Alienware x14 R2 vs x16 Hands-on Review: XPS Gaming Laptops?

Alienware and XPS are two distinct brands in Dell’s lineup, but back in the day, they couldn’t be more different aesthetically. However, in 2023, Dell introduced a redesign of the Alienware x14 and x16 that connects the two brands more than ever.

The Alienware x14 R2 and the brand new x16 now have a level of refinement and class not normally seen in a Gaming laptops. After spending some time with these redesigned machines, I thought they might be as close to XPS gaming laptops as we’ll ever get.

Alienware x14 R2 and x16 specifications

Alienware x14 R2 Alienware x16
Dimensions (DxWxH) 10.25 x 12.64 x 0.57 in 11.41 x 14.36 x 0.73 in
Weight 4.6 lbs 6.0 pounds
  • Core i5-13420H
  • Core i7-13620H
  • Core i7-13620H
  • Core i7-13700H
  • Core i9-13900HK
  • RTX 3050 6GB (50W)
  • RTX 4050 6GB (85W)
  • RTX 4060 8GB (85W)
  • RTX 4050 6GB (140W)
  • RTX 4070 8GB (140W)
  • RTX 4080 12GB (175W)
  • RTX 4090 16GB (175W)
  • 16 GB LP-DDR5 6200
  • 32 GB LP-DDR5 6200
  • 16 GB LP-DDR5-5200
  • 16 GB LP-DDR5 6000
  • 32 GB LP-DDR5 6000
storage 256 GB or 512 GB or 1 TB or 2 TB or 4 TB 256 GB or 512 GB or 1 TB or 2 TB or 4 TB
Monitor 14 inches, 2560 x 1600, 165 Hz
  • 16 inches, 2560 x 1600, 165 Hz
  • 16 inches, 1920 x 1200, 480 Hz
  • 16 inches, 2560 x 1600, 240 Hz
Additional screen details 3ms, G-Sync, Advanced Optimus, ComfortView Plus 3ms, G-Sync, Advanced Optimus, ComfortView Plus
battery 80.5 Wh battery 90 Wh battery
Webcam 1080p webcam, Windows Hello IR camera 1080p webcam, Windows Hello IR camera
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3
ports 1x Headphone, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 2x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x MicroSD Card Slot 1 headphone, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 2x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1x MicroSD card slot, 1x mini-DisplayPort 1.4
OS Windows 11 operating system Windows 11 operating system


The right side of the Alienware x14 R2 keyboard.

me love The look of these new laptops. The Alienware x14 R2 and x16 models each come in a single color, Moon Silver. You might think that silver is boring, especially since it is so popular in the world of laptops. But for a gaming laptop, it’s pretty much unprecedented. Razer is the only company that recently introduced a silver gaming laptop, however Mercury White Blade 15 It was just a limited variable color. Alienware does everything it can in this new color scheme, and it looks really sharp and clean.

It’s more than just a new colour. The edges curve inward, and even the rubberized stand on the bottom of the laptop looks cleaner. Everything has been categorized and simplified.

The company calls it Legend 3, and that sounds appropriate, and they both build on Alienware’s modern brand legacy And take it to a new place. One neat touch is the embossed “X” logo on the lid, which replaces the racing-inspired branding of other Alienware laptops. It feels tactile under your fingers, and is a good example of subtle branding.

The Alienware x14 R2 is still the thinnest 14-inch gaming laptop you can buy.

Don’t get me wrong – these still look like gaming laptops. The white section on the back still houses all the ports and plays nicely off the silver lid. Both laptops also have an upgrade You seeLike a ring of light around the ports with 100 microLEDs. This amount of lighting areas provides for some very smooth lighting, all of which is controlled by the AlienFX software system. It’s been a while since I’ve been impressed with RGB lighting, but this one looks really cool.

Aside from appearances, the addition of the silver lid also means that it now has a full metal casing, giving the entire chassis a more solid and premium feel.

Alienware x14 R2 side profile on a table.

Of course, the main draw of the Alienware x14 R2, in particular, is how small it is. It remains the thinnest 14-inch gaming laptop you can buy, though it’s virtually unchanged in size from last year’s model. This means that it is smaller than such options Razer Blade 14And ROG Zephyrus G14 and Predator Triton 300 SE. It’s still pretty cool to me that a gaming laptop with a discrete GPU can be just 0.57 inches thick.

The larger Alienware x16, which replaces the x17, has a smaller screen, but a similar footprint. It’s slightly smaller in every dimension, including thickness, and comes in at just over a full pound. Making it smaller and thinner seems like a smart move for a gaming laptop that’s supposed to emphasize portability over raw power.


Once opened up, the Alienware x14 R2 and x16 closely resemble their predecessors. Black palm rests, a similar-looking keyboard, and a long hinge are present on both laptops. This hinge means these laptops appear to have a larger chin than the average gaming laptop. Fortunately, this time they’ve swapped the 16:9 aspect ratio display with a 16:10 wide. This is definitely a positive change, especially on the smaller Alienware x14.

Speaking of the Alienware x14, it gets a big bump in its display this time around. the R1 Alienware x14 It was only displaying 1080p 144 Hz. While I thought this was appropriate for the amount of performance the laptop could harvest, these are low specs for a laptop at this price. Now at 2560 x 1600, it’s exactly the same resolution as the MacBook Pro — and even if you likely won’t be playing most games at their native resolution (especially if you want to hit the max refresh rate of 165Hz), the sharper screen is certainly good for activities. other.

And that’s important because Alienware aims for both laptops to be hybrids that work well for work and play. However, I wish Alienware would still offer a 1200p model, since the R2 Alienware x14 starts at $300 more than the R1.

The Alienware x16 offers similar display options to the x17, which now range up to a 1200p 480Hz display. Despite this, the options for 2560 x 1600 at 165Hz or 240Hz are likely to be the configurations most gamers will choose.

All display configurations include both Nvidia G-Sync and Advanced Optimus, which allow the system to automatically switch between discrete and integrated GPUs.

The webcam on both models has been upgraded to 1080p, which is nice to see. Both models now also include an infrared camera for Windows Hello secure facial authentication, which was missing on the original models.

Keyboard and touchpad

Alienware x14 R2 keyboard.

The R2 Alienware x14 and x16 both feature larger touchpads than their predecessors. The palm rests are still a bit small on them, to leave more room above the keyboard for venting. But they have a new party trick. The touchpads now glow with RGB, which, of course, can be customized to glow in whatever pattern your heart desires.

On the Alienware x14, you still only get 1.2mm of travel, though Alienware says it’s using its new “X Series Thin Keyboard,” which has N-Key rollover and anti-ghosting. The x14 also gets per-key RGB backlighting compared to the single-zone backlighting on the R1 Alienware x14. It looks the same as last year’s R1 when written on.

The Alienware x16 has a more comfortable keyboard with 1.8mm of key travel and the same features as the new X Series slim keyboard. On this model, you also get the option of an ultra-low profile CherryMX mechanical keyboard for a more tactile feel.

Ports and performance

The ports haven’t changed with the Alienware x14 R2 or x16. It’s all on the back, including the headphone jack, which is still an awkward placement. This also means that, yes, the Alienware x14 is still fully powered by USB-C Thunderbolt 4, and so is limited to the same 85W maximum graphics power compared to the R1. With Nvidia’s RTX 40 GPUs, that means you have options of either the RTX 4050 6GB or the RTX 4060 8GB. It looks like Alienware will also be selling the RTX 3050 as well.

In terms of cooling, the Alienware x14 R2 continues to use the same Thermal Compound 31, but now applies it to both the CPU and GPU. In addition to the vapor chamber, the Alienware x14 R2 uses Smart Fan technology, a new Dell-exclusive technology that allows each fan to spin up or down independently of each other. The Alienware x16 Thermal 31 applies to both the CPU and GPU as well, but only a few select configurations that haven’t been decided yet.

The Alienware x16 can be configured to up to an RTX 4090 graphics card rated at 175 watts max.

Meanwhile, the Alienware x16 packs a much bigger shell for the graphics powerhouse. It can be configured up to the new RTX 4090, with a maximum of 175 watts of graphics power. You can also configure it with RTX 4050, 4060, 4070 or 4080.

The Alienware x16 makes some changes in the location of the ports compared to the 17-inch model. The headphone jack and power adapter are now located in the back, just like the x14. It also removes the Ethernet jack.

Of course, I won’t know exactly how well these systems perform until I test them myself closer to the release date.

Price and availability

Alienware x14 R2 cover on a wood table.

The Alienware x14 and x16 will both be available for purchase some time in the first quarter of 2023. The Alienware x14 will debut with entry-level configurations starting at $1,800, with higher options coming later.

On the other hand, the Alienware x16 will launch first in high-end configurations, starting at $3,100. Entry-level models will arrive later in the year, starting at $2,150.

Finally, Dell says AMD-powered versions of the Alienware x16 are in the works, but they won’t be available until the second quarter of 2023.

Editors’ recommendations

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