Practically every PC manufacturer and brand has a line of laptops that are built for gaming. However, of all of these, there are two brands that have specialized in gaming laptops for a very long time now and are described by many as the best gaming laptop brands: Alienware and Razer.
While these two brands do create laptops that are suitable for activities besides gaming, most tend to align Alienware and Razer to gaming laptops more than anything else.
With these two brands being the standard in gaming laptops, it only makes sense to compare them side by side and determine which one makes better gaming laptops.
Any category that is important to a gaming laptop will be compared as we pull out all the stops and determine which of these brands has better gaming laptops.
Before doing that, let’s go over some brief history of both brands and how each has contributed to the world of gaming.
Who is Alienware?
Alienware was founded in 1996 and was acquired by Dell ten years after, in 2006. This makes Alienware a subsidiary of Dell.
After being acquired by Dell, Alienware was able to expand its global reach from only six countries to 35. This boosted their popularity quite a bit, and by the 2010s, Alienware was considered an industry standard, of sorts, when it comes to gaming PCs and laptops in particular.
In 2014, Alienware attempted to create their own gaming console, called Alienware Alpha, that operated like a PC/console hybrid. However, it was discontinued shortly after, and Alienware decided to continue creating pre-built desktop PCs and laptops that specialized in gaming.
To this day, Alienware continues to manufacture gaming laptops that are available in most sizes, varying from 11.5 inches all the way to 18 inches.
Who is Razer?
The history of Razer is a little more complicated than Alienware’s. Being founded in 1998 as an organization that was dedicated to developing and marketing better pointing devices for PC gaming, the organization was re-branded in 2005 in Singapore.
Also different from Alienware, Razer tends to focus just as much on different areas related to gaming instead of strictly gaming laptops. The best example of this was when they purchased the software assets of the Ouya, which was a fledgling gaming microconsole. About a year later, Razer attempted and failed to create their own microconsole.
Despite this, Razer is still committed to creating their own gaming laptops that rival those of Alienware. As of today, the general consensus is that PC gamers prefer either laptops from Alienware or Razer.
Now that you know about the history of Alienware and Razer, it is time to determine which one truly makes a better gaming laptop.
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Alienware vs. Razer: The Main Feature Comparison
Now that you’re familiar with the background of both of these brands, let’s compare them and their products in some of the most important areas when shopping for a gaming laptop.
In this section of the article, we’re going to take a closer look at:
- Pricing and value
Let’s get straight into it.
Pricing and Value
Before comparing Alienware and Razer in the realm of price point, it helps to know exactly how much you should expect to pay for a new gaming laptop. If you are interested in saving money, the sweet spot for a great value laptop is either under $1200 or under $1500 for higher-end budget laptops.
With this in mind, the gaming laptops in Alienware’s library are not as diverse in their pricing as the ones in Razer’s library.
Alienware’s laptops range from as low as $1500 to as much as $4049, while it is possible to pick up a Razer gaming laptop for as low as $1000 but as high as $4299. Thus, giving you a bit more flexibility when shopping for a new laptop.
When it comes to overall value, Alienware seems to be more consistent. While their lower-end laptops do cost a little more than Razer’s lower-end machines, they tend to be a bit more powerful and have better features.
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Performance and Cooling
Other than price, performance is another category that tends to be thought of first whenever anybody is in the market for a new gaming laptop.
Most can agree that the overall performance of a laptop is a combination of the processors (CPU and GPU), available memory, and how good and efficient the cooling is. Most gaming laptops tend to balance out all three, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any differences among them.
When it comes to performance, Alienware just edges out Razer for high-end gaming. While both brands offer the same processors and available memory, Alienware gaming laptops do a better job of handling the heat.
It’s worth noting that this wasn’t always the case. Back in the day, Alienware was known for loud and inefficient cooling. Today, it’s much more efficient.
For their latest laptops, they came up with an excellent cooling system and placed vents all over the laptop–On the sides, back, bottom, and even on top of their laptops, creating a much more efficient cooling system–Even if you game on a flat surface without a cooling pad or laptop stand.
This is not to say that the cooling on Razer’s laptops is bad. They have one of the best cooling systems when it comes to laptops. However, it’s currently a step behind Alienware.
When it comes to graphics cards, Razer’s gaming laptops exclusively use NVIDIA GeForce RTX cards, while Alienware uses both Nvidia GeForce RTX and AMD Radeon RX GPUs. These include the RTX 3080 Ti with 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM for both brands and the RX 6850M XT with 12GB of the same GDDR6 memory on the Alienware side.
This grants graphical authority to Alienware for being more diverse than Razer by implementing AMD GPUs as well as Nvidia cards.
But seeing as both companies use high-end GPUs in all of their gaming laptops, it really boils down to which particular model of gaming laptop and not just the brand.
Plus, considering that Nvidia edges out AMD when it comes to raw performance, it doesn’t feel right to hold this against Razer. But for the sake of this article, we have to add another point to Alienware.
Related to graphics is the display, a key feature of any laptop. The display can either make or break your gaming experience.
Looking at both brands, they both have similar, almost identical display configurations available. With both Alienware and Razer, you can order their latest models with either a 1080p, 1440p, or 4k display.
Though, it’s worth noting that if you opt for a 4k display, you’ll be limited on refresh rate, which only goes up to 120hz for Alienware laptops and 144hz for Razer offerings.
However, with the 1080p and 1440p variants, you get a wide range of selections with both brands. You’ll be able to choose from 120hz panels, all the way up to 360hz, which is the best you can currently get on a laptop.
In terms of size, you can say that Razer has Alienware beat. While both companies offer 14”, 15”, and 17” laptops, Razer also offers powerful 13” laptops for those looking for portability.
In terms of on-paper performance and options, it’s fair to say that both brands have a wide selection of similarly performing displays to choose from.
But you’re probably wondering who comes up on top when it comes to the actual viewing experience and color fidelity. And the answer is quite simple. Both brands use the same panels for their laptops from a company called AU Optronics.
And so, apart from some small details caused by calibration, the viewing experience is more or less the same.
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Alienware vs. Razer: The Devil is in The Details
Some features of gaming laptops just do not stand out like others do. But they’re still important and might well influence your decision if you can’t decide between two similar-performing laptops.
There are differences between Alienware and Razer in these areas as well, and we’re going to discuss all of them in the next section of the article.
We’re going to look at:
- Battery Life
When it comes to keyboards, both Alienware and Razer offer great gaming and typing experience with their laptop keyboards. However, Alienware has the upper hand.
In terms of features, there’s not a whole lot of difference. With both brands, you get per-key RGB lighting which you can fully customize via their respective software (Synapse for Razer, Alienware Command Center for AW).
Additionally, you get your standard gaming keyboard features, N-key rollover, and anti-ghosting. These are not uncommon these days, and any higher-end gaming keyboard comes equipped with these.
The biggest difference is in switches. While Razer user their own classic butterfly laptop switches, Alienware brought CherryMX on board to fit their laptop with mechanical switches. This creates a very similar experience to a stand-alone PC keyboard.
As a result, this keyboard has more travel distance, satisfying mechanical feedback, and very stable and well-balanced keys.
On the other hand, Razer’s laptop keyboards are more shallow and feel softer and a bit wobbly in comparison. On the brighter side, they’re noticeably quieter.
Most gamers use their own USB webcam, but some do prefer to use the webcam that is built into their laptop to save themselves the trouble of connecting more hardware to their laptop.
If you’re one of them, and you also want to use your laptop for video calls or zoom meetings, then you’ll want to opt for one of Razer’s laptops.
The webcams in Alienware’s gaming laptops operate at 720p at 30 frames per second. This pales in comparison to Razer’s gaming laptops, which operate at FullHD resolution (1080p).
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As a gamer, you don’t need a lot when it comes to connection options–You only need a couple of USB ports to plug in your mouse and headset, and an ethernet port for a wired internet connection. However, connectivity still plays a role in selecting a gaming laptop and can make your life much easier.
Apart from a couple of details, which may or may not be important to you, the port selection is more or less the same.
With both brands, you get an array of USB ports, including your typical Type-A ports, a couple of USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, two dedicated ports for video (HDMI and DisplayPort), and audio jacks.
As far as internet and wireless connection, both brands include BlueTooth 5.2 adapters, WiFi 6E connection, and a 2.5G ethernet port.
The only difference is that Razer ship their laptops with an SD card reader, while Alienware opted to leave this port out.
Both Alienware and Razer have batteries that are built into their gaming laptops. Both are easy to charge given both companies use USB Type-C charging.
When it comes to how long can the laptops last on a single charge, Razer is the clear winner here.
We looked at both companies’ latest laptops. The Razer Blade 17 can last around 6 hours on average, while the Alienware X17 R2 can only make it to the 3-hour mark.
In terms of the 15” display models, the Blade 15 does a bit worse compared to its bigger brother but still manages to reach 5 hours. That is still above average when it comes to high-end gaming laptops. The Alienware X15 only lasts around 3:30.
A common interest that anyone who owns a gaming laptop has is upgrading their machine. There often comes a time when you might want to install some extra memory so that you can get a better experience.
None of Alienware’s three models of gaming laptops can be upgraded. Whether you are interested in the 14-inch, 15-inch, or 17-inch models, the RAM is “baked in” and can never be replaced.
When it comes to Razer’s models, only one of them has RAM that is baked in, and that is their 14-inch model. You can upgrade the RAM in Razer’s 15 and 17-inch models, clearly making Razer the better choice when it comes to upgradability.
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Which Gaming Laptop is More Reliable, Alienware or Razer?
Now that we covered all the features, let’s take a look at how durable and reliable Alienware and Razer laptops are. Because frankly, no matter how good their laptops look or perform, they need to be reliable.
When it comes to overall reliability, most users are concerned with the following:
- Build quality/Durability
- Warranty and Customer service
- Availability of products
Let’s start with the build quality.
Build quality and durability
Built quality and durability are a big part of gaming laptops, mainly because it’s portable devices designed to travel frequently.
And with laptops from Alienware and Razer, your can set your mind at ease.
With the majority of models from both Alienware and Razer line-up, there’s virtually nothing we’d consider a construction flaw or that feels cheap.
Everything feels premium and high-quality, especially on the higher models from the Blade and X line-ups.
From the hinges and display to the keyboard and touchpad, you’ll be met with precise engineering and premium materials with both of these brands.
Warranty and customer service
Both Alienware and Razer have the same kind of warranty. Alienware has a one-year warranty on their laptops, while Razer has a one-year warranty on their laptops and a two-year warranty on the battery.
However, being backed by Dell, Alienware executes their repairs in a much different and better way than Razer does.
Alienware offers next-day on-site service for their laptops. This means that if you need to get your Alienware laptop repaired, there are practically no wait times.
Someone will come to your home or office and attempt the repair then and there. With Razer, things are more traditional. If you need your Razer laptop repaired, you will need to send it out for repairs.
This makes Alienware much better than Razer when it comes to support and repair efficiency.
Availability of products
Alienware and Razer go through completely different processes when you order a laptop through them.
What Alienware does is build their systems as you order them. When you order an Alienware gaming laptop, you can select certain specifications to meet whatever needs you have. Alienware then receives this information in your order and begins building your customized gaming laptop.
This helps make up for the seemingly lower amount of laptops to choose from on their website. But as nice as this sounds, it takes a very long time. It can take as long as eight weeks to go from ordering a new Alienware gaming laptop to receiving it.
Razer may not offer the customization options that Alienware does, but that also means that their laptops are available as soon as you order one.
Therefore, when it comes to availability, Razer is the better option when you are looking for a new gaming laptop immediately.
If you want to customize and are willing to wait, go with Alienware.
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Conclusion: Who Makes Better Gaming Laptops, Razer or Alienware?
There is no denying that both Alienware and Razer are the leading names in gaming laptops. So, if you are interested in buying a new gaming laptop, you cannot really go wrong with either one.
When it comes to the most important features, like performance and display quality, there is not a noticeable difference that should sway you one way or the other.
However, the cooling on the newest Alienware laptops is excellent, and no one can currently compete with it–Not even Razer.
So, if you know you’re going to push your laptop to the limits often, you may want to consider one of the Alienware models.
The other area two areas where Alienware has Razer clearly beat are keyboard and aesthetics. The keyboard might actually be the best we’ve come across on a gaming laptop yet.
On the other hand, Razer seems to be a better choice for gamers who’re looking for a gaming laptop for a variety of uses and who need something a bit more portable. And with almost double the battery life, higher-quality webcam, and better connectivity, it’s easy to see why.
So overall, it’s hard to say who makes better laptops. What we can say for sure is that both Alienware and Razer make fantastic, premium-quality laptops that will last for years to come.
If you’re deciding between these two brands, ask yourself what you ultimately want from your laptop.
Do you want a matching replacement for your gaming PC? Striking gamer aesthetics, lots of RGB, and top-of-the-line cooling for extreme gaming sessions? Choose Alienware.
Do you want a jack of all trades? A high-performing laptop you can use for video conferencing, photo editing, and web browsing in your local coffee shop? Choose Razer.