There was a time, not so long ago, when gaming laptops had a certain set size. They were very heavy, a fully charged battery lasted an hour, they were generally poorly made and, perhaps most importantly, they came in two specific sizes: 15 or 17 inches.
But now times have changed and it is now more difficult to buy one because now any type of laptop can play. For example, you can buy a relatively small Alienware x14 which can combine your free time with the life you have to lead separately. Dell claims it’s “the world’s lightest gaming laptop”.
There are plenty of models to choose from, but the test version doesn’t come cheap in terms of power, given the small chassis size. We’re talking about a 14-core/12-thread i7-12700H, 6GB RTX 3060 graphics card and 16GB of 5200MHz LPDDR5 RAM, which is single-channel (funny you have to buy the 32 GB dual-channel one).
The trial version we have is around €1,800. You can upgrade it by adding 32GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD for just over $2,100. This puts the Alienware x14 at a good level on the price scale, as it’s quite reasonable.
Along with its incredible specs, it’s an incredibly well-built laptop, as you’d expect from Alienware. They’re less charming now, and while it still has the shiny alien face on the case, it still looks like a tasteful design that can more or less fit into a lecture or classroom setting. Plus, it’s very thin. It’s just 14.5 millimeters thick, and in profile it could be mistaken for a MacBook Air.
At first glance, it is quite difficult to understand why it has this price. Alienware managed to pack an 80 Wh battery, the best in a 14-inch laptop. That’s about 28% more powerful than what you’ll find in a Razer Blade 14. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you can work all day, as its CPU, GPU, etc. lack power. However, we will have around six hours if we activate the battery saving setting. It’s passable. Plus, it charges with an included 130-watt USB-C charger, which is also passable.
However, the keyboard and trackpad are a bit mixed up and the simple beauty you see on the outside that you won’t see on the inside. Its two hinges aren’t exactly fancy, the keys are light and smooth, and the trackpad is downright microscopic. Although there is plenty of space for cooling, it is true that the openings are not good for the speakers either. And yes, the 720p webcam is bad.
Still, the screen is pretty good. Yes, it’s 1080p, but it’s an IPS LCD screen running at 144Hz with Dolby Vision HDR. 100% sRGB and 99.6% DCI-P3. It’s dangerously close to work as well as a semi-professional editing tool.
So far, so good. It’s slim, has a surprisingly powerful battery, and is backed by terrific specs and a good screen. However, there are obvious bottleneck effects because it’s so thin. Whether in games like Hitman 3, Borderlands 3, CS:GO, or in simulation tests like 3DMark FireStrike or Blender, it lags a bit behind competing models, like the ROG G14 or G15. That said, it is relatively easy to achieve 144 fps in more or less demanding titles, precisely because the display is “only” a 1080p display, so there can be a good balance between the different components.
There is only one problem of great importance: noise. No, we didn’t notice any thermal slowdown in any direction, which is wonderful. But damn, it makes a lot of noise. It includes two individual fans for the CPU and GPU, as well as another vapor chamber for the CPU, which solve the problem for which they were designed (keeping components below crucial temperature thresholds). But the x14 is noisy. It also makes a lot of noise during normal operation, i.e. when the battery saver setting is on and only when editing a few documents in Docs.
Noise aside, the x14 is a masterpiece of engineering, because looking at it you might think: “the battery will last an hour max”, or “it will thermally rev up like hell”. But neither of these two things is true. Yes, it’s loud so I recommend having good headphones, but as an all-rounder it’s impressive.
Brent Dubin, known as the Gaming Giant among Globe Live Media staff, is the chief Gaming Reporter for Globe Live Media. Having attended all the major events of Gaming around the World, he is sure to give you exactly the update related to gaming World you are looking for.