Alienware 14

Score

Pros

  • Distinct design with customisable lighting
  • Strong performance
  • Plays games brilliantly

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Extremely loud fans when strained
  • Slow charging and average battery

Key Features

  • 14-inch 1920x1080 display
  • 2.7kg
  • Intel Core i7 4700MQ 2.4GHz processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD + 750GB 7,200rpm
  • Nvidia GeForce 765M Graphics
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First reviewed October 2013

What is the Alienware 14?

Alienware, the sub brand of Dell

devoted to gaming machines, is back with its 2013 range of laptops.

Ranging from 14-inch to 18.4-inches, today we’ll be looking at the

smallest of the models, though we use the term loosely: at 2.7kg and 40mm thick, it’s still pretty chunky for a modern laptop.

It’s aimed

squarely at the serious gaming market, and the Alienware 14 comes head-to-head with the likes of Asus’ Republic of Gamers models, like the 17.3-inch Asus G750JX we liked so much recently. Can Alienware topple the Republic?

Watch our Alienware 14 video review:

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Laptops

Alienware 14 – Design & Build Quality

The

Alienware range is certainly distinct to the look: all glowing lights

and futuristic, angular design. It’s about as far as can be removed from

parent company Dell’s standard laptops as is imaginable, and it’s not

to everyone’s tastes, but people will certainly know which brand of

laptop you have.

14-inch laptops are typically small and light, but

the Alienware 14 has quite a girth on it: it’s 40mm thick and feels as chunky as it looks. Naturally, it feels solidly built

and weighty, too. It’s clearly made of quality components as the £949

starting price suggests (this specific model is a lot more, but more on

that later).

When closed, it all looks pretty minimalist – just a black

casing with the alien-face logo the company is known for (this glows to

your personalised colour when open).

SEE ALSO: Best Gaming Laptops

Alienware 14

Switching

the machine on changes that as the keyboard, the logo, the power button

and a line all the way around the laptop is lit up in the colour of your

choice. Even the touch pad lights up in your own customised colour

when touched. Gaudy or stylish depends on personal taste, but there’s no

denying that a lot of the cost goes on the aesthetics.

Even on

the 14-inch model, Alienware manages to fit quite a lot of ports and

jacks: two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, a 7-in-1 card

reader, mini-DisplayPort, an Ethernet jack and then three audio

ports, one microphone, one headphone and one specifically designed for

gaming headsets. Finally, there’s also room for a slot loading DVD drive

– great for PC games, even in these days of digital distribution.

Alienware 14

Alienware 14 – Screen Quality

The

first thing to note about the Alienware 14’s screen is that it doesn’t

have any touch functionality. Like the Asus gaming laptop we loved, this

isn’t a big deal at all: it’s for the likes of Call of Duty, not Angry

Birds.

Other than that, it’s a good screen. The brightness is

good, scoring 276 in our tests – above average, but a way behind our

leader: the 422 scored on the Microsoft Surface Pro 2.

The colours are also good – not too far off the ideal of 6500k at

6928k.

A DeltaE score of 4.66 is a means colour accuracy is a little below average, but the the Alienware 14 makes up for this with its outstanding contrast. Contrast measures 1,425:1, noticeably higher than any other we’ve tested, and it really shows in videos where you’ll enjoy deep, clean blacks. This helps games, too, though it’s worth noting our Alienware 14 came with the upgrade 1,920 x 1,080 screen, not the entry-level 1,366 x 768 screen of the starting spec.

The

viewing angles are excellent, and we could still read text from

virtually side-on to the screen. A really nice display, suitable for

gaming, watching videos and very sharp internet browsing.

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