Maximum performance, minimum size
Who says you can’t have gaming performance in a tiny form factor? Not Alienware, that’s for sure. They’ve just released the latest version of its Alienware 13, a 13-inch form factor gaming laptop that is as powerful as portable. It’s certainly not a budget machine, but to squeeze so much hardware into such a tiny chassis is a remarkable achievement indeed.
The biggest update to this year’s version is the beautiful OLED screen. It truly is a wonder to behold, with the richest colours and contrast we’ve ever seen on a laptop. Despite being just 13 inches, it’s a crisp 2560 x 1440 resolution, and there’s not a hint of motion blur. It’s also fully multi-touch compatible. We expected to see a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti inside, but Alienware has magically managed to fit a GeForce GTX 1060 within, delivering impeccable performance for a machine of this size.
The chassis is relatively simply black square, though a couple of angular lines on the outside hint at the power within. Part of the design is very interesting – the screen is a couple of centimetres forwards from the rear, in front of the fans, helping to keep the fan noise down. Even though it’s such a tiny chassis, the keyboard feels like a full-sized keyboard, and the touchpad is accurate and responsive. It has a 2.2mm key travel, allowing for extremely rapid response, and of course there’s full RGB control across every key. There aren’t any dedicated macro keys, but we can’t complain given the size. Twin cameras above the screen allow for Windows Hello, which is a biometric way of replacing passwords. Alienware has managed to fit a large number of I/O ports around the edges of the chassis, including USB 3.0 type C, twin, USB 3 Type A, headphone and mic, Thunderbolt 3/ USB 3.0 Type C, HDMI out, a card reader and Ethernet.
Backing up the excellent graphics hardware is the darling of the mobile gaming world, Intel’s i7-7700HQ CPU, which has hyperthreaded quad cores that boost up to 3.8GHz. There’s also 16GB of DDR4 memory, but there’s just a single 256GB SSD, a necessary compromise given the laptop’s size.
We benchmarked this machine against HP’s Omen, which has the same GeForce GTX 1060. However, the Omen uses Nvidia’s new Max-Q design, which limits the frequency of the GPU. As you can see, there’s quite a gap in performance between the two, yet the Alienware wasn’t incredibly loud.
Alienware has magically managed to fit a GeForce GTX 1060 within, delivering impeccable performance
It may be rather pricey, but this is the ultimate mobile gaming machine. And with that delicious display combined with the power GPU, it really is a great gaming machine.