Alienware x16 (2023) review

The Alienware x16 wins thanks to its powerful performance, large 16-inch 240Hz display and futuristic design

Alieneware x16
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Alienware x16 delivers the goods with its powerful RTX 40 series-driven performance, large 16-inch 240Hz display and futuristic design. While pricey, you’re getting a machine that runs games like a dream — and looks great to match. The laptop can run hot based on our testing but overall you’re certainly getting your money’s worth.


  • +

    Stellar gaming performance

  • +

    Large display great for gaming/work

  • +

    Snappy CherryMX keyboard

  • +

    Loud, punchy speakers


  • -

    Display could be brighter, more colorful

  • -

    Awkward headphone jack placement

  • -

    Runs very hot when gaming

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The Alienware x16 (starting at $1,999) is both stylish and powerful. Thanks to the company’s Legend 3.0 design language, this is one of the thinnest gaming laptops you’ll find — comparable to Razer’s own notebooks in that respect. While the Alienware x16 is recognizably a gaming laptop, it also wouldn’t look out of place at your office or favorite cafe due to its subdued design.

This laptop isn’t just for show as it packs the latest Intel CPU and Nvidia RTX 40 series laptop GPU — giving it plenty of power to run graphically-demanding games. On top of that, the crisp 16-inch 2K display and smooth 240Hz refresh rate ensure your games look as good as they play. Although the price is high — and so are the temperatures when gaming — the Alienware x16 has earned its place in our best gaming laptops list.

In my full Alienware x16 review, I’ll detail everything this gaming rig has to offer and how it compares to other 16-inch laptops we’ve tested. Is this the right gaming laptop for you? Let’s find out.

Alienware x16 review: Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Alienware x16 (starting)Alienware x16 (tested)
Display16-inch (2,560 x 1,600) 165Hz16-inch (2,560 x 1,600) 240Hz
CPU13th Gen Intel Core i7-13620H13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900HK
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 4050Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080
Ports2x USB-A, 2x USB-C, 1x mini DisplayPort, 1x 3.5 mm jack, 1x microSD slot, 1x HDMI2x USB-A, 2x USB-C, 1x mini DisplayPort, 1x 3.5 mm jack, 1x microSD slot, 1x HDMI
Dimensions14.3 x 11.4 x 0.7 inches14.3 x 11.4 x 0.7 inches
Weight6 pounds6 pounds

Alienware x16 review: Price and configuration

  • Starts at $1,999 

The Alienware x16 is now available from Dell’s website for a starting price of $1,999. This entry-level configuration features a 16-inch (2,560 x 1,600) 165Hz non-touch display, a 13th Gen Intel Core i7-13620H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. The laptop also features Windows 11 and comes in Lunar Silver, which is the only available color.

You can configure the Alienware x16 with up to a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900HK CPU, an Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU, 32GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD storage. This decked-out model will set you back $4,049. For an extra $50, you can configure the laptop with an Alienware CherryMX ultra-low-profile mechanical keyboard.

Our review unit is valued at $2,949 and comes with a 16-inch (2,560 x 1,600) 240Hz non-touch display, a Core i9-13900HK CPU, an RTX 4080 GPU, 32GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD space and an Alienware CherryMX keyboard.

Alienware x16 review: Design

  • Sleek, futuristic design
  • Thin for a gaming laptop 

You won’t mistake the Alienware x16 for anything other than a gaming laptop. If the Alienware logo didn’t give that away then the RGB lighting around the back would. As you’d expect from Alienware, the laptop’s overall design makes it seem futuristic thanks to the elegant curved lid and Lunar Silver magnesium alloy chassis.

Alienware x16

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The laptop’s all-black interior offers a nice contrast to the silver chassis. The cooling vents are located just above the keyboard and feature a subtle honeycomb design that’s quite striking. Two speakers flank the keyboard and also add a nice dash of visual variety. The touchpad isn’t too large, but the RGB lighting it produces is a nice touch.

I like the RGB lighting on the back surrounding the ports. It draws your eyes without being ostentatious.

At 14.3 x 11.4 x 0.7 inches and a weight of 6 pounds, the Alienware x16 is one big and hefty laptop. That said, I found it easy to hold when carrying it around the office because of its excellent weight distribution and thin profile. The smooth surface also made it pleasant to hold, as did the sturdy build that marks it as a premium product.

Alienware x16

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Like every Dell laptop I’ve reviewed, the Alienware x16 doesn’t have a lip along its lid. But unlike notebooks like the Dell XPS 13 and Dell XPS 15, the lid protrudes just enough to let you comfortably open it — even with one hand. The lid itself moves smoothly when you open and close the laptop, and I never heard it creak.

Alienware x16 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Instead of regular bumpers or stands on the bottom, the Alienware x16 has a curved rectangular stand. There are cooling vents within this ring, which could make you worry about heat dissipation. Thankfully, there’s an opening around the curved stand for that purpose. Beyond functionality, the ringed stand simply looks cool and different from what you’d see from other notebooks.

Alienware x16

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Last but not least is the RGB lighting on the back surrounding the ports. What I like about this is that it’s a thin strip of light that draws the eye to it without being ostentatious. Considering this is an Alienware laptop, this is about as un-subtle as it gets.

Alienware x16 review: Display

  • Good but not great display
  • Not as vibrant as competitors 

The Alienware x16’s 16-inch display gives you a large canvas when playing games or watching videos. While the screen gets plenty bright, its color reproduction isn’t the greatest — especially if you enjoy a more oversaturated color presentation. To my eyes, the screen is good but not great.

Alienware x16

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I still enjoyed how games like Doom Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel’s Spider-Man appeared. The large display and its 1,600p resolution allowed me to see all the subtle details in each of the games' respective environments. Colors weren’t super bold, but no less captivating. The display’s naturalistic tones served Spider-Man well since it takes place in modern-day New York City. That said, the in-game Times Square wasn’t as impressive as it could have been at night due to the relatively muted hues.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Alienware x16 (2023)Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (2023)Razer Blade 16 (2023)
Nits (brightness)301503466

Our lab tests confirm my anecdotal experience. When we pointed our trusty Klein 10-A colorimeter at the Alienware x16’s display, it registered 106.3% of the sRGB color gamut and 75.3% of the more demanding DCI-P3 color space (higher is generally better). We also saw a Delta-E color accuracy score of 0.2 (closer to 0 is better). Those values are decent enough, if a tad unimpressive.

Other 16-inch laptops like the Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (117.6% / 83.3% / 0.17) and Razer Blaze 16 (131.2% / 93% / 0.18) fared better both in terms of color saturation and accuracy.

The Alienware x16 averaged 301 nits of brightness in our testing. That’s not terrible but the Razer Blade 16 (466) and ROS Strix 16 (503) got much brighter.

Alienware x16 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Our review unit’s 240Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time delivered a smooth and fast experience. Even though I didn’t get any games to run at 240 frames per second to match the refresh rate, having a high ceiling ensured games ran buttery smooth.

The best thing about the Alienware x16’s display is that it’s large but not gargantuan like the Alienware m18’s 18-inch screen. While the x16’s delivers and sharp and vivid images, it’s a step behind the competition. 

Alienware x16 review: Ports

  • Plentiful ports
  • Headphone jack placement isn’t ideal 

The Alienware x16 has a healthy amount of ports. This includes two USB-A, two USB-C, one HDMI, a mini DisplayPort, a microSD slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s also a power adapter port, though you can also charge the laptop via the Thunderbolt 4/USB-C port.

Alienware x16

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Placing all the ports on the laptop’s back side is wise since it keeps cables away from you (for the most part). However, having a headphone jack on the back of such a large laptop is awkward at best. If I wasn’t careful, I could accidentally yank the laptop forward when I moved. It would have been smarter to have the headphone jack on the laptops’ left or right side.

Alienware x16 review: Gaming performance

  • Powerful gaming performance 
  • Beats or exceeds the competition

Thanks to its powerful specs, the Alienware x16 delivers great gaming performance. Our review unit came with a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900HK processor, an Nvidia RTX 4080 graphics card and 32GB of RAM — which is enough power to play even the most graphically demanding best PC games at high settings.

When I fired up Doom Eternal and bumped the graphical settings to Ultra Nightmare, I saw frame rates hover between the upper 130s and lower 140s at 1,600p resolution. I saw similar frame counts in Spider-Man at High graphical settings with DLSS3 enabled. Without Nvidia’s performance-boosting tech, Spider-Man ran at around 90 frames per second — which is still amazing (pardon the pun). Cyberpunk 2077 struggled to hit 60 fps, but the fact this game stayed in the lower 50s at high settings isn’t bad.

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Game benchmarks (frames per second @ 1080p)
Header Cell - Column 0 Alienware x16 (RTX 4080)Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 (RTX 4080)Razer Blade 16 (RTX 4070)
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla129141144
Borderlands 3137142142
Red Dead Redemption 299103110
Shadow of the Tomb Raider137161159

Our lab tests corroborate my anecdotal experience. As you can see in the graph above, games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Borderlands 3 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran well over 120 frames per second on the Alienware x16 at 1080p resolution. Red Dead Redemption 2 couldn’t hit past 99 fps but the result is no less impressive. That said, games running on competing gaming laptops with comparable specs ran better.

Alienware x16 review: General performance

  • Excellent for productivity
  • Fast video rendering

Given the Alienware x16’s beefy specs, it’s more than capable of handling tasks like web surfing, word processing and even video editing. I used the laptop during a normal workday and it never buckled even when I had well over 20 open tabs while simultaneously running a YouTube video and Slack.

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Geekbench 6 results
Header Cell - Column 0 Single-coreMulti-core
Alienware x162,60714,202
Asus ROG Strix Scar 162,84416,481
Razer Blade 162,74113,769

On Geekbench 6, which measures CPU performance, the Alienware x16 notched a single-core score of 2,607 and a respectable 14,202 on the multi-core test. In comparison, the ROG Strix Scar 16 scored 2,844 and 16,481 in single and multi-core. Both laptops beat the Razer Blade 16 (2,741 / 13,769).

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Handbrake (video encoding) results
Header Cell - Column 0 Time (min:sec)
Alienware x164:50
Asus ROG Strix Scar 162:47
Razer Blade 164:08

When crunching video using the Handbrake app, the Alienware x16 transcoded a 4K video to 1080p in 4 minutes and 50 seconds. Both the ROG Strix Scar 16 (2:47) and Razer Blade 16 (4:08) performed the task much faster. But in all fairness, these laptops have better CPUs compared to the Alienware x16. 

Alienware x16 review: Keyboard and touchpad

  • CherryMX keys deliver an enjoyable typing experience 
  • RGB touchpad is fun and unique

Our Alienware x16 review unit came with a CherryMX mechanical keyboard. If you’re into the best mechanical keyboards like I am, you’re going to have a great typing experience on this machine. The bouncy keys provide nice resistance when pressed and I enjoyed the clicking sound they produced. On top of that, the spacious keyboard gave me plenty of room to comfortably type.

Alienware x16 (2023)

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

One of the laptop’s most distinctive features is its RGB touchpad — which I’ve never seen on another laptop before. Granted, RGB lighting can be hit or miss with me, but I think this aspect gives the laptop more personality and flair. Aesthetics aside, the smooth touchpad is responsive and never failed to register my hand gestures. It’s a tad small, but that’s par for the course on gaming laptops.

Alienware x16 review: Audio

  • Loud, powerful speakers
  • Great separation between sounds

The Alienware x16 packs a six-speaker setup, including 2 tweeters and 4 woofers. This provides loud and punchy room-filling sound that I quite enjoyed. There’s a good balance between mids and highs, and while the bass isn’t bad, it’s not as impactful as I would have liked.

Explosions and demonic growls in Doom Eternal sounded great, with each coming through clearly even at high volume. The subtle city ambiance of Spider-Man and Cyberpunk 2077 made me feel like I was in those respective digital worlds. Songs from artists like Dream Theater, Opeth and Trivium sounded good, though they became somewhat garbled at max volume. Overall, you won’t be disappointed with the Alienware x16’s speaker quality.

Alienware x16 review: Webcam

  • Sharp 1080p webcam

Webcams are almost an afterthought on gaming laptops. Because of that, the Alienware x16’s sharp 1080p image quality surprised me.

Alienware x16

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I snapped the photo above in our office. As you can see, the overall image looks sharp and bright. If you plan to use this laptop for video conferencing, you can rest assured you’ll look presentable.

Alienware x16 review: Battery life and heat

  • 5 and a half hours of non-gaming battery life
  • Runs very hot when playing games 

Gaming laptops have notoriously short battery life and the Alienware x16 is no different in that regard.

In our battery test, which tasks a laptop with continuously surfing the web via Wi-Fi with its screen set to 150 nits of brightness, the Alienware x16 lasted for 5 hours and 37 minutes. That’s on par with the ROG Strix Scar 16 and Razer Blade 16, which clocked in at 5:32 and 5:29, respectively.

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Battery rundown test (hours:minutes)
Row 0 - Cell 0 Productivity testGaming test
Alienware x165:371:20
Asus ROG Strix Scar 165:321:22
Razer Blade 165:291:30

When we ran the more graphically-demanding PCMark 10 benchmark to simulate how long the Alienware x16 would last while gaming on battery, the time dropped to 1 hour and 20 minutes. That’s low but not atypical for a gaming laptop, as you can see above.

Regarding heat, the Alienware x16 gets rather toasty. In our standard heat test (which involves playing an HD video for 15 minutes, then scanning the laptop with a heat gun) we found the x16 got as warm as 107 degrees on the underside. When playing games, the underside reached 116 degrees. Various spots on the laptop climbed to a scorching 129 degrees! Given how we consider anything above 95 degrees uncomfortable, you’ll want to keep this laptop on a desk when using it.

Alienware x16 review: Verdict

The Alienware x16 features comparable performance to many of this year’s gaming laptops with 13th Gen Intel Core CPUs and RTX 40-series laptop GPUs. But it’s the X16’s slim profile and overall sleek design that distinguish it from the pack. If you want a gaming laptop that both looks great and runs phenomenally, this is an overall solid choice.

However, I wish the display on the Alienware x16 was a bit brighter and more colorful, and it can run hot in spots when gaming. If the Alienware x16 isn’t to your liking, a similarly-specced Razer Blade 16 ($2,699) is an ideal alternative for those who want a stylish and powerful gaming laptop. The Asus ROG Strix Scar 16 ($2,899) is also a good choice even if it’s decidedly chunkier than the other two gaming laptops.

Even if the Alienware x16 isn’t a revolutionary gaming laptop, it’s still worth considering due to its excellent gaming performance and killer design. If you can afford it, this is a laptop worth the splurge.

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.