Alienware M11x review

Compact gaming laptop gets a welcome performance boost

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When a company makes the claim that it can keep hardcore gamers happy and offer a product that is truly portable, even in todays world, it's acknowledged that that's quite a claim, does the M11x deliver?

We reviewed the M11x a few months ago and it is still THE netbook of choice for the discerning gamer. There are other netbooks that can game and other ultra-mobile laptops with dedicated graphics but none that hit the sweet sport as well as the M11x. Alienware has even updated the M1x with brain-melting specs galore.

The M11x packs impressive credentials in to a lightweight 2kg frame with sleek dimensions, so it’s not as light or powerful as Sony’s VAIO Z-Series at 1.43Kg, which can also handle playing Crysis in HD. In it's original config it cost £600-£1000 cheaper (depending on the config), this latest version costs more, at nearly £1500.
What remains the same is the sleek 11.6-inc chassis that comes emblazoned with Alienware shin-diggery. The all black model has a shiny top that opens to reveal a bump matte black surface that continues over the touchpad – so you can’t slide off after long sweaty gaming sessions. While there’s no robust metal embedded in the frame, the plastic feels very durable and there’s no bend in the screen. There’s also every port you’d expect with: HDMI, DisplayPort, 3xUSBs, FireWire, VGA and WiFi 11.n plus bluetooth

After seeing so many chiclet keyboards at this size it’s good to see Alienware keep the same backlit keyboard with no gaps between the keys. The board makes touch typing easy, providing your fingers are already versatile enough.

We loved Alienware’s management hub, which provides a ridiculous amount of multi-hued rainbow mayhem to change any light any colour – a veritable disco fantasia at your fingertips. The hub also has face recognition software with different security levels, although it can be fooled by facial hair - but luckily you can override recognition with password protection.

Alienware M11x: Performance updates

The processor has been updated from a Core 2 Duo SU7300 to a new, faster Core i5 processor, 256GB of solid state memory (SSD) remains the same. The main difference this time around is that the massive 1GB GDDR3 NVIDIA GeForce GT 335M, this means the powerful card automatically switches between integrated and discrete graphics for you. It can cope with Crysis on it's beautiful 1388x768 display Crysis without skipping a beat, although it can’t be pushed to full HD because the M11x screen only supports 720p HD, although at the small size the screen means the difference between full HD and 720 HD is negligible. .

With no moving parts and at much faster speeds, SSD means the M11X has the best hard drive technology on the market., multitasking without any lag.

Alienware M11x: Battery performance

Finally, the brilliant 8-cell battery returned nearly four hours of battery life, with all settings maxxed to performance mode. That‘s mighty impressive on a model where mobility is such an important factor. Switch the graphics to power saving you can get nearly eight hours life.

Combining gaming prowess with a portable frame, the Alienware M11x is a fantastic alternative to the large gaming nottebooks. Even non-gamers will apprecite the strong multimedia and battery performance.

The Alienware M11x is available now from Dell