Hands on: Alienware x16 R2: unchanged on the outside, overhauled on the inside

The Alienware x16 R2 changes what it needs and leaves the rest alone

What is a hands on review?
gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

Dell has chosen to leave the already gorgeous aesthetics of the Alienware x16 R2 refresh untouched from previous versions, barring a beautiful rainbow touchpad that complements the RGB keyboard. Instead, it upgraded its specs, display, ventilation system, and webcam among other enhancements. Even with its few setbacks, this is shaping up to be a great desktop replacement.


  • +

    Top-notch CPU and GPU

  • +

    Great display

  • +

    Lovely touchpad and keyboard

  • +

    Upgraded webcam

  • +

    Pricing isn't too bad for a desktop replacement


  • -

    RAM config is a little disappointing

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    No ethernet port

  • -

    Price is still expensive

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One of Dell's other gaming laptop refreshes for 2024 is the Alienware x16 R2, which is meant to have superior performance over the Alienware m16 R2 since the former is more of a dedicated gaming desktop replacement. As such, both CPU and GPU options are maxed out with the best laptop specs you can get.

There's not much difference in terms of aesthetics, with the x16 R2 similar to the 2022 Alienware x15 R2 but that's not a bad thing considering how distinctive and downright cool its design is.

It also received an upgrade to its display, webcam, and updates to its ventilation system, which should help catapult it to one of the best gaming laptops on the market.

Alienware x16 R2: Price and availability

The Alienware x16 R2 will be launching in the US, according to information released during CES 2024. There hasn't been an official announcement yet revealing the release window or availability for the UK and Australia but knowing Dell, it'll be available in those regions pretty soon after the US launch.

As for pricing, it's starting at around $2,099.99 / £1,649 / AU$3,136 and will end up as high as about $2,899.99. This is a huge price difference compared to the 2022 Alienware x15 R2 at $2,910 (£2,800 / AU$5,203). It's good to see that gaming laptop prices aren't skyrocketing as I originally feared.

Alienware x16 R2: Specs

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Alienware x16 R2 specs
DisplayUp to 16-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600), 240Hz
CPUUp to Intel Core Ultra 9 185H
GraphicsUp to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090
StorageUp to 4TB PCIe 4 SSD (8TB in RAID 0)
Port selection2x USB Type-C ports, 1x Mini Display Port 1.4, 1x power port, 1x HDMI 2.1 port, 1x 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack, 2x USB Type-A, 1x micro SD reader
Weight2.72 kg (6 lbs)
Dimensions14.36 x 11.41 x 0.7311 inches; 364.81 x 289.98 x 18.57 mm (WxDxH)

back of white gaming laptop

(Image credit: Future)

Alienware x16 R2: Design

The Alienware x16 R2's design is pretty much identical to the Alienware x15 R2 from previous years, including that bright white color with blue highlights as well as the iconic back that juts out. It looks super unique, a gaming laptop that's worth showing off.

Its 16-inch QHD+ (2560 x 1600) display is all tricked out with a 240Hz refresh rate,  3ms response time, as well as having a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut. Soon after launch, Dell revealed a version with an FHD+ 480Hz panel would also be released, which is incredible. As for the current version not only does it offer incredibly smooth, stutter-free gameplay that would make any hardcore gamer happy, but it can be used for creative and editing projects with ease.

It's quite a bit on the heavy side, weighing six pounds. You won't be transporting this baby around often, but it's in line with a desktop replacement. It's a little heavier than the 2022 x16 model, so hopefully with the overhauled Alienware Cryo-tech Cooling technology it ventilates better and isn't prone to overheating.

The keyboard uses Alienware's in-house switches similar to the Alienware Pro Wireless keyboard and it has satisfying typing feedback. Not to mention the very distinctive rainbow-colored touchpad that complements the RGB-lit keyboard. The built-in camera has been upgraded, adding HDR capability on the FHD IR webcam, a plus for a gaming laptop.

The port selection, like before, is located wholly on the back and includes both HDMI and Display Port, which is a great touch. But it's bizarrely missing an ethernet port, which is an issue for a desktop replacement, as hardcore gamers would want a more stable connection.

Alienware x16 R2: Performance

gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

The Alienware x16 R2 comes with options for the current-gen Intel Core Ultra series CPUs, with choices between the 7 and 9. Paired with the RTX 4000-series GPUs up to an RTX 4090, and you have a truly tricked-out laptop made to perform at its best.

You can either upgrade the storage to 4TB using the standard single storage, or you can upgrade to a whopping 8TB using Raid 0 configurations. However, you can only configure up to 32GB LPDDR5 RAM, which is very good but not as high as the Alienware m16 R2, a strange choice.

Unfortunately, we won't have benchmark results until we can properly sit down with and test out this gaming machine. But with the specs it has, this should be an absolute beast in terms of output.

Alienware x16 R2: Early verdict

white gaming laptop

(Image credit: Future)

As a huge fan of the 2022 Alienware x15 R2 gaming laptop, I have high hopes for the Alienware x16 R2 refresh I was shown. And so far it seems like a solid upgrade from the previous gen, with better specs, an updated display, improved ventilation, an upgraded webcam and more. All wrapped up in the same sexy package this series is known for, with a few upgrades like that gorgeous rainbow-lit touchpad. Even the pricing is somewhat reasonable and much better than so many other gaming laptops in the market.

My only real concern is the lack of an ethernet port, but that's not a deal breaker. I also hope that this ventilation system can hold up better when running an extensive gaming session. Other than that, I look forward to really putting this laptop through the ringer in testing.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.