Alright you guys, this review is coming from a desktop component review website, I must admit -- we are still looking and seeking a good format for our laptop reviews. It is a new thing for us but with gaming desktops and gaming laptops and DTRs getting closer and closer to each other we really want to review these cute gaming machines as well.
This review was our first in this category, and we hope to have brought you a pretty decent overview of what is going on inside that M11x UltraPortable from Alienware. From here on these reviews will only get better as we can add more and more comparable material.
A lot can be said about the Alienware M11x alright. First off, let me just clearly state that the M11x does not disappoint at all. It is refreshing to see such a customizable unit that actually packs enough power to play games on. Surely with the more modern games it will have a bit of a challenge alright, but say with titles like Left for Dead or Mass Effect, this would be a perfectly viable alternative to play your games on when you are on the road. As shown, with the modern titles you'll need to forfeit on image quality, but not too much.
What surprised me in a positive way is the battery life, there are no real compromises there. Of course, with a brand spanking new and strong battery we could only observe what happens in terms of power consumption in its new and fresh state. But even then, normal desktop usage... well, 6-7 hours is very possible. Gaming wise, depending on the level of stress you apply to the M11x, a good 2-3 hours is still very plausible. High-Definition content, when routed over that GeForce GT 335M processor, will last you a good three hours as well. So yeah, that certainly impresses me. In that respect the Optimus implementation is convincing enough to make the difference.
What I like about this latest generation M11x series is that the Optimus switching is done fully automatically. Whenever the NVIDIA driver sentinel recognizes a game executable it will switch to 'GPU' mode all by itself and you will not even notice it. And sure, there will be instances with newer games where the driver does not support the game just yet, but within 10 seconds you can make your own profile and frag onwards to infinity (and beyond)...
Processor wise we feel that the Core i5 520UM used here is a nice balance of processor power versus needs versus power consumption. The new processors offer enough punch for your typical applications and is in balance with the GPU. Temperature wise it'll run to roughly 55~60 degrees C when stressed, a little hot but fine enough really. The fan in the laptop can be heard well at that point, but is not too noisy.
We feel that the 100 MBit/s Ethernet connection could use an upgrade, Gigabit is the norm these days and we do hope to see that updated in future revisions. The wireless N implementation works lovely by the way, we had no problems logging on to our LAN area and had quite a nice range. Even outside the building our connection speeds were stable and quite fast.
The LCD display certainly is good with rich colors and very decent response times, the glossy outer finish however would not have my preference. It can reflect a lot of things in the surrounding area and that might be a thing of annoyance for some of you.
So overall we think that the M11x is a great and cute UltraPortable, Alienware surely crammed a lot of components into a rather cute 11.25x9.19x1.29-inch body. The one thing we feel really is missing is a DVD-ROM, you are forced to use an external solution if you want to install a game, but there either was no room left or it was a simple matter of a limitation set somewhere by someone or some company.
The M11x starts at roughly 799 USD/EUR for the Core 2 Duo version and 949 USD/EUR for the Core i5 series, the latter one does make it one expensive little fragger, and then you need to add options which will make it even more expensive. Regardless of that fact, there is a market for these products.
Regardless of pricing, we have absolutely no reason to not recommend the M11x, this is probably one of the fastest UltraPortables your money can get you that actually allows you to play games quite decently; in this day and age of course...
Alienware M11x UltraPortable review We test and review the Alienware M11x UltraPortable. Recently Alienware released the M11x UltraPortable laptop which you can configure with Core i3/i5/i7 and next to that it received the royal NVIDIA Optimus treatment. Basically you have two graphics processors inside the laptop. One embedded Intel IGP for the regular 2D stuff and the minute you start up games, an NVIDIA chip will take over and manage your accelerated gaming experience.