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Alienware 13 Gaming Laptop review

by on September 6, 2016
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Price

1299.99

Positives

Vivid OLED display
Great graphics
Excellent audio quality
Great keyboard

Negatives

CPU performance could be better
Runs a bit hot

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Bottom Line
 

The Alienware 13 puts the most dazzling laptop screen ever in a portable design with powerful graphics performance and excellent audio.


 

Users of Alienware were very pleased with the arrival of the OLED panel which was on the cards for some time. Finally arriving, it has turned out to be all that was promised and then more, according to serious gamers. Colors are now incredibly vivid and the sound quality has been improved substantially.

In an Alienware 13 Gaming Laptop Review, we found that Alienware 13 had integrated the most dazzling screen into a portable design. Combined with powerful graphics and excellent audio it will fast become the top of the market in gaming laptops.

Panel and Visuals

On the panel which is sized at 2560 x 1440 the colors are so vibrant, you can almost see them with your eyes closed! Colors are as vivid as you can get with the neons almost seeming to glow!

The visuals when the game of Tomb Raider was played will make you want to stop along the way and check out the hidden village instead of getting on with the business at hand! Each individual blade of grass seems to move on its own as Lara strides through it. Crystal clear water sending up sprays of fine mist can almost be felt on your face while the white froth at the bottom will leave you just wanting to dive right into it! It is a seriously bright panel which averages 292 nits, far outweighing the 243 average.

The Appearance

Alienware 13 Gaming Laptop

The design comprises a sturdy carbon fibre frame which is covered in anodised aluminium. The color silver which they have adopted just seems to match extremely well here. There are two distinctive LED strips which intersect and then go straight up to the company trademark of the glowing alien head. All in all the exterior has a very understated and classy feel to it.

Inside we find the black, soft touch finish with a glowing keyboard. The power button is – big surprise – disguised as an alien head! On the right-hand side, you will find a USB3.0 port along with Gigabit Ethernet. A new addition here is the USB-C port, also on the right-hand side.

On the left-hand side, we find yet another USB 3.0 port, jacks for a microphone, power adaptor, and a security lock slot. There is an additional port for Alienware’s Graphics Amp in the rear.

When we compare the laptop to others we see that it is on the large side. Take, for example, the Razor Blade which measures 13.6 x 9.3 x 0.7 and weighs just 4.25 pounds. Alienware 13 weighs in at 4.5 pounds and measures 12.9 x 9.3 x 1.04 . It is, however, the lightest in Alienware’s range.

The laptop comes with side mounted speakers which pump out enough sound to literally ‘knock your socks off!’ They give out a big sound for a small laptop! It provides a crisp, clear audio.

Graphics

Graphics on the new Alienware 13 are far superior to the older version, providing a constant 38 frames per second of visual entertainment.

The keypad is a seriously comfortable affair where you would be happy to stay for any length of time! It is a full-size traditional TactX keyboard and boasts 2.2 mm of key travel along with 60 grams of actuation it would be easy to hit 65 words per minute on a typing test. That’s well above the typical 60 words a minute! The touchpad measures 4.2 x 2.6 with the bottom corners of the touchpad being the right and left buttons. There is an audible noise when using these buttons.

Command Centre

Alienware’s Command Centre allows you to configure not only the backlighting but also power settings. You may also set in place any unique software profiles you choose. You will be able to set each of the colors of the Led to your own choice and even behaviour such as Morph, Pulse or regular.

The possibilities are endless and you can customise as much as you want to have a subdued or crazy effect – or anything in between!   You might want to consider this though when you are travelling as all these lights will suck the battery life down.  So turning off a few until you get to a socket will be advisable. The Command Centre makes it easy for you to control which LEDs are turned off and on at any given time. You can also swap lighting patterns out at any time you please.  Not all are to everybody’s liking but then again, you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to.

Out of the Box

One of the good points with this new laptop is that the 13 inch OLED screen looks amazing here! Should you want them, there is an expensive option to add VR- ready desktop graphics.

Right out of the box you will notice that this laptop is not at the forefront of technology when it comes to performance, although it really does do very well. Where it makes up for this is in the extremely satisfying way you are able to handle things like surfing the web and playing high-resolution video games. This laptop can play modern titles like Middle Earth at very playable settings but it battled somewhat when playing Metro. That being said Metro is a sadistic game to put a laptop to the test on. It is mostly used to see if gaming hardware can handle the most intense graphics available today and here this laptop didn’t do too well.

One review stated that the display is not as finely tuned as any high-end OLED TV and the graphic options are fairly limited. One other point to consider is that the battery life while gaming is fairly short.  So you need to ensure you are able to charge the battery wherever you are gaming. The battery can only last up to 3 and a half hours on a good day and you will notice that the colors and graphics are less vibrant as the time goes on and the battery runs down. Bearing in mind that this is not a top end gaming rig, it is truly an eye-catching ensemble.

Conclusion

Although this laptop is a little heavier than others, the rounded corners give it a smaller feel and add to the already classy silver look. Being sleek it will fit into most laptop bags and backpacks. It does not come into the top price range and for what it does is actually on the low side of the price scale compared to other gaming laptops. It comes with a one year Alienware limited hardware warranty along with a 10-14 day mail-in repair service.

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