Let’s begin with a cliche: big things come in small packages. Rarely has that statement been so fitting when it comes to Dell’s crazy new 11-inch gaming laptop. Pulling from the design of its bigger and beefier brothers, the Alienware M15x and Alienware M17x, the M11x packs a lot of power into a little box. Read on for our first impressions.
Given some of Dell’s recent efforts, we were wondering if they’d be able to pull off any big tricks in terms of exciting new products for CES. It’s nice to not be disappointed—frankly, the M11x is anything but. Dell is pushing the device as something of a ‘best of both worlds’ gaming laptop. The biggest problems when it comes to gaming laptops are typically the immense size/weight of the systems and the generally terrible battery life. The M11x tackles these issues with its diminutive size–it’s heavier than most ultraportables, but very manageable–and its hybrid operating mode.
The hybrid graphics mode works similarly to the systems introduced in other laptops. Essentially, when you’re looking to get the most battery life out of your system, just surfing the web and sending out emails or listening to music, you leave the system using its integrated graphics chips. Hitting a switch, however, engages the much more powerful NVIDIA GeForce GT335m. Dell claims that the system will run Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 at more than 30 frames per second at the panel’s native resolution (as yet unknown, but either 1280×720 or 1366×768). In integrated graphics mode, the company says users can expect to get around 6 hours of battery life, while in high-performance mode, users can expect around 2.
The M11x is surprisingly capable and fun to use. It looks a little chunky in the pictures, but it feels a lot thinner in person. Let’s be honest, we can’t really expect a gaming laptop to hit eleven inches and still maintain a super svelte figure. Dell takes advantage of that extra thickness, too, by adding USB ports, FireWire, VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort and a card reader. It also features the same design stylings users have come to expect from the new Alienware lines—the industrial, squared-off edges, backlit keyboard and even AlienFX lights shining through the front edges of the machine.
What can you expect to pay for the laptop? Well, you might be surprised. We were informed that users will be able to buy the Alienware M11x for under a thousand dollars, which, as most people will guess, probably means we’ll see it available for something close to $999.99. Expensive for an 11-inch laptop these days, sure‐but given its unique feaures and abilities, I’ve no doubt it’ll be a commercial success.
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