Alienware M14x gaming notebook
The Alienware M14x has high-end performance in a compact and portable machine
- High levels of performance
- Plenty of connectivity
- Same exterior as last batch
Although the exterior is unchanged from the last model, Alienware's M14x has upgraded power and plenty of connectivity in a well built body.
Price$ 1,799.00 (AUD)
This review originally appeared on PC Advisor UK. Prices in this review are for the UK version.
Alienware is renowned for its high-end gaming systems with an individual design. If you're familiar with previous iterations of Alienware's laptops then there will be a distinct sense of deja vu when it comes to this year's Ivy Bridge-wielding Alienware M14x. The exterior design is unchanged from the last batch.
It's not that we don't like the design which isn't ugly by any stretch of the imagination, but it was and still is a bit on the chunky side. We were hoping the Alienware M14x would come in a new and more slender chassis. We measured the laptop and found it is 38mm thick and weighs just under 3kg.
The Alienware M14x is the smallest and most portable of the range since Alienware decided not to update the M11x. Our review sample came in a matt black finish called 'cosmic black' but it's also available in an altogether more standout 'nebula red’ finish.
The laptop has the distinct Alienware design combination of sleek yet aggressive lines – a love it or hate it type of situation. The finish feels like a cross between plastic and rubber which feels nice to the touch and helps with grip in areas such as the wrist supports.
The keyboard and trackpad are both of a decent size and there is the usual set of customisable lights spread around the laptop including four sections underneath the keyboard and surrounding the trackpad.
Alienware M14x: Build quality
Robust is the best word we can think of to describe the build quality of the Alienware M14x. The chassis feels solid in all aspects with the screen offering a small but not worrying amount of flexibility.
Our only worry is the long term durability of the coating particularly on the lid which we feel could get marked or damaged if care is not taken.
Alienware seems to have this into account and supplies the M14x with a plush suede bag for transportation and storage.
Alienware M14x: Hardware
Before we delve under the bonnet of the Alienware M14x it is worth pointing out that the laptop is available built-to-order and the specifications on offer vary greatly – this is one of the advantages brought along by Dell purchasing Alienware.
One of the most customisable areas is the choice of hard drives with traditional drives, SSDs and hybrid combinations available. Prices start at £999 including VAT but this requires you to drop below the standard included specifications.
Our Alienware M14x came powered by an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3720QM processor clocked at 2.6GHz– rising to 3.6GHz when in Turbo mode. This was backed up by 8GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM. You can opt for a slightly faster Core i7-3820QM and up to 16GB of RAM.
Adding to the performance of this machine was a combination of a 64GB mSATA SSD dedicated to the Windows Home Premium OS and a 500GB hard drive for traditional storage purposes.
In our WorldBench 6 real-world benchmark test the Alienware M14x scored a fantastic score of 168 – the highest score we've ever seen from any notebook computer.
For comparison the Apple MacBook Pro (Late 2011) scored 133 and the Samsung Series 7 Chronos got 138 points.
This Ivy Bridge chip has integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics – but the Alienware M14X has a dedicated nVidia GeForce GT650M graphics processor. As standard this has 1GB of GDDR5 memory but you can pay an additional £50 to double this to 2GB.
Alienware M14x: Performance
The Alienware M14x breezed through our basic FEAR test, as we expected it to, with an average framerate of 84fps – the lowest we saw it drop to was 41fps.
Stepping things up to the next level, we ran Crysis at 1024 x 768 resolution with Low detail and DirectX 9. Here the Alienware managed an average framerate of 107fps.
As you can guess from the name, the M14x comes with a 14.1in screen, LED-backlit. It has an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a relatively high resolution of 1600 x 900. This gives the laptop a good balance between a usable screen size and portability.
The screen offers crisp detail and has a glossy finish which making viewing the screen difficult at times. It reflects things like windows and lights all too easily; we would prefer a matt finish option here.
Connectivity is well rounded with VGA, HMDI, Mini Display Port, USB 2.0, microphone, headset and headphone ports plus a full-size SD slot and microSD slot, all on the left hand side of the body.
On the right is a Kensington lock slot, gigabit ethernet, two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports and a slot-loading optical drive.
The drive on our sample was a DVD±RW type but can be optionally upgraded to Blu-ray.
Standard wireless connectivity is provided by an Intel Centrino Wireless-n 2230, and for an extra £15 you can get a Killer Wireless-n 1202 a/g/n 2x2 MIMO designed for gaming and video. Both come with Bluetooth 4.0.
Alienware M14x: Power and battery life
We recorded power consumption at 35W when idling with the screen at half brightness. When put under stress during the Crysis benchmarks the M14x needed 98W from the mains.
We managed to get just over five hours of life from the 63Wh battery. In the MobileMark 2007 Productivity test it lasted for 307 minutes.
Alienware M14x: Conclusion
Although the M14x looks the same as its predecessor – and still looks cool – it’s what's on the inside that counts here. For your hard-earned pounds, this Alienware offers high levels of gaming performance and plenty of connectivity inside a portable shell with a screen big enough for proper gaming sessions.
Join the newsletter!
Bringing VR out of office and study spaces will serve to help it attract the new audiences it needs to continue growing
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: A predictably-exellent flagship uplifted by a standout camera
- 2 Panasonic Lumix G9 review: A mirrorless moulded to the needs of still-shooters
- 3 LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
- 4 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- HP double down on premium style for modern workforce PCs
- Lenovo recalls ThinkPad notebooks after overheating hazard
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By ASUS
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By Dell
- macOS High Sierra ‘root’ security issue allows admin access to your Mac—but there's a fix
PCW Evaluation Team
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
- Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: A predictably-exellent flagship uplifted by a standout camera
- Five 2017 flagship smartphones that are now less than $900
- Hands On: Pitting the Apple HomePod against the Sonos One
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPLevel 1 HelpdeskQLD
- TPPrincipal Solutions DesignerQLD
- FTSenior UX Digital Developer, Digital Design DevelopmentOther
- CCCyber Security Business AnalystVIC
- TPLinux Automation EngineerQLD
- CCSenior Solution Architect - Brisbane locationVIC
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTPrincipal Consultant - Scheduling & Planning (Primavera & MSP)Other
- CCProject Manager - Power BI, Mobility & IntegrationQLD
- FTSoftware Technical WriterOther
- CCSenior Teradata Developer/Analyst ProgrammerNSW
- TPEnterprise/Service Architect - Service Management ExperienceQLD
- FTSolution ArchitectOther
- FTLead/Senior DevOps EngineerOther
- FTBusiness Analyst - Cyber Security TransformationOther
- FTSenior iOS Software EngineerOther
- FTData ModellerOther
- CCIT Change ManagerWA
- CCMultiple Java Developer roles!NSW
- FTBig Data ArchitectNSW
- FTSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- TPEL1 Data AnalystACT
- TPProject Manager - ICT Infrastructure - SecurityQLD
- CCMid - Level Dynamics CRM Functional ConsultantQLD
- FTProduct Lead - DatabaseOther