Alienware 13 slims gaming grunt into thinnest model yet

Gamers love their Alienware notebooks, and the Dell-owned brand is happy to keep delivering them, with the Alienware 13 the latest more portable model to escape the fold. Alienware's thinnest ever notebook, at an inch thick, and tipping the scales at under 4.5 pounds, the Alienware 13 slots in-between last year's Alienware 14 and the missed-by-many Alienware M11x which was killed off the year before.

So, the Alienware 13 isn't quite as small as the M11x, though that means there's room for a more impressive display. In fact, Alienware will offer three panel options, with the entry-level model getting a 1366 x 768 200 nits TN panel covering a 45-percent color gamut.

Those who take their gaming seriously, however, will probably want to step up at the very least to the 1920 x 1080 version, with a 350 nits IPS panel covering 72-percent color gamut, and with double-wide viewing angles.

Sitting at the top end of the range is a QHD 2560 x 1440 panel with touch, running at 400 nits brightness with a 72-percent color gamut IPS panel. Alienware uses NVIDIA 860 GTX graphics to keep the visuals running, while Intel's Core i-series chips do the main grunt-work.

Elsewhere, there's up to 16GB of DDR3 memory and up to two SSDs. Connectivity includes Killer 802.11ac wireless, ethernet, and USB 3.0, and there's Klipsch audio and an Alienware TACTX keyboard.

That 'board lights up, as do various other parts of the casing, using Alienware's AlienFX system that can change color and pulse in patterns according to whatever game you're playing.

Hands-on, it's more of the same in terms of Alienware design, though that's no bad thing. The company's more recent notebooks are a far cry from the hefty models of before, with sturdy metal casings and some clean design elements that arguably leave the portables in the Alienware range more visually appealing than the desktops.

The keyboard is nicely sprung, and the displays look great, even if Alienware hasn't given the 13 a matte-finish panel. Obviously we'll have to wait until final production models hit shelves before we can see performance, but Alienware generally doesn't mess around there.

Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but the Alienware 13 will go on sale this coming November.