Alienware Has Basically Made A Switch Clone

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Alienware Has Basically Made A Switch Clone
Image: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

The dream of a portable PC has been floating around for years, even before the Switch became everyone’s portable gaming device. And that dream isn’t dead, with Alienware showing off Concept UFO at CES, a handheld device that’s basically a Switch for your Steam library.

The oversized Switch-like was one of three products Dell focused on at CES this year – an unusual move for them, since Dell typically announces a ton of laptops, monitors, pre-built desktops and business-centric offerings all at once. It’s early enough of a concept that there’s no announcement on specs, but the device has detachable controllers, a proper kickstand, and runs on an x86 CPU with a full version of Windows 10 underneath a skinned game launcher.

Dell told Gizmodo’s Sam Rutherford about plans to make a separate companion dock for the device which would let users plug in a separate mouse, keyboard or regular game controller, which opens up all kinds of possibilities. Because the whole thing runs on full Windows 10, running emulators shouldn’t be a problem. The device had enough power to run Mortal Kombat 11 comfortably, reportedly, although there’s zero specifics on what conditions that was under.

There’s a headphone jack and a USB-C port, but don’t expect to see this device this year. Raymond Watkins, the manager of consumer product reviews for Dell, told Laptop Mag that the media response would help determine whether Alienware moves ahead with Concept UFO. “If we got a thumbs up today, I don’t think it’d be eighteen months for us to get it on the shelves,” Watkins was quoted as saying.

In other words: if you like it, start spamming Alienware social media and they’ll give it the go ahead. It’ll still take over a year to manufacture and market, but I hope it goes ahead. The screen and ergonomics of this look good enough that I’d consider grabbing one as an addendum to a Switch, although as always, the price will always be the sticking point. But hey! At least someone’s still trying.

Comments

  • I work for a company that repairs Alienwares and I can tell you right now, Alienware devices were much better before Dell bought them out. Every since Dell bought them, you have a 50/50 chance of getting an expensive lemon. Purchase at your own risk. (not saying they are bad but I have seen so many people who paid thousands only for their units to be replaced completely after 6 months of usage)

    • Can confirm, went through 3 faulty Alienware ultrawide monitors (Dell manufactured) before getting a full refund. Will never go Dell again

      • Alienware is expensive garbage, yes, but not all Dells are like that. I have a 3.5 year old XPS and it still runs like a champ.

        • That doesn’t mean much unfortunately. if 50% are no good (just throwing numbers around) and you just happened to get one that works, it’s still an incredibly shonky product that noone should be buying, even though your personal experience has been a good one.

          • I worked in an office of 14. We all had an XPS. Only 1 had a fault and it was quickly repaired on site by Dell.

        • I do agree, not all Dell machines are bad, and they do have some other decent models and products, but I would not spend the thousands for a Alienware. When Alienware first came available in Australia, the price at the time was around $10k (for the machine I wanted) but in the end I ended up buying an XPS (which was only $3k) and it lasted for years, and didn’t fail once.

  • It looks like the Razer Edge, or maybe the WikiPad, or perhaps any number of physical controller cradles for mobile devices that came out years before the Switch. Yes, the design definitely takes (strong) hints from the Switch but people need to remember that the Switch is not a new idea and copied from an existing market of physical controls designed for mobile game integration. Where the Switch succeeded though is that it was designed from the ground up to be an integrated gaming system rather than one that required mobile apps to be programmed to support the controllers.

    • I should add too that a lot of the Switch’s design would have come from NVidia who would have been looking for a way to make their Shield design work and who else but Nintendo could make dedicated handheld gaming hardware successful in the market?

    • Even before the switch was rumoured I was looking for a way to attach Joycon like controllers to my Surface Pro 3. Never did quite find anything suitable.

  • Am i the only one who thinks it looks horrible?

    The controller rails are angled but the screen still rectangular, it looks odd.

  • As a big Switch fan. I could definitely see me buying something like this. I’d be happy to pay up to $1000 for it to have half decent spec.

      • I wish Nintendo would start copying everyone else.

        Their constant – nah we’ll do it our way (E-shop, internet, voice comms, random failed consoles, always under powered consoles) – attitude is wearing thin the older I get.

        Here’s hoping the Switch Pro / 2 or whatever it will be called, will at least stand toe to toe with the 5 / X whatever it is.

          • Which is good because I have a very hard time lugging around my PS4 + generator + tv screen on the train to the city and even harder on a plane when I travel.

        • There’s a reason the Series X is so big. Getting that level of power into a Switch sized chassis would be 10+ years away.

  • Price and battery life would be big factors here.

    I love how I can take the Switch anywhere (so handy for public transport commute) but it sucks if I’m playing a home console game that’s not available on the Switch.

    This would solve that problem (assuming the game comes out on PC)

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