We’ve been putting a bunch of Alienware tech to the test of late, finding the 17” laptop a bulky powerhouse and the Aurora desktop a perfectly-suited tower. Still, the fact remains: we’ve never gotten our mitts on a gaming laptop that we could actually use as a truly portable PC. This has changed with the new Alienware 13.
The familiar Alienware aesthetic remains with this iteration. Its dimensions are 330 x 269 x 24mm, weighing in at 2.1kg and with a 62WHr non-removable lithium ion battery. Its matte gray finish contrasts nicely with its iconic, colour-changing Alien power button and back-lighting; this model too can include the Tobii Eye Tracking.
The $1999 AUD starting price will net you a quad-core Intel i5-7300HQ CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 180 SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card and a 1366×768 LCD panel. At the top end is the $3599 AUD model with a core i7 CPU, GTX 1060 graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 1440p OLED screen (this is the beast we tested).
The laptop could play anything I threw at it, from Battlefield 1 on Ultra to Deadly Premonition because I’ve been watching too much Twin Peaks. While clearly a powerhouse, its small SSD means you’ll have to be selective; too many games in your Steam library and you’ll run out of room for things like Spotify.
Tobii Eye Tracking is neat, but ultimately useless. I frequently headed to the system tray at start up simply to turn it off; my computer habits usually consist of running something in the background and occasionally dropping in to check on it; Tobii will lock your PC down almost as soon as your eyes leave the screen.
Relatively small, most of the unit’s weight comes from intricate cooling systems. While they do the trick, you’ll consistently notice its ever-present, whirring fans – they can get quite loud as you’re taxing the graphics card.
For those who accessories – or an external hard drive or two – the Alienware 13 has you covered. The laptop sports two USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C port, 3.55 headphone and mic jacks, an HDMI port, a Mini DisplayPort, an Ethernet port and, finally, a spot for Alienware’s optional Graphics Amplifier. Phew.
Used to my Surface Book, I’m known to use other laptops and touch their screens expecting something to happen. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Alienware 13 sports a touchscreen, so I didn’t look as stupid when too lazy to reach for a mouse. Even better, the OLED produced intense blacks and was bright enough to light up my entire home office as soon as the sun went down.
The Alienware 13 is the best PC we’ve tested from its range to date. Lighter and smaller than the 17, you’re able to take the laptop on the go, though a non-removable battery means you’re still a slave to a power point at times. Sure, the OLED, core i7 option doesn’t come cheap, but think of it as an investment – this’ll keep you going for a good, long while.