Demand for virtual reality laptops is growing. Gaming fans are ready to take their experiences to the next level, and VR headsets offer the chance to enjoy a more immersive kind of gameplay. With tech experts and consumers creating a buzz about VR content and top VR game titles due throughout the year, it is important to have the right machine to play on! We take a look at the Alienware 13 R3 – one of this year’s most talked about laptops, showcased at CES 2017 and available to buy right now.
Introducing the Alienware 13 R3 HID59-AUK1 GTX 6G Laptop
- 39 cm x 25.9 cm x 2.3 cm; 2 kg
- Quad-core 2.60 GHz Intel i7 processor
- 16 GB RAM (32 GB max); 256 GB hard drive
- Windows 10 operating system
This is certainly not a cheap bit of kit, but we had to feature this latest Alienware laptop because it is such a cool machine – and because it has so much potential when custom upgrades are brought into play. Overclocking, or buying the highest grade version, will get a staggering 32 GB out of its RAM capabilities – but the base level of 16 GB should be plenty for most purposes. This VR-ready laptop is one of the most exciting machines on the market, and if you do have the cash to splash out on a high-end portable gaming computer, this one is well worth a look.
The Alienware 13 experiments with a new kind of processing power with the Intel Kaby Lake Core CPU, which runs with the expected power of i7-gen processors and the 4K graphics needed for true 3D and VR displays – but it manages to maintain battery levels far longer than you would expect. This is one of the stand-out features of the R3: it lasts about 7.5 hours under average use conditions, which is better than the HP Spectre 13 and just a few minutes short of the 2016 MacBook. If you like to play games on the go, or if you just want a laptop that can show more than one movie before the battery drains, Alienware’s R3 might be a good choice.
The Alienware 13 has got 4K HD cracked. The 13.5 inch screen features a 2,560 x 1,440 pixel OLED display, is touch compatible and has built-in anti-glare technology for viewing at almost any angle. Users warn that set-up is usually required to balance blacks and colours, but once the sweet spot is found this is one of the better displays on the market. The graphics card inside is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, and expectations of 60 FPS are not unreasonable, even with the latest game titles.
One area where laptops tend to fall down is the sound output. Without making the computer large and heavy, it is hard to get the depth of sound required for top game and movie content. However, the Alienware R3 does a very good job of providing a surround sound effect. The Virtual Sound technology effectively throws effects and voices around the room: perfect for combining with immersive VR experiences, where fixed sound can break the illusion.
All in all, this is a pricey model. If you need a laptop for work, social media and the occasional video game, you can save money with a decent mid-range laptop. However, if you want a gaming machine which will last for several years against the competition, which has balanced battery and power perfectly and which has the display and sound of a desktop PC, go for the Alienware 13 R3.
Images from Amazon.co.uk; all product details and prices correct at the time of writing