Display, Audio, Heat and Connectivity
If you’ve ever wanted to know what a laptop display should look like, well, go find an Alienware M11x. Yes, this is a glossy display, but that choice actually makes sense with the M11x. The reflections in the display of the M11x can be annoying, and using the laptop in sunlight is a no-go in spite of the laptop’s reasonable backlight. But that’s not really the point. The display of a gaming laptop should be designed to make games look amazing, and that’s what the display on the M11x does. I’ve used high-definition televisions with inferior image quality.
This praise aside, the display is small. There is really no getting around the fact that, although of superior quality, the display on the M11x just isn’t very big compared to most gaming laptops. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Because the display on the M11x is small, the low display resolution of 1366×768 looks just fine. Small is small, however, and playing a game on a 11.6” display is often times less satisfying than playing the same game on a 15” or 17” display. This is a trade-off that the M11x makes without apology.
Audio quality is another area where the Alienware M11x clearly stands out from the crowd. The M11x is capable of filling a small room with sound, but quickly fades away in larger spaces. There is not much bass to speak of, but attempts to reproduce bass sounds don’t result in the obvious distortions and crackling present in many laptop speakers.
Heat and Connectivity
Although the Alienware M11x appears to have two large vents at the front of the laptop, these are actually solid pieces of plastic spruced up with a vent-like hexagon pattern. The M11x’s main exhaust is in fact located at the rear of the laptop, and the main intake is located on the laptop’s bottom.
At idle the M11x is a cool customer. The palmrest doesn’t produce the slightest hint of heat and the laptop’s bottom, although a little warm, remains comfortable. Ramping up the laptop’s processor and graphics quickly makes the laptop’s bottom too warm to tolerate, and the left palmrest also becomes warm enough to cause sweaty hands.
Internal temperatures remained undaunted, however. According to SpeedFan the laptop’s processor temperature never rose over 40 degrees Celsius and the GPU temperature never rose above 70 degrees Celsius. The fan, working hard to keep the laptop cool, was loud during gaming.
The connectivity available on the M11x isn’t bad. The laptop lacks VGA out but makes up for this somewhat by offering both HDMI and DisplayPort. Three USB 2.0 ports and Firewire are included as well as 3-in-1 media card reader. The M11x also includes one mic jack and two headphone jacks. This is nice in certain situations – you can plug in external speakers and a headset at the same time, for example. The power jack is located on the back, which is convenient.