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Alienware M17x

>> Friday, July 31, 2009

The 17 inch widescreen, which is usually a sight to behold on a gaming laptop, is one of the M17x's weaker points. While the intense brightness levels (backed by two CCFL lamps) and awe inspiring 1.920 by 1.200 resolution are top notch, the screen itself has the characteristics of a mirror. The glare is magnified because the entire screen including the surrounding black borders is covered in glass. Half the time I was trying not to take notice of my reflection.

Changing the black Alienware background and minimizing surrounding light sources should help reduce glare. It's a departure from the boxy look of gaming laptops like the Falcon Northwest Fragbook DRX and Gateway P-7808u FX Edition, as the M17x's front side slopes downward at 45 degrees. Likewise, the back of the unit has a reverse slope, giving the entire frame a weird rhomboid look. The shape of the system is accentuated by an all metallic ensemble.

Gaming systems like the Sager NP8662 use a brushed aluminum lid, with plastics making up its base the M17x is completely covered in metals, and is more elegant than any other gaming laptop I've reviewed, though not impervious to the scratches and smudges that are all too common on plastic frames. You'd be hard pressed to find any exposed screws on its underside (Alienware M17x has them tucked away neatly). It's a heavy system, too, because of the heavy metals.

Alienware M17x tips the scales at 12.5 pounds, about half a pound heavier than the monstrous Fragbook DRX (12 lbs). In fact, it's one of the heaviest gaming laptops, outweighing even the P-7808u (8.9 lbs) and the Asus G71G-Q1 (9.1 lbs). Every vent, button, and key is implanted with LED lighting. The illuminated keyboard and the LED lining around the touch-pad are in plain sight and leap out at you. Upon closer inspection, you'll notice that the power button, the feather touch keys, and its signature alien head logo are also illuminated.

Even more brilliant is that each of these pieces can be coordinated with up to 20 different colors. The keyboard and adjacent numeric keypad themselves are separated into four quadrants, each of which can be infused with a different color. All of this is done through Alienware's Command Center a software interface that lets you control the lighting effects, among other system settings. The full size keyboard and the textured touch-pad are engineered to perfection, though the mouse buttons should've been less resistant.

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