Gaming laptops are a dime a dozen these days, but finding the right one can be a challenge when you’re trying to weigh up specs, display sizes, on-board features and price. That’s why we’ve taken two of the best gaming laptops you can buy and compared them in all the areas that count.
So, whether it’s battery life, display quality, performance or specs, you’ll find all you need to know when it comes to the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 and the Alienware Area 51M R2.
This comparison is between two very powerful and capable gaming laptops from two of the world's most specialist makers. Alienware has a heritage that goes back to 1996, while Asus has been tearing it up in the gaming laptop market for the past few years, with multiple systems lodged in T3's best gaming laptop guide.
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS S GX701 VS ALIENWARE AREA-51M R2: DESIGN AND USABILITY
The GX701 is quite the study machine, weighing in at a beefy 2.7kg. It is quite dense in size and weight, but you’re getting a lot of very impressive components so it’s to be expected for a portable gaming machine. The lovely magnesium casing and chrome finished ROG logo add a level of aesthetic quality alongside the functional elements such as the Active Aerodynamic System that dissipates heat through special vents while the laptop is open.
The Dell-owned Alienware knows its way around a gaming laptop build, and the Area 51M R2 is no exception. This model features a very sleek magnesium alloy exoskeleton for enhanced protection of its considerable components, so you know this machine can endure the rigors of a passionate gamer when they’re playing at home and (safely) outside the house. Its AlienFX keyboard lighting is also a nice tough for those that like their gaming keyboards stylishly lit.
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS S GX701 VS ALIENWARE AREA-51M R2: DISPLAY
The GX701 is one of Asus’ big hitters in the gaming laptop market, and boasts an impressive display designed to do your games true visual justice. That 17-inch, 300Hz IPS-level screen boasts an 81% screen-to-body ratio with super-narrow bezels at only 6.9mm. The result is a large display that’s ideal for playing in Big Picture mode on Steam, while doubling is a great display for streaming your favourite films or TV shows.
The Area-51M R2 comes in a variety of configurations – this is Dell, after all – with the higher-end versions boasting a very tasty 17.3-inch display. It comes in variations that range from a FHD (1920 x 1080) 144Hz all the way to a UHD (3840 x 2160) 60Hz. Said screens come with Nvidia GSync as standard, and some even come with support for Tobii Eyetracking.
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS S GX701 VS ALIENWARE AREA-51M R2: SPECS AND OPTIONS
The GX701 from Asus doesn’t muck around when it comes to specs – this is a premium-grade gaming machine after all. Configurations include an Intel i7 hexa-core processor that can hit up to 4.1GHz when needed, as well as a powerful Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU for extra gaming oomph. Configurations also include 24GB of 2,666HMz DDR4 RAM, 1 TB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD for speedy storage support.
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to the Area-51M R2, with components galore. These include up to 10th Gen Intel Core i9 10900K processor, up to a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB GDDR6 graphics card, up to 1TB of storage and up to 32GB of Dual Channel DDR4 XMP memory at 3200MHz. If you’re willing to go that extra mile in terms of price, you’re getting a portable beast with real gaming chops.
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS S GX701 VS ALIENWARE AREA-51M R2: FEATURES AND PORTS
In terms of ports, the GX701 has a lot going for it. For a start, you’re getting a Thunderbolt 3 (with DisplayPort 1.4 and Power Delivery) port, three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A ports, a single HDMI 2.0 port (which supports 4K UHD up to 60Hz), a 3.5mm audio jack, a Kensington lock and one USB 3.2 Type C port. Feature wise, it has in-built speakers that deliver 2.5x more volume, 1.6x mor bass and 1.5x more dynamic range than the previous model. And it supports 7.1 surround sound (so get yourself a decent gaming headset, too).
Ports-wise, the Area-51M has plenty of options, including two USB 3.2 Type A ports, a HDMI 2.0 port, one mini DisplayPort 1.4 (which supports Nvidia G-Sync), an RJ-45 Killer Ethernet E3000 port, an Alienware Graphics Amplifier port and much more. It also boasts hyper-efficient voltage regulation, vapor chamber cooling technology and 10% larger than blades than previous generations of laptops in the range.
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS S GX701 VS ALIENWARE AREA-51M R2: PRICING AND VERDICT
Much like the Area-51M R2, the GX701 is a premium gaming laptop and it comes with a premium-level price. So, expect to spend somewhere around £3,000/$3,300 depending on where you shop. On the other hand, the Area-51M R2 comes in anywhere between £2,000 and £3,500 ($2,000-$3,800) depending on which configuration you settle on.
In terms of raw gaming power, both the GX701 and the Area-51M R2 deliver. The top-end configurations of the Area-51M R2 just about pip the GX701 to the boast just in terms of the sheer number of features, but the GX701 is a little more affordable if you’re not willing to spend a small fortune on a portable gaming machine.