We pitted Alienware vs Razer to find the greatest gaming laptop

Alienware vs Razer
(Image credit: Getty Images.)

When it comes to gaming laptops, there are two brands that are certainly jostling for position at the top of the food chain – Razer and Alienware, an offshoot from Dell’s more straight-laced machines.

While both are manufacturers with a wealth of experience in portable computing, it was tough to find a pair of laptops in a similar pricing bracket for the purposes of pitting Alienware vs Razer in this test.

That’s because while no gaming laptop is particularly cheap, the Alienware x15 actually looks like a solid value proposition next to some of Razer’s similarly-specced 15-inch machines. Since value is a huge part of this article, we opted for the similarly priced (£1799.99) Razer Book as our comparison point.

Both are great laptops, but both actually have very different roles here. The Razer Book, for example, offers a touchscreen, while the Alienware packs a much more powerful GPU. With that in mind, picking a winner between the two will likely come down to what you intend to do with either machine (much like our iPad and Chromebook comparison) – but we’ll get to that shortly. 

Alienware vs Razer: Design

It’d be fair to say that the Razer Book looks like a pretty standard laptop. It has a nice clean design, with a TKL keyboard and the Razer logo embossed on the lid. It’s not going to win any fashion contests, but it really doesn’t need to – it’s designed to be carried into your office or workplace and not cause too much fuss.

There are hints of Razer’s gaming chops, though, with per-key RGB lighting within the keyboard, and that gorgeous display which we’ll come to shortly.

On the other hand, the Alienware x15 wants to be seen. Its hinge is separated from the rest of the base by cutouts on either side, giving the impression of its screen rising up to meet your gaze. It has vent cut-outs above and to the side of the keys, and its own RGB lighting, while its ports are conveniently tucked behind.

While we’re not big fans of the big “15” on the lid, much of this category comes down to preference. The x15 has style, but if you’re looking for something more low-key, the Razer Book is great.

Winner: Tie

Alienware vs Razer: Display

If you’re looking to do any creative work, a higher resolution is likely to be important to you - and the Alienware x15’s 1080p may not cut it for you.

That’s not to say it’s a bad display by any means, with a 165Hz refresh rate that makes it idea for twitchy shooters.

In terms of the core specs though, we have to plump for the Razer Book in this category. It’s down to 60Hz, sure, and 13.4-inches but unless you’re gaming on it you’ll appreciate a much sharper 3840x2400 resolution and wider viewing angles.

The Razer Book has a touch screen, too. That may not be quite what you’re after, but it doesn’t hurt to have the option anyway.

Winner: Razer Book

Alienware vs Razer: Audio

When it comes to audio, the Alienware x15 has double the speakers of the Razer Book, further cementing its place as a media consumption and gaming device.

Cranking the audio with the keys on the side of the keyboard allows for an impressive range of audio, although we’d be lying if we said it was anywhere near as good as the latest MacBook Pros from Apple.

Apple also doesn’t get a great deal of competition from Razer in this space, either, although we would say the speakers on the Razer mid offer great mids – we’d just have liked more oomph from the bass.

We also found that the fan noise gets pretty loud on the Razer Book, and that means we handed this category to the Alienware x15.

Winner: Alienware x15

Alienware vs Razer: Performance

Despite being a Razer laptop, the Razer Book’s performance is dependable but lacks real power. That’s because it’s using an integrated graphics card, which doesn’t have the guts for running the latest titles.

You may have some solid results in games that don’t rely on quick movement, and it’ll run The Sims 4 just fine, but it’ll struggle to hold a candle to the Alienware x15.

The latter’s 3060 card is by no means an industry leader, but it’ll run the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 at decent settings.

Away from gaming, though, you’ll find very little difference using either for your day-to-day tasks. Whether it’s managing email, streaming music, or editing photos, both are great laptops. For the gaming prowess, though, we’ve given this one to the Alienware.

Winner: Alienware x15

Alienware vs Razer: Value

As we keep coming back to in this article, the Razer Book is a great laptop – but it’s not a “true” representation of what the brand is capable of since Razer’s gaming laptops at the high-end are almost prohibitively expensive.

That makes it look like a relatively pedestrian machine when pitted against Alienware’s x15, but even that could be fitted with a more powerful GPU and more storage at a high cost.

It’s a difficult proposition, but as an all-rounder, we’ve gone for the Alienware.

Winner: Alienware x15

Alienware vs Razer: Verdict

Based on the number of categories alone, this is an easy win for the Alienware x15 – but that doesn’t tell the whole story. 

If your budget can stretch to the heights of the Razer gaming lineup, there are formidable options available for just over £2000. It’s a tough sell, though, when the Alienware x15 is such a solid performer at around £300 less.

The Razer Book isn’t a bad laptop by any means, and its display trumps the x15 with ease, but its productivity focus means the two are fighting for two different markets.

Lloyd Coombes
Customer Advisor, Computing

Lloyd Coombes is Top Ten Reviews' Computing Customer Advisor, and a freelance writer with a specialism in tech, gaming, and fitness. Since starting out as a blogger, he’s written for sites like IGN, TechRadar, and more.

An expert on all things Apple ever since he got a second-hand iMac, Lloyd can regularly be found testing software on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac — when he’s not testing the platforms themselves, that is. He’s also Dexerto.com’s Games Editor, and a podcaster.

When he’s not writing, you can probably find him running after his son, playing Destiny 2, or at the gym.