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Alienware M11x Notebook Review

Alienware M11x Notebook Review

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Final Words and Conclusion

Like the M15x and M17x before it the M11x begins to impress as soon as it is removed from the packaging. The overall design of the chassis is good, drawing great attention wherever the laptop is being used and the finish is perfect throughout. Alienware have also succeeded in making the M11x feel sturdy and robust, something which most laptops of a similar size fail to do. Upon turning the machine on we are presented with some great touches like the backlit keyboard, which is both responsive and comfortable to use. The touchpad with its honeycomb design is also high quality and the mouse buttons, despite a rather deep action work well and are near silent.

The screen used by Alienware is also impressive, offering crystal clear clarity and a good level of brightness. On the audio front we were also pleased that the speakers used by Alienware give a decent volume level, more than enough to watch a movie on and they do not suffer from distortion or a tinny sound at any reasonable volume level.

On the outside the M11x is a complete success and inside this continues. Considering the specification of the components inside the system the temperatures recorded were great and the chassis design allowed us to use the laptop on our legs, even when full load was applied to the CPU and GPU. Due to the single fan design adopted by Alienware noise was also kept to a minimum under these conditions. Under full load in a silent room we were aware of the fan but turn on a movie or game and it becomes un-noticeable. We are also happy to report that the Toshiba hard drive which Alienware use is a low noise model, though given the performance increase we saw from the Samsung SSD option we would always recommend users opt for this where their budget allows.

Battery life is another highlight of the system, nearly six hours of use was exceptional when we consider that this included having all on-board devices enabled, including the system lighting. The ability to watch up to 4hours of HD content (with GPU acceleration) while on the move is fantastic also.

GPU performance is one of the main aspects of the M11x, after all the main aim when Alienware were designing the system was to provide 720p gaming in this small chassis. Our testing shows that they have achieved this, allowing us to play recent games such as Dirt 2, Modern Warfare 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 at 1366×768 using a mixture of medium, high and very high settings. In L4D2 we even managed to enable 8x anisotropic filtering with Very High detail and still maintain playable framerates. No other laptop/netbook with a similar size screen can do this. It was also great to see the performance increases available through CUDA in GPU computing tasks such as video encoding or HD video playback.

So, it should be clear that the M11x has impressed us greatly… but there are two minor things which we would have loved to see Alienware improve. The first would be the inclusion of a GB-LAN port rather than 10/100 though we were very happy to see a dual band wireless N card included. The second would be the inclusion of an eSATA/USB combo port to allow connection of high speed external devices. Really these are “nice to haves” for a laptop of this size though.

Summary
Without doubt one of the best laptops we have tested… if not the best. Not only that, it’s right up there as one of the best products we have ever tested, in any category.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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