Power play

Gam­ing on the go has never been this good.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECHNOLOGY - By aShOK KriShnan bytz@thes­tar.com.my Play the lat­est games on high set­ting; lots of cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions; plenty of handy ports. The note­book can get hot fast; it’s rather bulky and heavy.

light it up:

LooK­InG at the sheer num­ber of games headed your way this year, you’ll want the ul­ti­mate gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. En­ter the Dell Alien­ware 14, which was un­veiled at E3, and packs quite a punch in terms of hard­ware.

And it has the looks to match too — the de­sign is fu­tur­is­tic while still leav­ing lots of room for users to cus­tomise the de­vice.

About the only things that you will not like about the de­sign is the di­men­sion — which is 13.2 x 10.2 x 1.64in — and the stag­ger­ing weight of 2.77kg.

This makes the Alien­ware 14 one of the heav­i­est gam­ing lap­top for its size, but that’s only be­cause it’s packed with so much fire­power.

As the note­book is equipped with an nVidia GTX765M, we pushed it to the limit with high-end DirectX 11 games such as Bat­tle­field 4 and Cr­y­sis 3. Both games ran with no frame drops at the high­est set­ting with shad­ing and shad­ows on high.

next, we ran Tomb Raider on Ul­tra mode at the note­book’s na­tive res­o­lu­tion of 1,920 x1,080-pix­els, and it was sim­ply breath­tak­ing. The game av­er­aged about 33fps (frames per sec­ond) which was good enough to play it smoothly.

How­ever, per­for­mance comes at a price. This note­book quickly heats up un­der pres­sure and av­er­ages about 40°C when run­ning games on medium but goes higher when run­ning games at the max set­ting.

The note­book also shines in other de­part­ments. Thanks to the 4th gen­er­a­tion quad-core 2.4GHz In­tel Core i7 chip and 8GB RAM, the note­book has no prob­lem han­dling apps like Adobe Pho­to­shop and Pre­mier Pro.

Pre­mier Pro, for in­stance, ren­dered a five minute video in just one minute.

And did we say, the note­book starts up in four sec­onds?

Screen test

Dell did not cut cor­ners with the 14in antiglare screen. The dis­play is sharp, the colours are vi­brant and the view­ing an­gle is good. You are in for a treat if you plan to watch HD movies or view pho­tos.

Like most note­books, it has prob­lems with black lev­els but it shouldn’t bother you un­less you are look­ing for home the­atre fidelity.

Com­ple­ment­ing the screen are a pair of pow­er­ful Klip­sch speak­ers and this is where the size works in favour of the Alien­ware.

The speak­ers sound noth­ing like what we usu­ally get from other note­books. You can blast the mu­sic to your heart’s con­tent and the vir­tual sur­round sound is fan­tas­tic for play­ing games like Cr­y­sis. We swear we could tell where the bul­lets were com­ing from by just lis­ten­ing to the au­dio.

Also, the note­book comes with Dolby Home The­atre 4 soft­ware which has an easy in­ter­face for tweak­ing au­dio.

ports ahoy

Another area you won’t find the Alien­ware lack­ing is in the con­nec­tiv­ity depart­ment. It comes with three USB 3.0 ports, an Ehter­net jack, mi­cro­phone/head­phone jack, HDMI out, Blu-ray drive, a mini dis­play port and a me­dia card reader. It’s pretty safe to say you will not be need­ing an ac­ces­sory for adding more ports.

As this is an Alien­ware, the key­board and the track­pad are back­lit, and you can cus­tomise the colours any way you want us­ing the bun­dled soft­ware.

The track­pad’s left but­ton doesn’t re­spond fast enough for games but any re­spectable gamer would use a mouse any­way.

There is also a 2-meag­pixel we­b­cam that al­lows users to chat and cap­ture pho­tos even when the light­ing is not so good.

In terms of bat­tery life, the note­book will last you about half a day if you spend most of your time gam­ing.

the verdict

Most gamers like to cus­tomise their ma­chine and the Alien­ware is one of the eas­ier ones to tweak in terms of light­ing.

As far as pure com­put­ing power is con­cerned, you will not find the note­book lack­ing, and it will be able to han­dle al­most all the pop­u­lar games right out of the box.

If you plan to game while on the move, you can’t go wrong with the Alien­ware 14.

Pros:

Cus­tomise the key­board’s and track­pad’s back­light to suit your gam­ing style. The alien­ware’s uSb 3.0 ports, two of which can be seen here, are great for trans­fer­ring data at

su­per speed.

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