Review Price £582.37
Alienware M11x - 11.6in Gaming Laptop - Connections, Keyboard, Touchpad & AV
Given the premium nature of this laptop it's no surprise to find some excellent connection options on it. Most notable is the presence not only of VGA and HDMI video connections, but also DisplayPort. One of the three USB ports also supports standby charging, which is always a useful feature to have on a laptop you're likely to travel with. Mini-FireWire is present, as is the obligatory multi-format memory card slot. A trio of audio jacks (2x headphones, 1x microphone) can be found on the right edge, but the lack of an eSATA/USB combo port may disappoint some.
Intriguingly, just above the memory card slot is a SIM card slot. Our model didn't have an HSDPA modem in it, though, and at present Dell UK doesn't appear to offer this option. If you want his feature you'll have to buy and install an HDSPA card yourself - we can confirm there's space for one. Other forms of wireless connectivity are well covered, with both Wireless-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on-hand. Gigabit Ethernet is supported, too, should you need it.
This is also a machine you can work on fairly comfortably. Though the keys on the keyboard are a shade narrower than on most laptops, it's still comfortable to type on. This fact is helped by a sensible layout and key actions that are crisp and well-defined, an asset that's also beneficial to gaming.
It's unlikely you'll use the touchpad for gaming often, but should you do so it'll do the job well. It's well-positioned, not interfering with typing noticeably, but is large enough not to feel cramped and awkward. We were particularly taken by the sharp, accurate action on the two accompanying buttons, though a little surprised to discover the pad itself doesn't support multi-touch. At the very least, two-finger scrolling would be useful.
We've already touched upon the reflectiveness of the display, which is far from ideal, but aside from this the M11x screen is very good. Its 1,366 x 768 native resolution looks extremely sharp on such a small screen, while its colour and contrast are good by laptop standards. Viewing angles are quite narrow, but on a small laptop this isn't a big problem and in some instances (e.g. working on a train/plane) the extra privacy might be preferable.
Unsurprisingly the speakers are very weak, a fact not helped by their relegation to random positions on the underside of the machine. Given this fact, their relative clarity is to be commended, but headphones and/or external speakers are still a must for regular listening.