Alienware Xiv Review Together With Details Inward The Persuasion Of Hd Display Together With Gaming Point

"There's a M sparse notebooks out there. If you lot desire one, there's plenty of options," says Alienware's Frank Azor. Here at E3, the company's announcing the outset novel industrial blueprint for its laptops inward 4 years... too yet where most firms are focusing their efforts on ever-thinner machines (see: the Razer Blade), all of Alienware's latest products are actually thicker than their predecessors.

They're slabs. They're tanks.
Take the novel Alienware 14, for example. At 1.6 inches thick, you lot tin stack 2 MacBook Airs on make of each other too solely come upward up to the base. Also, the laptop weighs a total 6 pounds. "We desire our users to live physically fit," Azor japes.

But what's within that 14-inch parcel is a gamer's dream.

A novel   identity

I can't quite depict precisely how refreshing it is to write most a laptop that looks absolutely nada similar an Apple MacBook. Alienware's blueprint linguistic communication has ever been a Blue Planet apart from practically anything else on the market, every bit the fellowship strove to create machines that evoked living alien creatures, alongside gaudy lighting seeping out of their frame.
Today's Alienware fourteen blueprint shares much alongside its predecessors, but it's to a greater extent than angular, to a greater extent than reserved, to a greater extent than precise. When you lot opened upward the finely textured aluminum lid alongside its glowing slits too sentinel the keyboard, trackpad, too underbody calorie-free upward inward anticipation of your commands, it almost feels similar you've stumbled upon an alien artifact.
At 6 pounds too 1.6 inches thick, it's non the most comfortable artifact to bear to a greater extent than or less or stuff into sure kinds of bags, but the reinforced magnesium alloy frame is every bit rigid too rigid every bit I've ever seen on a consumer-grade laptop. There's no flex, no creak, fifty-fifty when grabbing the base of operations at contrary corners too twisting alongside a adept bargain of force. If non for the spinning difficult drive too LCD screen, I'd in all likelihood own got no qualms most occasionally dropping it on the ground.
The machine mightiness non live a seamless unibody hunk of machined metal, but it feels crafted inward a agency that makes sense for gamers. The dark soft-touch surfaces give the laptop a dark, silky, grippy, premium feel, too insulate the hands from heat. Meanwhile, there's plenty metallic to brand the machine rigid too to grab the eye, without appearing every bit garish every bit previous generations.
The Alienware fourteen doesn't own got every port you lot could mayhap desire (Thunderbolt? HDMI input? VGA?) but all the majors are hither too most every bit plentiful every bit you'd expect: iii USB 3.0 ports, iii 3.5mm audo jacks, HDMI out, an SD bill of fare slot, a Gigabit Ethernet socket, too a lock slot. The USB ports are nicely spaced, alongside i on the correct too 2 slightly apart on the left, too a slot-loading DVD (or optional Blu-ray drive) is nevertheless to a greater extent than or less for movies too disc-based installation.

Don't skimp on the screen

The unmarried best change, though, is that Alienware has all but done away alongside distractingly glossy screens. Even the base of operations $1,199 Alienware fourteen has a matte panel, although it's a low-res 1366 x 768 deal. What you'll want, grade my words, is the gorgeous 300-nit 1080p IPS panel that Alienware offers every bit a $150 upgrade. While you lot tin surely brand out some jagged edges if you lot facial expression closed — it's non quite upward in that place alongside the panels inward the Chromebook Pixel or MacBook Pro alongside Retina Display — it's crisp too clear at typing distance from the screen, viewing angles are excellent, too the colors precisely leap to life. Blacks are deep too dark plenty to play games too movies that assay to depict night. And honestly, it's the correct pick for gamers — 1080p is the correct resolution for the amount of gaming performance inward this machine, too this is the best 14-inch 1080p panel I've seen.
It's too a adept plenty hide that you lot mightiness desire to seriously consider Dell's Blu-ray drive option. The Dark Knight looked great. It's a adept plenty hide that I sort of wishing the Alienware fourteen had an HDMI input too then I could plug inward my Xbox too PlayStation.
Audio character isn't quite every bit stellar, but it's nevertheless surprisingly adept for a laptop. Klipsch-tuned drivers alongside Dolby Home Theatre v4 processing brand for reasonably crisp, reasonably loud performance that industrial plant especially good for all the tiny footling sounds that accompany activity sequences inward games too movies.

Soft, sleek, sharp

Practically every surface of the Alienware fourteen is coated inward silky polish soft-touch rubber, too that includes the keys: a full, comfortable traditional keyboard (no chiclets here) alongside customizable RGB backlighting. The beveled keys don't own got quite every bit much move every bit you lot mightiness facial expression from a gaming keyboard, but they're fairly deep, comfortable, too responsive, too brand a muted clack that offers precisely plenty aural feedback without waking nearby sleepers. I genuinely vastly preferred the typing experience hither to that on my MacBook Air, too ended upward typing the entire review on the Alienware fourteen itself. My biggest peeve too then far is the same every bit on many Apple laptops: when typing at length, the rakish front end border of the machine digs into my wrists.
Alienware's Synaptics-sourced touchpad too ranks amid my favorites on a Windows machine. For i thing, the whole surface (not precisely the edge) lights upward inward whatever color you'd like, but for some other it's quite polish too responsive. While the mylar surface is nevertheless a ways behind the finely etched drinking glass inward the Chromebook Pixel too MacBook Pro touchpads, it's fairly slick, too there's no interrogation that the tactile, soft-touch coated mouse buttons beneath that trackpad are the best I've used inward years. Oddly, two-finger scrolling too most other gestures are turned off yesteryear default, but they seem to run okay.

Screaming fast, alongside caveats

For $1,199, the Alienware fourteen comes alongside a quad-core 2.4GHz Core i7-4700MQ processor fresh from Intel's latest Haswell batch, Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics, 8GB of memory, 750GB of storage on a traditional spinning drive, too the touchstone 1366 x 768 resolution screen. That's non the configuration I tested, though: I got the same processor, but chose the GeForce GTX 765M GPU (an additional $150) too 16GB of RAM to assistance drive games on that lovely 1080p display.

And how: alongside that configuration, the Alienware fourteen simply blazed. I ran the demanding Battlefield 3 butter-smooth at 1080p too medium settings, alongside 1080p high playable inward a pinch. I practically maxed out Max Payne 3 at 1080p alongside no issue, salve tesselation too fancier forms of antialiasing. Borderlands 2 ran nearly maxed, fifty-fifty alongside PhysX gear upward to medium, allowing us to relish the powerfulness to create a miniature dark hole too sentinel all the game's unloosen debris, blood, too stuff instruct sucked inward during a firefight, too even The Witcher 2— which seems to loathe laptop computers — reached the threshold of playability at 1080p too medium detail.
Max Payne 31080p, real high1080p, real high1080p, real high
Borderlands 21080p, high + PhysX1080p, high1080p, high + PhysX
Battlefield 31080p, medium to high1080p, medium1080p, high
The Witcher 21080p, medum1080p, low1080p, medium

But does it play Crysis? Yes, it does: even Crysis 3 ran playably at 1080p too depression settings, providing a pretty reliable thirty frames per 2d inward some extremely challenging video game environments. Compare to the gaming behemoths nosotros reviewed precisely a few months ago, too we're practically getting the powerfulness of a 17-inch machine inward a 14-inch shape factor.

There are a dyad of caveats, though: our review unit of measurement to live some issues maintaining those framerates inward all of the laptop's dissimilar powerfulness modes. For i thing, the instant you lot unplug the machine, but there's an instant framerate dip. In many games, I measured a driblet of nearly twenty percent, plenty to plough a borderline playable experience into a completely unplayable i if you're trying to play on real high settings.
For another, the Alienware fourteen mysteriously has 2 dissimilar graphics modes: the "switchable" agency where both Intel too Nvidia graphics are active, too the "discrete" agency alongside solely Nvidia. You demand to genuinely restart the machine too hitting Fn + F5 to swap betwixt them. Why are in that place 2 modes when most laptops tin automatically switch betwixt the 2 graphics cards? Alienware says that Microsoft requires it for Windows 8, but it's too worth noting that the "switchable" agency doesn't reliably switch on my review unit.
I ended upward having to run all my games inward discrete mode, because no affair what I did, sure games wouldn't discovery the Nvidia GPU too framerates plummeted every bit a result. I saw r15 frames per 2d in Battlefield 3 in switchable mode. And yet you lot won't desire to run inward discrete agency all the time, because that GPU drains the battery much faster fifty-fifty when you're non gaming. In discrete mode, the Alienware fourteen solely managed 2 hours, 33 minutes on our Verge Battery Test, but it lasted iii hours too 57 minutes inward "switchable" mode. That's non bad for a gaming machine, lasting nearly 4 hours if you're willing to restart the reckoner earlier you lot start out browsing the spider web too performing other tasks. As you'd expect, battery life is fairly weak when unplugged. In add-on to the framerate dip, I got less than an hr ofBorderlands 2 on a charge.
So basically, correct now, you lot own got to direct betwixt gaming performance too battery life at whatever given time, but perhaps non for long. Alienware's hoping a novel Nvidia driver mightiness cook the handoff betwixt switchable too discrete powerfulness modes.
While you're playing those games, you lot won't necessarily live singeing your fingers too lap. I fully expected the Alienware fourteen to boom out rut nether load, too it does, but most of that rut gets exhausted out the raise vent. The soft-touch covered palm rests don't instruct to a greater extent than than comfortably warm to the touch, too provided you're wearing pants, it's to a greater extent than of a lap warmer than a burning sensation running total blast. The machine does demand its infinite to vent hot air, though: when I covered either the intake or the exhaust slightly, I noticed the framerate dip.
If it isn't yet clear that Alienware marches to the crunch of its ain drummer, the company's pick of operating arrangement should seal the deal: it's Windows 7, rather than Windows 8, too most every bit bone-stock a Windows vii ikon every bit you lot tin get. (You tin pick Windows 8 from the company's configurator, but gamers tin live a conservative bunch when it comes to such things. The alternative is appreciated.) Alienware includes Steam too its ain Alien apps for customization too tuning (AlienFX genuinely dynamically changes the laptop's lighting to stand upward for the activity every bit you lot play a number of games.), but that's most it.

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