Alienware M17x review

Superb performance in one of the sturdiest and best-looking gaming laptops we've seen - worth the expense

Mike Jennings
24 Jul 2009
5
Price when reviewed 
1,916

Page 1 of 2 Alienware M17x review

The last Alienware machine to make an appearance at PC Pro, the £2,127 M17, wasn't good enough to win an award. Back then, the Asus W90 was faster, better-looking and cheaper. Alienware, however, has struck back.

Its new M17x makes a fantastic first impression. The aluminium exterior, dramatically angled front edge and mesh-covered speaker grilles make the M17x look like a futuristic Blu-ray player rather than a laptop. Ease open the lid and the Alienware continues to impress, with the keyboard, touch-sensitive media buttons, trackpad and logo all kitted out with cool, blue backlighting. Factor in the edge-to-edge screen and you have one of the most striking laptops ever seen.

It's a system packed with small, thoughtful details: the Alienware logo above the keyboard is both power button and hard disk status indicator all in one - the eyes flash to show activity. Alienware can engrave your name on the underside, and you can also change the colour of the numerous LED lights.

Distinctive design is backed up by peerless build quality. Neither the 17in screen nor the wide wristrest flexed when prodded and pushed in anger, and the rest of the chassis feels utterly rock-solid - but with a chassis this large and hefty (the M17x is 45mm thick and weighs 5.5kg), we'd expect nothing less.

The 17in screen has a better-than HD native resolution of 1,900 x 1,200 and is the same panel offered on the cheaper of Dell's Precision M6400 mobile workstations. As well as covering 72% of Adobe's colour gamut, the panel, which is lit by a pair of CCFL backlights, offers a 1000:1 contrast ratio and 8ms response time. While these figures aren't quite up to desktop standards, games still look superb on the panel, with accurate colours and sharp detail, and there's acres of desktop space available for more menial tasks.

Page 1 of 2 Alienware M17x review

Price when reviewed 
1,916(£1666 exc VAT)

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 402 x 320 x 45mm (WDH)
Weight 5.540kg
Travelling weight 6.0kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T9800
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 17.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,900
Resolution screen vertical 1,200
Resolution 1900 x 1200
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M
Graphics card RAM 1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 1.00TB
Hard disk usable capacity 931GB
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Seagate Momentus 7200.4
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Battery capacity 7,600mAh
Replacement battery price ex VAT £109
Replacement battery price inc VAT £125

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard54 slots 1
USB ports (downstream) 5
FireWire ports 1
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 4
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader yes
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 2hr 20min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 37min
Overall application benchmark score 1.47
Office application benchmark score 1.64
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.54
Encoding application benchmark score 1.22
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.49
3D performance (crysis) low settings 27fps
3D performance setting High

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows Vista
Software supplied Alienware FX

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