Alienware 18

There's a premium to be paid, but the massive Alienware 18 is a show-off-worthy desktop replacement that takes down even the newest PC games and is just plain fun to use.


8.4
CNET Rating


Sometimes nothing will satisfy quite like a desktop-dominating monster with an 18-inch screen and a body built like a tank. After a couple of years of ultrabooks and hybrids, it's surprising how much fun a huge PC, one that barely qualifies to be called a laptop, can be. That's the appeal of the Alienware 18, a rare entry in the oversized gaming laptop space.

Design

A laptop? Technically speaking. Portable? Only in the broadest sense of the word. The Alienware 18 weighs a back-breaking 5.5 kilos without its brick-like power cable and 7 kilos with it. At 2.3 inches thick, it feels as if the keyboard and touch pad are hovering over your desk rather than resting on it.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

That issue creates one of the major ergonomic problems I had with the system. The lid itself is thick, so the keyboard sits 1.75 inches above the table versus less than a quarter of an inch for many slim laptops. For gamers who spend a lot of their time with fingers poised on the WASD keys, that can mean your arm and wrist are raised at an awkward angle.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Because the chassis is so large, the standard-size keyboard is set well back from any of the edges. The backlit touch pad is a good size and keeps separate physical left and right mouse buttons rather than using a newer clickpad-style surface. The touch pad is fully backlit, can glow in any of a couple of dozen colours and lights up when touched.


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The Alienware 18 has an 18.4-inch display, with a full 1920x1080-pixel native resolution. Playing games pushed all the way to 1080p resolution is stunning, especially games with a lot of eye candy. One issue with the 18-inch screen is that 1080p may not be enough for the highest-end gamers any more.

Performance

Now, it's clear that Alienware parent Dell stacked the deck by sending us a system configured with nearly every high-priced upgrade possible. The Alienware 18 starts at US$2099 and can be ordered with either Windows 7 or Windows 8. Our review configuration included an upgraded Intel Core i7 processor, a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD)/750GB hard drive storage combo, two Nvidia GeForce 780M graphics cards and a whopping 32GB of RAM, possibly the first time we've tested a laptop with that much memory. The cost? A budget-breaking US$4249. (The closest Australian configuration, with 16GB of RAM, runs north of AU$5500.)


(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The Alienware 18, as configured, ran our BioShock Infinite test (high settings, 1920x1080) at 141 frames per second. The Alienware 14 from earlier this year ran that same test at only 35 frames per second. The very challenging Metro: Last Light test, also at high-quality/high-resolution settings, ran at 35.3fps. Dell's current Alienware 17, with a single GeForce 780M card, ran that same test at 18.7fps.

In an anecdotal test with the Alienware 18, I loaded up Battlefield 4, a new high-end game that's much more ambitious on a PC than on consoles. I was able to crank the video setting up to "ultra" at 1080p without a problem.

Of course, if you're looking for all that performance and decent battery life, too, you're out of luck. The Alienware turned in battery life numbers the likes of which we haven't seen in some time, running for just two hours and 25 minutes in our video playback battery drain test. Note that the GPUs aren't taxed during this test, so actual gaming time could be even less.

Conclusion

Fully tricked out, as our review model was, it's hard not to like the Alienware 18 as a game-playing monster, but it's so big it's likely to eat all your desk space, and gamers this serious are just as likely to go with a build-it-yourself (or at least configure-it-yourself) gaming desktop. Aside from a few ergonomic tics, however, using the system was just plain fun, especially when it easily ate through the latest PC games.

Via CNET.com

Previous Story

Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus

Computers
Next Story

Origin EON17-SLX



Add Your Review 3


* Below fields optional


Post comment as
 

BennyC posted a comment   
Australia

I have an Alienware desktop - great performance.


Better value if one was to buy it in the USA.

 

StephenC6 posted a comment   

I have the previous model to this a M18Xr2 and its a absolute beast could not be happier, if this model has improved on that then I would imagine it must be some machine indeed, not to keen on the new look though.

 

SadisticPhysco posted a comment   
Australia

Where Is The Link To Download This Laptop?




Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments  Alienware 18

  • BennyC

    BennyC

    "I have an Alienware desktop - great performance.


    Better value if one was to buy it in the USA."

  • StephenC6

    StephenC6

    "I have the previous model to this a M18Xr2 and its a absolute beast could not be happier, if this model has improved on that then I would imagine it must be some machine indeed, not to keen on the ..."

  • SadisticPhysco

    SadisticPhysco

    "Where Is The Link To Download This Laptop?"

CNET Speedtest

Recently Viewed Products