The best 17-inch gaming laptop
If having a big display is paramount, the Alienware M17 R3 could be your best bet. Alienware offers many screen choices and powerful hardware inside to get the most from them.
Pros: Excellent build quality, very fast performance, 1080p display with 144Hz refresh rate, lots of configurations
Cons: Poor battery life, loud fans, can get expensive
With a distinctive gaming aesthetic and great build quality, this Alienware gaming laptop has some unique features. But it’s the 17-inch screen that has made it our top pick for the best 17-inch gaming laptop. You may be wondering why our best high-end pick, the 17-inch Gigabyte Aorus 17X, isn’t our first choice in this category. It’s because Alienware offers more display options. The Alienware M17 R3 gives you some choice, and all of the 17.3- inch screen options boast specific strengths.
Weighing between 5.51 and 6.55 pounds, this is a big laptop. But it maintains an elegant feel and is still slimmer and lighter than the Aorus 17X, thanks in part to its magnesium alloy construction. The black and white Lunar Light option is refreshingly different, though you can also opt for a grey finish called Dark Side of the Moon. The Alienware logo and a few other design elements can light up, and there’s per-key RGB lighting with the keyboard.
You can pick up the base model, which combines an Intel Core i7-10750H with an AMD Radeon RX5500M, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD for $1,630. You can also upgrade to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super and a 1TB SSD for $1,900. The top spec option boasts a GeForce RTX 2080, jumps to 4.5TB of storage, 32GB of RAM, and has a 4K display, but it’s going to cost you $3,820. The 2070 Super and up is capable of running any game you want to play in style.
The 17.3-inch display in the first five models offers a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a fairly wide color range, brightness that goes up to 300 nits, and a refresh rate of a 144 Hz. Spend $2,600 and that slides up to a 300 Hz refresh rate, faster response time, and wider color gamut. At the top end you have the 4K option with a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, 500 nits at maximum brightness, and excellent color accuracy. The 4K displays also feature the rather gimmicky Tobii eye tracking technology, which can do things like fade user interface elements when you’re not looking at them.
While the keyboard has a bit more travel than many gaming laptops, it’s still a chiclet design. Battery life is the big disappointment here, though, and you’ll be lucky to get a couple of hours of non-gaming use. If you’re playing games, you need to be near an outlet. This laptop can also get warm and, consequently, the fans can get loud.
If you don’t mind the performance dip and just want a big, sharp, colorful display, then the 4K model of the Alienware M17 R3 is going to be impossible to beat.