Alienware 14 Review

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 Specifications

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

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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