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 newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo Reno Z Australian review (2019)
- 2 Motorola One Vision Australian review (2019)
- 3 Sony WF-1000XM3 Australian review: Flair, finesse and form
- 4 Samsung Galaxy A70 Australian review
- 5 TCL X7 QLED TV review: Full, Australian review
Latest News Articles
- Lenovo says cloud storage killed the laptop SD card slot
- Lenovo explain what happened with Legion
- IFA 2019: Lenovo's new ThinkBook laptops preach simplicity, efficiency and affordability
- IFA 2019: Lenovo's new Yoga laptops introduce 'Super Resolution' video playback and more
- IFA 2019: Acer's introduce pricey 'Pro' versions of their new Concept D notebooks
PCW Evaluation Team
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
- IFA 2019: Everything you need to know
- Hands-On: The Samsung Galaxy Fold is my new problematic fave
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ Australian review (2019)
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?