Alienware Sentia M3200
- Compact, Zippy performance, Good Speakers
- Poorly designed keyboard, Battery life could be better.
Alienware takes a nice step out of the high-power desktop world into the ultraportable market with the Sentia m3200
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
Alienware's smallest notebook yet, the Sentia m3200, offers a bright 12.1 inch wide-screen display, a good case design, and zippy performance. Only its slightly disappointing keyboard should give you pause.
Using a 2-GHz Pentium M 760 processor and 1GB of RAM, the Sentia earned an impressive WorldBench 5 score of 92. Our test unit included an 80GB hard drive; however, the 2.2 kg Sentia m3200 beats most thin-and-light competitors with the option of a capacious 160GB drive, which costs a little more than the drive in our configuration.
We liked the lid's rubberized hand grips, as well as the Sentia's overall layout and design. All the connections are on the sides, within easy reach, except for a third USB port tucked in a bottom compartment for semipermanent parking of a small thumb drive. (Our 3-inch-long thumb drive was too big to fit.)
The keyboard is decent, but not perfect. The mouse buttons were a tad small and stiff, and the PageUp and PageDown keys were clumsily laid out - separated by the up-arrow key and positioned horizontally instead of in the more intuitive vertical arrangement. Otherwise typing was easy, and the touchpad was well calibrated.
For making the best use of your downtime, the Sentia's instant-play capability takes you straight to your DVD movie, music CD, video, or photo slide show without requiring you to turn on the notebook first. (You simply have to press the P key to launch the Windows-independent PowerCinema application.) The Sentia's speakers aren't bad for a small unit, especially when playing CDs, but we found that DVD movies were almost inaudible, even with the volume on full.
Alienware doesn't sell docking stations, but you have a fair number of expansion options with this notebook. Although tedious to access because of the cover's nine small screws, the large bottom compartment houses an upgradeable hard drive and both memory slots. Removing one bottom screw releases the left-side optical drive (a DVD burner at this price), in case you ever need to replace it. The Sentia has an ExpressCard slot, too, and its media-card reader accepts four storage types: SD Card, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, and MultiMediaCard.
Your battery, however, is limited to one rear-mounted six-cell power pack that lasted 2 hours, 53 minutes in our tests--one of the shortest-lasting batteries we've tested. The Sentia offers Wi-Fi but no off switch, so there's no saving power that way.
If basic business applications are all you need, you'll want to spring for Microsoft Works 8. (The Windows Media Center Edition operating system and a remote control are an option, but seem like overkill for a small notebook with weak speakers.) The user manuals that Alienware provides are complete and helpful, including a travel folder with pockets for system-restore CDs.
Alienware takes a nice step out of the high-power desktop world into the ultraportable market with the Sentia m3200.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 3 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 4 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 5 MSI GS70 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- SSD adoption in laptops exceeds expectations
- Apple will refund you for your iMac hinge repair costs
- MacBook Pro teardown reveals pointless speaker grilles and hard-to-replace Touch Bar
- Apple leads tablet sales, but the iPad Pro is not its best seller
- Latest MacBook Pro price reset resembles shift to Retina in 2012
GGG Evaluation Team
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.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- TV of the year award 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTMotor Claims ConsultantNSW
- FTPrincipal Product Manager | Cloud | Managed ServicesNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- TPNetwork AdministratorWA
- CCWeb DesignerNSW
- CCTest Lead : Perth BasedQLD
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- CCMid Level .Net DeveloperVIC
- CCIngres DeveloperNSW
- TPLotus Notes DeveloperNSW
- FTBusiness Reporting AnalystNSW
- FTDesktop Deployment EngineerWA
- FTService Desk Team LeaderNSW
- CCRecruitment ConsultantVIC
- CCLevel 1/2 IT Service Desk OfficerQLD
- CCMid-level .NET or Java Developer/Programmer - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCSenior Integration DeveloperOther
- CCSenior Organisational Change ManagerNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst, Wealth ManagementNSW
- FTDesktop Delivery Team LeaderVIC
- CCInformation Security ConsultantNSW
- FTAGILE Implementation ManagerNSW
- CCIngres DeveloperSA
- FTWeb Developer/ DesignerQLD
- FTTest AnalystVIC