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