Alienware M18x and M14x first hands-on!

Now that Alienware's latest gaming notebooks have broken free from their classified captivity, perhaps you'd like to know how their form factors stack up? Well, we just so happen to have gotten our grubby paws on the extraterrestrials, and they're looking mighty fine. We'll warn you though, that the chart-topping M18x is a beast in more ways than one -- it may not be a literal 600-pound gorilla, but after one heft of its 16-pound frame we started wondering if luggables were back in vogue.

While the M18x's factory-overclocked 4GHz processor and HDMI-input sorely tempted us, we were rather more taken with the Alienware M14x's svelte frame, which should prove quite tempting for those who dig its more petite profile. While it doesn't have the anodized aluminum shell of its big brother the M18x, its red matte plastic exterior has a high-quality feel to it, though we spotted an unsightly seam along the right edge of the prototype unit. It's also unfortunately got a super-glossy screen, but the Klipsch speakers impressed -- much more than a simple gimmick, they're plenty powerful for a 14-inch notebook and sounded fairly crisp. We briefly played Call of Duty: Black Ops on the M14x, and found the keys to have plenty of travel and provided a satisfying click with each press as we wandered Cuban streets, and the touchpad was quite responsive as well (though we didn't have a chance to test its multitouch capabilities). It's heavier than other laptops with similar screen real-estate, but it's still an totally totable PC -- and the heft is a welcome tradeoff in exchange for the added horsepower under the hood as compared to its Jenny Craig competition.

Sean Hollister contributed to this report.