The M14x doesn’t just look like an (elegant) brick, it’s built like one too. Build quality is up there with the best: all the panels are so solid as to barely flex no matter how hard you press, the screen and hinge are solid as a rock, and everything is precisely fitted and finished.
Of course, that solidity combined with the high-end components and a large capacity battery comes at a price, as this is one of the heaviest 14in laptops around. However, along with its premium look, feel and build, its presentation is great, with a nice felt carrying pouch provided to protect it from scuffs and scratches while out and about.
Connectivity is, quite simply, the best we’ve come across on a laptop this size. Along the left we have not only the usual VGA and HDMI 1.4 video outputs, but they’re joined by a mini DisplayPort output too, so hooking up to the highest-resolution 30in monitors without adapters shouldn’t be a problem. Audio likewise covers every base, with three 3.5mm jacks allowing for analogue surround sound systems to be connected, or allowing a setup where you have optical audio going out to a digital system while still allowing you to plug in analogue headphones and a microphone.
Here you’ll also find a sleep-and-charge USB 2.0 port (unfortunately it’s not an eSATA combo port), followed by a memory card reader and what we can only assume is a SIM-slot, though there’s no 3G option listed on the site. Wireless duties are handled by the usual Bluetooth and Wi-Fi N combo, though both are optional modules that cost extra. You can also upgrade to Killer Wi-Fi N for an extra £30.
Around the right are two USB 3.0 ports, which are kept black rather than the usual blue (we approve), and a Gigabit Ethernet port. There’s a great-looking slot-loading DVD writer, though unfortunately you can’t upgrade this to a Blu-ray drive. Admittedly PC games aren’t available on Blu-ray yet but few people are likely to buy this as a secondary machine, so it would have been nice to at least have the option for movies.