Home » Computing » Laptop » Alienware M11x - 11.6in Gaming Laptop » Connections, Keyboard, Touchpad & AV

Alienware M11x - 11.6in Gaming Laptop - Connections, Keyboard, Touchpad & AV

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

9/10

Review Price £582.37

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.

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scamevoli

April 23, 2010, 3:02 pm

A wonderful machine. I'm sure they would sell bucketloads of them if they only got rid of the oh-so-embarassing alien heads and related guff so that people could use them in public places. As it is, I would have to cover it in brown paper - just like all my special magazines...

poor man jim

April 23, 2010, 5:05 pm

"...we can't think of a single "gaming laptop" worthy"





It's been long discontinued but the Epson Endeavor NA801 from Japan was certainly worthy. 13" with a 8600M GT at 1.8kgs (including an internal optical drive).





I'm surprised however you didn't mention the LG P310. 13" screen, Intel P9500, 9600M GT - 1.6kgs. I think it's still available from LG in countries like Germany (a UK keyboard option was offered on the older P300).





I have a real problem with 11" and 1.99kgs. Okay, the 8 cell battery would add some weight but the cooling required for the low voltage CPU isn't an issue. If LG managed cooling a much hotter CPU/GPU needing only 1.6kgs (and this was years ago), surely Dell/Alienware could've done much better.





I for one am not impressed with this super chubby monster.

Stuea4

April 23, 2010, 5:54 pm

I hate you TR. Why did you have to publish this review on my Payday? :p Now I've got money burning a hole in my pocket and I'm trying to find excuses not to order! Gah!

Castalan

April 23, 2010, 6:13 pm

Completely agree with scamevoli - I'd like a fast gaming laptop just like this - but why does it have to be the equivalent of the 80's ghetto blaster from the audio section at Dixons





If I'm going to drop £1700 quid on a laptop it had better be fast AND look understated and desirable - not look like something a 13 year old might draw on the back of his homework diary ....

hankb6d

April 23, 2010, 6:37 pm

Hmmm the Sammy R780 is tempting me

TheLostSwede

April 23, 2010, 7:20 pm

Meh, it's already outdated, the new Acer TimelineX series comes with a Core i7 620M and a Mobility Radeon HD 5650 with switchable graphics. Albeit at a larger 13.3-inches and 1.8kg, but I'd willing to do that tradeoff, especially considering the fact that it's cheaper http://edu.acer.com.sg/nyp/con...

poor man jim

April 23, 2010, 8:55 pm

TheLostSwede's nailed it. Now that's a laptop spec worth recommending. Shame though it's for the Singapore market. The only UK based 3820TG I can find is equipped with the slower i5 and 5470. Nothing currently mentioned on the Acer UK website...

ilovethemonkeyhead

April 24, 2010, 4:20 am

i have this one, with the 500GB harddrive and the pentium su4100. it's phenomenal. sometime you've just got to take the plunge and jump in, without worrying about whats coming soon. i was going to wait see if they release ones with optimus or core i processors, but to be frank, it's good enough as it is now.





synaptics have a multi touch driver for most synaptics touchpads, including this alienware. i use it now, and the multi touch works better than a bootcamped macbook.





http://forums.hardwarezone.com...





plus there are some hacked optimus drivers that apparently work pretty well, also. though i'm yet to try them.

Jay Pain

April 25, 2010, 3:56 am

The Asus UL series are OK at gaming

Daniel Gerson

April 26, 2010, 12:33 am

I'm so glad TR gave it a 9/10. My sentiments are the same.


I bought the laptop in Feb before the review, purely based on specs and what I found on the web. This was unnerving because sometimes specs hide the true picture of usability. For the sake of sanity I wish the laptop review had come out earlier. Everyone I've read from using the Asus UL series bitch and moan about the trackpad's button click which is terrible.





Had the Acer that TheLostSwede mentioned been out at the time, I may have opted for it because of the processor (and I can find sentiments about actually using it)... but in my searching it wasn't available at the time so no regrets.





Only two negatives. 1) The mottled plastic on the front did scratch on my belt buckle when lying down with the laptop on my legs, but asking for scratch-proof is probably a bit much. 2) The reflective screen.





I have some gripes about the multitouch software Scrybe from synaptics which you need to download to catch up to and surpass the mac... but these are really feature requests (like the 3 finger menu is a little too easy to fire off and no finger control to get rid of the dialog and have to resort to ESC) but these are software issues.

Petrov

April 26, 2010, 2:25 pm

Has anyone tried installing an HSDPA card (not having one is a killer for me), to see if it works? Also, would installing said card yourself void the warranty?

MrGodfrey

April 26, 2010, 4:22 pm

A silly question, but: What is the point of an 11.6" gaming laptop?





That's not a rhetorical question, I am genuinely curious. I have owned many PCs and laptops over the years, but it's never occurred to me to play games (other than the most basic ones) on a small-screen laptop. Presumably you would generally connect it to an external monitor or TV for gaming?

Daniel Gerson

April 26, 2010, 8:32 pm

@MrGodfrey. Everyone seems to forget that a gaming laptop doubles as a mutlimedia machine for 3D work, video editing, image editing etc... and other tasks where you can leverage the hardware. And finally such a machine that enables you to do stuff on the go!!!





When you are at home you can always connect it to a bigger screen.





@Scamevoli The alienware bling is not so bad when you only turn on the keyboard backlighting and switch off all other lights (which you can do).

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