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New Product Examples in Gaming Laptops: Alienware and ASUS Brands

New Product Examples in Gaming Laptops: Alienware and ASUS Brands

Over Time, Will a Gaming Laptop be a Better Choice for All Consumers?

Frustrated with the lack of reliability of the two most recent Lenovo ThinkPad laptops that I bought on Amazon in the past 18 months for business use, I needed to look for more reliable machines for work. Will these new product examples in gaming laptops be my solution? 

My research showed that two options met all my business needs: the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 and the Alienware X14.

To say the ThinkPads were unreliable is an understatement. The first Lenovo ThinkPad E15 15.6″ FHD Full HD lasted just seven months before developing a problem with a broken power connection, and the second was worse, at six months before the Control key stopped working. The main reason I purchased this model was for the superior number of ports, since my Vistage work requires setting up in meeting rooms without the ability to pre-test the equipment.   

One of the CEOs I work with mentioned his MSI laptop has been reliable for more than five years, running the graphics-intensive applications that his business requires. He suggested that gaming laptop computers may be more dependable. To clarify, his business is not in the gaming industry, although he is a gamer.

So started my search to see if there might be a gaming laptop that would be highly dependable and meet my business needs, particularly around:

  • Ports
  • Lightweight (including charger)
  • Lack of bulk to carry easily, i.e., a 14-inch screen 

With the dominant purchase consideration that the laptop would be reliable (i.e., not break in the first year), two finalist new product examples emerged.  Each had the ports needed and were lightweight.  One was the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 and the other was the Alienware X14.

The ASUS model has been reviewed as the best general gaming laptop and a great general 14-inch laptop.  The Alienware X14 is also highly-rated.

With this recent experience, I became interested to understand a bit more about the trends in the laptop market and to understand if gaming computers may be an increasing choice for all-around users (business, personal, gaming), like me, or if they remain the province of hard-core gamers.   

New Product Examples in Gaming Laptops: Alienware and ASUS Brands

New Product Examples:
Laptop & desktop computer market is challenging, with limited growth on the horizon

The current market trends are not favorable in the US and global PC markets.  For example, in the first three quarters of 2023, desktop and laptop US PC unit shipments declined 15%, to 49.6 million (down from 58.1 million compared with the same period in 2022). Global unit shipments also declined during this period.  

The top six branded PC manufacturers showed double-digit declines in US unit shipments in 2023, apart from HP, Inc, which posted an overall decline of 2% for the period.  Gartner estimated US shipments to include desktops and laptops equipped with Windows, macOS or Chrome OS. These totals are for the first through third quarters of 2023.

  1. Dell at 12.8 million US units, declined 17%
  2. HP Inc at 12.7 million US units, declined 2%
  3. Lenovo at 8 million US units, declined 16%
  4. Apple at 7.3 million US units, declined 22%
  5. Acer at 2.9 million US units, declined 17%
  6. ASUS at 1.8 million US units, declined 23%
  7. Others at 4.2 million US units, declined 20%

Despite these declines, Yahoo notes the PC market shows  “sings of life,” with second and third quarter 2023 US PC shipments down 8.6% and 9.3%, respectively, compared with the much larger first quarter 2023 declines of 25.8%.  This is because the level of the decline is reducing.  Still, declines of nearly 10% in units are far from growth.

To support the idea of growth on the horizon for desktops and laptops, one industry source is calling for the biggest PC refresh cycle “ever” later this year in 2024.

New Product Examples:
Laptops are the lion’s share of the market, today and going forward

Canalys reports laptop global unit shipments at 52.1 million in third quarter 2023, representing 80% of the 65.6 million total, while desktop shipments were 13.5 million. Looking forward, Statista projects global laptop PC unit shipments at 207 million in 2027, as compared with the much smaller desktop unit shipments of 69 million.    By this measure, desktops will be 25% of the global PC market units in 2027, while laptops will account for 75%.

Dollar revenues show a flat market, with total US laptop market sales in billions of dollars, estimated by Statista at $21.2 billion in 2023. According to Statista, this means the US laptop market is flat in dollars, compared with $21.2 billion in 2022. Both 2023 and 2022 laptop sales in the US were down from $22.1 billion in 2021 and 2020.    

Combining the information about flat dollar revenue with the laptop and desktop unit shipment declines continues to paint a challenging picture.

New Product Examples in Gaming Laptops: Alienware and ASUS Brands

New Product Examples:
Gaming laptops are doing better than the general PC market, with a brighter outlook

Statista estimates global gaming laptop unit shipments at 17.75 million in 2022, growing to 26.9 million units by 2028.  Another source projects the global gaming laptop market growing at an estimated 8.1% in dollars with revenues estimated at $11.6 billion in 2023.

As one source identifies,

While the overall laptop market is struggling, gaming laptops as a sub-segment has grown well. Players like Dell, Lenovo and ASUS are busy building their gaming arms like Alienware, Legion, ROG, etc.”

New Product Examples:
Very competitive market, with 8 popular gaming laptop brands, each with recommended new products

For new product examples, we compared five sources for gaming laptop recommendations, including Digital Trends, PCMag, Rtings.com, Popular Mechanics and PCGamer

Eight brands with specific new product examples emerged. They are shown below and ranked in the order of frequency of mention.   Underneath the broader market brands, each has gaming sub brands.

8 New Product Examples in Gaming Laptops
1. ASUS – With corporate revenues in 2023 of $15.8 billion, ASUS product lines include: “motherboards and high-quality personal computers, monitors, graphics cards, routers and other technology solutions.”  

ASUS gaming laptop products are recommended by all five sources.  The ROG (Republic of Gamers) sub brand is the most popular for these sources. The four specific models that are highlighted:

ASUS- ROG Zephyrus G14 (2 sources: Digital Trends and PC Gamer)
ASUS ROG Strix G16 (2023) Gaming Laptop (1 source: Popular Mechanics)
ASUS ROG Strix Scar 18 (1 source: PCMag)
ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022) (1 source: Rtings.com)  
1. Lenovo– Lenovo corporate revenues for 2023 were $62 billion (fiscal year ended May 2023) and trailing 12 month revenue in September was down 22% from the prior year at $55.2 billion. Its business is made up of a: “full portfolio of PCs and tablets, monitors, accessories, smartphones, smart home and smart collaboration solutions, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), commercial Internet of Things (IoT), software, services, and smart infrastructure data center solutions around the world.”  

Lenovo gaming laptop products also are identified by all five sources. Five of these models are from the Lenovo Legion gaming sub brand, while the sixth is a Lenovo IdeaPad gaming model.

Lenovo Legion Pro 5i Gen 8 Gaming Laptop (2 sources: Popular Mechanics and Rtings.com)
Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Gen 8 (2 sources: PCMag and PCGamer)
Lenovo Legion Pro 5 h (1 source: Digital Trends)
Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 (1 source: PCMag)
Lenovo Legion Slim 5 Gen 8 (14.5-Inch) (1 source: PCMag)
Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 (82K200XXUS) (1 source: Rtings.com)  
3. Razer – Razer Blade products are showcased by four of the five sources. The Razer brand began as a high-end mouse and focuses on the gaming market.  Razer refers to itself as “the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers.”   

The three Razer Blade branded products that are featured by these sources are:

Razer Blade 14 (2 sources: Digital Trends and PCMag)
Razer Blade 18 (1 source: Popular Mechanics)
Razer Blade 15 (1 source: PCGamer)  
4. Alienware – Alienware’s parent company, Dell, had corporate revenues in 2023 of $102.3B, a 1.09% increase compared with 2022.  For context, in 2018, Alienware was a $3B business, up from $225 million in 2006 (the year Dell acquired Alienware).  In addition to Alienware branded gaming laptops, Dell continues to offer gaming laptops under the Dell G-Series sub brand.  

Alienware gaming laptop products made the list for three of the five sources.  Because the Alienware brand was started in the gaming space, and later acquired by Dell, the Alienware name by itself conveys the message that it is for gamers (unlike the Lenovo, ASUS or Acer mega brands that require a gaming sub brand).  

The Alienware branded products that the sources recommended are:
Alienware x14 R2 (2 sources: PCMag and Digital Trends)
Alienware x16 I (2 sources: Digital Trends and Rtings.com)
Alienware M18 (1 source: PCMag)  
4. Acer- With corporate revenues of NT$241B in 2023 (approximately $7.7B USD), Acer has a broad product line.  Acer’s “product portfolio comprises personal computers, projectors, tablet PCs, smartphones, wearables, smart devices, LCD monitors, servers, and ICT devices.”   Acer reported growth of 10.8% for notebook revenues, 6.2% for desktop revenues and 47.0% for Chromebook revenues in fourth quarter 2023, compared with the prior year.  

Acer gaming laptop products also made the list for three of the five sources, tied with Alienware. The Acer Predator gaming sub brand was mentioned by two of the sources.  These Acer branded products are:

Acer Predator Helios 16 Gaming Laptop (2 source: PCGamer and Popular Mechanics)
Acer Chromebook 516 GE (2022) (1 source: Rtings.com)  
6. HP – With corporate 2023 revenues of $53.7 billion, gaming laptops are just one product line for HP. HP gaming laptop products were identified by two of the five sources.  While HP ranked #2 on overall US desktop and laptop shipments in the first three quarters of 2023, the brand is ranking lower for gaming laptops from these sources.  

The HP-branded gaming laptop products mentioned were from the OMEN and Victus gaming sub brands. HP introduced the Victus sub brand in 2021.  The products identified are:

HP OMEN 16 Gaming Laptop (1 source: Popular Mechanics)
HP Victus 15 (2022) (1 source: PCGamer)  
6. MSI – Micro-Star International had revenues of $174.6 billion (equivalent to $5.6 billion USD). And  MSI offers a broad line of products, including “mainboard, AIO, graphics card, notebook, netbook, tablet PC, consumer electronics, and more.” MSI identifies its brand as a leader in gaming and eSports.  

MSI also has gaming laptop products identified by two sources.   The MSI branded products named by the sources are from the Cyborg and Stealth gaming sub brands. They are:

MSI Cyborg 15 (2023) (1 source: PCMag)
MSI Stealth 14 Gaming Laptop (1 source: Popular Mechanics)  
6. Gigabyte – Tied with MSI and HP with two sources is Gigabyte. Gigabyte offers a broad product line of “award-winning products including motherboards, graphics cards, laptops, mini-PCs, monitors and other components and accessories.”  Gigabyte revenues were $118.98 billion worldwide, or around $3.8 billion USD.  

Its products mentioned are from the Aero (targeting creatives) and Aorus  (targeting gamers) sub brands:

Gigabyte Aero 16 OLED (2023) ) (1 source: PCMag)
Gigabyte Aorus 15 BMF (1 source: PCMag)
Gigabyte G5 (2023) (1 source: PCGamer)

There is a big variation in the importance of gaming laptops for the different brands, with several offering very broad product lines beyond gaming-related products (e.g., ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, Acer, HP) and others more focused on gaming (e.g., Razer, Alienware [owned by Dell]),  The branding is also interesting to note, with some brands choosing to offer multiple sub brands, in some cases targeting different users or use cases. 

Looking through these results, both the Alienware and the ASUS models in my finalist set are mentioned by two sources.

Here are three video examples for the two finalists, the  ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, also the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 and the Alienware x14 R2. The second ROG Zephyrus spots stress the product features in an anonymous city landscape, including: anime matrix LED, virtual pet, 10-hour battery life, etc. Both spots target “serious,” heavy-duty users who are shopping for features.

By comparison, the Alienware x14 video showcases a female consumer, in what appears to be a modern office setting and stresses extreme portability, along with other features.  The marketing almost appears to be targeting a business user, like me, who can also use the product for gaming.  This Alienware X14 video is an execution under the broader Alienware Go Anywhere branding.  

My choice of these new product examples was the Alienware X14 R2, which comes with the built-in HDMI and USB ports, and the lightweight USB-C charger.   With that choice made, I moved on to the purchasing step.

Because of reliability and customer service concerns, I prefer to buy my computer from the brand directly, rather than through Amazon or other resellers. It was a pleasant surprise to learn that Alienware is owned by Dell, and so I was able to purchase my laptop from Dell’s website using our existing company account.  In years past, we ordered Dell computers regularly for our Insight to Action team, and customer service was straightforward. 

Additionally, while I never purchase any extended warranty, I chose to in this case, with the confidence that Dell is standing behind the purchase, combined with bad experiences with Lenovo laptops.  

Considering my consumer experience with these new product examples, “gaming” laptops just might be due for rebranding, since they clearly meet the needs of other customer segments that are unhappy with consumer-grade computers.

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