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Gamescom 2018 | Alienware 15 R4 and 17 R5 refreshed with per-key RGB lighting and new Command Center software

Alienware 15 R4 and 17 R5 get per-key RGB lighting
Alienware 15 R4 and 17 R5 get per-key RGB lighting
Better late than never. Dell has updated its mainline 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch Alienware laptops from four-zone RGB lighting to per-key RGB lighting. The design and internal specifications are otherwise identical. Both systems will begin shipping this week.

The Alienware 17 series is now five years old with five different iterations (R1, R2, R3, R4, and R5) for each year since the original launch. The venerable system has always focused on performance and rigidity as should any good gaming laptop. Nonetheless, the series has been missing one popular feature: per-key RGB keyboard lighting. Competitors in the 17-inch space like the MSI GT75, Aorus X7, Razer Blade Pro, and Asus G703 are all equipped with per-key RGB lighting for an essentially unlimited number of unique color combinations whereas the Alienware series has been stuck with four-zone keyboard lighting only.

As of IFA 2018, Dell has finally updated both the Alienware 15 and 17 to include per-key RGB lighting along with a refreshed Alienware Command Center software to take advantage of the per-key RGB features. The software will now be compatible with other PC brands as well whereas previous versions were limited to Alienware systems only. For example, connecting any Alienware peripheral to your gaming rig will give the option to install Command Center. The software will automatically disable its overclocking features if it detects a non-Alienware system.

Other than the aforementioned superficial updates, these are the exact same chassis designs that we're already familiar with including the proprietary Graphics Amplifier port, Core i9-8950HK CPU, and vapor chamber cooling for the larger Alienware 17. Key travel is still 2.2 mm and tactile feedback appears to be unaffected from the new set of RGB lights. Users wanting a full refresh a la the "Alienware 17 R6" may have to wait until 2019.

The Alienware 15 and 17 with per-key RGB lighting will both begin shipping tomorrow for $1400 USD and $1600 USD, respectively. See our existing review on the Alienware 17 R4 for more information on the chassis and its performance.

Alienware 17 R5
Alienware 17 R5
Alienware 15 R4 MLK (Source: Dell)
Alienware 15 R4 MLK (Source: Dell)
Alienware 17 R5 MLK (Source: Dell)
Alienware 17 R5 MLK (Source: Dell)

Dell

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 08 > Alienware 15 R4 and 17 R5 refreshed with per-key RGB lighting and new Command Center software
Allen Ngo, 2018-08-20 (Update: 2018-08-15)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.