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Alienware 14 hands-on review: portable gaming laptop

Alienware is back with this year's range of gaming laptops with Haswell and we've taken a look at the 14in model. Read our Alienware 14 hands-on review.

The launch coincides with Intel's new range of fourth-generation processors, also known as Haswell. But we'll come to the hardware specifications in a bit because we want to talk about design first.

We're pleased to report that the new line-up of Alienware laptops have a new chassis, something we we're a little disappointed with last year. The design ethos runs through the Alienware 14, 17 and 18. If you're wondering, no, the M11 hasn't made a sudden return.  

The Alienware 14 does look similar to previous models and looks distinctly like an Alienware laptop. It's been built from the ground-up to house the components rather than making a shell and squeezing in whatever you can.

It's still a bit on the chunky side and although the Alienware 14 isn't as svelte as the Razr Blade, it offers a good combination of portability and performance. We really like the new one-piece aluminium lid with angled corners and added lighting.

Talking of lighting, things look a bit different compared to the last generation. The keyboard and Alienware logo still light up but instead of two air intake looking sections at the front there is a pin stripe style light running around the edge and the trackpad is now backlit.

There's a new keyboard which we're yet to give a proper test but felt nice during our time with the Alienware 14. It's also pleasing that the screen has had a nice upgrade from 1600x900 to Full HD 1920x1080 although there is a 1366x768 option.

Since Alienware is owned by Dell, the laptops are highly customisable which can only be a good thing.  Pricing starts at £1,099 for the Alienware 14 which is £100 more than the M14x. With customisations you can go much higher than this.

Interestingly you can choose Windows 7 (Home Premium) or Windows 8, both 64bit editions.

With a Haswell Core i7 processor up to 16GB of RAM and the latest nVidia graphics cards (up to GeForce GTX 765M with 2GB GDDR5), performance is the Alienware 14's speciality. You can have different combinations of hard drive setup too with four slots inside.

Things were silky smooth during our hands-on but we'll expand more on this once we've had the Alienware 14 in out lab for some proper benchmark tests. We'll also test out the battery life so keep an eye out for the full review soon. 

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