Notebookcheck

Alienware 13 R3 (FHD, i5, GTX 1050 Ti) Laptop Review

Mike Wobker, 👁 Andreas Osthoff, Tanja Hinum (translated by Stanislav Kokhanyuk), 02/08/2018

A compact entry-level powerhouse. For those who seek a 13-inch gaming notebook, there is practically no alternative other than the Alienware 13 R3. Nevertheless, our review device will still compete with other gaming laptops. At the same time, we compare the performance of different hardware variants in our review update for the 3rd generation of the Alienware 13.

We reviewed the Alienware 13 R3 in February of 2017. With a GeForce GTX 1060 and Intel’s Core i7-7700HQ, the previous review device offered the best possible hardware configuration to date. For that kind of performance, gamers would have to pay over 2000 Euros (~$2475), however, what they got in return was one of the best gaming laptops at the time.

For our update, we were provided a somewhat lower-priced Alienware 13 R3 model with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti as the GPU and Intel’s Core i5-7300HQ as the CPU. 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD round off the package. At the time of this review, the hardware configuration of our current review device can be ordered for 1549 Euros (~$1945) from Dell’s online store.

The Alienware 13 R3 does not have a lot in the way of competition. Aorus is the only other manufacturer that has a 13-inch gaming laptop (X3 Plus v7) on offer. The other possible competitors of our review device include: The somewhat larger 15-inch Legion Y520-15IKBN from Lenovo, the Aspire V17 Nitro from Acer, as well as the Razer Blade 2017. Both devices come with the same CPU/GPU configuration as our review device. Therefore, the main focus of this review lies in the comparison between the Alienware 13 R3 with a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and the Alienware 13 R3 with a GeForce GTX 1060.

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Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
Graphics adapter
Memory
8192 MB 
, Single-Channel
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 166 PPI, Chi Mei CMN1371, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Sunrise Point, Intel Kaby Lake-H
Storage
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, 256 GB 
, , 204 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: microphone/headphone combo jack, Sensors: Eye Tracking, Noble Lock, Graphics Amplifier
Networking
Killer E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 22 x 330 x 269 ( = 0.87 x 12.99 x 10.59 in)
Battery
76 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: 4 zones, Keyboard Light: yes, Alienware Sound Center, Alienware Command Center, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
2.45 kg ( = 86.42 oz / 5.4 pounds), Power Supply: 755 g ( = 26.63 oz / 1.66 pounds)
Price
1600 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

In terms of the appearance, Alienware has kept everything the same as in the 2017 model. However, our current review device does not come with a touch-enabled OLED display and instead relies on a non-reflective IPS screen. For other information about the case, we recommend you take a look at our previous review of the Alienware 13 R3.

Gaming notebooks often weigh a lot. And so does the Alienware 13 R3. At 2.5 kilograms (5.5 lbs), it weighs as much as some 15-inch devices. Due to the small dimensions of its case, our review device seems very compact. However, it should be noted that the case is relatively thick (because of the cooling solution).

Size Comparison

422 mm / 16.6 inch 298 mm / 11.7 inch 25 mm / 0.984 inch 3.1 kg6.83 lbs380 mm / 15 inch 265 mm / 10.4 inch 25.8 mm / 1.016 inch 2.4 kg5.29 lbs345 mm / 13.6 inch 235 mm / 9.25 inch 17.9 mm / 0.705 inch 2 kg4.3 lbs330 mm / 13 inch 269 mm / 10.6 inch 22 mm / 0.866 inch 2.5 kg5.4 lbs330 mm / 13 inch 269 mm / 10.6 inch 22 mm / 0.866 inch 2.5 kg5.42 lbs327 mm / 12.9 inch 263.5 mm / 10.4 inch 22.9 mm / 0.902 inch 1.8 kg3.97 lbs

Connectivity

The Alienware 13 R3 offers almost all the ports that one can desire. Most notably, the positioning of the ports at the back of the device results in a lot of free space to the right and the left of the notebook. A special feature is the proprietary port for Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier. It allows an additional box to be connected to the device for an external graphics card. However, the device does not feature an SD card reader.

Left side: Noble Lock, USB 3.0 Type-A, microphone jack, headphone jack
Left side: Noble Lock, USB 3.0 Type-A, microphone jack, headphone jack
Backside: RJ45 LAN port, Mini-DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, Graphics Amplifier, power jack
Backside: RJ45 LAN port, Mini-DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, Graphics Amplifier, power jack
Right side: USB 3.0 Type-C, USB 3.0 Type-A
Right side: USB 3.0 Type-C, USB 3.0 Type-A

Communication

The Wi-Fi transfer rates are superb. The Alienware 13 R3 can give any competitor with any kind of Wi-Fi module a run for its money. However, a comparison to our review device from February 2017 shows that the Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 adapter is somewhat faster than the Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 adapter in our current review device. Therefore, the 20-Euro (~$25) premium for the 1535 model is not worth it. 

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Alienware 13 R3
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
667 MBit/s ∼100% +7%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
626 MBit/s ∼94% 0%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
626 MBit/s ∼94%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
Realtek 8821AE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
285 MBit/s ∼43% -54%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Alienware 13 R3
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1435 Wireless Network Adapter
571 MBit/s ∼100% +2%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
561 MBit/s ∼98%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
502 MBit/s ∼88% -11%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
Realtek 8821AE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
345 MBit/s ∼60% -39%

Accessories

The box contains a Quick Start Guide, as well as a heavy 180-watt AC adapter. With the dimensions of 15 x 7.5 x 3 cm (5.9 x 2.9 x 1.2 in), the power supply is not particularly small.

Maintenance

The maintenance options of the Alienware 13 R3 are very limited. You can find a short description of the possibilities in our previous review of the Alienware 13 R3

Warranty

Dell provides the Alienware 13 R3 with only a base 1-year limited hardware warranty. This warranty includes one year of premium support with onsite service. For a premium, the duration of the warranty can be increased to 2 or 4 years.

Please see our Guarantees, Return Policies and Warranties FAQ for country-specific information.

Input Devices

The keyboard of the Alienware 13 R3 has a great layout. The actuation point of the keys is relatively weak, but clear. A touchpad with dedicated mouse buttons serves as a mouse replacement. The surface of the touchpad is very smooth and registers inputs accurately. For a comprehensive description of the input devices, we recommend you take a look at our review of the Alienware 13 R3 from February 2017.  

Display

Pixel arrangement
Pixel arrangement
Screen bleeding
Screen bleeding

Our review device is equipped with a matte IPS panel with a resolution of 1920x1080. With this screen, the Alienware 13 R3 is equipped with a standard display for gaming notebooks. Alternatively, you can get the Alienware 13 R3 with a TN panel (1366x768) or an OLED display (2560X1440), which was in our review device from February 2017. The OLED display is touch-enabled and has a glossy surface.

Understandably, our current review device falls far short of the values that we measured with the OLED panel; however, its IPS display can keep up quite well with the rest of the competition. The average brightness is good. As can be seen from the “screen bleeding” image, the brightness is distributed unevenly. However, this should not have any serious implications for everyday gaming.

312
cd/m²
291
cd/m²
311
cd/m²
315
cd/m²
363
cd/m²
331
cd/m²
319
cd/m²
331
cd/m²
321
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Chi Mei CMN1371
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 363 cd/m² Average: 321.6 cd/m² Minimum: 19.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Center on Battery: 359 cd/m²
Contrast: 1171:1 (Black: 0.31 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.1 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 6.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
90.7% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 59.2% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.35
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
Chi Mei CMN1371, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Alienware 13 R3
JJT6C_133KL05 (SDCA029), , 2560x1440, 13.3
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
LG Philips LP156WF6-SPK3, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Sharp SHP1401, , 3200x1800, 13.9
Razer Blade (2017)
LP140WF3-SPD1, , 1920x1080, 14
Response Times
-4%
-0%
-22%
15%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
41.6 (22.8, 18.8)
39 (21, 18)
6%
38 (19.6, 18.4)
9%
25.2 (18, 17.2)
39%
Response Time Black / White *
32 (18, 14)
2.8 (1.2, 1.6)
91%
29 (16, 13)
9%
24.4 (11.2, 13.2)
24%
24.8 (13.2, 11.6)
22%
PWM Frequency
25000 (20)
240 (100)
-99%
21000 (90)
-16%
201.6 (50)
-99%
21370
-15%
Screen
27%
-19%
18%
0%
Brightness middle
363
313
-14%
283
-22%
348
-4%
272
-25%
Brightness
322
310
-4%
281
-13%
359
11%
277
-14%
Brightness Distribution
80
87
9%
91
14%
73
-9%
84
5%
Black Level *
0.31
0.39
-26%
0.29
6%
0.26
16%
Contrast
1171
726
-38%
1200
2%
1046
-11%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.1
2.54
50%
6.1
-20%
2.4
53%
4.59
10%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.9
3.94
56%
11.08
-24%
5.1
43%
8.49
5%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.2
1.43
77%
5.69
8%
2.3
63%
4.28
31%
Gamma
2.35 94%
2.3 96%
2.44 90%
2.21 100%
2.23 99%
CCT
6827 95%
6337 103%
6702 97%
6206 105%
6848 95%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
59.2
78
32%
37
-37%
62
5%
55
-7%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
90.7
97
7%
58
-36%
96
6%
83
-8%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
12% / 21%
-10% / -15%
-2% / 8%
8% / 4%

* ... smaller is better

CalMAN: Saturation
CalMAN: Saturation
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Saturation (after calibration)
CalMAN: Saturation (after calibration)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (after calibration)
CalMAN: ColorChecker (after calibration)
CalMAN: Grayscale (after calibration)
CalMAN: Grayscale (after calibration)

The Alienware 13 R3 with an OLED display evinces significantly faster response times and better color accuracy than our review device. Some of the values we measured were so good that our measuring devices hit their limits. When compared to the competition, the IPS panel delivers mediocre, but still decent results. The screen covers 90 percent of the sRGB color space and 59.2 percent of the Adobe RGB color space. The black value and the contrast ratio are also okay, which is reflected in the saturated colors and deep blacks.

sRGB color space coverage: 90.7%
sRGB color space coverage: 90.7%
Adobe RGB color space coverage: 59.2%
Adobe RGB color space coverage: 59.2%

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
32 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18 ms rise
↘ 14 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 82 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (24.8 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
41.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 22.8 ms rise
↘ 18.8 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 54 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (39.4 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 25000 Hz ≤ 20 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 25000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 20 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 25000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9338 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

A big flaw of the Alienware 13 R3 with an OLED display is the glossy surface, which exhibits unattractive reflections, even in closed rooms. The matte IPS panel of our current review device has very good viewing angles and a brightness, which is high enough for outdoor use in shaded places. A further advantage of the IPS panel is a very high PWM frequency (25000 Hz), which should not lead to eye strain among susceptible individuals, even after extended periods of use. By contrast, the OLED display flickers very strongly with a frequency of 240 Hz.

Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Outdoor use - front view
Outdoor use - front view
Outdoor use - side view
Outdoor use - side view

Performance

Our review device offers enough performance to run all the latest games smoothly. With this graphics card and CPU, not all of the games can be run smoothly with the highest graphics settings. However, the gaming performance is still very good. For more performance, you can get the Alienware 13 R3 with other GPU variants and an alternative CPU.

Processor

The built-in Intel Core i5-7300HQ is a quad-core processor, which is based on the Kaby Lake architecture. With clock rates between 2.5 and 3.5 GHz per core, the CPU is well-suited for demanding applications. Moreover, dynamically adjusted voltages and clock rates lead to a very high energy efficiency. Alternatively, you can get the Alienware 13 R3 with Intel’s Core i7-7700HQ. When compared to the i5-7300HQ, it offers Hyper-threading, which allows each core to process two threads at the same time, whereas the CPU of our review device can only process one thread per core.

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Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

In the Cinebench benchmark, the CPU does worse than the similarly-equipped competing devices. However, the performance of the CPU can be maintained continuously over a prolonged period of time. When running on battery power, the clock rate of the CPU is reduced to 3 GHz, which leads to a 40-point drop in the Cinebench R15 benchmark. The Alienware 13 R3 with the Core i7-7700HQ exhibited similar behavior; there, the performance of the system was mainly influenced by the GPU load. The lower result can also be explained by the lack of Hyper-threading.

You can find out what kind of performance Intel’s Core i5-7300HQ CPU achieves in other systems on our “CPU Benchmarks” page.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
181 Points ∼100% +33%
Alienware 13 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
159 Points ∼88% +17%
Razer Blade (2017)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
154 Points ∼85% +13%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
143 Points ∼79% +5%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
136 Points ∼75%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Intel Core i7-7820HK
819 Points ∼100% +60%
Alienware 13 R3
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
737 Points ∼90% +44%
Razer Blade (2017)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ
729 Points ∼89% +42%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
517 Points ∼63% +1%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
Intel Core i5-7300HQ
512 Points ∼63%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
136 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
512 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
94.59 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Help

System Performance

The system performance of the Alienware 13 R3 is remarkably good. In the PCMark 8 benchmark, our review device performs a tiny bit worse than the better-equipped model from February 2017. It is quite probable that the faster SSD from Samsung is the reason for this result. The gap between the Alienware 13 R3 and other competing devices is also quite small. In day-to-day use, any differences in performance should not be noticeable.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
5008 Points ∼100% +6%
Alienware 13 R3
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
4799 Points ∼96% +2%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
4746 Points ∼95% +1%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4721 Points ∼94%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
4605 Points ∼92% -2%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
3958 Points ∼100% +8%
Alienware 13 R3
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
3894 Points ∼98% +6%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3664 Points ∼93%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
3651 Points ∼92% 0%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
3266 Points ∼83% -11%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3664 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4721 points
Help

Storage Devices

Dell has equipped the Alienware 13 R3 with a Samsung PM961 SSD with 256 GB of storage space. This SSD manages to outperform the top-end model of the Alienware 13 R3. Although, the Alienware 13 R3 from February 2017 also had a 256 GB SSD, it was an NVMe SSD from Toshiba that was used in that laptop. Apparently, buyers have no way of telling which type of SSD is used in a given laptop in Dell’s online store. You are only given the choice to select the capacity. Therefore, we cannot tell you which SSD you will get at the end of the day if you order the laptop from Dell’s online store.

You can find out how well the built-in SSD stacks up against the competition on our "HDD/SSD Benchmarks" page.

Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Alienware 13 R3
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
Aorus x3 Plus v7
Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
Razer Blade (2017)
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-21%
-30%
8%
-35%
Write 4k QD32
410.2
311.2
-24%
170.6
-58%
516.7
26%
308
-25%
Read 4k QD32
492
593.1
21%
480.9
-2%
699.8
42%
565
15%
Write 4k
146.1
140.2
-4%
154.8
6%
156
7%
134.3
-8%
Read 4k
58.7
37.65
-36%
46.07
-22%
44.8
-24%
34.8
-41%
Write 512
850.1
405.6
-52%
196.7
-77%
1221
44%
310
-64%
Read 512
1089
1070
-2%
455.6
-58%
966.3
-11%
682
-37%
Write Seq
1210
789.4
-35%
796.1
-34%
1324
9%
311
-74%
Read Seq
2018
1373
-32%
2127
5%
1498
-26%
1122
-44%
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Sequential Read: 2018 MB/s
Sequential Write: 1210 MB/s
512K Read: 1089 MB/s
512K Write: 850.1 MB/s
4K Read: 58.7 MB/s
4K Write: 146.1 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 492 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 410.2 MB/s

Graphics Card

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is a mid-range GPU, which can run demanding 3D applications with an appropriate cooling solution. It comes with a maximum of 4 GB of VRAM and a 112 GB/s memory bandwidth. Our review device has the 2 GB variant of the GTX 1050 Ti, which can be upgraded to 4 GB for a premium of 80 Euros ($98). If you pay an additional 180 Euros ($222), you will get the Alienware 13 R3 with a GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of video memory.

The 3D benchmark results of our review device look very good and are comparable to those of the competing devices. When the device runs on battery power, games can still be run smoothly. We did not observe any performance drops even after the device ran on battery power for an extended period of time. You can learn what kind of results Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti achieves in other notebooks on our "GPU Benchmarks" page.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Alienware 13 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
14275 Points ∼100% +38%
Razer Blade (2017)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
13870 Points ∼97% +34%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
10325 Points ∼72%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
9904 Points ∼69% -4%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Aorus x3 Plus v7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7820HK
12298 Points ∼100% +52%
Alienware 13 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
11323 Points ∼92% +40%
Razer Blade (2017)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
10853 Points ∼88% +35%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
8066 Points ∼66%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
7795 Points ∼63% -3%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Alienware 13 R3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7700HQ
54974 Points ∼100% +7%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
51473 Points ∼94% 0%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), Intel Core i5-7300HQ
51416 Points ∼94%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Intel Core i7-7820HK
43388 Points ∼79% -16%
3DMark 11 Performance
8864 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
15979 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
6590 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The Alienware 13 R3 is fit for gaming in any hardware configuration. Most games can be run smoothly, even with high graphical settings. There are no abnormalities to report during gaming. Naturally, the top-end model of the Alienware 13 R3 offers some more performance, but if you want to just play all the latest titles with decent frame rates, then our review device should suffice. The differences to the similarly-equipped competing devices are minimal, where the Alienware 13 R3 manages to gain an edge on the Aorus X3 Plus v7.

Because our review device has only 2 GB of VRAM, it cannot achieve playable frame rates in many games on high graphics settings. Here, buyers are advised to get an Alienware 13 R3 model with the 4 GB version of the GTX 1050 Ti, or the model with the GTX 1060. This is why the notebook is not suitable for future games.

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The Witcher 3 ultra

We run "The Witcher 3" for one hour with the ultra settings to see if the performance of the laptop falls during long gaming sessions. However, this is not the case. Except for the normal fluctuations, which are caused by the day/night cycle, there are no problems to report. You can learn which games can be run smoothly with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 Ti on our "Gaming Benchmarks" page.

BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
109 fps ∼100% +56%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
70 fps ∼64% 0%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
69.8 fps ∼64%
1366x768 High Preset
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
166.4 fps ∼100%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
165.2 fps ∼99% -1%
1366x768 Medium Preset
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
188.5 fps ∼100% +1%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
187.4 fps ∼99%
1280x720 Very Low Preset
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
229.2 fps ∼100%
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
222.2 fps ∼97% -3%
Thief
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FXAA & High SS AF:8x
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
50.3 fps ∼100%
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
42 fps ∼83% -17%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FXAA & Low SS AF:4x
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
65.3 fps ∼100%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
66.4 fps ∼100%
1024x768 Very Low Preset
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
66 fps ∼100%
Rise of the Tomb Raider
1920x1080 Very High Preset AA:FX AF:16x
Aorus x3 Plus v7
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7820HK, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7
65 fps ∼100% +134%
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
57 fps ∼88% +105%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
27.8 fps ∼43%
1920x1080 High Preset AA:FX AF:4x
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
71 fps ∼100% +53%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
46.5 fps ∼65%
1366x768 Medium Preset AF:2x
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
70.6 fps ∼100%
1024x768 Lowest Preset
Razer Blade (2017)
GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 7700HQ, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
158 fps ∼100% +89%
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 7300HQ, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
83.8 fps ∼53%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 229.2 187.4 166.4 69.8 fps
Thief (2014) 66 66.4 65.3 50.3 fps
Dragon Age: Inquisition (2014) 88.6 82 54 38.5 fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 119.5 90 40.5 28.3 fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 83.8 70.6 46.5 27.8 fps

Emissions

System Noise

During normal operation, the Alienware 13 R3 is practically silent. Under load, it takes about 70 seconds for the fan to become audible in the 3DMark benchmark. While playing games, like The Witcher 3”, for example, it takes 37 seconds for the fan to start spinning. The resulting noise is quite audible, but remains steady. For such a compact gaming laptop, the noise level is more than acceptable. You can find more information about the noise development in the review of the Alienware 13 R3 from February 2017

Noise Level

Idle
29.7 / 29.7 / 29.7 dB(A)
Load
32.7 / 50 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29.7 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.13831.134.135.835.12530.430.429.630.829.630.43130.631.731.930.431.430.64029.729.528.52928.629.75028.729.229.528.531.428.76328.626.226.524.229.528.68030.83225.725.725.630.810028.427.926.625.727.428.412526.325.225.125.425.726.316028.726.327.125.725.528.720027.526.224.923.123.827.525029.128.12422.222.929.131531.429.923.720.522.231.440031.330.223.119.12231.350031.729.42318.121.431.763034.33326.218.123.534.38003635.126.217.123.736100036.235.1261721.536.2125038.836.727.516.822.238.8160040.237.627.216.722.640.2200038.436.525.216.420.938.425003936.523.716.718.839315040.237.223.316.918.640.2400039.736.622.217.218.539.7500039.235.62117.51839.2630036.833.619.517.918.136.8800032.829.218.41818.332.81000029.425.418.518.218.229.41250023.92118.118.118.123.9160002119.317.817.817.821SPL5047.436.429.732.850N6.95.82.51.31.86.9median 32.8median 30.2median 23.7median 18median 21.5median 32.8Delta4.64.731.92.64.6hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseAlienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

During office work, the Alienware 13 R3 does not get hot at all, and the surface temperatures do not exceed the 25 °C (77 °F) mark. Under load, the temperatures on the underside of the laptop reach up to 55 °C (131 °F). However, the wrist rest area remains comfortably cool and the notebook can still be used on your lap. During gaming, the temperatures are actually somewhat lower than in our stress test. 

During our stress test, the Alienware 13 R3 gets truly challenged. It takes less than 10 minutes for the core temperatures to reach the 80 °C (176 °F) mark. Afterwards, the fans start to spin faster and faster, preventing the temperatures from going above 80 °C (176 °F) for the remainder of the one-hour stress test. This is why the clock speeds fell briefly below the base clock rate of the Core i5-7300HQ, however they climbed back up after a while. After that, a clock rate of about 3 GHz was maintained for the remainder of the one-hour stress test. Even during intensive gaming sessions, the utilization levels seen in the stress test cannot be replicated. Therefore, there should not arise any limitations, because of throttling on account of very high temperatures. 

Max. Load
 41.9 °C
107 F
46.1 °C
115 F
43.6 °C
110 F
 
 38.4 °C
101 F
43.8 °C
111 F
43.2 °C
110 F
 
 27.9 °C
82 F
28.3 °C
83 F
32.7 °C
91 F
 
Maximum: 46.1 °C = 115 F
Average: 38.4 °C = 101 F
44.2 °C
112 F
55 °C
131 F
46.9 °C
116 F
41.6 °C
107 F
43.9 °C
111 F
36.7 °C
98 F
32.9 °C
91 F
33.2 °C
92 F
30.4 °C
87 F
Maximum: 55 °C = 131 F
Average: 40.5 °C = 105 F
Power Supply (max.)  40.2 °C = 104 F | Room Temperature 20.7 °C = 69 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38.4 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Gaming.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 46.1 °C / 115 F, compared to the average of 39.6 °C / 103 F, ranging from 21.6 to 68.8 °C for the class Gaming.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 55 °C / 131 F, compared to the average of 42.3 °C / 108 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 23.6 °C / 74 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(±) Playing The Witcher 3, the average temperature for the upper side is 36.2 °C / 97 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (32.7 °C / 90.9 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.8 °C / 83.8 F (-3.9 °C / -7.1 F).
Heat distribution at the top side (Witcher 3)
Heat distribution at the top side (Witcher 3)
Heat distribution at the bottom side (Witcher 3)
Heat distribution at the bottom side (Witcher 3)
Heat distribution at the fan grill (Witcher 3)
Heat distribution at the fan grill (Witcher 3)
Heat distribution at the top side (stress test)
Heat distribution at the top side (stress test)
Heat distribution at the bottom side (stress test)
Heat distribution at the bottom side (stress test)
Heat distribution at the fan grill (stress test)
Heat distribution at the fan grill (stress test)

Energy Management

Energy Consumption

The energy consumption of our review device is on the normal level for gaming notebooks. With 6 to 12 watts when idle, the Alienware 13 R3 with the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is somewhat more energy-efficient than the model with the GeForce GTX 1060. Our current review model also consumes less power under load than the review device from February 2017. When compared to other gaming notebooks with the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, the laptop draws significantly more power.

With the power draw peaking at 146.6 watts, the included 180-watt AC adapter should be able to reliably supply the notebook with power without any problems.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.26 / 0.75 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 6.6 / 9.5 / 12.7 Watt
Load midlight 64 / 146.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Alienware 13 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK, OLED, 2560x1440, 13.3
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Aorus x3 Plus v7
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Toshiba NVMe THNSN5512GPU7, IGZO TFT, 3200x1800, 13.9
Razer Blade (2017)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256, IPS, 1920x1080, 14
Power Consumption
-21%
16%
-57%
-8%
Idle Minimum *
6.6
7
-6%
5.2
21%
15.1
-129%
7.5
-14%
Idle Average *
9.5
12
-26%
8.3
13%
15.8
-66%
12.1
-27%
Idle Maximum *
12.7
18
-42%
10.1
20%
16.7
-31%
14.3
-13%
Load Average *
64
76
-19%
62.7
2%
110.9
-73%
73.5
-15%
Load Maximum *
146.6
161
-10%
100
32%
170.4
-16%
110.2
25%
Witcher 3 ultra *
105
94
10%
135
-29%
108
-3%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Just like the previously-reviewed model of the Alienware 13 R3, our current review device does very well in terms of battery life, taking the lead among the competing devices. In our practically-oriented Wi-Fi test, the gaming notebook can surf the web for more than 7 hours before shutting down. The brightness during our stress test is set to 150 cd/m² or 40%. However, prolonged gaming sessions on battery power are out of the question. Under full load, the battery can only last for about 90 minutes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
12h 49min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
7h 40min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 37min
Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti)
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 76 Wh
Alienware 13 R3
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 76 Wh
Lenovo Legion Y520-15IKBN 80WK0042GE
7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (Laptop), 45 Wh
Aorus x3 Plus v7
7820HK, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 74 Wh
Razer Blade (2017)
7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1060 (Laptop), 70 Wh
Battery Runtime
-23%
-22%
-24%
18%
Reader / Idle
769
524
-32%
634
-18%
477
-38%
WiFi v1.3
460
320
-30%
310
-33%
293
-36%
545
18%
Load
97
90
-7%
81
-16%
100
3%
H.264
358
272

Verdict

Pros

+ high-value case
+ wrist rest does not get hot
+ very compact design
+ IPS panel with great viewing angles
+ good battery life
+ a lot of ports

Cons

- quite heavy and large for a 13-inch device
- offers only a base 12-month warranty
- no maintenance options
- no SD card reader

Our impression of the Alienware 13 R3 is strengthened by the current review device. In extreme cases, the notebook can get very hot. However, this does not have much of an impact on gaming performance. The case is extremely well-built and offers the typical Alienware design with many illuminated elements. The device’s hardware offers enough performance to run all the latest titles. The high value of the components is reflected in the weight of the device.

Even with the low-priced GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, the Alienware 13 R3 is still a very high-value gaming notebook, which can run all the latest games smoothly. Unfortunately, the maintenance options leave a lot to be desired.

The built-in IPS panel offers a great color reproduction and has an advantage over the optional OLED display, in that it does not come with a glossy screen surface and, therefore, can also be used in brightly-lit environments. Above all, buyers should be aware that the maintenance options are seriously limited and that the fan can only be cleaned with a lot of effort. For those who do not care about this sort of thing, the Alienware 13 R3 with the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and the Intel Core i5-7300HQ represents a great, compact gaming device fit for both indoor and outdoor use.

Alienware 13 R3 (i5-7300HQ, GTX 1050 Ti) - 02/04/2018 v6(old)
Mike Wobker

Chassis
91 / 98 → 93%
Keyboard
85%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
71 / 81 → 87%
Weight
60 / 10-66 → 89%
Battery
90%
Display
86%
Games Performance
89%
Application Performance
90%
Temperature
86 / 95 → 91%
Noise
89 / 90 → 99%
Audio
75%
Camera
53 / 85 → 63%
Average
81%
87%
Gaming - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Alienware 13 R3 (FHD, i5, GTX 1050 Ti) Laptop Review
Mike Wobker, 2018-02- 8 (Update: 2019-03-25)