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Not something you usually read in the same sentence gaming and netbook as with such a limited amount of space you usually have trouble cramming everything you need inside the body. Well Alienware have managed to do it and not only that but they've done it very well.
I am a bit of a sucker when it comes to packaging I like things to be presented well to me and Alienware has done that the best for probably any product I've ever bought. IT comes in a black box with glossy alien head markings on and a honeycomb effect across the entire box then when you open it you have the black foam padding holding the computer which is in a black suede effect cloth bag and then you have all the parts such as the charger and instruction booklets etc housed in a cardboard box with alien type symbols over it.
The computer it's self has a matt black metal casing with the Alienware logo on the outer casing of the lid a slanted front that sits flush when the laptop is closed with grills on either side.
First thing you notice which is probably one of the coolest features on an Alienware laptop are the lights. When you turn on the computer the whole thing lights up the keyboard, the alien shaped power button, the alien shaped logo on the outer case and the grills at the front. You can also fully customise each individual section of lights to a range of about 15 different colours.
Once you get the computer started and begin to use it you straight away realise that the power over the other laptops of this size is pretty phenomenal it deals with most tasks with no problems at all and to save power you have the option to switch between the two graphics card just at the press of a button.
The main point to touch on here is using the computer for gaming. By switching onto the higher graphics you can run any game without problems I personally had about 10+ games on my Steam account which included some more demanding gays such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. I must add you cannot always run high settings on these games as you will start to notice a dramatic drop in your frame rate.
The battery power was outstanding for a high power machine sometimes getting about 5-6 hours of heavy gaming on the higher graphics cards and around 9-10 hours of regular use.
All in all this is a perfect portable gaming machine for a gamer who has to travel a lot. I would say it's probably little under powered for some more dedicated gamers and they might want this purely as a portable unit more than a unit used permanently. The only problem with all this is it does come at a price and Alienware does tend to be a little steep for a machine that many people would find to small for use as there main computer.
When you hear "Alienware" you automatically assume high performance gaming, but this is not necessarily what you get from this product.
Don't get me wrong this is a great computer, and it pretty much destroys every other 11" Laptop/notebook out there, it's specifications are very good for a computer of this size and if it's just a Laptop/notebook you are after I highly recommend buying this one.
It is very aesthetically pleasing and has the same lighting options as it's larger counterparts, the M15x and M17x.
This will run games such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty: Black Ops with ease but don't expect to run either on maximum settings, that just isn't going to happen.
You have to remember that this is a very small computer so it can't really match the power of other Alienware products as it simply isn't large enough to contain the higher performance components, this being said it is still a very capable machine.
It is possible to increase the performance by upgrading the component options from the Alienware website but expect to significantly increase the price if you choose to do so.
I rate this product: 7.5/10
Alienware has built up its reputation as a 'gaming' computers; hence a person would believe that it would be equipped with a big RAM, an outstanding graphics card and a fast processor (or at least fast enough).
My reason for purchasing this laptop was slightly different, though I hope there would be some out there who would share the same need for such a laptop: I needed something light, very portable, with a good battery life and with all this, decent enough to be a good multitasking device; run few powerpoints, few hundred excel sheets, words and adobe photoshop all at the same time. Or something like that.
So I had a few options in my hand; few ACER, MSI, Samsung, and ASUS; there was one ASUS laptop which really caught my eye, and affordable too - 400GBP with 2GB RAM, Duo Core processor, 160GB memory, or something like that. Of course, there is also Apple - Macbook, Macbook Pro and even Macbook Air are all good enough to do what I desire, and yet I'm no Bill Gates. So while thinking furiously in my little head, I came across an offer - M11x, reduced to 699GBP (as of October 2010).
You have to be careful (as with any laptops or computers), as even the same model will be equipped with different hardware. The price of M11x range substantially, though they'll all look the same. So I looked at the spec - my M11x was equipped with:
- 11.6 inch screen of 1366x768 resolution
- Intel CPU U4100 1.3GHz Processor Duo Core
- 4GB RAM DDR3
- 64-bit OS
- Windows 7 Home Premium
- 320GB Memory
- 1GB NVIDIA GT335M GeForce (!!!)
- Built-in HD 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers
- Built-in non-removable 8 Cell battery
- Built-in Mic & WebCam
Main advantages (for my anyway):
- Very portable; light. Most laptops (15.4inch screen) weigh around 3 - 4kgs). Small in dimensions; it's like carrying a small text book.
- Battery life - now Apple products are known for their notoriously long battery life, which ranges to two digit number hours (amazing huh) but most of the Windows laptops only last for 3 hours (when new), which vastly diminishes with time. Most of the laptops after few years old, won't be able to be used without AC. M11x has been with me for 3months now, and it still goes on for around 5 hours with Wifi-on and watching few films, which is just wonderful! I can use it to do work (Word, Excel etc) without charging it for half a day. However! Must be careful when 3D graphics mode is switched on (mainly for games), which will drain the battery and will only last few hours (2 hours maximum). Since I never really play games on my laptop, this is no problem for me.
- Eye candy; equipped with Alien-things, notably Alien Sense (which detects your facial features using the webcam to log-in automatically in the start-up: cool huh?!), Alien FX (changes colours of the speaker at front, keypad, and alien head on button and Alienware label on the screen - the colours available are vast and you can change it to pulse-blinking, or fade into different colours), and AlienTouch to configure your mousepad etc.
- RAM & Processor; high spec really pays off. For a small laptop like this, especially most of them are now called 'netbooks' which runs on tiny wimpy Atom processors, which really won't allow you to do anything. Don't be fooled, because if you want to use a netbook (as they're tiny little things) to replace your laptop, then you've just spent few odd hundred pounds down the drain. If you want however, a little device to check your emails, surf the internet and do messengers, then netbooks will keep you perfectly happy. M11x ran all the applications beautifully, and handled them, which is exactly what I needed.
- Built-in card reader (you don't have to carry an adopter!), webcam (which is normal for laptops nowadays)
- VGA and HDMI slots ready! This is fabulous, as you can just hook your M11x to an external monitor, for example, to my 24inch Philips monitor! Which is great, for those times you think 11.6inches of M11x is a tad too small for excel graphs or spreadsheets...or even reading your favourite journals and watching videos!
- Alienware inside; AlienSense is slow and I find it hard to switch it off. I do all the ticks and unticks but AlienSense still shows up and slows down the log-in process (this is because the laptop uses webcam, and to start and use this hardware takes up memory)
- Short battery life with NVIDIA graphics mode. I've tried (just out of curiosity) Need for Speed Carbon, and with the highest setting it ran it as smoothly as an Xbox. But after an hour and half, I needed the AC. So unlucky for those long flight/train journeys!
- Integrated battery - the whole M11x is built as a one thing and cannot be taken off (without drivers), which can be a good thing, but when it comes to batteries, where it will run away after few months/years this can be tragic. What's the point having a great laptop which won't work without AC? M11x will become just that in few years time.
- Screen is said to be HD capable, and yet I find that hard to believe. The blacks are not black at all, merely like holes, and pixels can be seen. The screen brightness is also quite terrible, though sufficient, it does not display pictures brilliantly.
- Keypad - M11x does not have an ordinary keypad like other laptops or computers do. It's been re-sized to fit the small width of the laptop. For me, this was a no problem for me, the keypad is very ergonomical, but sometimes this can be different for some.
- Sim card slot - now don't waste your time searching the web for an answer to this. Yes, M11x does have a Sim card slot for 3G connections (which would have been a great selling point - and certainly stood up to Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab), but this hardware was only meant for USA. Now, there have been rumours of development of software to utilise this wonderful potential, but for UK customers, you're still yet to discover this.
- Stuck in sleep model; as with all laptops or computers, you can't expect it to run like a perfect device - this is no Apple and you probably haven't paid few grand for your devices. Correct with this expectations, is a black screen, where waking up from sleep mode, stays and won't change. Of course you can turn it off manually pressing down the Alien head, but for me, this is time consuming, and time is money. Having said that, it rarely happens, and it's not a major problem.
- Mouse pad isn't the best pad in the world - I've used better. The mouse pad isn't very sensitive (even with changed settings on AlienTouch) and sometimes it annoys me to surf or when it requires extensive use, like Photoshop. A USB mouse can never go wrong.
- 2kg; not the lightest laptop you can find. Now, people will always want more, and it's our human nature to strive for something better every time. 2kg was a feather compared to the 3.5kg of my previous laptop, but after holding Apple Air, which is just around 1kg, my M11x feels like a brick. There are now other compact laptops from ASUS, Msi, ACER (or SONY if you have the cash) which delivers similar processing power, with less weight.
- Looks; oh and make sure you watch a video or several pictures (or go to a store and touch one even) before buying it. The look of M11x cannot be liked by all!
Conclusions: If you're a gamer, go buy a PS3 or an Xbox. However great these laptops can be, they will never be a serious gaming machines, especially M11x, with everything so compacted into a small device. If you however, are a PC gamer and love gaming on PC, then this is for you, but remember, the battery will suffocate in an hour.
If you're looking for an all-round laptop, that can be carried around in trains buses planes without becoming a hazardous object, the M11x is perfect. It will do all the jobs you require and it's portable enough to just slide on your lap - that is if you can afford to spend 600-1000GBP pounds. For most of you, 1000GBP worthy of a laptop will bring you tremendous power and quality - of course, of it being not 11.6inch small little gem like M11x.