Battery Life & What's to Like on the Alienware 13
Inside the Alienware 13 is a 76 Wh battery, which is marginally larger than other gaming laptops of this size, and much larger than most 13-inch ultraportables. While this battery is decently sized, the powerful components in the Alienware 13 do limit its battery life to an extent.
Battery life isn't fantastic, but it's better than most 15-inch gaming laptops. In the video browsing test in particular, the Alienware 13 outperforms MSI's similar GS43VR by a significant margin, though it falls behind slightly in web browsing.
Wrap Up: Powerful Laptop, Not So Little
As a smaller form factor gaming laptop, the Alienware 13 gets a lot of things right. At most price points, this laptop includes powerful and competitive hardware, which is exactly what most buyers are after. On the flip side, the Alienware 13 isn't as portable as other laptops of a similar class.
Most people interested in buying a 13- or 14-inch gaming laptop are doing so because they want something portable but powerful; something they can use for work out of the house, and games in the house. Due to the size and weight of the Alienware 13, this laptop really isn't suited to this type of user.
All the major competitors to the Alienware 13 - from MSI, Razer, and Aorus - clock in under 2kg heavy, while some also strive for a slim chassis. The Alienware 13 is a whopping 2.6kg heavy, which puts it in the same ballpark as larger 15-inch laptops, reducing its portability. And while the screen is just 13.3-inches in size, the laptop itself is no smaller than 14-inch competitors thanks to large bezels and a beefy cooler.
If you're not hugely concerned about the portability of the Alienware 13, and don't want a more affordable 15-inch gaming laptop, there's a lot to like about this system.
For starters, it's affordable across the entry-level and mid-tier configurations. At $1,100 you can net yourself a pretty decent GTX 1050 Ti gaming laptop, while at $1,599 for GTX 1060 models it's similarly priced to MSI's GS43VR and much cheaper than the Aorus X3 Plus v7 and Razer Blade. 256GB of storage space is too slim in the base GTX 1060 configuration, but the included SSD is blazing fast and upgrades to 512GB of space cost $150.
My review unit was kitted out with an Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and GeForce GTX 1060 6GB. This configuration performed exactly as I expected. The GTX 1060 is a fantastic GPU for 1080p gaming at very high quality settings, and the 7700HQ provides a small performance boost over its Skylake predecessor.
During low-intensity or CPU-only workloads, the Alienware 13 is reasonably quiet thanks to a decent cooling solution, with fans that only spin up aggressively after 5 to 6 minutes of 100% CPU utilization. The laptop is much louder during gaming, although the fans aren't as annoying as some other solutions I've tested.
I was impressed with most other aspects of the Alienware 13's body. The keyboard and trackpad are both very good, and you also get a wide range of RGB LED color zones you can use to customize the Alienware 13's look. The layout and selection of ports available should suffice for most users, and the included speakers are loud.
Whether or not the Alienware 13 is for you depends on whether portability is important. If it is, you should probably look elsewhere for lighter laptops from Razer, MSI and Aorus. If you don't really care, the Alienware 13 offers decent hardware and features at an affordable price point.
Pros: The GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1060 models pack decent hardware at affordable prices. RGB lighting offers good customizability. Great keyboard and trackpad. Supports Windows Hello and Tobii eye-tracking.
Cons: A smaller form factor gaming laptop that's not particularly portable, at least compared to its competitors. We wish it wasn't this heavy.