What We Think
The M18x is the like Mike Tyson in his prime, extremely powerful, a little crazy and a class act, if you can afford the astronomical price.
Alienware’s top end rig offers near nuclear levels of power, and gamers who’ve saved wildly since childhood might possibly even be able to afford one. The M18x starts at £1699 with full spec models pushing well past the £5000 mark, ensuring this Goliath of laptops is not for the frugal hearted.
Performance, of course dictates price and in this laptop’s case, there is no doubt – you’re paying top buck for unholy amounts of power. The smorgasbord of options means the only limitation are your purse strings and perhaps a bad back, as it weighs 5.7kg, giving it desktop like portability.
The Alienware follows on with the now ironically safe aesthetic theme, of resembling the offspring of Kit from Knight Rider. We’re certain it’s better built than Hasselhoff’s Pontiac Trans Am as it feels like a slab of moulded rubber and aluminium.
The styling won’t be to everyone’s tastes, and some may feel it’s a bit geeky with its pocket protector, 1980s neon vibe. However, we like it and the popularity of the Alienware series suggests there’s no shortage of people who feel the same way. The aluminium lid comes with atypical alien head in the centre, as does the inner casing. The edges have the usual fighter plane vents and area below the screen, the expected hieroglyphic like symbols in place of the media function keys.
The keyboard itself is very spacious and of high-quality construction, with lovely weighted keys, which gamers will admire. There are also a number of fully customisable buttons and all the keys are tapered for ease of use. As with other Alienware machines, the keys and areas of the fascia can be all customised to suit whatever colour scheme and pressure preference you require. There’s also a large multi-touch track-pad, with two huge, extremely responsive and nicely weighted keys below – all of which impresses greatly and responds accurately on screen. These are perfectly usable if you choose not to add a gaming mouse, or other peripherals.
The level of immersion created by the screen of the M18x is almost awe-inspiring. Though, the laptop is gargantuan, the size trade-off, is worth it for the 18.4 inch screen with its 1920x1080p resolution. The full HD manages to impress greatly and the level of clarity, and the accuracy of the colours is excellent. It’s also possible to attach your console to the computer and play it through the HD display.
Though, a glossy Super TFT display, the brightness of the screen ensures it’s playable in most conditions, and daylight viewing was more than adequate. Black levels are excellent and the shadow detail, is wonderfully created by the computer’s innards and brilliantly visible on screen. We found the 3MP web camera to more than meet requirements and the speakers were also, just as we’d expect on a machine like this. Performance, is obviously great, though we would question Dell’s choice to package a DVD drive as standard, considering the 1080p display, and the far from low cost of the most basic model of the machine?
If we had Arnold Schwarzenegger’s upper-body strength and pockets just as deep, the Alienware M18x would be perfect, as it would be portable and of no consequence to our finances. We felt, the M18x requires you to invest more than the base price to get value from it, otherwise you’re paying for the name and not the performance, to an extent. It’s still a very fast machine, but consoles such as the Rock Xtreme 768 and Acer Aspire Ethos 8951G cost less and offer great performance.
Though, if you have the money and are looking for the ultimate gaming experience the M18x is pretty close.