First off, this is my second laptop, the first being an Emachines m6810. I bought this laptop for college and travel, and didn't want to tote around the beastly Emachines around with me. The Sentia 3200 is currently speced at:
Processor: Intel® Pentium® M 760 2.0GHz 2MB L2 Cache 533MHz FSB
Operating System (Office software not included): Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition with Service Pack 2
Instant-ON Playback: Instant-ON Media Playback featuring PowerCinema
Display: Alienware® Sentia m3200 with 12.1" Wide-XGA 1280x800 LCD Display - Xeno Grey
Motherboard: Alienware® Intel® 915GM + ICH6 Chipset
Memory: 1280MB Dual Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 533MHz - 1 x 256MB (and I added a 1 x 1024MB)
Wireless Network: Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200 b/g Wireless Card
Hard Drive: 60GB 5400 RPM ATA100
Video Card: Intel® GMA 900 Extreme Graphics
Sound Card: Sound Blaster Pro Compatible 5.1 Digital Audio
Smart Bay One: 8X Dual Layer DVD+/-RW / 24X CD-RW Combo w/Software
Primary Battery: Sentia 6-Cell Lithium-Ion Smart Battery Pack
Ethernet NIC: Integrated 10/100Mb Ethernet NIC
Modem: 56K Modem with V.90 Technology
Desktop Enhancements: Exclusive AlienGUIse Theme Manager
The reason I chose Alienware over Dell or anything else out there was the rebates I was offered at the time, a $200 MIR, a $75 MIR, and a shipping MIR of $99 (ok, the unique looks may have had something to do with it too, but i've wanted one of these for a long time anyway). Anyway on to the review...
I will start out with some basics and move into the fun stuff at the end.
Ordering and delivery
Ordering was painless. The website has an easy layout and updates prices in realtime. I ordered on Monday, Jan. 30th, on Feb. 1st I upgraded a few components with no troubles from the polite and helpful agents I spoke to. On Feb. 3rd I recieved an email asking me to purchase the Sentia I had saved on the website from before the order and they would take off an additional $75 (wohoo ) so I called and asked since I had already ordered the Sentia, if I could get the discount anyway. All they needed was for me to forward the email and they gave it to me on top of the shipping and $200 MIRs. On the 6th I recieved another email informing me that the DVD-RW drive was out of stock and would delay my order till Feb. 24th. On Feb. 8th I recieved an email letting me know they had shipped it (appaerntly they got the drives in early) and on Feb. 9th it was delivered (recieved it the next day even on the basic shipping). On arrival the box was packed nice and organized. One problem was the missing rebates, which I have to wait til Monday to resolve.
Overall looks and feel (keyboard and screen included)
Very, very unique. With the glowing logo and alien eyes, and rubber grips on the lid you can not mistake this notebook for another. The xeno grey color lets it standout but not distract. The screen is simply beautiful and is very easy to watch a movie on, colors show up nicely, bright and clear. I have no problem with the shineyness of the screen refecting light. I like the translucent look of this keyboard, again very unique. The keyboard is a little flimsy (especially above the dvd drive), although the rest of the notebook is very sturdy - even the lid has no lose feel when opening and closing. The input/output layout was a little odd for me, I'm used to the s-video, usb ports, lan/phone, and vga ports being in the back, again I'll just get used to it over time.
Performance and battery life
I am very impressed with it's speed. When it first arrived I booted it up with the original 256mb of ram it came with and I swear to you the little alien face on the front spit in my eye. He was very angry so I feed him the gig stick I ordered off newegg. After the install it ran very fast, it boots up quick and I've never had a problem waiting longer then a few seconds to start anything. The 5400rpm hard drive is fine, i do have future plans of upgrading to a bigger 7200rpm drive soon though. It runs hot (moslty when it is plugged in) and its hot right under where you would lay your right palm to rest while typing, not burning hot but hot enough to notice (I actually set my palms there when my hands get cold and its hot enough to heat them up quickly). As for the battery life I will time it eventually, but I haven't run out of battery just yet doing basic tasks for a few hours, I will post an update after I run some battery test.
Size and weight
I ordered this notebook for the small size. The best object I have found to compare this to in wieght and overall size is a mathbook, like the ones from highschool. It is a little heavier then anticipated, but it does feel "built", wieght wasn't really an object in my decision so I could care less aslong it wieghed less then my m6810. The website is a little misleading, the height of the notebook (closed) varies from 1.25" in the front to 1.5" in the back, I believe the website states that it is .85" high, the were probly measuring it open but that's kinda dumb, I'm curious if the Booq case I ordered will fit it now (I'll update you all when I recieve it, end of next week sometime).
Other features, accesories, and manuals
The P button that boots the Sentia into linux and allows you watch movies, listen to music, and view pictures is nice to have, but I don't recall ever needing to go from off to movie ready in 5 seconds, or the plan would crash, babies would cry, and birds will fall out of the sky. I'm not complaining about the feature it's nice and it would be neat and I would probly use it more if it lets the notebook last longer under battery power while watching movies (not a bad idea, when I run my battery test I will see if the P button boot actually increases battery time). The paperwork, manuals, and restore/utility disks are all great. This is the first pre-built pc I've bought that didn't come with a mural-sized post explaining in painful detail where the 'on' button is located. The little security clearence ID card was a nice touch, little things like this amuse me. The AlienGUIse Theme Manager is neat and again make this notebook standout. I ordered a mouse pad and a hat from them also, the mouse pad was very nice and i would recommend it for the $9 they want for it, it has a reversible surface one slickish and one roughish, it is also a bigger then standared mouse pads (it's actually only half an inch smaller the the Sentia width wise). The hat...is a hat.
Yes...I installed World of Warcraft and it ran. . .Very playable actually! If you dont mind playing in the lowest resolution with midish settings, I was getting no less the 20FPS in the middle of Iron Forge, so I walked out to the gates where I usually get a bit of lag because of the duels going on out there and to my surprise there was no lag at all, I was very impressed. I know this is not a gaming machine (before the flaming starts) but it runs well enough to check your auctions or get a quick WoW fix anywhere. I also installed Civ 4 (I saw somewhere on here someone's brother or something installed it and couldn't get it to run) and it also ran very playable...in lowest setting low to mid settings. Good for a quick LAN at a friends house when you don't feel like lugging your gaming rig to I guess. I plan on installing Half-Life 2 just for kicks and putting the results on the next update for you all too.
Ok, so I started from a hieght of 2 feet and worked my way up to 6 feet...just kidding!
This is a fun notebook and I would highly recommend it to those with the extra cash to buy this notebook. It is a very unorthodox notebook and will standout from everyone elses, so if you don't mind the attention the Sentia is a great thin and light notebook.