Alienware M18x gaming notebook
This 18.4in beast of a notebook is supremely powerful, but has a matching price tag
- Hugely powerful
- Great screen and excellent build quality
- HDMI-in, USB 3.0, amazing feature-set
- Hugely expensive
- Just huge
- Clunky process to switch graphics
If you’re looking for a proper desktop replacement -- replacing a gaming desktop, that is -- the Alienware M18x is undoubtedly the notebook to pick. It’s massive and has a price tag that’s painful, but its performance is almost unparalleled.
Price$ 3,299.00 (AUD)
The Alienware M18x is a desktop replacement notebook in the truest sense — it’s powerful enough to replace a desktop workstation, but it’s also as big and as heavy as a desktop PC. It’s exceedingly powerful and has the ability to handle almost any current-day computing task possible. It’s also very well kitted out in terms of integrated ports, and the screen and keyboard are excellent.
Alienware M18x: Design and setup
When we unpacked the Alienware M18x, we were astonished with its sheer size. We’d seen it before on the Area 52 roadshow, but with other laptops like the Apple MacBook Pro on hand as a point of reference the M18x does expose itself as a behemoth. It’s 55mm thick, more than double the MacBook and far, far thicker than the new Intel Ultrabook family.
The Alienware M18x has the most input and output ports we’ve ever seen on a notebook. Four USB ports — two of them USB 2.0 and two 3.0 — and a single combination USB-eSATA socket join an SD card port, ExpressCard/54 slot and DVD-RW (or optional Blu-ray) drive in making up the expandable storage options, while video and audio I/O are covered with HDMI out and in, VGA, miniDisplayPort, SPDIF digital audio output and headphone and microphone jacks. The HDMI input is especially valuable — you could plug in a gaming console or even a second laptop to use the M18x’s high quality screen for display.
The Alienware M18x is exceptionally well constructed. Aluminium and high-quality rubberised plastics make up the majority of the M18x’s body, and there is absolutely no flex when twisting either the screen or the chassis itself. The keyboard is large with spacious, well laid-out keys that are excellently weighted for either typing or gaming, and the multitouch trackpad is large with the best left- and right-click buttons that we’ve used on a laptop.
The 16:9 Full HD screen of the Alienware M18x is glossy, but it’s excellent. It is vibrant and very detailed and has wide vertical and viewing angles, and in anything but direct daylight it performs very well. It’s a slight pity that a matte screen isn’t an option, though.
The M18x comes with Windows 7 Home Premium, although you’ll need to shell out for Ultimate or Professional if you want to use 32GB of RAM. A range of extra Dell and third-party software is preinstalled as well.
Next page: Specs, performance and conclusion
Join the PC World newsletter!
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Acer Swift 7
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Galaxy Book, a Windows 10 tablet aimed at the Surface-curious
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
- Lenovo's Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has futuristic touch panel keyboard
- In PC comeback, ARM will battle Intel in Chromebooks and Windows 10
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- TPEnvironment Specialist(DevOps)QLD
- CCSenior System AdministratorVIC
- CCUnix AdministratorNSW
- TPEngineer Desktop DevelopmentVIC
- FTGraduate Software EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Project Coordinator - Banking/Financial ServicesNSW
- CCSolution Architect - VMwareVIC
- FTTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- FTSupport and Operations Team LeadNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - Regulatory/Compliance - BankingNSW
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- TPLinux Desktop Support SpecialistWA
- CCCommercial Contract AdministratorACT
- CCWeb Ops EngineerACT
- FTApplication Support SpecialistNSW
- TPDeployment Specialist (DevOps)QLD
- CCCloud Security Solutions Architect - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- TPInformation Management SpecialistVIC
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)QLD
- FT.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- FTSenior Business AnalystSA
- CCApplication Solution Designer (Automation) - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- TPJava DeveloperVIC
- FTJunior Software Developer - SASACT