"m14x: you get much more than what you pay for!"4.5 starson by wldbluyonder21
Pros: Every piece of this thing is awesome!
Top notch, gaming-fast components for a price less than what you should pay.
Quad Core Intel Processor, 1600mghz RAM, 7200RPM hard drive, and a 1st tier discreet graphics card for $1200... why get a MacBook?
Cons: I wish it had better battery life - 3.5 hours is great for a gaming laptop... but it could be better.
I was looking for Alienware to use the bigger battery in their m17x rather than the one in the m11x.
Summary: I'm a student. I use this laptop for typing notes during 3-hour lectures, studying at the library, and, of course, gaming. From the base $1200, I upgraded to the 900p screen and the 2x2MIMO wireless. it came to $1400 with tax and shipping included.
These two upgrades are great. The text is totally readable and the screen is bright and colorful. The screen is about 80% of the brightness of my iPhone 4. As for color, with some saturation tinkering, the color reproduction is similar to that of my 24in dell 2408wfp monitor but the laptop screen has a "whiter" tint, it isn't as warm as the standalone 2408wfp .
Horizontal viewing angles are great, there is really only a darkening when you're about 75 degrees off horizontal center. Vertically there is some color change when you're 20 degrees below the screen or at about a 50 degree angle above. When placed next to my friend's 2010 13" Macbook Pro in a sun-lit room, there wasn't really a huge difference in color or brightness. The mac looked like it was one brightness step-up from the m14x, but both were sufficiently lit for reading in front of a bright, big, Barnes and Noble window.
I had an Alienware m11x r1 before this m14x, and the upgraded 2x2MIMO on the m14x is great.
I routinely have 1-2 bars more on my m14x than on my older m11x.
As for "productivity" - MS Office, Chrome, Firefox, IE, and iTunes run noticeably faster than my m11x.
Photo and video editing using Windows Live! (I know its bad!) is much faster! Photo Gallery was able to ID the faces in my picture folders much much faster than I thought possible.
My wireless mouse even works better! it used to skip when I was further than 4 feet from the receiver, but now it doesn't get skippy until I'm about 10 feet from it.
Get USB 3.0! The speed at which media files move back and forth is much faster then with USB 2.0. I purposely edited some 2-3GB movie files from a EOS T3i while using the external USB 3.0 and it was just like using the internal hard drive.
As for gaming, this thing is great! I run Mafia II and Crysis II on "high" and don't really even have problems when outputting to a 1920x1200 24" Dell 2408wfp. I'm "halfway" through Mafia and I haven't noticed a huge enough slowdown to warrant going to medium when using either LCD at either resolution.
And... this thing is loud! It sounds much better than my buddy's 13" MBP. There's actual bass that you can hear! The m11x I had was also loud, but not this loud, and it didn't have the deeper/fuller sound of this m14x, you can hear distinct intonation when you listen to an electric bass solo. I didn't think the sound would be so clear or loud.
But... just the one caveat - battery life. If I have full brightness, wifi on fullblast, and my keyboard, speaker, etc lights on... I really only get 2.5 to 3 hours of battery. Using the standard Power Saver profile with brightness and lights down and off, i get about 4 hours. I did notice though that the power cord is super long!
Maybe I'm just excited to have a new computer, but this one is really nice.
There were some questions on some forums about the keyboard (i did some research before buying)... while not as rigid as the keyboard on the m11x, it is still solid. The m14x doesn't have as much keyboard flex as the m17x r2 (I saw videos). You really have to press down to get it to flex - it won't flex with just regular typing pressure, even hard typing pressure. You really have to want it to flex to make it flex lol.
The touch pad is nice when I use it during class. Its just the right size to stay between my palms while typing, and the settings it uses for sensitivity to palms actually works. I don't use pinch to zoom, but I never had problems using the either the pad or the buttons to click. It's a responsive touch pad.
The "rubbery" texture is awesome! It's all over the outside of the lid and on the palm rest. It feels like super-short velvet.
Oh yea... heat and fan noise. This laptop produces both lol. The right palm rest is always warm, but not annoyingly so, it's not hot enough to bother me while typing this or typing/taking notes in class. The left palm rest doesn't really heat up at all. Even while gaming for an hour, the palm rests never get hot enough were I have to take a break solely because of them.
As for the fan, it does turn on randomly even when just doing some "MS Word'ing" and it is definitely noticeable in a quiet library. When gaming, it does get fairly loud, but it is easily drowned out by the much much much louder speakers.
As a student, this laptop is totally acceptable and useful.
As a gamer with less than $1500 to spend, this laptop is perfect.