ALIENWARE 17 VR Ready Gaming Laptop Review
High-End Gaming For a Low Price
Buying high-end gaming laptops can be extremely expensive. Most models push pretty close to the $2000 range, and very few of them can actually compete with a home-made desktop rig that’s made with the same budget.
The ALIENWARE 17 is one of the few exceptions to that. It’s one of the best gaming laptops under 1500 dollars, and it has enough power to keep up with the demands of gamers in 2020. It’s not the most powerful laptop available, but it definitely is a great option in the $1500 range, and it won’t disappoint you.
The ALIENWARE 17 makes use of the 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8750H processor. The i7 series of Intel processors is solid performer for a laptop of this price range. The 6 Hexa-core processor has a clock speed of 2.20Ghz with up to 4.1GHz w/ Turbo Boost.
Equally as impressive as the core processor is the graphics card in the 17 model. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU provides fantastic graphical performance, and that’s further bolstered by the inclusion of 16 GB of VRAM. If you prefer to have more power from your graphics card, you can opt for the GTX 1080 equipped with the new Max-Q design technology.
All this graphical prowess allows the 17 to be VR Ready and work seamlessly with top VR Headsets currently on the market. The performance exceeds the recommended hardware requirements for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets, maintaining a solid 90FPS.
This model comes with a superb 17.3″ FHD screen running at a native resolution of 1920×1080 at 60Hz. The17-inch LCD screen supports FHD and UHD resolution options – all with an anti-glare finish. All display upgrades on the ALIENWARE 17 include Tobii eye tracking, which enables new gameplay functions for a completely new and unique user experience. The Tobii eye tracking technology allows your eyes be the controller, whilst you lose yourself in a game.
The ALIENWARE 17 has built-in lights, but those lights might not fit the rest of your gear by default. To fix that, ALIENWARE has ensured that the lights on the 17 are completely programmable via user-friendly software.
Each individual region of lights is completely adjustable. That allows you to create your own color schemes, and you can truly allow your creativity to take over. If you want some of the lights to be green and some red, you can do that. If you want to create a rainbow pattern with the lights, you can do that too. It’s all up to you.
The keyboard on the 17 features the same programmable lights that the 17’s shell has. It also features zones that help you keep track of your finger placements, and it has 9 different keys that you can program yourself to function as other keys.
If you’re not familiar with key bindings, the last feature we mentioned might sound redundant. However, having 9 keys that you can re-map to specific functions is a great bonus. If you think about RPG games that often require hotkeys to equip weapons, you’ll understand why the spare keys are necessary. They put all of your hotkeys in the same place, and you can adjust them the way that you want.
A full Suite of ALIENWARE Features
ALIENWARE has been around for a long time, and they’ve developed several of their own software programs. The ALIENWARE 17 features all of ALIENWARE’s proprietary software, and it benefits greatly from that.
It has the Alien Command Center, AlienFX, Alien Fusion, Alien Adrenaline with accelerator, ALIENWARE TactX, and OC Control programs to make your life easier while gaming. The programs all do different things, but they generally make your gaming experience more enjoyable, and they all give you more control over how the computer behaves.
The ALIENWARE 17 has a trackpad similar to most laptops. However, the trackpad on the 17 is a lot more accurate, and it’s easier to use.
We don’t recommend trying to play games with a trackpad. Even the best pads have difficulties performing during fast-paced games, and they’re uncomfortable after a short period of time.
If you do decide to buy the ALIENWARE 17, we recommend picking up a good gaming mouse. Not all of them are expensive, and you’ll enjoy playing games with a gaming mouse a lot more than you will with a trackpad.
ALIENWARE Cryo-Tech V2
The ALIENWARE 17 has a fairly impressive cooling system built into it. The cooling system is ALIENWARE’s proprietary Cryo-Tech V2 system, and it works a little differently than other laptop cooling systems.
With desktop computers, you have a lot more room to add bulky cooling systems. Laptops don’t have that kind of room in them. Luckily, ALIENWARE has created the Cryo-Tech V2 system specifically for their gaming laptops.
The Cryo-Tech V2 system features thinner fan blades than most other cooling systems, and it utilizes a vapor chamber that directly cools the 17’s CPU and cores without having to go through several other systems first.
Cryo-Tech V2 also allows the ALIENWARE 17 to perform better than comparable laptops and desktops that don’t have such advanced cooling systems. It also allows the ALIENWARE 17 to play graphically demanding for much longer periods of time.
Future Proof Gaming
The ALIENWARE 17 can be upgraded to a total of 32GB of RAM. Now, that’s actually bit excessive, and it’s not necessary for the majority of games. V-RAM is typically more important.
However, that large amount of RAM ensures that it exceeds most game requirements for RAM, and it helps to future-proof the 17. More games come out every year, and those games tend to continue to push the limits of technology. As those limits are pushed, more RAM is necessary to run the latest games.
The ALIENWARE 17 is a solid performing gaming laptop with all the features a gamer requires in 2020. You can upgrade the entry model to perform better than any other pre-built laptop. However, out the box it does offer a lot of value for a relatively low price.
This entry model costs less than $1500, and it has more than enough power to contend with the average desktop gaming computer. Some of the parts also replaceable. So, you can upgrade it as certain components become outdated.
Whilst you can upgrade to 32GB of RAM, you only really need about 8GB of RAM for most games, and most computers don’t have more than 16GB. The option for upgrading to 32GB RAM at a later stage helps to keep the ALIENWARE 17 relevant in the fast-paced world of technology.
We suggest the ALIENWARE 17 to people who are capable of building their own gaming laptop, and we honestly suggest that most people start off with a gaming desktop because of how easy they are to build. However, the ALIENWARE 17 is perfect for people who really want a laptop and don’t want to build one up from scratch.