Alienware M11x R3 review: Alienware M11x R3

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The Good Great performance and battery life. Good sound for a tiny laptop. Backlit keyboard. USB 3.0 and gigabit Ethernet a welcome addition.

The Bad Still not using the 3G slot. Touch pad buttons can be improved. Screen isn't as vibrant as we'd like.

The Bottom Line We still love the M11x, but with the ever-marching pace of technology, we'd like to see it go on a diet, get a better screen and a much better touch pad and buttons for the R4. And maybe, just maybe, make use of the currently pointless 3G slot.

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9.0 Overall

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We loved last year's M11x R2. Sure, it did have a hinge problem, and the choice of 100Mb Ethernet was odd, but it proved what could be done in a tiny chassis. At 2kg it's no MacBook Air, but if you're looking at the Alienware, you're a different breed of laptop user.

The M11x is back in 2011 with revision three in red or black, the hinge has been fixed and the Ethernet port bumped up to gigabit. It even picks up two USB 3.0 ports to keep up with the times, and ditches the confusing Alienware custom Windows theme. Sadly, the SIM slot is still an empty promise: Dell does not ship the 11x R3 with a WWAN module in Australia.

What can be put inside is still pleasingly mad: up to a Core i7 2617M, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD of indeterminate origin, if you've got more cashflow than a Saudi oil baron. If you're ever so pedantic about performance, you can throw in a Killer NIC, too, to ensure your networking abilities are top notch.

Our review sample came in a little more muted fashion: a Core i5 2537, 4GB RAM and a 7200rpm, 320GB hard drive. It did come with the GeForce GT 540M though, which is the fastest graphics card configuration available for the M11x, and pleased us mightily.

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