While Alienware is a name commonly spoken in any high-end notebook discussion, its managed to mingle in less elite crowds by offering more financially manageable options. The Area 51 m5500 is a mid-range laptop with all the "prestigious styling cues" associated with the company, but lacks some of the bleeding-edge hardware found in the upper-echelon offerings. Reghardware's review model was actually a scaled-down version of the current machine (albeit with the same price), but it still performed fairly admirably. The finalized units will receive an Intel Core Duo processor, 1GB of RAM, either a Mobility Radeon X1400 or a GeForce Go 7600 with 256MB of RAM, 100GB SATA HD, a DVD-playing CD burner, a 15.4-inch display sporting a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution, a trio of USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire connector, and the standard wireless suite (WiFi and Bluetooth). The subtle beast faired well considering the tame innards required to hit the £899 (and up) price point; the biggest gripes came from the weak battery life (1:30-2:00) and the rubber grips atop the lid that "added unnecessary weight," but it's possible the bragging rights you'll gain would far outweigh any extra pounds they add. If you're scouting a gaming laptop, there's definitely a world of options, but if you need that element of extraterrestrial distinction to set you apart from the rest, the m5500 will be landing in August.

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