CNET First Look
Alienware 18; A gaming laptop as big as a tank, and just about as powerfulIf you had $4,000 to spend on a gaming laptop, it might look something like this.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the Alienware 18, a very unusual computer indeed. In that it's a big 18-inch desktop replacement gaming system and even most of the gaming laptops that we've seen this year have actually been this new breed of smaller 13-inch and 14-inch gaming systems, maybe the kind that you're gonna plug into an external monitor. You only use the built-in screen when you're traveling or when you don't wanna bother with that. This guy, gigantic 18-inch 1920x1080 screen, this is primarily the display you're gonna use. I can't imagine dragging this over to a TV and plugging it into, you know, an even larger screen even though it does have HDMI and many display port outputs. Pretty much everything you need is built into here. It's gonna take up your entire desk. The thing is gigantic and it weighs more than 12 pounds just like this if you add in the gigantic AC adaptor, then it's more than 15 pounds. Now Alienware did sort of stack the deck a little bit when they sent us this configuration. It's super high end. It's got a top-of-the-line Intel Core i7. It has got a 512-gigabyte SSD and a regular hard drive on top of that. It's got 2 NVIDIA GeForce 780 graphics cards and it's got a whopping 32 gigabytes of RAM. I don't think I've ever actually gotten that in a laptop to review before. You put all that together. It's more than $4,000 for this particular, very, very, very high-end configuration, although the base model starts at about $2100, but that will do. You're really not buying a super gaming machine, but I think is really what you want from this guy. Now we've got all the typical Alienware bells and whistles, you know, the light-up touch pad, all the different lighting zones here and there, and the build quality and the construction, you know, it's excellent because Alienware is part of Dell making forward to design and build these big gaming chassis where if you get a gaming laptop from a boutique PC maker it's gonna be off-the-shelf body that they buy that's maybe not especially made for gaming and they just cram all this high-end stuff into it. So that's the real advantage here. You got this big kind of matte black slab. Maybe a little bit like the Obelisk in 2001 just sort of lands on your desk, takes up the entire thing. If you're gonna spend that much money you certainly wanna take this out all the way out to the top and we can play just about any current PC game cranked all the way up to the top level. I was playing Battlefield 4 in Ultra Mode and it worked just fine. But keep in mind. This is not something that's even remotely portable. It fits the definition of laptop only in the broadest sense of the word. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Alienware 18.