A Review of the Alienware 15 ANW15-7493SLV 4k gaming laptop
Alienware is definitely known for the high quality of its gaming machines and the 15 ANW15-7493SLV 4k gaming laptop is no exception to this general rule. As a performance machine, it delivers some awesome specs that ensure a high quality of gameplay even under some very rigorous conditions.
Featuring a 15.6 inch widescreen display with touchscreen capacity, 4K Ultra HD resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels and the processing power of a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M graphics card with a 3GB GDDR5 discrete memory, along with the assisting power of a quad-core 4th generation Haswell 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, the 15 ANW15-7493SLV is no slouch under the vast majority of gaming conditions. If what you’re looking for is a powerful portable PC gaming solution that can handle Full HD gaming at even very high frame rates and 1440p (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) gaming at very decent frame rates with high detail settings, then the ANW15-7493SLV is definitely one of your best bets on the current market, despite its rather steep price tag.
However, as far as full-blown 4K UHD gaming at high levels of detail or even moderate detail settings with more graphics-intensive games goes, the ANW15-7493SLV suffers from the same problem we’ve seen in every other 4K laptop we’ve reviewed to date. It simply doesn’t have the raw power necessary to push out the kinds of frame rates you’d need for a truly enjoyable 4K gaming experience. For this, full desktop PCs running very large Nvidia or AMD 4K GPUs are still your best possible choice. For now at least, hardcore 4K gaming on a laptop remains a potential development instead of an actuality though the ANW15-7493SLV does a great job of trying for it.
Nonetheless, as a 4K UHD laptop for non-gaming ultra HD uses such as video viewing or graphics editing, the ANW15-7493SLV certainly has lots to offer, though a PC with a 25 inch or larger 4K display would still be a better option.
The specs and design of the ANW15-7493SLV are superb, without a doubt. As is typical of Alienware, they’ve created one very cool looking 4K laptop that’s definitely not one of the more formal, buttoned-down machines we’ve looked at in previous reviews. This is clearly a machine designed with fun and flashiness in mind, and it eschews the idea of a conservative office-friendly appearance. For a lot of potential owners, this stylishness is a definite bonus.
However, superficial design isn’t the only thing to applaud with the ANW15-7493SLV and its powerful appearance also covers a series of genuinely powerful specs. As we’ve already mentioned above, this laptop features some of the best technologies on the current laptop market when it comes to its RAM, CPU, GPU and raw storage capacity.
Furthermore, in getting your hands on the ANW15-7493SLV you have the dual storage options of a 256 GB solid state drive or a 1 TB 5400 rpm HDD hard drive. This means plenty of space for lighting quick loading of the laptops OS and essential memory features while also having a vast section of raw HD storage for videos, music, games and whatever else you want to cram into this machine.
Then there is the ANW15-7493SLV’s display. As should be obvious to readers of 4K.com, this laptop offers a crystal clear 4K UHD display that delivers 3840 x 2160 pixels of vibrant, clear color and contrast rendering over an IPS panel display technology that offers superb brightness and viewing at off-center angles. Furthermore, Dell’s addition of TrueLife technology ensures some very high levels of realism in the crisp details rendered by the 15.6 inch screens 8.2 million pixels.
Finally, we gotta love the truly powerful battery that Alienware added to the ANW15-7493SLV. The 8-cell lithium ion battery is good to go for more than 7 hours of uncharged use, and this is while the laptop is running games and other more intensive graphics. In other words, we’re impressed.
4.6 - 18 Review
The Alienware ANW15-7493SLV is also of course definitely not perfect and it does have its few minor flaws and one more profound defect.
Most importantly, as we’ve already said, if you want gaming at 4K resolution with frame rates that haven’t been drawn down to a crawling pace, even a machine as powerful as the ANW15-7493SLV won’t deliver the goods for you. At least for the time being, even laptops with the powerhouse specs of this machine simply can’t match the real 4K UHD gameplay power of their desktop PC cousins. Use this laptops for conventional non-gaming 4K video functions without a problem and go crazy with Full HD gameplay while also enjoying some very decent 1440p UHD game action but forget about serious 4K games at high fps.
That deficiency of the ANW15-7493SLV aside, there isn’t much else to really call bad about this machine. However, we do find the ANW15-7493SLV to be a bit on the heavy side at a bit over 6 ½ lbs and we should also warn you that the 4K resolution on a 15.6 inch screen might cause some serious scaling issues with certain graphics in older software. Windows 8.1 (the OS included with the ANW15-7493SLV) is pretty good at scaling to 4K display graphics after a bit of tinkering but the real issue comes with older third party software and some websites that don’t have 4K scaling built into them. Once Windows 10 gets loaded into the ANW15-7493SLV, OS scaling for the 4K screen should work even better.
Screen size: 15.6 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Included OS: Windows 8.1 Pro
Battery life: variable, depending on processor and GPU usage, nominally 7.5 hours
Processor: quad-core 4th-gen Haswell 2.50 GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor
RAM: 16GB DDR3
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Storage (Hard drive): 1TB 5400 rpm SATA hard drive and 256 GB Solid-State Drive
GPU (Video card): NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M graphics card with 3GB of GDDR5
Connectivity: WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, 4 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x mini DisplayPort, 1 x Headphone/ 1 x microphone jack, integrated stereo speakers
The display of theAlienware ANW15-7493SLV is definitely built to live up to this laptop’s awesome specs. Thus, what you get on the ANW15-7493SLV’s 15.6 inch screen is a beautifully clear, vibrant IPS panel technology that provides a game-friendly 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio and delivers some excellent wide viewing angles thanks to that same In Plane Switching technology that also delivers the laptop’s vibrancy.
The 4K UHD resolution results in a massive pixel density for such a small screen and this in turn means that at least for native 4K visuals, even some very close squinting won’t let you see pixilation on content. Furthermore, Alienware gave the ANW15-7493SLV a touch-screen display that’s particularly useful for the Windows 8.1 OS that comes with the machine and also for the Windows 10 any user decides to update to when it’s available in their region.
We also love the contrast that the ANW15-7493SLV manages to deliver. It’s high brightness of more than 300 cd/m2 and very low black tone luminance result in deep, rich black tones, superb viewing of content in even bright rooms and colors that stand out all the more due to the high degree of contrast. On the other hand, because we’re talking about 4K UHD display here, battery power can drain faster than you might like if the ANW15-7493SLV is used for intensive 4K graphics rendering for a while and this applies across the board. All mobile native UHD graphics will use a lot of juice, much more than what would be the case with a conventional Full HD screen.
In contrast to many 4K UHD or conventional laptops we’ve seen, the ANW15-7493SLV actually manages to deliver some remarkably robust audio performance. While you’ll obviously benefit much more from hooked-in external speakers, the native sound on the ANW15-7493SLV is powered by Klipsch and Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi technology, meaning that deep and respectably rich audio emerges from the speakers while music not only sounds very decent but also manages to continue maintaining a fair amount of sharpness even at high volume.
The ANW15-7493SLV has been built with robustness in mind. Not only does this laptops look awesome, it has also been assembled with strength and lasting power in mind. The body has been assembled with space-age carbon fiber material that resists impacts, blows and even scratches from sharp objects. While we can’t be sure from personal experience, the impression given by the ANW15-7493SLV is that it will still look remarkably clean and nick-free even after a considerable amount of heavy use and carrying around. In essence, this particular laptop feels premium in your hands, aside from just looking like a robust machine.
As for the keyboard and trackpad, both are designed with gaming firmly in mind (as we’d expect from Alienware) and the keyboard itself is backlit with the addition of a reinforced metal plate behind the keys for much more uniform feedback and better than average responsiveness. Alienware has also included 9 TactX programmable keys that can be customized for quickly launching specific apps. The trackpad is pretty standard stuff but we do have to say that we like its size, though if you’re not a fan of using trackpads and prefer a mouse, we suggest shutting the pad off, since that same size can work against you when accidentally brushing it while using the keyboard.
As can be seen from the photos in this review, the ANW15-7493SLV is a dark grey along the top of its lid, with a matte black interior and some red finish along diagonal lines in the lid as well as over the entire trackpad.
Let’s start with the processor in the ANW15-7493SLV. Alienware has installed a quad-core Intel i7 4710HQ CPU in this laptop and because this is a processor with the company’s Haswell architecture, it comes with a 6MB cache and clocks in at a hefty 2.5 GHz that’s further augmented by Intel’s turbo boosting technology that can peak things even further to 3.5 GHz if suddenly needed. In other words, the CPU of the ANW15-7493SLV is great for a wide range of software applications and particularly great for keeping the game processing flowing at high speeds and fluidity. Even high-intensity photo or video editing works really well on the ANW15-7493SLV, without the machine breaking a sweat, at least as far as we noticed.
As for the memory. The ANW15-7493SLV again delivers some powerhouse hardware in the form of a 16GB dual channel DDR3L RAM that runs at an operating frequency of 1600MHz. For gaming, this RAM is absolutely superb and also delivers excellent power in the form of multitasking functionality. Thus, for those of you who like to run multiple applications at the same time while also having a couple dozen browser windows and a game open, the RAM on the ANW15-7493SLV is the answer.
Next up, we have the ANW15-7493SLV’s superb Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M GPU with a 3 GB DDR5 RAM. This GPU is a definite beast, but for Full HD and 1440p UHD gaming to a lesser extent. However, while extremely powerful for a laptop GPU, the GTX 970M simply doesn’t match up to the power needed for pushing out 4K gameplay at high frame rates. Thus, while you’ll be able to enjoy your HD games at superbly fast frame rates, serious 4K gaming is something you’ll still have to do with a desktop PC running something like one of Nvidia’s truly 4K-capable GPUs, such as the GTX 980 Ti or the Titan X.
The ANW15-7493SLV also offers an excellent combination of SSD storage for extremely fast loading of the main OS features and other core software applications while also giving up a hefty 1TB hard drive storage for movies, games, music and whatever other data you want which isn’t essential for system performance.
Finally, in terms of connectivity, this machine is positively loaded down with ports. There are four USB 3.0 ports to choose from, a single HDMI 1.4 port and also a mini DisplayPort 1.2 slot. In addition to these, the ANW15-7493SLV comes with built-in high-speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet connection port.
4.6 - 18 Review
The Alienware ANW15-7493SLV comes packaged with the Windows 8.1 Pro operating system but it’s more than ready to take in Windows 10 if the update is available in your area. It can also of course deal with a Linux installation if that’s what you’re more into
Our main complaint about the ANW15-7493SLV has to do with the fact that it’s not a truly 4K-gaming oriented laptop, despite the powerful specs and very high price that its selling for. If real 4K gaming at high frame rates is what you’re interested in without concern for compactness or mobility, then you’re better off using the $2000+ dollars this machine will cost you and putting them towards a high end desktop PC rig with a real 4K GPU.
The Alienware 15 ANW15-7493SLV 15.6-Inch 4K Gaming Laptop 8not to be confused with its very similarly named and designed Full HD counterpart) is retailing on Amazon.com for $2,190.00
4.6 - 18 Review
• Excellent hardware package for Full HD gaming
• Lightning fast load time
• Dual SSD and HDD storage
• Fantastic display quality
• Beautiful, flashy design
• Sturdy build
• Very expensive
• Not really a 4K gaming machine
• A bit heavy at almost 7 lbs