Alienware’s latest laptop has shrunken the butt

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Gaming laptops generate a lot of heat, and Dell’s Alienware brand long ago settled on giving its gaming laptops big butts in order to exhaust it. But the problem with a large rear end on a laptop is it looks kind of goofy and makes packing it up a little more troublesome, so the Alienware M16 R2 has gotten a little booty reduction.

Compared to the previous generation, the M16 R2 is just 9.82 inches deep. That’s 1.58 inches shaved off compared to the M16 R1, or about a 14-percent reduction in depth. Which should make it fit in a lap or on a cramped dorm room desk a heckuva lot easier.

To go along with that less obtrusive back end (officially called a “thermal shelf” by Dell) the M16 R2 also has a new “Stealth Mode” that should allow you to quickly switch the day-glo RGB keyboard lighting to a more muted white with the press of the Fn and F2 keys. The Stealth Mode will switch the keys to white, turn off any additional RGB, and set the performance profile to Quiet Mode. The feature worked exactly as intended when I checked it out a few weeks before CES.

The idea here is that the M16 R2 is meant for people who want to go and play games a lot but also sometimes want to use their gaming laptop as a regular laptop and not have to worry about weird looks as their laptop glows like a Vegas night and sounds like the engines on a 737.

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To that end, the M16 R2 will only be available with up to a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070. If you want more GPU power, you’ll have to move up to the X16 R2 (more on it in a minute).

Besides being outfitted with either a 4050, 4060, or 4070, the Alienware M16 R2 also comes with a 16-inch 240Hz display with a 2500 x 1600 resolution, up to 64GB of RAM, up to 4TB of SSD storage (or 8TB if you opt for dual storage in a RAID 0 configuration), a 280W AC adapter (though there’s an option for a smaller 240W GaN adapter), and an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU (the Ultra 9 185H will be optional at a later date).

The Alienware M16 R2 will launch January 11th and start at $1,649.99. If that’s too pricey and you can afford to wait, then a cheaper entry model will be available starting at $1,499.99 sometime later this year.

Alienware isn’t getting rid of the butt across the board — it’s just saving the extrusion for more intensive laptops. The higher-end Alienware X16 R2 has held onto its thermal shelf, which means its a much bigger laptop but can sport up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090.

An image of two laptops side by side showcasing that one is about 1.5 inches deeper than the other.

a:hover]:text-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray”>Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Processor and storage-wise, it has the same offerings as the M16 R2, but it curiously maxes out at 32GB of RAM. On the monitor front, it has also upgraded to a 16-inch QHD+ display with an impressive 240Hz refresh rate. Also, while the per-key RGB lighting is optional on the M16 R2, it will be standard on the X16 R2.

Power adapter wise, it comes standard with a 240W GaN adapter, but there’s also an option for a faster 360W GaN adapter if you spring for the more powerful version of the X16 R2. Effectively, it’s the 16-inch Alienware laptop you go for if power and a healthy RGB glow matter more to you than portability and stealth.

The Alienware X16 R2 doesn’t have a release date quite yet, but will start at $2,099.99.

As for the M18, that laptop is also sticking around. This year’s Alienware M18 R2 hasn’t had a radical redesign, but instead has had updates to the latest 14th Gen Intel CPUs. You can get it with either an i7 14650HX, i7 14700HX, or i9 14900HX. It will have up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, up to 64GB of RAM, and the exact same storage options as the other new Alienware laptops.

Display-wise, you can choose between an 18-inch QHD+ 165Hz display or lower resolution 1920 x 1200 display with a whopping 480Hz refresh rate. It also features an FHD IR webcam with HDR for, hopefully, better Twitch streams and Zoom calls. The M18 R2 with a 4060 or 4070 GPU will come standard with a 240W charger while the more powerful laptops will get a 360W GaN charger.

The Alienware M18 R2 launches January 11th at $1,899.99, but you’ll have to wait if you want the 4080 or 4090 configurations. Those won’t be available until later this year.

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