make out what was on the screen, but I started to struggle while outdoors in broad daylight.

The m16 R2’s display does have one advantage: It has a 240-Hz refresh rate, which is especially welcome in fast-paced games that can take advantage of it. While playing Doom Eternal on medium settings, I got an excess of 200 frames per second, which made jumping around and shooting demons a buttery-smooth experience.

Many other gaming laptops at this price (like the Zephyrus G14) are limited to 120 Hz, so that makes the m16 R2 an attractive alternative if you’re looking for extra-smooth gameplay. It’s worth noting that the refresh rate is useful only if games can take advantage of it, which means you’ll need to consider your spec options carefully.

For Work and Play

The base model of the Alienware m16 R2 comes with an Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU, but it can be upgraded to an RTX 4070, which was in the model I tested. With the RTX 4070, I played Overwatch 2 on medium settings while hitting well over 200 fps. In a competitive game where split-second decisionmaking matters, this is a huge benefit.

In more modern, graphics-intensive single-player games like Starfield, I reliably got 50 to 60 fps in crowded areas like New Atlantis, with higher frame rates in less-demanding areas of the game. Cyberpunk 2077 fared similarly, regularly maintaining 70 to 80 fps during combat, dipping to 50 to 60 fps while driving through crowded parts of the city.

Black laptop opened and sitting on wooden surface with screen showing game characters

Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft

All of these tests were done while plugged in, but it’s important to remember that if you plan to play on battery, more frames means more power drain. The m16 R2 has a substantial 90-watt-hour battery, which is among the largest you’ll find in a laptop. But cranking graphics settings to their maximum will burn through that fast. Performing normal tasks on the m16 R2, I achieved roughly nine to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. Gaming dropped that number substantially, but I was able to get an hour and a half to two hours of continuous gaming if I was careful to optimize my graphics settings and not push the machine too hard.

Overall, the Alienware m16 R2 balances power with everyday needs. You can use this laptop as your daily driver for work and get a full day of battery life out of it, then plug it into a dock at the end of the day to do some pretty robust gaming.

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