30 January, 2011

Alienware M11x R2 Review

Dell enjoyed overnight success with the Alienware M11x earlier this year. This 11-inch notebook outperforms many larger laptops and is priced below $1000. Unfortunately for Dell, consumers quickly started asking for an Alienware M11x with Intel Core i7 processors. Now, less than 6 months after the release of the M11x comes the M11x R2 with Intel Core i7 and Nvidia Optimus technology for automatic graphics switching. Is this the perfect M11x? The answer might surprise you.

Our review unit of the Alienware M11x R2 features the following specifications:
  • 1.20GHz Intel Core i7 640UM (4MB Cache, max turbo frequency 2.266GHz)
  • 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 (2 x 2GB)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 11.6" WXGA WideHD LED Backlit display (1366x768)
  • 500GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • Nvidia GeForce GT 335M Discrete Graphics (1GB GDDR3) with switchable Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics
  • 802.11b/g/n, 10/100 LAN
  • 3-in-1 card reader
  • 8-Cell Li-ion 64WH battery, 90W Power Supply
  • Dimensions: (W x L x H) 11.25" x 9.19" x 1.29"
  • Weight: 4.4lbs
  • Starting price: $799.99
  • Price as configured: $1,299.99
Build and Design
We reviewed the Alienware M11x a short while ago and the new "Revision 2" (R2) version of the M11x is virtually identical. Anyone familiar with the other gaming notebooks in the Alienware family should instantly recognize the design of the new M11x. In many ways the designers at Alienware tried to make this 11-inch notebook look like a tiny twin of the 15-inch M15x or the 17-inch M17x. A large part of that design heritage is the unique style of Alienware machines. Many laptops look all but identical when the lids are closed, but an Alienware laptop stands out thanks to the stylized lid with futuristic lines and a silver alien head logo. The biggest design change with the M11x R2 is the new "Soft Touch Stealth Black" finish. Compared to the old glossy black finish on the original M11x, the new exterior feels like it's coated in a rubberized protective layer similar to a business-class ThinkPad.

Also like a ThinkPad, the M11x R2 maintains the boxy design of the original M11x without a tapered edge like most notebooks. Laptops like the Dell Inspiron 11z or the HP Envy series get thinner as you move to the outside edges and thicker toward the center of the notebook. The chassis of the M11x doesn't do that because Alienware engineers needed all that space for the discrete graphics card, extra cooling, and the integrated battery. The integrated battery is also something to keep in mind when talking about the thickness of this notebook. The M11x might seem thick with its height of 1.29 inches, but if you buy the Dell Inspiron 11z or Lenovo IdeaPad U150 with 6-cell extended life batteries then they are actually thicker than this Alienware machine.

by : notebookreview

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