Alienware’s big, glossy computers and flashing case lights have tended to divide the gaming community. While some like clutching a machine that takes up half the room and bragging about its innards, others prefer something a little more demure.
The new m15x won’t send everyone into a paroxysm of green-eyed lust, but it does have much broader appeal than its predecessors. In fact, for Alienware, it’s almost understated.
Look at the size of that thing
The m15x has a far more conservative look than we’re accustomed to from Alienware, and we rather like it. The plastic casing is still shiny, but it’s also unblemished with gaudy trim or industrialised rubber edges.
With the lid down the only visible lighting is behind the Alien logo. Indeed, squint a bit, and from a distance this silver-sheened machine could be an early MacBook.
That this is, in fact, an Alienware laptop is soon obvious. It’s built like a tank, feels virtually indestructible, and is the biggest 15.4in screen notebook we’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s less portable than most 17 inchers – this isn’t a notebook you can just sling in your rucksack and forget about.
Underneath the extraordinarily high quality and backlit keyboard is the latest – and most powerful – GeForce 8800M GTX graphics card, along with the latest – and most powerful – Intel Core 2 Extreme CPU.
A mere 2GB of RAM is disappointing, but it tore through benchmarks at the native resolution of 1920x1200 native resolution, and yet retained a reasonable two-hour battery life.
If there’s anything that really lets the m15x down, it’s the fact that there’s no option to upgrade the screen with a high contrast, antiglare coating. Without that things can seem a little washed out.
But that’s okay, because it’s very good value for money. At least, it is if you lower the spec slightly, using the configurator on Alienware’s site. The graphics card is a must have, but the 2.8GHz processor is, frankly, overpriced, and that’s not Alienware’s fault. You can shave £400 off the cost by opting for a lesser T9300 mode: trust us, you won’t notice the difference.
And you’ll be the proud owner of Alienware’s best laptop to date, full of clever design details like a touch sensitive volume control, and quick buttons for disabling the mouse-pad and turning off the backlighting. If you want a notebook that will also play the latest games, your choice is really this, the Dell XPS m1330 or the Asus G70, and this is by far the best built of the lot.