REVIEW OF ALIENWARE X14

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A positive trend is already begun in the field of gaming laptops: some of them are growing smaller. The latest business to jump on board with this is Alienware and its new X14. This is a small 14-inch gaming laptop that’s radically different from anything else that the firm provides. There’s now something on Alienware’s menu for folks who still perceive gaming as the main entrée but still hold mobility in high respect.
It’s not an exaggeration to state that the X14 is effectively a reduced version of the company’s bigger, costlier, and more powerful 15-inch X15. It’s smaller, lighter, and, as you would assume, significantly less powerful. As predicted, Alienware made some concessions to squeeze everything onto a smaller chassis. The X14 has fewer ports, and part of the futuristic (though polarizing) RGB LEDs down its back (seen above on the X17) are removed. Then there are flaws that affect usefulness, such as ho-hum battery life and a cramped keyboard. I’ll get to them further below.
Here is: Alienware Aurora R12 Review
On the other hand, I’m pleased that the smaller X14 keeps many of the same features that differentiate the bigger versions. It boasts a strong 12th Gen Intel CPU, lightning-fast RAM clocked at 5,200MHz, and two Thunderbolt 4 connections. In terms of performance, this does not run like the crippled system that I anticipated it would be. It’s definitely not priced like a degraded computer, though. Alienware announced at launch that the X14 will cost $1,799.99, but the firm is really selling a $1,649.99 alternative, along with two higher-tier variants.

ALIENWARE X14 REVIEW

The X14 may be customized with two CPU options: the 12-core Intel Core i5-12500H or the Intel Core i7-12700H 14-core processor. It begins with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM clocked at 4,800MHz, but you can upgrade to up to 32GB of LPDDR5 memory clocked at 5,200MHz – presently the highest speed possible in a laptop. In terms of graphics, the X14 features the RTX 3050 by default but can be upgraded to a more powerful and somewhat more power-hungry RTX 3050 Ti or RTX 3060.
The machine I examined is the current top-of-the-line model, which will sell for $2,299.99. It contains the 14-core Core i7-12700H CPU, the RTX 3060, and 32GB of 5,200MHz RAM. If you acquire a lower-spec model, the storage may be upgraded after the purchase, however, the RAM is soldered to the motherboard and can’t be altered.
The design of the X14 is similar to that of the previous X-series laptops, although altered significantly to match its smaller size. Alienware’s off-white Lunar Light hue covers the display’s enclosure, as well as some sections of the chassis. And around the keyboard, the X14 features a rubberized feel that holds my palms in place when typing. It has a more gamer-focused design than other high-end gaming laptops that feature all-metal designs, but it’s muted compared to some of Alienware’s earlier machines.

ALIENWARE X14 SPECS (AS TESTED)

  • Intel Core i7-12700H (14 cores, boost clock up to 4.7GHz)
  • Windows 11 preinstalled
  • 32GB RAM (5,200MHz, soldered)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 (80W total graphics power, 1,282MHz boost clock)
  • 2TB NVMe PCIe storage (replaceable)
  • 14-inch G-Sync display, 1920 x 1080, 144Hz, 7ms response time
  • 720p Windows Hello webcam
  • 12.66 x 10.34 x 0.57 inches, 4.06 pounds
  • 80Wh battery
  • 130W USB-C power brick
  • One Type-A USB 3.2 Gen 1, one microSD card reader (UHS-II), two Thunderbolt 4 (USB4), one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, one HDMI 2.1 port, one headphone jack
  • X Series 1-zone RGB keyboard
  • Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2

All of the X14’s ports are situated around its back instead of being divided between the rear and sides like the bigger X-series laptops. Here, you’ll find three USB-C connections (two of which are Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 connectors, but all enable charging and DisplayPort 1.4 video out), a 3.5mm headphones jack, an HDMI 2.1 port, a UHS-II microSD card slot, and a USB-A port. The X14 has fewer ports than the X15 or X17, but the losses can be slight, depending on your demands. In the size reduction, one USB-A port, mini DisplayPort, and the Ethernet port were lopped off. However, it’s a consolation to have so many USB-C ports here.
Parts of the X14’s keyboard got a bit lost in translation, however. While it’s technically great and quiet to write on, the layout seems tight –, particularly along the right side. The key location is really no different from Alienware’s bigger X-series computers, but several of the X14’s most critical keys (for my line of work, at least) are too tiny on the X14. The one that messed me up the most is the X14’s right Shift key. I occasionally misinterpret it for a forward slash when swiftly typing owing to its size or strike it when I want to arrow up in a page.
It’s also challenging not to feel upset at how near the Delete key is to the power button, too. Though Alienware – clearly knowing this may be a problem for some people – skillfully made the power button difficult to click than the other keys.


The X14 boasts a 14-inch 1080p display that provides Nvidia G-Sync adaptive sync to help games seem smoother and more responsive. It sports a 144Hz refresh rate and a 7ms response time. For creators, it supports 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color space. Alienware boasts that its display can achieve 400 nits of brightness, and at peak brightness, it passed my threshold of “wow, that’s too bright for me to look at for very long.”
What’s new in Alienware’s 2022 X-series computers is the inclusion of Dolby Vision HDR, which will deliver compatible video a more realistic, contrast-rich picture, as though you’re watching it on a TV that supports the HDR standard. The problematic issue is, though, that unlike using a TV, the X14 doesn’t make it plainly evident whether or if you’re viewing anything in HDR. Games that I tried on this laptop appeared to look better, with greater contrast, as well as deeper blacks instead of washed-out grays, although I occasionally questioned if this function was on or not.
I also didn’t sure whether to blame Dolby Vision on a display glitch that I saw. When I’d go between dark websites and light ones, the screen would auto-adjust the brightness after a few seconds. Automatically altering the brightness is standard HDR behavior, however, we couldn’t determine what caused this to happen. Alienware didn’t rule out that this display’s pre-installed ComfortView Plus blue light filter software may be causing this.
To evaluate how the X14’s gaming skills stood up, I booted up Halo Infinite’s multiplayer experience. The settings defaulted to low across the board, but it regularly ran at approximately 90 frames per second when I raised the graphics slider up to high. Indoor maps like Aquarius operated smoother than bigger, outside maps, although performance was always consistent and generally over 60 frames per second.
I was originally apprehensive about how fast-paced games could seem considering the display’s 7ms reaction time. I normally play on a PC at home, linked to a 1ms-response-time monitor. But playing a few rounds in Halo Infinite allayed my fears that this specific spec would impair the experience. I’m sure it would appear different when compared head-to-head, but I just couldn’t see the difference mid-match, and so long as I’m getting no-scope shots with the Skewer weapon, I’m happy. And I enjoyed how fluid everything appeared – in-game and outside of gaming — on the 144Hz refresh rate screen. It’s hard to go back to 60Hz panels when you have a taste of silky-smooth scrolling.
Red Dead Redemption 2 puts up an average of 50 frames per second in its built-in test with all graphics settings set to extreme, which isn’t terrible for a small gaming laptop. With Nvidia’s DLSS (AI-based graphics upscaling) turned to auto mode, extreme settings offered a rise to an average of 57 frames per second in the test. Given these findings, when I knocked certain settings down to high (and more memory-intensive settings down to medium), passing the 60 frames per second barrier wasn’t too tough for the X14. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: DLSS is a gift to have for PCs like this one that otherwise would struggle to run games at their top settings.
I also tested a game called Exo One on the X14 to test out the system’s Dolby Vision-ready display (available in every configuration) (offered in every configuration). Running this game at its top settings wasn’t a struggle for the X14, and the display’s contrast was more remarkable than I imagined. Exo One started off with gloomy scenes, and while there was no sign, it appeared as if an HDR effect was put on. The dark abyss of outer space appeared like a lot deeper black than what I’ve seen on other gaming laptop screens. It got me thrilled at the thought of playing games like Deathloop, No Man’s Sky, and others that are rich in beautiful hues and contrast.

ALIENWARE X14 REVIEW

Alienware had to downsize its cooling system for the X14, yet regardless of the workload, the X14 performs a respectable job running reasonably cool and silent. It pushes heated air out of its back and out the vents situated along the sides near to the display hinge. The X14 didn’t grow excessively hot, nor were its fans unduly noisy.
By default, the X14 intelligently changes between utilizing the integrated and dedicated graphics based on the program that you’re running. So when I begin a game, a toast notice notifies me that Nvidia Optimus has switched to the GPU. And when I exit, there’s a second-long delay as the OS switches back to the Intel Iris Xe graphics. This type of graphics-switching innovation isn’t necessarily new in models that offer various graphics choices, but firms like Alienware, Razer, Asus, and others are making a greater fuss out of the capability with this year’s models.
Not to be excessive, but I was blown away by the X14’s skills in exporting 4K footage in Adobe Premiere Pro. During our test, which runs a 5-minute-33-second 4K movie through the export procedure, the X14 finished the work in three minutes flat. Puzzled by how excellent this result was, I performed it again, and it returned identical findings. Last year, it was tough to find any gaming laptop that could perform such a rapid accomplishment, but to my amazement, this reduced model definitely can dash through exporters.
This quick speed appears to be a hallmark of Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake mobile CPUs. In Monica Chin’s evaluation of the far-more-expensive MSI GE76 Raider, which boasts Intel’s Core i9-12900HK CPU, it tore through the same export in a little under two minutes. So, it’s heartening that paying significantly less on the X14 (that MSI variant goes for $3,999.99) may still get you extremely promising results in this specific use case.
For ultra-portable gaming systems like the X14, battery life is nearly as vital as sheer power. And that’s where Intel-based laptops have apparently plateaued, as a contrast to AMD’s previous couple of CPU generations, which have demonstrated enormous advances in inefficiency. With Microsoft Edge running over a dozen tabs that I require for business, the X14 lasted just over four and a half hours. That’s a couple of hours less than what I was anticipating, particularly given Alienware brags that its 80Wh battery is the greatest capacity ever packed inside a 14-inch gaming laptop.
This barely passable battery life is not far from my experience with Alienware’s larger 15-inch and 17-inch gaming laptops. I’m convinced that the forthcoming wave of AMD-equipped machines will improve on the outcomes that we’ve seen so far with Alder Lake.

ALIENWARE X14 REVIEW

Fortunately, the X14 readily charges through USB-C, and it comes with a tiny 130W USB-C charger. What’s more, Alienware states that you can use any USB-C PD charger to charge the X14. But unless you’re using a pretty quick one, the X14 may actively drain instead of charging. With an 18W USB-C charger that I had laying around, the X14 steadily drained (even in power saving mode) instead of charging. So, I’d only advocate parting with the included 130W USB-C charger if you want to charge the X14 while it sleeps.
Whether you acquire the X14 mainly for gaming or for other chores, I advise investing in a headset or headphones as well as a mouse. Alienware promises Dolby Atmos compatibility, but like most other gaming laptops, the X14’s speakers didn’t sound especially amazing. It basically sounds like other laptop speakers to me: harsh at high levels and lacking in warmth.
As for the trackpad, definitely acquire a mouse. I’m not the greatest lover of trackpads in general, but this one’s tiny and kludgy. It supports all of the standard motions as a Windows Precision trackpad. But I wish it had greater feedback or at least tangible switches that delivered more pleasing tactility.

ALIENWARE X14 REVIEW

Alienware isn’t forging new ground with the X14. Other firms like Acer, Asus, Razer, and more are now years into introducing 14-inch choices into their own portfolios. And some of them strive higher, giving superior performance in this compact form factor. That doesn’t take away from the X14 being a significant thing for Alienware. It’s also a huge thing for casual gamers who’ve long desired an Alienware that can fit more readily into their lives (and backpacks).
Though, given that its price remains around $2,000 for specifications suitable for playing the newest games, it’s hard to suggest the above more powerful gaming laptops – even if they are larger. And with several of 2022’s most intriguing alternatives looming on the horizon, including the 14-inch Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, you should at least wait and see how they match upon release. For a few hundred dollars more than the X14’s high-end model that I tested, the $2,599.99 Razer Blade 14 comes with a higher-resolution QHD screen and a quicker RTX 3070 Ti graphics engine.
But if you’ve always wanted a smaller Alienware laptop, it’s here, and it’s not terrible. And perhaps, the next edition will be even better.

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