Making the Case for Bling

Despite every fiber of my being arguing to the contrary, I was unfortunately wholly won over by Alienware's aesthetic with the M17x R3. It's the age old don't want something gaudy, but then you realize you can change the keyboard's backlighting to a wide variety of pretty colors. And even glows out of the vents. And the alien head on the lid, it glows! And you can configure the colors for all of these, choosing from pretty much the entire rainbow! Soon you feel like a gibbering moron and begin to question your own taste.

But there's something to the design of the M17x R3. First off, the entire unit is basically one color, a dark, gunmetal gray (though you can order yours in "nebula red.") The overwhelming majority of the surfaces of the M17x R3 are an incredibly comfortable rubberized plastic surface, with glossy plastic used sparingly and fairly intelligently deployed. The lid has soft contours, a choice that extends to every surface of the notebook.

When you flip it open, you'll see the first instance of gloss, but it isn't too alarming. The screen is a glossy panel, and rather than have a bezel there's simply a single glossy surface from edge to edge. It all winds up being fairly reflective which is no doubt going to disturb at least a few of you, but on a system targeted at gamers (read: consumers with disposable income) it's understandable. The only other glossy surfaces are around the speaker grilles in the front of the notebook, but these are unlikely to see any finger traffic and the mild accent is appropriate.

Honestly, it's when you get to the keyboard, media buttons, and touchpad that you really see Alienware blow Clevo out of the water. The keyboard on the M17x R3 is a very smart design, making effective use of the 17.3" form factor's ample real estate. It isn't cramped and the 10-key is appropriately standardized, and the whole thing is backlit (once again, you can choose the color of backlighting.) The keys also share the comfortable rubberized surface texture of the rest of the notebook. My only complaint here is that there's a little bit of flex under the keyboard that seems to correspond with the three different backlighting zones.

The touchpad is just as pleasant to use. Surface friction is just right, and the mouse buttons offer the appropriate amount of tactile feedback without being audible.

Ultimately the M17x R3 seems a little glitzy or gaudy at first, but actually using it and getting a feel for it pays dividends. There was some clear thought put into the user experience; configurable backlighting may seem silly, but it's one more way for the end user to personalize the notebook for him or herself. Given the overall solid build quality, powerful components, and comfortable keyboard, it's just one more thing that improves the corners were cut.

Introducing the Alienware M17x R3 Application and Futuremark Performance


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  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    "Price as configured: $2,503" - Holy Shit!

    You can get a Apple 17" MacBook Pro for less. And the MacBook Pro will have a more pixels, be made of metal not plastic, and still weigh three pounds less. Who would buy this thing?
  • chinedooo - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    will have more pixels? what do you mean both have 1080p screens? And the M17x is way more powerful than the macbook pro regardless of configuration. Reply
  • Brad4 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    The 17" macbook pro uses a 16x10 resolution (1920 x 1200), which is much better for productivity.

    This dell product, and all of dell's products, use a 16x9 resolution (1920 x 1080).
  • The0ne - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    There aren't many laptops that give 16x10 nowadays and that is a sad thing. Thankfully I still have my R2 with that resolution, despite what you've claimed as Dell using 16x9 on all products. It is great for productivity and I would not trade that in since I also use it for business and need the extra space.

    And while I ponder why anyone would hate a company who's sole slogan is to be "Alien" in its product and statements, the MBP really can't beat the R3 in gaming. Don't believe me, go look at charts!
  • esSJae - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Cheaper? Configured comparably as possible, the 14" Macboo Pro is $2,949.00
    on Apple's site.
    And the MBP has a significantly slower CPU and GPU and only 1 HDD.

    I own both an M17r2 and a 13" MBP. They are designed for completely different tasks and users.
  • Shinya - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    But the macbook pro would get stomped into the ground spec wise and all other things associated with owning apple computers. Not to mention it gives the image of being insecure just from owning an apple product. Only hipsters and macf**s would be deterred from purchasing something this powerful because of the way it looked or because *waaaa im a huge wuss* weight.

    Thinkpads are the greatest looking things in the world, but they get more done in the REAL world than any apple toy
  • Shinya - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Thinkpads aren't* Reply
  • scook9 - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    You ignorance comes out in every post you make

    It becomes blatantly obvious you have never bought or even looked at high end laptops - $2500 is cheap for a top tier laptop.

    I will ignore the post on looks, that is purely opinion and you are entitled to yours - even if many disagree. If it is not for you, get the painfully bland Clevo

    Your 2nd post however about price makes me laugh.....Comparing this to a MBP 17" is a joke due to the hardware and cooling involved - MBPs are some of the hottest running laptops on the market - period. Your remark regarding resolution is moot as apple is the ONLY company still offering 16:10 panels afaik (sadly - I miss WUXGA). The outer shell of the M17x R3 is in fact metal - not as thick as the R1 and R2 or M18x but still metal

    Call me a fanboy if you want but I actually have an Alienware (the newer M18x) and know that the build quality is above anything else on the market - just like the reviewer here mentioned
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    Please - I have owned nothing but high end laptops! This thing is hamburger sold at price of steak. The 17" MacBook Pro may run hotter, but it will crush this techno frumpy laptop in battery life.

    And they are at least a couple of hundred dollars less.

    I'd buy the 17" Apple laptop in a second, then take the savings and get an SSD. Overall, it would blow this fat, ugly, juvenile, crappy PC laptop off the face of the earth. And no one would miss it!

    Paying this kind of money and getting a bouncy keyboard should be illegal!
  • Friendly0Fire - Monday, June 20, 2011 - link

    And then you'll try to GAME on your Mac and you'll suddenly understand what's this business about "GPUs" and "CPUs" and all those other fancy acronyms.

    If you can't understand this is a gaming laptop/desktop replacement, you have no business buying one anyways.

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