Notebooks Guide

Dell Alienware M17X R3 review

Dell Alienware M17X R3 - The Mothership Has Landed

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Overall rating 8/10
Design:
8.5
Features:
8.5
Performance:
9.5
Value:
7
Mobility:
6
THE GOOD
Top-notch performance
Great styling
3D Gaming
HDMI input and output
THE BAD
Expensive
Heavy
Reflective screen
Speakers lack bass
More Awards:
Best Gaming Rig


Battery Performance and Portability Index

Battery Performance

To slightly misquote Stan Lee, “With great power, comes poor battery life”. Or so we have come to believe. Dell has upgraded the battery for the R3 with a 9-cell unit rated at 11.1V with a 90Wh capacity. In our DVD looping battery test, the new battery does seem to have improved battery life, with the M17X R3 faring better than our comparison notebooks, lasting 2 hours and 4 minutes - quite impressive for a 17.3-inch DTR notebook (more so when you consider the multitude of flashing lights on the M17X R3). Having said that, as with most gaming notebooks, we still wouldn’t recommend gaming on it without a direct connection to a power outlet..

Notebook Comparison Table
Specifications / Notebook Alienware M17X R3 Toshiba Qosmio X770 Samsung Series 7 700G7A
Battery 11.1V / 90Wh 14.4V / 47Wh 15.1V / 89Wh
Dimensions 405 x 321 x 51 / 53mm 414 x 274 x 28 / 61mm 407.5 x 267 x 39.8 / 49.9mm
Weight 5.3 kg 3.4 kg 3.5 kg

 

Interestingly, the power consumption of the Dell machine is not as bad as that of the Samsung Series 7 gaming machine, which is quite perplexing when you consider that the M17X R3 has even beefier specs. Looks like Dell managed better than expected power management.

 

Portability Index

Battery life aside, if anything's going to stop you from using the M17X R3 as a portable gaming machine, it's the sheer size and weight of the thing. Make no mistake, the M17X R3 is a hefty machine: thicker than half a year’s worth of HWM magazines, and weighing about as much as four MacBook Air notebooks combined.

Even compared to our other 17.3-inch gaming notebooks, at 5.3 kg, the M17X R3 is packing on the pounds. Both the Samsung 700G7A and Toshiba X770 are relatively close in weight, at 3.5 kg and 3.34 kg respectively - positively svelte in comparison. In fact, no other notebook scored worse on our Portability Index, despite the machine having longer battery life than the comparison gaming machines. Even so, the results are within our expectations.

For those unaware, our Portability Index measures how portable a machine is based on a simple formula of battery uptime divided by the product of the unit's weight and volume (the lower the score, the less portable the unit is). It's most valuable when comparing products of a similar class. Our recommendation? Keep the M17X R3 at home, on your desk, where it belongs. For historical notes, we've had even worse performing notebooks in the past.