Is the Alienware 51M gaming laptop overpriced or just right?

Credit: Forbes

Gaming laptops are nothing new. They’ve been around for a while and, at the front line of the market, is Alienware 51M(a subsidiary of Dell). I got my hands on one from a colleague here.

Alienware has released the 51M, a 17-inch gaming laptop more capable of running games out of the box than almost any other on the market. For example, the 51m is capable of playing the new Call of Duty at 200 frames per second or more which is fantastic by any standard. 

To put this computer to the test, I thought I would try out a few games that might stretch its capabilities: Forza Horizon 3 and a few VR games that I had running through the Oculus Quest.

With all settings set to ultra-high, or at least high, the 51M performed surprisingly well and, in no time, I was racing past people in an ultra-detailed, zero-latency car eutopia. 

And then, when I plugged in the Oculus, it performed just as well with an easy setup and no computer throttling. This is something that will prove very handy as more and more VR headsets become readily available. 

I don’t think this quality should come as a surprise. 

With the right configuration, the 51M can come to you with the Nvidia GeForce 2080, one of the top-performing graphics cards on the market right now. In all, the 51M will set you up playing any game you want, when you want it, and have it look just as good, if not better, than any competitor. This is great, but the laptop isn’t perfect.

The problem doesn’t come with the capabilities of the computer. The problem lies within the concept of a $5,500 gaming laptop.

Gaming laptops exist in this weird space between being a viable daily-use computer and being a strictly gaming machine. The entire point of owning a laptop is to have the choice between picking it up off the desk to sit on the couch binge-watching a show or to get work done at the same time. 

That isn’t really an option with the 51M. To start, it weighs nine pounds (the laptop I’m writing this on weighs three) and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To use this beast requires two separate charging bricks the size and weight of actual bricks. 

Without them, the battery lasts about an hour just doing regular tasks.

Of course, you’re probably saying: “Yeah, but it’s meant for gaming” — which is true, it is.

But if you want to spend over five grand on a gaming PC, you can build one that runs 4K and the same FPS as the 51M for much less. Or buy a desktop that comes with the same gear for half the cost. Alienware’s own R10 is $1,000 less and it runs 1440p at 60fps 4K.

It might just be me. To buy this laptop, I’d have to spend more than my car.

If you want a laptop that will never move off your desk and looks pretty cool, then the 51M is perfect. Also, if you happen to own a gold mine.

However, if you want a powerful gaming machine but don’t want to transport a nine-pound beast, get yourself a desktop gaming rig and a regular laptop and you’ll still have saved money. Heck, I’d build one for you — cheap.

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