This laptop review covers the Alienware M11x and the HP ProBook 5330m computer systems.
The Alienware M11x is an ultra-portable laptop aimed at gaming fans. While it may not be the thinnest in its class, the overall package in terms of design, features, and performance should make the M11x appealing to many. The Alienware M11x starts at $1,049 and comes with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
Performance in the Alienware M11x is powered by a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5-2537M processor with 3MB of cache. This low-voltage processor not only helps to give the laptop optimal battery life, but it also offers plenty of speedy processing through its multiple cores. Itís part of Intelís second generation of Core i5 processors, so you can expect improved performance if you previously used a machine running on a first generation chip. You can multitask with ease and perform all of your everyday tasks without problems. As you would expect from the Alienware line, gaming is no problem, either. Besides the impressive processor, you also get 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM to help with multitasking.
As mentioned, the M11x is a great little laptop for gaming, and it has the graphics card to back up its claims. An Nvidia GeForce GT540M card allows the laptop to handle modern games the way a machine geared for gaming should. Even if you are gaming or performing more intensive tasks, you wonít have to fret about battery life, as the six-cell battery will keep you going for around five hours on a full charge. Thereís also sizable storage capacity of 500GB.
Moving on in the M11xís features list, it should be noted that the laptopís form factor prohibits it from having an optical drive. So, if you want to enjoy DVDs or CDs, youíll have to look into an external drive. Installing games could also be a pain due to the driveís absence. The M11x offers 802.11n Wi-Fi to help you get connected to the internet. You have the option of adding on Bluetooth, Gobi Mobile Broadband with GPS, or WiMax, but it will cost you extra. Other features of note include a media card reader, an integrated webcam and microphone, and Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit as the operating system of choice.
When you think of a gaming laptop, you think of an edgy design, and that is just what the Alienware M11x offers. The laptop is thicker than most of its ultra-portable counterparts, but you can still haul it around without too much trouble. The M11x measures 11.3 inches wide by 9.2 inches deep by 1.3 inches thick. It comes in a stealth black color scheme with a soft touch finish that both looks and feels good. Thereís also a small 3D alien head on the lid as an added touch. The laptop has an overall jagged look, with sharp curves near the front and some raised accents on the lid to give it an intimidating aura. The customizable LED lights that funnel through a pair of grills on the front face are hard to miss as well. Needless to say, the gaming crowd should be pleased by the design.
The 11.6-inch display with 1,366 x 768 resolution produces vibrant graphics, but it does have a bit of a glare problem due to its glossy finish. The integrated speakers do a nice job of providing a decent volume level without the need for headphones. The M11xís backlit keyboard is a joy to type with and look at, as you can customize the lightingís colors. A roomy touchpad adds to the laptopís pleasing design. Connectivity rounds out the gaming laptopís design, and itís not bad, to say the least. You get an Ethernet port, HDMI port, DisplayPort, mini FireWire, microphone and headphone jacks, two USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 port.
The newest Alienware M11x is a winner. If you are looking for a laptop thatís portable, has an edgy design, a full set of features, and can handle your gaming needs, look no further than the M11x.
HP ProBook 5330m
HPís ProBook 5330m is a 13.3-inch laptop created with business users in mind. While it lacks in some areas, its overall combination of performance, features, and design should appeal to those seeking an everyday laptop at an affordable price. The ProBook 5330m is available for around $800, and it comes with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
The ProBook 5330m comes with a 2.1GHz Intel Core i3-2310M processor. This second generation processor from Intel gives the ProBook plenty of pep when it comes to common office tasks and more. 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM is onboard to help with multitasking, so you wonít have to limit your activities while working on the ProBook. Graphics support is nothing out of this world via the Intel HD Graphics 300 card, but you can watch HD videos and even game a bit without any problems.
While the laptopís core performance may be up to speed, its battery life is a tad disappointing. The included four-cell lithium battery offers a rated 5.5 hours of usage on a full charge. Thatís decent, but there are similar laptops that give you more juice away from the outlet. The ProBook 5330m features a 500GB hard drive for your storage needs, which should be more than enough for most casual users. An integrated webcam and microphone allows you to video chat with business colleagues or friends when necessary. A media card reader, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth round out the ProBook 5330mís feature set. Due to the laptopís thin nature, you wonít find an optical drive for watching DVDs or listening to CDs.
If there was one word to describe the appearance of the HP ProBook 5330m, it would be clean. Most of the laptop is coated in a silver brushed metal color scheme that should fit in nicely at the office or while travelling. The ProBook 5330m is solidly built, but it is not the sleekest amongst its competitors in terms of dimensions, as it measures in at 12.9 inches wide by 8.9 inches deep by 1 inch thick. Still, it is portable enough to carry around on a frequent basis.
The 13.3-inch display with 1,366 x 768 resolution produces decent overall graphics. Its strong point is its anti-glare coating that prevents the annoyance of reflections when in bright environments. Popular Beats Audio speakers make their way into the laptopís design, but youíll need headphones to enjoy their full effect.
The ProBook 5330mís black backlit keyboard mimics that of the MacBook with square, responsive keys. The touchpad is not as impressive due to its small size and irritating buttons. One added bonus is the inclusion of a fingerprint reader for added security. HP missed the boat concerning the 5330ís connectivity by not including any USB 3.0 ports. As it stands, you get two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 2.0/eSATA combo port, an Ethernet port, VGA, HDMI, and a headphone jack.
While the HP ProBook 5330m is far from perfect, it is a decent solution for business users seeking a portable companion for everyday use. It comes at a decent price point, and its performance, classy design, and overall features make it at least worthy of some consideration from shoppers.
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