Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Alienware Sentia M3200
- Compact, Zippy performance, Good Speakers
- Poorly designed keyboard, Battery life could be better.
Alienware takes a nice step out of the high-power desktop world into the ultraportable market with the Sentia m3200
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
Alienware's smallest notebook yet, the Sentia m3200, offers a bright 12.1 inch wide-screen display, a good case design, and zippy performance. Only its slightly disappointing keyboard should give you pause.
Using a 2-GHz Pentium M 760 processor and 1GB of RAM, the Sentia earned an impressive WorldBench 5 score of 92. Our test unit included an 80GB hard drive; however, the 2.2 kg Sentia m3200 beats most thin-and-light competitors with the option of a capacious 160GB drive, which costs a little more than the drive in our configuration.
We liked the lid's rubberized hand grips, as well as the Sentia's overall layout and design. All the connections are on the sides, within easy reach, except for a third USB port tucked in a bottom compartment for semipermanent parking of a small thumb drive. (Our 3-inch-long thumb drive was too big to fit.)
The keyboard is decent, but not perfect. The mouse buttons were a tad small and stiff, and the PageUp and PageDown keys were clumsily laid out - separated by the up-arrow key and positioned horizontally instead of in the more intuitive vertical arrangement. Otherwise typing was easy, and the touchpad was well calibrated.
For making the best use of your downtime, the Sentia's instant-play capability takes you straight to your DVD movie, music CD, video, or photo slide show without requiring you to turn on the notebook first. (You simply have to press the P key to launch the Windows-independent PowerCinema application.) The Sentia's speakers aren't bad for a small unit, especially when playing CDs, but we found that DVD movies were almost inaudible, even with the volume on full.
Alienware doesn't sell docking stations, but you have a fair number of expansion options with this notebook. Although tedious to access because of the cover's nine small screws, the large bottom compartment houses an upgradeable hard drive and both memory slots. Removing one bottom screw releases the left-side optical drive (a DVD burner at this price), in case you ever need to replace it. The Sentia has an ExpressCard slot, too, and its media-card reader accepts four storage types: SD Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, and MultiMediaCard.
Your battery, however, is limited to one rear-mounted six-cell power pack that lasted 2 hours, 53 minutes in our tests--one of the shortest-lasting batteries we've tested. The Sentia offers Wi-Fi but no off switch, so there's no saving power that way.
If basic business applications are all you need, you'll want to spring for Microsoft Works 8. (The Windows Media Center Edition operating system and a remote control are an option, but seem like overkill for a small notebook with weak speakers.) The user manuals that Alienware provides are complete and helpful, including a travel folder with pockets for system-restore CDs.
Alienware takes a nice step out of the high-power desktop world into the ultraportable market with the Sentia m3200.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 2 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Peak performance from a home entertainment heavyweight
- 3 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- Computex 2018: The VAIO laptop returns lighter than ever - but there's a catch
- Computex 2018: Everything new announced and shown by MSI
- Computex 2018: Lenovo hit back at Project Precog with 2nd-gen Yoga Book
- Computex 2018: ASUS reach for the sky with Project Precog
- WWDC 2018: Apple Introduces macOS Mojave
PCW Evaluation Team
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
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.
- Computex 2018: Everything you missed at Asia's biggest tech tradeshow
- Computex 2018: Nvidia launches new AI-focused hardware and software platforms
- Huawei P20 Pro review: See it and believe the hype
- 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