CNET First Look
Alienware M11xIt may look the same on the outside, but Dell has boosted the specs of its powerful, portable 11-inch Alienware gaming laptop.
Hi, I'm Scott Stein, senior editor at CNET.com, and this is the Alienware M11xR3. Now, we've seen this little 11-inch powerhouse gaming laptop before. We reviewed it twice, and this is the 2011 model, which has new processors and new graphics inside. It looks exactly the same as the one we looked at last year and we're pretty excited about why because it's an 11-inch screen. It's a gaming laptop. It's very rare that you see a laptop with a screen this small have the type of powerful graphics and performance of this laptop has had. Now, this laptop does come with a price and that's a little higher than you would expect for an 11-inch laptop. Now, surprise because the graphics and the general specs that are in this put in at the high end range even though it's pretty small laptop. That [unk] is what we get for this, which has 4 G of RAM, 500 gigabyte 7200 rpm hard drive. It also has NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M graphics, which were a step up from last year's M11x, and it also has USB 3.0 ports, 2 of them, and also has display port, and HDMI. It has fantastic sound courtesy of the clip audio that's inside. The speaker set really booms and helps make that 11-inch screen seemed even larger than it is, and the battery life is better than we saw last year significantly so. So, it really takes it over the top, and hey, with the performance, improvements, and battery improvements that's a great thing to hear in a laptop that is really not that much more expensive than it was the year before. Now, the drawbacks are that this processor inside. Well, it is a second generation Sandy Bridge Intel Core i series, Core i5 or i7 processor is in a low voltage version. Now, this is the same as last year's. What that means is that the performance is not gonna be as you get on Sandy Bridge full voltage laptop. On the other hand, the performance is a big boost up from last year's, and so it's gonna work for pretty much anything you throw at it. It just won't work quite as fast. The graphics really help offset that though. The gaming performance that we saw on this was really impressive. It's not gonna the gaming laptop performance that you expect in a full Alienware M14, but you are going to get some really nice on the go performance from this and the fact you can now put via HDMI or display port could be a little boost for people. If we're gonna knock anything, I'd say that this laptop, well it's small, it's certainly not thin. This thing is pretty thick that as thick as other Alienware laptops and 2011, we've seen a lot of more small 11-inch laptop than we saw the year before. The HP DM 1Z, the MacBook Air 11-inch. There are a lot of options out there, Samsung series 2. So, this is no longer the kind of the hill as far as small laptops go, and I'd say in another year's time, I'd hope that they make it a little bit smaller because people are gonna be asking questions as to why this is exactly so thick, but quibbling aside, it's definitely an improvement over last year's model and if you're a gamer looking to get something on the go that can do dual as a laptop and give you some gaming punch, check it out, this is the Alienware M11xR.