CNET First Look
Alienware M18xAlienware again pushes the boundaries of laptop performance with high-end parts and a great-for-gaming 18-inch screen.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the brand new Alienware M18x. Now, I'm sure you're all familiar with the super high-end gaming laptops that this Dell subsidiary puts out. They've got the M11x which is an 11-inch laptop, the 14x, the 15x, the 17x. So I think you could pretty much guess what's so unique about the 18x; it is an Alienware with a massive 18-inch screen. Now it's still got the same 1920x1080 resolution that the 17 and even some of the 15-inch versions have. You can't really get much higher in a laptop screen, but just adding that little bit of extra screen size really makes the difference. This is ultimate in sort of home theater in-your-face laptop screens. Like all Alienwares this guy is super configurable. It starts at 2 grand. This particular version is about $5000 and it comes with a quad core Intel Core i7 CPU. It comes with 2 NVIDIA 580 graphics cards and 16 gigs of RAM. There are all kinds of other options like for Blu-ray drives and Solid State hard drives, so you can really spend a lot of money building the perfect gaming laptop. And of course, like all Alienwares, it's got that very distinctive Alienware style that's based on a couple of things. It's got these cool kind of automotive drills in the front and it's got this backlit keyboard and backlit touchpad and a couple of other lights from right here that you can actually go in and adjust with the AlienFX software package that comes with this. It's kind of like a control panel that controls the lighting and you could also use it to control power and battery options and also touchpad options. So here's the Alienware control center. It's got a couple of different tabs within it. The first is AlienFX and that lets you actually change the color of backlighting underneath the keyboard in 4 different sections and of course the touchpad and the quick launch buttons and even the Alienware logo and the little lights in the front. You can actually just pick the section you wanna change. Let's say, I wanna change my number pad, pick a different color. I know, we'll make it blue. And it just changes on the fly and of course, you can set up all kinds of different weird effects, too, on this. There's also AlienFusion that's basically a power management utility and it goes through, you know, the same power management options you can get through Windows but dresses them up nicely and gives you access to a whole bunch of options that it may be hard to find when you're just going through Windows. And of course there's AlienTouch that controls some of the options for the touchpad; you could change, obviously, the color of the board of the touchpad, the sensitivity, where the scroll bars are for your finger, and lastly you can control the macro keys along the left side of the keyboard. You can, again, change their background color and also assign each key to something different, whether it's launching a program or doing a particular combination of buttons in a game. Of course, you're not gonna go carrying this thing around in your backpack, go to the coffee shop; it's just too huge, but if you do wanna set it up, let's say in a dorm room or in a den as your home entertainment center, it not only has an HDMI out jack, it actually has an HDMI in so you can actually use this big 18-inch screen and hook other things like game consoles and Blu-ray players or other devices up to it. And it's also got this really cool row of programmable macro keys; you can pick anything you want and assign it to any of these buttons and you control that with that Alienware FX control package. Of course, if you're in the market for an Alienware, you kind of already know who you are. This is not a laptop for somebody who just wants to surf the web and check their e-mail. It's really designed around high-end PC gaming and of course, that's more than enough power to do anything else a high-end PC user would wanna do like, HD video editing or anything like that. Of course, you are gonna pay dearly for the privilege but at least you're gonna have a laptop that's a little bit different than everybody else. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Alienware M18x.