A Colossal Gaming Machine
Weighing at just shy of four-and-a-half kilograms, the Dell Alienware 17 is one of the heavier gaming laptops to ever walk into our labs. This means it has a much bigger footprint, which will eventually lead to you using more space on your table. While most will say that size is overrated, it works well with the Alienware 17 as it comes with a huge palm rest, making it even easier to type.
The sides of the display panel and even the bottom part of the chassis comes with strips of LED lighting, which can be customised to your own liking. Even the touchpad will sync together with the LED strips and the backlit keyboard, so lighting isn’t something you have to worry about.
Leave it All Behind
One great design aspect of the Alienware 17 is its ability to declutter your desk, which somewhat makes up for its large footprint. Not only is its ventilation system located at the back of the laptop, majority of its ports are located in-between the ventilations. Its Ethernet LAN, Mini Display, HDMI, Thunderbolt 3 and Power cable ports are all at the back.
Size Meets Performance
Even if the size of the Alienware 17 might be intimidating, its performance does itself justice. Running it through the usual benchmarks, the Alienware 17 is up there with plenty other gaming laptops you can find in the market with similar specs. Gaming on it is also a peach; Dota 2, Overwatch and PUBG run seamlessly smooth without any noticeable lag or delay.
One downside is that it tends to screen tear when playing PUBG. Of course, this may very well be down to the display screen not being able to handle PUBG’s erratic graphics. Aside from that, throw whichever game you wish and the Alienware 17 will perform admirably.
To make the overall gaming experience even more enticing, the Alienware 17 comes with Tobii eye-tracking technology located right below the display screen panel. This turns your eyes into the controller, taking hand-eye coordination to a whole new level. However, this works best when it comes to FPS games in third-person. Another downside to Tobii is that it’s integrated to only a handful of games like Tom Clancy’s The Division, Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Watch Dogs 2. Sadly, I don’t get paid enough to afford AAA titles like that so I had no real chance in testing out just how accurate Tobii can be.
External Keyboard Not Needed
As the title says, there is no need to use an external keyboard. The Alienware 17’s keyboard, known as Alienware TactX, comes with n-key rollover support and has a very short travel time between key press and registration. Lying beneath the keyboard is a reinforced steel backplate that keeps it sturdy and durable for the most intense gaming situations (where the smashing of keys is inevitable.
Although many would disagree, this is more of a personal preference more than anything. I’m not a fan of the macro keys located at the left of the keyboard. While many gaming keyboards in the market has macro keys to the left, this moves the placement of all the just a little bit, but enough to make me hit the wrong key on more than one occasion (and my friends think I can’t spell.)
A norm in plenty of gaming laptops, the Alienware 17 comes with its own AlienFX command centre. This is where all the customisation and personalisation come into play. You can now customise all the lighting zones on the laptop. There are 12 in total with even the power button, the Alienware logo four separate zones of the keyboard available to customise. Aside from that, you can customise the five macro keys the power settings of the laptop.
Verdict: If you can get past its price tag and oddly-shaped keyboard, the Dell Alienware 17 is good in its own regard.