The undisputed heavyweight king of the gaming laptop world
Portability is desirable, which is why we admire the MSI Ghost’s ability to fit a decent gaming spec into a slimline chassis, but if all you’re interested in is winning, you’ll need a weightier machine. The Alienware 18 is just that; weighing in at 5.5kg and as thick as three standard-sized laptops stacked on top of one another, it will require its own backpack.
What’s taking up all that space? Well, there’s the same 2.4GHz quadcore Intel Core i7 processor, although here it can be overclocked to 3.5GHz, a choice of 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and double the graphical force. It’s those dual Nvidia GeForce 880M graphics cards that really provide the kind of killer performance that many desktop PCs would struggle to emulate. Needless to say, all of the games we tested ran silky smooth and looked stunning on the 18-inch, 1920x1080 screen.
It may be big, but it’s certainly not slow. Thanks to a hybrid drive that combines a hard disk with lightning-fast solid-state storage – you can upgrade it from 500GB to 1TB if you so choose – this Alienware 18 can boot up in a trice and load games at pace.
That imposing frame also allows for engaging speakers. The Klipsch-certified noisemakers’ rich, deep sound puts most laptops’ tinny audio to shame.
The one let down here is battery life. Despite having the space to pack in a hulking cell, the incredible power demands of that dual-GPU setup mean juice is guzzled at an alarming rate. You’ll get two or three hours of gameplay maximum before you need to hunt out a plug socket. However, that’s the price you pay for such a formidable system.
Yes, it’s bulky and expensive, and if you want a regular work-appropriate laptop that can do a spot of gaming on the side, this is not for you. If you want to destroy gaming opponents, though, there’s little better. Love Dual GPU setup for top performance. Boots in seconds. Powerful and punchy stereo speakers Hate Large, heavy and expensive – especially if you max out the spec. Battery life is disappointing T3 Says The most powerful gaming laptop you can get. Non-gamers need not apply