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Alienware x14 Review : Ultra-thin, Elegant and Performance in one package

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Since my brief hands-on encounter with the Alienware x14 back in January, I’ve been looking forward to reviewing it. Although gaming laptops have gotten slimmer over time, this sleek and futuristic computer has to be the tiniest I’ve ever seen. The laptop almost appears like a business notebook if you overlook the Alienware logo. Is it possible to have a great gaming experience on such a small machine?

 

Pros

Cons

SPECIFICATIONS

CPU: Intel Core i7-12900HK

 

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060

 

Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 144Hz

 

RAM: 16GB

 

Storage: 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD

 

Weight: 4.1 pounds

 

Size: 12.7 x 10.3 x 0.6 inches

 

 

Yes, to put it more simply. The Alienware x14 is a true gaming laptop capable of running recent titles, thanks to its cutting-edge 12th gen Intel Alder Lake processor and Nvidia RTX 30 series GPU. This laptop can achieve great performance while remaining relatively cool thanks to a few cooling advancements like vapor chamber cooling and Smart Fan management technology.

 

In terms of screen size and performance, the x14 isn’t as spectacular as a big, hefty gaming laptop like the Razer Blade 17, but its cheaper price will make it more accessible to more people. Its eye-catching design, of course, makes it more enticing than normal grayscale computers. As it stands, the Alienware x14 is a capable computer that has earned a place on our list of the best gaming laptops.

 

Alienware x14 review: Design 

 

  • Stunning design

  • Ultra-thin and easy to carry

 

With dimensions of 12.6 x 10.3 x 0.57 inches, the Alienware x14 is one of the thinnest gaming laptops available. This, according to Dell, is due to the x14’s hinge, which has a dual-torque mechanism that glides back and forth when the screen is opened and closed, freeing up more room inside the device. According to Dell, the x14 would be either thicker or less powerful without this moving hinge.

 

The laptop features the Alienware X series’ signature sleek, semi-futuristic style. The laptop weighs slightly over 4 pounds and is made of CNC aluminum and magnesium alloy parts. Although the x14 isn’t precisely light, its thinness makes it incredibly portable and easy to carry in a backpack or about the house.

 

The chassis of the Lunar Light is both a strength and a drawback. Don’t get me wrong: the laptop’s white colour stands out in a sea of grey and black devices. However, the lack of colour makes dirt and scratches stand out more. Even if you’re extremely careful, you’ll leave markings on the x14. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but odd blemishes and grime can detract from an otherwise stunning gaming laptop.

Alienware x14 review: Display and audio 

The 14-inch Full HD display is large enough to fully immerse you in your game. Although the display isn’t as large as the Razer Blade 17’s massive 17-inch screen, it’s large enough to see even little details. A silky-smooth visual experience is provided by the 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms reaction time, as well as Nvidia G-Sync.

 

 

Alienware x14

Asus Zephyrus G14

Maingear Vector Pro

Razer Blade 17

Brightness (nits)

377

323

345

349

DCI-P3 color gamut (%)

77

78

80

80

sRGB Color Gamut (%)

109.7

110.3

113.5

112.9

When we put it to the test, we discovered that the x14’s screen can reach peak brightness levels of 377 nits. The screen on the Razer Blade 17 (349 nits), Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (323 nits), and Maingear Vector Pro is brighter than the screen on the Maingear Vector Pro (345 nits). The x14 achieved 77 percent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut when we tested it with a colorimeter, which is less than the Razer Blade 17 (80 percent), Zephyrus G14 (78 percent), and Vector Pro (78 percent) (80 percent ).

I started Doom Eternal and Cyberpunk 2077 for my personal testing (the most optimised and least optimised games, respectively). On the huge 14-inch screen, both titles looked fantastic. The laptop’s ray-traced reflections and brilliant neon-lit streets and lanes in Cyberpunk 2077 particularly amazed me. Doom Eternal’s rich and lush colours burst off the screen, despite the game’s dismal backdrop.

The only thing I don’t like about this is that there isn’t an OLED display option. Yes, the FHD display is wonderful, however when compared to the Razer Blade 17’s stunning 4K OLED display, the Alienware x14’s 1080p display falls short. The lack of an OLED display is understandable given that this laptop is apparently an entry-level portable gaming setup with a reduced price point. Still, if you want something higher than 1080p 144Hz, it would be wonderful to have some display upgrading options. For example, the Razer Blade 14 is available with a 1080p 144Hz panel or a better 1440p 165Hz screen.

If you’re an audiophile, you’ll be happy to know that the x14 supports Dolby Atmos, and its bottom-mounted speakers deliver loud and clear sound at a moderate volume. To be honest, I thought the audio quality was only decent. It was adequate, but not exceptional. However, because I use a gaming headset, the x14’s limited audio capabilities aren’t an issue.

Gaming performance

The Alienware x14 has the power to handle most recent games at medium settings thanks to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. When compared to other gaming laptops, though, it falls short.

 

 

Alienware x14

Razer Blade 17

Vector Pro

 

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

57

80

74

Red Dead Redemption 2

48

68

72

Grand Theft Auto V

70

110

123

Far Cry New Dawn

94

88

93

 Modern titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Borderlands 3, Dirt 5, Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, and Red Dead Redemption 2 failed to deliver a steady 60 fps per second on the x14. The Razer Blade 17 and Maingear Vector Pro, for example, had no issue running those games in 1080p at 60 fps or better. The x14, on the other hand, didn’t underperform in every game; for some reason, it ran Ubisoft’s 2019 game Far Cry New Dawn faster than the Blade 17 we evaluated last year, averaging 94 frames per second.

 

Doom Eternal ran at an almost constant 144 frames per second on the x14 throughout my own testing. Frame rates in Cyberpunk 2077, on the other hand, were in the mid to upper 30s. Tweaking some of the in-game graphics settings might have improved overall performance for the latter title, but I wanted to run it at default settings as a benchmark.

 

The Alienware x14 is a fantastic gaming laptop in general. It doesn’t blow the competition away, but neither does it leave them in the dust — and it’s much more portable than more powerful gaming laptops.

Alienware X14 review: Productivity performance 

  • Cutting-edge Intel CPU delivers outstanding performance

  • This Alienware can effectively double as a work laptop

Given how effectively the x14 handles gaming, it’s no surprise that it also works well as a productivity machine. It might not look as out of place in a coffee shop as your normal gaming laptop, thanks to its impressively thin design.

 

Alienware x14

Razer Blade 17

Vector Pro

Zephyrus G14

 

Geekbench 5.4

13,353

7,010

8,786

7509

Copying 25 GB from flash drive (MBps)

1,156

1,246

1,843

881

Handbrake video encoding (minutes:seconds)

5:04

8:59

6:27

7:10

 On the Geekbench 5.4 performance benchmark test, the x14 received a whopping 13,353 points. Laptops like the Razer Blade 17 (7,010), Vector Pro (8,786), and Zephyrus G14 (7,509) aren’t even close, thanks to the x14’s cutting-edge Alder Lake Intel CPU. These 12th Gen Intel chips were only released this year, and they’re the first Intel CPUs to match the power and efficiency of Apple’s M1 Max chips.

 

I utilised the Alienware x14 for work and everyday use and found it to be just as fast as any business laptop I’ve ever used. It never buckled or stuttered, even when I had many tabs open while watching YouTube videos. While gaming laptops are generally regarded for their ability to run PC games smoothly, it’s always wonderful when these machines can also be used for other tasks.

Alienware X14 review: Ports 

 

All of the ports on the Alienware x14 are positioned between the two rear air vents on the back of the laptop. A USB-C charging port, a headphone jack, an HDMI out, a microSD card reader, one USB-A port, and two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports are all included.

It’s a respectable port selection, although one that’s tucked away in the back in a somewhat inconvenient location. While the x14 lacks the Ethernet port found on larger gaming laptops like the Maingear Vector Pro, which is useful for connecting wired Internet for the best possible online gaming experience, it does have enough ports to let you connect pretty much anything you need — and you can always plug in a USB hub or dongle if you need to.

Keyboard and touchpad 

 

The keyboard has a 1.5mm key travel distance, making it comfortable to type on even if you have huge hands like me. Laptop keyboards aren’t my favorite because they feel flimsy in comparison to the mechanical keyboards I prefer. The x14’s keys aren’t as pleasurable to type on as those found on other laptops I’ve examined, but they’re no better or worse. I don’t expect a fantastic keyboard experience from a gaming laptop. In any case, I’m playing using a controller.

 

The touchpad, like the keyboard, is adequate but not exceptional. It’s a plus that it doesn’t draw attention to itself because it does what it’s supposed to do. You’ll almost certainly use a genuine mouse if you’re playing an RTS using mouse and keyboard controls.

Alienware X14 review: Webcam

A simple 720p webcam is situated right above the screen on the x14. As long as you’re in a well-lit environment, it’ll suffice for video conferencing. However, if you want to capture selfies, this camera will not be flattering.

If you want to look decent during video conversations or when broadcasting on Twitch, you’re better off plugging in something like the Logitech C920s Pro HD Webcam.

Alienware X14 review: Battery life and heat 

Gaming laptops aren’t known for having very long battery lives. The Alienware x14 is no exception, as portable gadgets are best left plugged in while in use.

On the Chosen Gadget’s battery life test, the x14 lasted 5 hours and 32 minutes while surfing the web indefinitely on Wi-Fi with the screen set to 150 nits of brightness. The x14’s 5:32 runtime falls short of the Zephyrus G14’s 11-hour runtime, but it beats out the Razer Blade 17’s 3:52.

Keep in mind that this only applies to web browsing. On battery power, the x14 lasted 1 hour and 23 minutes when running games. That’s low, but not out of the ordinary for gaming laptops.

Because of its revolutionary vapor chamber cooling, sophisticated fan control technology, and other heat management features, the Alienware x14 stays surprisingly cool while gaming.

We identified the hottest point on the underside of the x14, which peaked at 95 degrees Fahrenheit, in our normal heat test, which entails passing a heat gun over the laptop after streaming 15 minutes of full HD film on it. That’s a lot of heat, and we normally consider temperatures of 95 degrees or above to be too hot for most people to hold on their laps for long periods of time.

That is, of course, just from viewing videos. The x14 heats up quite a bit when playing hard games. We ran the Metro: Exodus benchmark on Extreme settings six times in a row to see how hot it could get, then scanned the laptop with our heat gun on the sixth run to see how hot it could get. According to our measurements, the answer is quite hot — as high as 121 degrees on the underside near the vents.

That’s about as hot as a big, monster gaming machine like the Razer Blade 17 gets while gaming (122 degrees in the Blade’s instance), yet the x14 stays as cool as the typical ultraportable in our non-gaming heat test.

Alienware X14 review: Verdict 

The Alienware x14 is without a doubt one of 2022’s most distinctive-looking gaming laptops. It stands out from others thanks to its all-white ultra-thin design and dual-torque hinge.

On the inside, it’s a capable compact gaming setup that, owing to its RTX 30 series GPU and advanced cooling technologies, gives solid performance. It’s also more economical than thicker gaming laptops like the Razer Blade 17 or Maingear Vector Pro, even though its starting price isn’t precisely low.

My only criticism of the laptop is that it does not come with an OLED display. The FHD display is excellent, but it does not render games to their full potential. As a result, if you value display quality in your gaming laptops, you might want to consider a rig like the Razer Blade 17 with 4K OLED. The Alienware x14, on the other hand, is a terrific pick if you prefer gaming on the road and value mobility above power.

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