Dell Announces 11-Inch Alienware m11x and Refreshed Inspiron Laptops, Demos Slate Concept

IMG_9484At its press conference this morning, Dell also announced the Alienware m11x, an 11.6-inch gaming laptop with a low-voltage processor and switchable graphics. It also announced that the Mini 10 will be available with a built-in TV tuner and GPS services. The company debuted a host of refreshed Inspiron notebooks that will be offered with Intel’s new Core i3 and Core i5 processors. These notebooks include models with 14-, 15-, and 17-inch screen sizes. Finally, not to be left out of the Slate Arms Race, Dell showed off a prototype of a 5-inch tablet running Android.

A Miniature Gaming Rig

First, the m11x. We’ve seen netbooks, such as the HP Mini 311, which offer a superior graphics experience, thanks to Nvidia’s Ion processor, but the m11x, which runs on a low-voltage processor and switchable Nvidia GT335M graphics, is the first product of its kind. Indeed, the kind of graphics performance that Dell is promising isn’t what you’d expect of a mere souped-up Ion netbook. The company is promising 3DMark scores between 6,000 and 7,000, Crysis frame rates of 50 frames per second, and Call of Duty and Modern Warfare frame rates of over 30 fps with the notebook set to its highest resolution. In the demo today, Dell demonstrated the notebook outputting smooth video to an HD monitor. The m11x’s design, black with a red backlit keyboard and matching LED lights dispersed throughout, looks the part of a gaming machine.

The notebook, which will sell for “less than a thousand” (I take that to mean $999), has a hotkey that users can press to switch between integrated and discrete graphics without having to reboot the system. As for battery life, Dell promises “two hours of intense” gaming unplugged.

Changes to the Dell Mini 10

The Dell Mini 10 is also undergoing some changes. It’s getting a 1366 x 768 display, smudge-resistant palm rest,  Broadcom HD Media Accelerator (standard with an HD display), and optional embedded TV tuner (this is already an option, actually) and GPS radio. It’s getting “extended battery offerings,” which really means a six-cell option promising 9.5-10 hours of battery life. Prices start at $299.

Laptop Refreshes

Dell also refreshed several of its existing laptops to offer Intel Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 processors. In the Inspiron line, Dell’s entry-level offerings, the Inspirons 14, 15, and 17 are getting Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs. Core i3 systems start at $569; Core i5 systems, $849.

On the gaming front, the Alienware M17x and M15x are getting Core i7 processors. The M17x will starts at $1,799; the M15x, $1,399.

These refreshed notebooks are available for immediate delivery. However, Core i3 products won’t ship for a few weeks, says Dell.

Slate Concept

Finally, at the conclusion of its conference, Michael Tatelman, SVP of global sales and marketing for Dell, showed off a slate tablet concept. The 5-inch device was running Android, and has a capacative touchscreen, although it’s unclear if it’s multitouch-enabled. The metallic red back is a nice design touch. When asked when such a tablet might make into consumers’ hands, Tatelman said, “We’ll save that one for awhile. I can’t commit that we’ll bring it to market or not.”  When pressed for more details he quipped, “I’m less vauge than I was on adamo last year.”

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