Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alienware M11x -- What I've learned so far

So far the Alienware M11x has been pretty easy to set up and play with. I've installed just about all the programs I need and/or want without a hitch. The M11x doesn't come with a CD/DVD drive but luckily I already had an ISO of Office 2007. I don't have a copy of Office 2010 yet and I don't think I'll get one anytime soon so 2007 will have to do for now.

I'm temporarily using the McAfee suite that came with it but I will not be renewing or extending the license. There's no way I'm paying for virus protection when I have a few options for free such as AVG Free or MS Forefront. I will install one of these soon but I just didn't want to take the time right now to uninstall McAfee and install the others because I wanted to get tinkering with this machine.

A few things that I've noticed so far is:
  • The keyboard is a little bigger than my Samsung N110. The layout is somewhat better too because the arrows keys do not include other functions like my N110. That's a benefit for me as I like to use the arrow keys as well as the functions that are typically doubled upon them in smaller keyboards.
  • The screen is bigger and better. It still doesn't have the resolution I like or even near it but what can you do on a laptop. My big ASUS doesn't have the resolution. They are seemingly all 1366 by 768 pixels or somewhere in that vicinity. That goes with the quality of the graphics card and I can deal with it. I'm just used to being able to see more on my desktop monitor(s).
  • The touch pad is a little too far to the left of the keyboard. I have noticed that my left thumb tends to graze the left side of the touch pad just enough to make the mouse move or jump around when I don't want it to. I'm sure I can "fix" this by using a USB mouse and turning off the touch pad.
  • The temperature seems to get a little hot on the bottom of the machine. I'm not playing any games or setting it on my lap. It is just sitting on my desk which is solid, flat wood. It's not overbearing hot. It's just hotter than I'd expect from sitting on a flat, wood surface. I'm sure there is some setting I could mess with but remember, I've just taking it out, set it up and loaded some necessary software on it. I haven't delved into the intricacies of the M11x...yet.
  • The back-lighting is pretty cool. The wife even commented on it (along with the entire machine she thinks it's "really neat."). Again, I haven't changed the colors or anything yet so it is just the blue setting. Back-lighted keyboard is definitely a plus in the cool cosmetic factor.
  • Sound has been decent so far. Again, not a huge test run yet but I did watch a YouTube clip and the sound seemed good. YouTube isn't that great for testing because the clips' audio is sometimes too high or too low so it wouldn't be a good test if this was the case. I'll run some of my MP3s on it and see how it goes since I know they are all pretty much at the same decibel level.
  • The facial recognition hasn't worked yet. It initially captured my mug during initial set up but I don't think it got a good capture of it. Every time it tries to verify my mug at this time it fails. Sometimes it has been the very poor lighting in my office/bedroom but I did try it once in what I thought was brighter lighting. I'll re-initialize and see how it goes after but in theory it seems/looks like a cool toy/feature.
I guess that's about it for now. It's a pretty cool little machine so far and I can't wait to tinker with it some more on a higher level like CD/DVD ripping and some photo imaging/manipulating.

I'm still trying to make sure I have all my add-ons for Firefox and Chrome to match all my other machines so one of these days I'll be able to just waste time on it. Until then...

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