It’s hard to describe the Alienware Alpha. On the surface, it’s a small-form gaming PC, custom-built from laptop components to fit in your entertainment center. But it wassupposed to be a frontrunner in a new category of gaming devices. It isn’t. Valve’s Steam Machine initiative was delayed past its original launch window, leaving manufacturers like Dell to fend for themselves in a market that doesn’t exist yet. It’s a weird, awkward place to be in, but here we are, testing the Alienware Alpha: a Steam Machine before its time. The question is: Can one of the biggest names in PC gaming succeed where others have failed?
- Alpha UI creates a solid console illusion
- Custom gamepad drivers solve most mouse and keyboard problems
- Makes it easy to play PC games on a TV
- Painfully long load times
- Overprotective console mode blocks some games from running
- Driver issues can cause trouble with some titles
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