The LED backlit display supports 1366x768 resolution and plays 720p video just fine, but we hate the fact that it's a glossy screen as it doesn't do well under direct sunlight, or in well lit environments. We would have preferred a matte panel.
One of the many great things about this notebook is its keyboard. It's so comfortable to use, and it's not too noisy, so it won't be a nuisance even in a very quiet environment, say a library. One of the coolest thing that Alienware came up with is the keyboard backlight that can be changed from yellow to dark blue. It is not just that, you can change the colour of the Alienware log, front facing lights, and even the WLAN activity LED. The alien head placed at the back of the lid changes the colour from blue when plugged in, to yellow when unplugged and you can of course it's totally programmable.
Illuminated keys are an attractive feature, especially for many young people who like to do stuff in the dark, listening to goth metal or something. You will be able to see what you type which comes handy. Once you get bored with any particular colour you can simply change it and use another. Of course, you can turn all the lights, as well as Alienware's FX software off. We love it and if you have or have seen Alienware notebook this should not be new to you. The company has been using this trick for quite some time, but it still looks cool. The power adapter is styled with an LED indicator ring that lets you know that the notebook is charging.
The touchpad is big and rather good, but it doesn't support multitouch which is a shame in this day and age. It does what it's supposed to and you can scroll on it, which is nice.
Both Displayport and HDMI outs are part of the design, but the M11x lacks a VGA out. Although people might think it's cool to have Displayport, we don't see much need for both Displayport and HDMI. HDMI is a must have nowadays. Next to it on the left hand side you will also find a single USB 2.0, Gigabit LAN port, dual memory card reader, all equipped for SD and even micro SD slot. Since most of the phones today except the iPhone have microSDHC card inside, you can do some quick transfer via this integrated reader. There is also a small 1394 Firewire port for cameras that many can find attractive for video transfer.
The right hand side has two more USB 2.0 microphone, aux and two speaker analogue ports. You can share your movie sound without a splitter, which is a great option for people who fly a lot. We are disappointed by the lack of USB 3.0 support as it would be a nice touch. After all, Alienware rigs are aimed at tech savvy users who appreciate new technologies, or as some call them, the latest and greatest. The back side only has power plug connector and a fan vent.
The front side has two cool glowing lights that look cool and do little. It takes care of looks.
The other great thing is the sound. It is gorgeous and you would never expect that such a small notebook can deliver such quality and volume. This was always one of the key downsides of 12-inch or smaller form factor notebook. Alienware truly did a great job here.
The battery life didn't disappoint us. In office mode, even with wireless LAN and 50 percent brightness, you should be able to enjoy some 6 to 7 hours. Considering that there is a discrete GPU inside this is a great achievement, but we still miss a replaceable battery. It is just more convenient for people on the move or frequent travelers. Alienware's 12-inch Sentia that launched five years ago had 3.5 hours battery life on Intel integrated graphics. According to Battery Eater the MX11 has a 4545mAh battery.
While gaming you can expect up to three hours and when you play games expect that fan will start spinning aggressively and that the notebook will get noisier, but with speakers on, no one will notice.
Let's not forget that the notebook is not noisy at all in the office mode, it's almost completely silent but in gaming mode you can hear the fan spinning.