Alienware and Cherry have partnered to bring new Cherry MX Ultra Low Profile switches to the Alienware m15 R4 and m17 R4, the companies announced today. If it works well, it could be a crucial step in making the experience of gaming on those notebooks more like gaming on a desktop.
The MX Ultra Low Profile switches fit in a 3.5mm design with 1.8mm of key travel. It features stainless steel components that look sort of like wings. Alienware and Cherry claim the switches are rated for 15 million keystrokes per key and feature "two-piece" keycaps with a "gold-based cross-point contact system" to keep the keys sturdy with every press.
For the acoustically inclined, Alienware tweeted out a teaser yesterday that it has confirmed is the sound of the keys being typed on:
Super 🍒 sweet 🍒 news is dropping tomorrow. Until then 🤫@cherrymx pic.twitter.com/YKkdMhpG7aMarch 17, 2021
Other specs include anti-ghosting, n-key rollover and per-key RGB backingthing with AlienFX.
Alienware introduced the m15 R4 and m17 R4 at CES 2021 and released them shortly after with 10th Gen Intel Core processors and new Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series graphics in order to compete with the best gaming laptops. The keyboards will be on new configurations of the device that will add $150 to each laptop.
These aren't the first gaming notebooks with mechanical keyboards, or even with Cherry switches. MSI's GT Titan line, for instance, had full-sized Cherry MX Brown and MX Silver switches implemented by SteelSeries for a bit in the mid 2010s, and we just reviewed a Gigabyte Aorus 17G using mechanical switches, albeit not Cherry-branded. And a version of the Razer Blade 15 introduced optical mechanical switches to laptops.
But Alienware’s laptops offer a new approach and a new kind of switch. It's unclear how long (or if) the MX Ultra Low Profile switches will be exclusive to these devices.