DL Shoot-out: Best performance
Massive, powerful and expensive. These words best describe the Alienware 18, the latest powerhouse from Dell's Alienware gaming sub-brand.
This 18.4-inch laptop has a new design that is more subdued than the previous version. Do not worry. The distinctive glowing Alien head logo is still there and there are plenty of LED lights to satisfy most Alienware fans. If that is not enough, the touchpad is now backlit too.
It is not an Alienware machine without the LED effects. The LEDs of the backlit keyboard can be programmed, among other effects, to send pulses at a certain frequency.
The keyboard feels extremely tactile due to its good key travel. The user can also define custom actions for an extra nine macro keys on the keyboard.
The 1,920 x 1,080-pixel screen uses PLS (plane-to-line switching) technology that is practically as good as an IPS (in-plane switching) version. While I usually prefer a matte display, I did not mind the glossy version on the Alienware 18 as it is bright with excellent viewing angles.
The Alienware 18 has everything but the kitchen sink. From a Blu-ray drive to a Wi-Fi adaptor supporting the latest 802.11ac standard, this laptop includes the latest technologies. Alienware has even overclocked the high-end Intel Haswell processor inside this laptop.
Compared with its solid-state drive-equipped rivals, the 750GB hard drive on the Alienware 18, even with a 64GB SSD cache to improve response time, is its weakest link.
But the key feature has to be its dual Nvidia GeForce 780M graphics chips. And this is where the Alienware 18 excels - it runs the latest games at the highest settings with graphics power to spare. This visual excellence is well-complemented by the 2.1 audio set-up on the Alienware 18, which provides excellent, punchy audio.
The Alienware 18 is for gamers who want the very best features and performance and are willing to pay its steep price.
Processor: Intel Core i7-4900MQ (2.8GHz)
Graphics: Dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M 4GB GDDR5
Screen size: 18.4 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Connectivity: HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, 4 x USB 3.0, SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, microphone and headphone jacks
Value for money: 4/10
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