Alienware 13 Gaming Ultraportable

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The Alienware 13 is an ultraportable gaming notebook PC. With a unique screen size of 13.3″ in the gaming notebook category, the Alienware 13 doesn’t offer top performance. It rather delivers mid-range gaming potential in a portable form factor. The mid-tier Intel Core i5-4210U dual-core processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M 2GB video card are packed in a 1.1″ thick chassis with a total weight of 4.5 pounds. Quite thin and light for a gaming notebook.

However, graphics department of the laptop is expandable with help of an external separately sold graphics card box. The device is officially called Alienware Graphics Amplifier. It’s a 300-dollar box with a PCI Express slot in which you can insert a desktop-use graphics card, a power supply, and its own power cable. Both Nvidia and AMD video cards are supported. The Amplifier connects to the Alienware 13 via a proprietary cable.

Alienware 13 with Graphics Amplifier

As for RAM memory, the Alienware 13 ships with 8 or 16GB, both sufficient for all home, office, and gaming scenarios. Data storage choices are a 500GB hard drive combined with 8GB of Flash memory for data caching, a 1-Terabyte HDD, a 256GB solid state drive. The notebook has no built-in DVD drive.

The display comes in three different variants: 1366×768-pixel TN panel with 200-nits brightness, 1920×1080 with IPS wide viewing angle tech and increased 350-nit brightness, and a 2560×1440 IPS 400 nit panel. The last one can optionally have touchscreen support.

Regarding other on-body features, notable are a well-sized keyboard with backlight and programmable keys for easier game commands, a trackpad with integrated click buttons, Klipsch certified stereo speakers located on the left and right sides of the laptop, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and mini DisplayPort video connectors, and Gigabit Ethernet LAN port. The laptop also has Wi-Fi 802.11AC wireless and Bluetooth connections. A memory card reader is missing on this model.

The 4-cell battery with a 52WHr capacity is quite big for an ultraportable laptop. Dell hasn’t officially provided info on battery life, but judging from the specs it should be certainly good for more than five hours of web surfing and obviously much less if you game on it.

Specifications of the Alienware 13

Here's the specs sheet of the Alienware 13. For comparison against other laptops, use the "Compare Specs" button.

Brand Dell
Screen size 13.3-inch
Screen resolution 1366x768 pixels HD (entry-level sharpness)

1920x1080 pixels Full HD (very good sharpness)

2560x1440 pixels (high sharpness)
Touchscreen Yes (optional)
Other display specs IPS (wide) or TN (limited) viewing angles - depending on configuration
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i5-4210U 4th Gen dual-core 1.7-2.7GHz 3MB cache (User Benchmark CPU score: 35)
Graphics (GPU) Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M 2GB GDDR5 Dedicated Video Card
System memory (RAM) size 8GB (for comfortable multi-tasking)

16GB (for heavy multi-tasking)
Data storage 256GB SSD (decent capacity)

500GB + 8GB HDD / SSD Hybrid (very good capacity, but slow type of storage)

1000GB (1TB) HDD (excellent capacity, but slow type of storage)
DVD optical drive None
Keyboard, input Backlit keyboard without numeric pad

Multi-touch trackpad with integrated buttons

Speakers and audio Stereo speakers
Camera Front
Wi-Fi wireless 802.11AC

Ethernet network port Yes
Mobile broadband (3G, 4G LTE) No
Bluetooth Yes
USB ports 2 x USB 3.0
Video ports 1 x HDMI

1 x mini DisplayPort
Media card reader No
Other features Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port
Battery 4 Cell 52WHr
Weight 4.5 pounds
Height 1.1"
Width 12.9"
Depth 9.2"
Windows version Windows 8.1 (Eligable for free upgrade to Windows 10 Home. Check for more info.)

Windows 8.1 Pro (Eligable for free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Check for more info.)

Windows 7 Pro (Eligable for free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Check for more info.)
Warranty 1-year

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Published on October 31, 2014

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