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CES 2023: Dell debuts big, bold and bright X16 and M18 Alienware gaming laptops

Alienware moves up to 16in and 18in for this year’s flagship gaming portables

The international tech conference CES has rolled around once more, and as always, there’s a bevy of exciting new hardware to be revealed at the show itself, including a pair of new high-ticket gaming laptops from Alienware. Updating its line-up for the coming year, Alienware has unveiled new models for its X and M series.

The big news is that it’s moving away from 15in and 17in screen sizes to focus on 16in and 18in machines for both its portable flagship and power-focused lines. Joining the X range is the slim, powerful Alienware X16, while the M series sees the addition of the behemoth Alienware M18.

The new flagship model is the X16 and, as you would expect, it comes with a choice of Intel’s new 13th Gen CPUs inside as well as the latest NVIDIA 40-series GPUs, ranging from the GeForce RTX 4050 up to the 4090. As you’d expect, it has a 16in display and this is available in three configurations: a Full HD+ panel running at 480Hz, and two QHD+ options, running at 165Hz and 240Hz, respectively.

Aside from internal specs, the laptop is forward-thinking in terms of its aesthetics and is the first model to feature what Dell is calling its “Legend 3” design language, which here translates to an all-metal chassis, a handy rubber perimeter foot that aims to improve airflow and new “V-rail” edges designed to improve user comfort and make the display easier to lift. In terms of shape and size the X16 comes in reasonably slim as well, at 18.57mm, while weighing a somewhat hefty 2.72kg.

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Fans of colourful lightning will also have a lot to ooh and ahh over when it comes to the X16. In addition to keyboard backlighting and updated and improved rear lighting featuring micro LEDs, the machine also comes with multi-colour touchpad lighting, which is exclusive to this model.The Alienware M18, at nearly an inch thick, is a beast of a machine. The final weight is yet to be confirmed but you can be sure this is not going to be a laptop you’ll want to carry around with you all that much. As with the X16, the M18 will come with 13th Gen Intel CPUs, with next-gen AMD Ryzen processors also becoming an option later in the year. Similarly, the laptop will support Nvidia’s RTX 4090 GPU from the get go, with options from AMD’s Radeon line becoming available later on. The laptop’s 18in display, available as a QHD+ panel running at 165hz or FHD+ at 480Hz, is 14.5% larger than the 17in panel on its predecessor (the Alienware M17), and it owes much of this larger size to its taller aspect ratio of 16:10. And, for those who like to tinker, the machine has user-upgradeable RAM and storage, with dual DDR5 RAM slots and four M.2 SSD slots inside, supporting up to a massive 9TB of storage.

In a notable software improvement that will affect both models, the X16 and M18 will also both feature the revamped Alienware Command Center, which should help users gain finer-tuned control over system elements such as performance, thermals and lighting.

Both laptops are slated to emerge sometime in Q1 2023, with versions featuring a wider range of internal components likely to be seen some time in Q2.