Battery, Thermal & Display Testing
Battery Test - Tomb Raider 2013 Battery Rundown
To test battery life, we set each laptop’s battery profile to Balanced while running Tomb Raider’s built-in benchmark at the lowest detail preset. The frame rate is locked at 30 FPS through GeForce Experience’s Battery Boost to limit the strain on the battery. Meanwhile, a script running in the background monitors and time stamps the system’s battery percentage. The laptops are set to hibernate once battery levels reach 5%, and our tests are run at 200 nits.
The Alienware 15 delivers what you might consider a typical amount of battery life. It doesn't have the longevity of a budget laptop like Dell's Inspiron 15 7000, but it still delivers more than what most laptops in its class offer. For example, the similarly configured Asus Strix GL502VS-DS71 lags behind by more than 10 minutes, which might make a difference if you're in a rush to win a boss battle and save your game.
Thermal performance is a major concern in any gaming laptop because heat is generated in a tighter space than a desktop PC, so cooling can only be so efficient. We see signs of this when the Alienware 15 is at idle. The exposed heat pipes emit toasty temperatures in the mid 40s, whereas we usually see high 30s to low 40s. However, as the heat rises, so does the Alienware's fan curves, and after torture testing it for 15 minutes using Furmark, heat only rose to about 71°C at most. Our AIDA64 GPU log reports similar maximum temperatures.
We used the SpectraCal C6 Colorimeter to measure the Alienware 15's display. Be sure to check out our Display Testing Explained article for a full description of our test methodology.
The Alienware's display exhibits a decently bright minimum white luminance, but the black luminance is too high, which results in low contrast of 666.1:1 at low brightness levels. At maximum brightness, the display exceeds its 400-nit rating and produces an incredible maximum white luminance. However, the black luminance is too high, which results in a similarly low contrast. This is due to the display's TN panel, which has lower contrasts compared to its IPS counterparts. Thus, the Alienware will produce a flatter image than its competitors.
Low contrasts aren't the only downsides to TN panels. They also have poor color reproduction, which you'll notice right away in our RGB balance chart. The RGB levels start off balanced at low brightness settings but suffer almost immediately afterward. The blue levels skyrocket while the reds and greens plummet significantly, resulting in an incredibly blueish tone.
The gamma levels also hit far below 2.2, with an average gamma point of 1.9154. This means that the Alienware display will remain undersaturated at virtually all levels of brightness.
And the hits just keep coming. The grayscale inaccuracy is easily noticeable between 20% and 90% brightness, resulting in an astoundingly high grayscale DeltaE 2000 of 11.2648. For reference, grayscale inaccuracy isn't noticeable unless it passes a DeltaE 2000 of 3. The EVGA's grayscale errors are unnoticeable, and while the Asus and Sagers are perceivable, they aren't jarringly so.
Are you noticing a trend? The Alienware 15's TN panel produces a high average DeltaE 2000 of 9.0158, as opposed to the IPS-equipped competitors. Everything–reds, greens, blues, cyans, magentas, yellows–is imbalanced. But you have to remember, the TN panel wasn't chosen for accurate color reproduction. It was chosen for its lightning fast refresh rate. The Alienware 15 is a gaming laptop first and foremost, and while your ultra-modded Skyrim won't look as pretty as it would on the other laptops in this comparison, it'll at least appear much more fluid.
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