Once Again, the LCD Fails

Finally, we have the LCD quality results. As mentioned in the introduction, the large bezel makes us think Alienware should have stuck a 13.3" 16:10 display into the chassis. The M11x may have an 11.6" LCD, but the chassis is about the same size as a 13" laptop. Also, we're not fans of glossy LCDs—I have mirrors in my bathroom if I want to check my hair! Considering the price premium on the M11x (the model we tested will sell for around $1200), there's really no excuse for a sub-par LCD… and sub-par it is.

Laptop LCD Quality - Contrast

Laptop LCD Quality - White

Laptop LCD Quality - Black

Laptop LCD Quality - Color Accuracy

Laptop LCD Quality - Color Gamut



We really think the minimum contrast ratio any modern laptop should deliver is 500:1, and the M11x achieves about half of that. The color accuracy is average at best (though we have yet to find a standout laptop LCD in terms of color accuracy), and the color gamut is a disappointing 44% of Adobe RGB. ASUS put a great LCD in their Eee PC 1001p, and they did the same for the G73J (review forthcoming). If you're making a budget laptop and you want to cut corners on LCD quality, we understand that, but there's no way you can bill the M11x as a budget offering. The keyboard, chassis, GPU, and overall design are all clearly the result of some good engineering and component choices. Why does the LCD always get the short shrift!? Since this is a TN panel, viewing angles are similarly disappointing, particularly the vertical viewing where a slight shift of your head or the screen results in a dramatic color shift.

Still Great Battery Life Alienware M11x: (Mostly) Good Things in a Small Package
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  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Congrats Jarred.

    May I suggest the name Ryan for your child? It works equally well as both as a girl's name and a boy's name.;-)
    Reply
  • KaarlisK - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    When Intel mobile CPUs are overclocked by doing BSEL mods (basically, shorting some pins to tell the chipset that the CPU requires a higher FSB clock), the CPUs fall back and are locked to their lowest multiplier - 6x. Maybe ASUS bypassed this protection and Alienware did not... Reply
  • cknobman - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    to include the Sony CW (VPCCW26FX) laptop in your reviews, it would have been a much better choice than the Asus for comparison sake. The sony is a 14' chassis with a core i5-520 and a 330m nvidia and only costs $899. Much closer in size and price to the Alienware.

    Why is there no one giving the Sony any attention at all? Its not just anand its everyone that seems to be totally disregarding this laptop.
    Reply
  • NICOXIS - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    I'll second that, its like the only 14" laptop with a decent GPU, less than 2.5KG, Arrandale CPU, DDR3, good battery life and under 1000.

    I haven't seen any decent Vaio CW review out there.
    Reply
  • xFlankerx - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    The Alienware may be the cheapest, smallest laptop, but there is one more expensive competitor:

    The Sony Vaio Z is a 13.3" laptop that outperforms the Alienware in almost every single area, including aesthetics. The only downside is that the Vaio Z costs upwards of $2000.
    Reply
  • erple2 - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    The Sony Z series has the 330m processor, which has 24 fewer Unified shaders (48 vs. 72). The graphical capabilities of the 335m could be up to about 50% faster in the best case scenario.

    To be fair, that's still more than in the tested ASUS notebook...

    But the Z series starts at 1900 dollars, which is about 1000 more than the M11x...

    The CW series has the 310m processor, which has a total of 16 unified shaders. That's 1/6th the total number of the M11x. Sure it starts at about the same price.

    However, that would answer the side question of whether the GPU in the Sony is significantly slower than the one in the M11x - I'm betting the answer is "yes". I don't think that there's any comparison, honestly. Though, perhaps that's the whole point of the article - how much does the GPU matter, and how much does the CPU matter? For gaming, I think that this article showed quite clearly that the GPU was "king".
    Reply
  • cknobman - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    Not sure what CW your looking at but there are CW models with a 330m in them - I own one. Reply
  • NICOXIS - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    The point is that the Vaio CW is a LOT more comparable to the M11x than the Asus that was chosen in the article. It is similar in size 13" vs 14" (size not display), M11x has slightly better GPU but CW has arrandale and price wise they are in the same level. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - link

    You'll notice that I specifically mentioned this in the conclusion:

    "The only competing laptops in terms of performance are going to need something like the GT330M, GT240M, GeForce 9700M GTS, or a faster GPU. Finding laptops with those GPUs for a reasonable price is fairly easy—the ASUS N61Jv is one example, and the Sony VAIO VPCCW22FX/R is another—but the VAIO is the smallest reasonable competitor we can find and it still has a 14" chassis and significantly less battery life."

    The VAIO is advertised as 4 hours of battery life, and it sounds about right. The ASUS N61Jv is similar and with Optimus (i.e. IGP) it still gets about 4 hours idle. Yes, the Sony will definitely be faster in the CPU department, and GPU performance will be close. It has only 48 SPs but as pointed out the clocks are quite a bit higher than the 335M--net difference is that the 335 has 28% more shader potential; I don't know if they have the same number of ROPs or not, but the 330 has a 575 core clock vs. 450, so that's another are of comparison. RAM bandwidth is the same. If you're more interested in performance than battery life, I'd recommend an i3-330M over the overclocked CULV laptops without hesitation.
    Reply
  • EDev - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 - link

    I currently possess the M11x. I pick the unit for the lite keyboard as well as the form factor.

    Battery life is great, better than my other Gateway lt3103 (gave to Girlfriend). Speed is great, video speed is what I love on the unit.

    I do agree about the keyboard being an oddity, actually I find it slippery. If you have any form of skin oil, food oil, etc., my fingers slip easier than on the Gateway.

    Also, I dislike the plastic cover/protector on the screen, not only for the glare, but also like other platforms it touches the keyboard and puts lines on the screen which needs to be wiped off.

    Other than that, it is a netbook on steroids with battery life and power.
    Reply

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