This week I made a purchase I never expected to ever make. I bought an Alienware…
As a kid I had pined for an Alienware, then it was for Voodoo, and by the time I had enough income to support that kind of purchase, it no longer made any sense. Alienware’s business is completely built on image and marketing and it has worked very well for them, but in the end, the customer is only paying the premium for that and to different people that can have a very polarizing effect. Most notably to the people who would consume our products, I am fairly confident that the majority of you reading this were ready to hear a sob story about how I wasted my money…
I absolutely love my new Alienware. Granted, there are two caveats. The first is that it was a notebook, not a desktop and my other alternatives were generics. The second was that it was heavily discounted.
I was previously using a Compal JHL90 with a Core 2 Duo and 9600M GT video card. It had been a trooper, but my many accidents and time took quite the toll on it. The Bluetooth, webcam, female power connector, power brick, hard drive, optical drive, battery and speakers have all broken at some point with most remaining unfixed. Next Monday I will be traveling to Taiwan for CES for two weeks and was not confident it would be able to sustain my usage any more so I set out for deals. Mother’s Day weekend arrived with just what I was looking for. I picked up the Alienware M14X R2 with a 3610QM, 6gb DDR3, GT 650M 1gb, 500gb 7200RPM drive, and an upgraded screen for $650 out the door. Arguably this was the best deal I have ever gotten on a new computer.
I really wasn’t expecting to be impressed by anything other than the specs of the components, but once it was in my hands, my perception began to change. The exterior was covered an a fairly scratch resistant rubber coating, Windows included no bloatware, the power saving options were immense, the LEDs were really fun and neat especially when I loaded up Battlefield 3 and they synced with my health without any configuration, speakers sounded fantastic, the BIOs allowed plenty of options and overclocking control and was preconfigured for RAID which made adding my MSATA cache drive a breeze, and the CPU and GPU had discreet cooling systems which kept the laptop at comfortable temps while gaming. A lot of what makes the M14X different from its competitors are aesthetic features, but it is no slouch and does a great job of not sacrificing performance for beauty.
Admittedly, I would not have bought this laptop without such a deep discount and many of the features it provides are available on other laptops, however my experience has been fantastic thus far. It may have superfluous features but in no way does that make it a lesser product and after my time with it I can’t even say that I would be unhappy with the laptop had I paid $1,000 for it. Will my next desktop be an Alienware? LOL, no. I still dislike that I can’t compile my own laptop out of individual parts, and there is no getting around the fact that Alienware is charging for things no one needs in a computer which in return just makes it harder to justify the purchase. The end of the day Alienware is still doing things no one else is doing, they aren’t revolutionary, but they are still unique and I like my laptop.