The M11x has a deceptive amount of heft to it for an 11.6-inch laptop — in a size that's usually closer to the 1kg mark, it comes out as being double. Of course, being Alienware, this is because every pore is crammed with ridiculous power. This pint-sized portable powerhouse contains a Core i7 for goodness' sake.
The M11x carries the fine tradition of Alienware's distinctive style, this time in attractive matte black with harsh, sci-fi/military-style angles. Ah, yes, and almost everything lights up, from the Alienware logotype, alien head that doubles as a power button and status indicators under the monitor, to the vent-shaped headlights on the lip, to the much more useful illuminated keyboard. You can change the colour of all of them too through the AlienFX software, either to whatever colour you like, or off if you find them distracting.
The 1366x768, glossy 11.6-inch screen is wonderful to use, and the speakers sound better than most 15.6-inch laptops, with beefy bass, excellent volume and good clarity.
As an enthusiast laptop, ports are a little strange compared to the mainstream: the M11x features both HDMI and DisplayPort out, for example, with nary a VGA port in sight. Three USB ports are supplied (although oddly the integrated eSATA port is not here), dual headphone jacks are present along with a microphone jack (which can be reassigned for 5.1 audio), FireWire port, SD card reader, 100Mb Ethernet port and, strangely, an externally facing SIM card slot; however, no software dialler was bundled on our particular sample nor was a WWAN card available as an option. The 100Mb Ethernet port is particularly a disappointment — with the 7200rpm hard drive included and the beefy processor, surely it'd have no trouble keeping up with a Gigabit connection.