Alienware might not be a very famous name in the Americas, but what if I told you they’re just a subsidiary of Dell? That company you must know, and you might even have had positive experiences with them. So Alienwares are essentially Dell computers made to look good and run games new and old. And for one of their later releases, the Alienware 13 ANW13-7275SLV, people have already left good reviews. But did the TechForPennies.com review team find something to complain about? Perhaps, read on to see…
Gaming laptops are often all about performance, although the processor of this Alienware unit exactly isn’t. True, it’s i7, but a 5th generation 5500U model made with power efficiency in mind. These new i7s feature a low voltage design which is good for battery life but bad for ultimate performance. To illustrate this, the i7-5500U reaches ~4000 points in CPU Passmark while i7-4270HQ, a heavy-duty 4th generation chip gets around 8000 points. So I wouldn’t call i7-5500U exceptionally fast, but it should suffice for most – especially when it’s the graphics engine that really matters to gamers (and about that I’ll tell more in a moment).
Alienware 13 ANW13-7275SLV has 16GB DDR3L 1600MHz memory installed. The distribution is two 8GB chips and that’s the maximum you can have on this laptop. 16GB is plenty for any use, any laptop owner wouldn’t benefit from having more.
A 256GB M.2 solid-state drive is responsible for the storage. It’s indeed fast, reducing the boot up and loading times to minimum, so it makes sense to have SSD on a gaming laptop. On the other hand, there’s not too much space if you want to install many recent games eating dozens of gigabytes per title. To overcome this, you can install another M.2 SSD. There’s also a possibility to take the current solid-state drive out and put a mechanical HDD (SATA 3.0) in – that’s a good solution if you want huge space but don’t mind worse performance.
Screen and graphics
It’s a fancy display in Alienware 13 ANW13-7275SLV. The 13″ screen supports a 3200 x 1800 resolution that is also known as QHD+. It’s the resolution of future, although currently, some games have problems with it. Also, on this small display, Windows icons and text will look super tiny. A good solution is to switch to lower resolution (like the still-excellent 1920×1080) or plug in a bigger, external monitor.
Other than that, the anti-glare display should be great. People said picture is sharp which I can believe given the IPS panel type. It is also a touch screen, however it might not be an important feature for the gaming folk.
Alienware 13 ANW13-7275SLV features the GeForce GTX 860M (2GB GDDR5) engine to handle its graphics. It’s a dedicated graphics card, and quite a fast one if benchmarks are to be believed. GTA V, for example, gets ~35FPS on high details and 1920×1080. You might even manage with ultra settings. Other heavier titles, such as Watch Dogs, will work on high details as well. If you’re selection of games consists of lightweight ones only, expect to have smooth as a silk frames on any settings you choose.
Alienware 13 ANW13-7275SLV features three USB ports, a typical amount for 13″ laptops. All are USB 3.0 so you don’t need to “suffer” from the slower USB 2.0.
Of course, it’s possible to plug in a gaming notebook to an external monitor. The Alienware has HDMI and miniDP outputs for that, and if you have a suitable HDTV you can also enjoy the laptop’s 3200×1800 resolution on it.
Optical drive is something this laptop doesn’t have. To install games from discs, an external drive has to be used. Also SD card slot seems to be missing, although gamers won’t probably care that much.
You can connect Alienware 13 ANW13-7275SLV to Internet either with its Gigabit RJ-45 port or 802.11AC WiFi card. Miracast and Bluetooth 4.0 are also supported.
There’s a high-quality 2.1MP 1920×1080 webcam allowing for video chats with your gaming pals.
Some other things you should know about?
You might think a laptop meant for gaming is always very heavy. Well, a small screen does wonders for portability, and weight of the whole unit is 4.5 pounds. That’s not much compared to other gaming rigs with big screens, but it’s still more than many regular 13.3″ laptops weigh. Anyway, Alienware 13 ANW13-7275SLV is quite a traveler friendly gaming rig – something that most of them are not! Just remember that the 4 cell 52Wh battery won’t last forever, probably only 1-2 hours if you’re playing.
The keyboard has illuminated keys and no dedicated numpad on the right, leaving trackpad and keyboard nicely centered.
It’s only the gamers that would find this laptop very useful. But from what I can see, those folks would really like the Alienware 13 ANW13-7275SLV. Having a Core i7 processor and a dedicated GTX 860M graphics card means that all games (as of mid 2015) will run. And the best thing, most of them wouldn’t have problems with high details. For example, types like GTA V and Battlefield 4 would get very playable frames on higher settings. And since many games are not so heavy, they can be played with any settings you desire.
Of other aspects, the solid-state drive will help your games (and applications) load quickly and the compact 13″ size contributes to portability. The unit surely is an expensive one, but if you have the dough and yearn for lag-free gaming, I’d dare to say the Alienware should be on your shopping list.