You don’t usually see established companies making too many big announcements at one show—perhaps a few new products and refreshes. That being said, Dell went all in at CES 2019, with new products and major refreshes across the board for a non-gaming look at their CES 2019 announcements, check out my colleague Patrick Moorhead's coverage. This was especially with its Alienware line of products. To my surprise, some of the coolest things I saw at the show were in the Alienware part of Dell’s booth at CES 2019. Let’s take a closer look.
What was announced
The first big announcement from Alienware (and possibly the most important) was the unveiling of the new Alienware Area-51m laptop. I won’t go into too much detail here, because I wrote an entirely separate piece on it (you can find that here). Area-51m is a desktop replacement—it’s lighter than the previous generation 17” Notebook and vastly more powerful than pretty much every other laptop out there. While most gaming laptops are limited by their laptop CPUs, the Area-51m features a CPU configuration up to an Intel Core-i9 9900K desktop processor. I believe this will result in some good gaming experiences, and I think it could even entice some video editors. The laptop also represents a new, futuristic design language for the company, called Legend, which to me recalls something from 2001: A Space Odyssey or A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Many laptops have become far too similar in design in recent years, and I believe Legend will do a great job of setting Alienware apart from the rest of the market..
Another major new product announced at CES 2019 was the Alienware 55” OLED gaming monitor, which the company miraculously managed to keep under wraps in the lead-up to the conference. The first OLED gaming monitor to hit the market, this display features the same new Legendary design language as the Alienware Area-51m. It features a 120 Hz refresh rate and adaptive sync, which helps to classify it as a gaming display. While most people are probably right to assume this is one of LG’s new generation OLED panels, final specs and pricing are not quite firm yet. I was told to expect a roughly $5,000 retail price, which is comparative to the line of BFGD displays. Dell also announced it would be bringing OLED displays to the m15 and G Series G7 15. I believe OLED is going to be a big trend this year, so keep an eye out for more of these displays from others in 2019.
Dell also introduced a new Alienware m17 laptop, a follow-up to the m15 that came out a few months ago. The new laptop features a significantly improved design in terms of footprint and thickness and has been updated to the newest version of NVIDIA ’s GeForce RTX 2000 series of GPUs (which includes the RTX 2060, RTX 2070 and RTX 2080). The m17 has been slimmed down to 5.79 pounds—40% lighter than its predecessor—and still delivers more performance. The m17 also features more CPU options, including an Intel Core-i9 8950HK option—the highest performance mobile CPU that Dell can ship without going to a desktop processor.
Alienware also greatly expanded its partnership with Riot Games for League of Legends (LOL), becoming the official tournament system supplier for Riot’s LOL tournaments. Alienware is doing a very good job of encouraging as much use of its systems in the eSports scene as possible. Ultimately, having these kinds of partnerships helps Alienware to remain a brand that people recognize and trust. Riot Games has a pretty successful pro circuit for League of Legends, with millions of viewers. This is excellent exposure for Alienware, and will only make the company more attractive to other eSports leagues and teams. Alienware already sponsors and supports teams like Team Liquid, helping them establish multiple training centers. Team Liquid is one of the most well-known and successful professional eSports teams in the world, with teams and players spanning 15 different games and numerous championships under its belt.
One last thing I saw at the Alienware booth that surprised me was a technology that crossed over from Dell—Dell Mobile Connect. The program comes pre-loaded on most Dell computers nowadays and I have been using it extensively with my XPS 15. It allows you to connect your smartphone to your Dell PC and view, navigate, and type on your phone remotely from your computer. It also allows you to see notifications without having to pick up and look at your phone, which can come in handy when you’re working or in a meeting. Now Dell Mobile Connect is looking to solve one of the biggest problems in VR—how to receive and respond to phone notifications, calls, or texts while you are in a virtual world. Dell’s Oren Inditzky gave a great demonstration of a VR user taking phone calls, sending messages, and watching videos on their phone in VR without ever physically touching or seeing their actual device. It was wild, and I think it represents the future of multi-platform interactions. I really hope that Dell follows through with this, because I could see people buying these systems for this capability alone.
This was a big CES for Alienware, with the debut of many new products and a new design language. Gaming laptops are growing in importance and the Alienware Area-51m looks like a very promising offering. In my opinion, this CES really showed how much Alienware still gets gaming—it understands what gamers want and how to make their lives better and more fun.