Alienware announces new 'pro' line of wireless gaming peripherals, starting with a hot-swappable keyboard and a high polling rate mouse

Alienware new 'pro' line wireless gaming peripherals
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Alienware may be a big name in gaming PCs — not so much in gaming peripherals. It's been trying to break into the peripherals side for a couple of years now, but so far its keyboards and mice have been solidly mediocre (and expensive). This year Alienware is trying a new approach: competitive eSports. The company is debuting its "Pro" line, which was developed with input from eSports athletes (Alienware partners with Team Liquid, among others) and is aimed at pro gamers and people who wish they were pro gamers.

The first two products in the new line are the Pro Wireless keyboard and the Pro Wireless mouse — neither of which is particularly noteworthy at first glance, but stripped-down minimalism is how gaming companies differentiate their "pro" lines these days, so who am I to judge? 

The keyboard features a 75-percent layout, which is a popular layout because it's about as close as you can get to ultra-compact without giving up essentials (like arrow keys). The mouse is a pretty typical ultra-lightweight eSports mouse with a generically symmetrical shape and polling rates of up to 4,000 Hz (wireless) / 8,000 Hz (wired).

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As you can see, the Pro Wireless keyboard is compact even for a 75-percent layout, with no spacing between key clusters and a very thin bezel — it's definitely aimed at those who are looking to reclaim desk space (Alienware points out that pro gamers frequently adjust and angle their keyboards, so I guess they need that extra desk space). It's a pretty hefty keyboard, weighing 1.81lbs (819.73g) — it has a plastic chassis, an aluminum top plate, and double-shot PBT keycaps for durability. It has a set of flip-out feet on the back, as well as a full-length silicone strip along the bottom for stability. It's not the most exciting keyboard to look at — though it does have bright, per-key RGB lighting — but the lack of overt branding (there's a small alien head logo along the top side, but that's it) does lend a more premium overall feel.

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The keyboard's switches are probably its most significant feature: they're Alienware's first custom-built mechanical switches. They're linear switches with an actuation force of 40g — slightly lighter than Cherry MX Reds — and are tuned to be "exactly what pro gamers want" (whatever that means), according to Alienware.

In a nod to keyboard enthusiasts, the switches are factory-lubed and feature POM stems (for lower friction) and transparent housing (for lighting). The keyboard's case also comes with two built-in layers of silicone sound dampening. Oh, and the PCBA is hot-swappable for those who prefer to bring their own switches. 

Switches aside, the keyboard's other specs are pretty standard for a wireless gaming keyboard: tri-mode connectivity (2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth 5.1, USB-C), 1,000 Hz polling rate, anti-ghosting and N-key rollover, onboard memory with space for up to 5 profiles, and customization through Alienware's Command Center. Battery life seems decent: 72 hours over 2.4GHz wireless with the lighting turned on, and 798 hours (not 800?) with the lighting turned off (and 1,800+ hours over Bluetooth, but nobody buys a pro gaming keyboard for the Bluetooth).

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The Pro Wireless mouse is also about as exciting as you might expect. This is Alienware's take on the ultra-lightweight, high-polling-rate wireless eSports gaming mouse — think Razer's Viper V2 Pro, Glorious' Model D 2 Pro, Pulsar's X2V2, etc. The new mouse has a simple, symmetrical shape with six programmable buttons (left/right click, scroll wheel center click, two left-side thumb buttons, and a DPI switch button on the bottom).

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Alienware says the mouse's size and shape is "suitable for all grip types and hand sizes" — a bold claim, but it's a pretty generic design. It is under five inches long (4.9 inches), making it ever-so-slightly smaller than a lot of popular gaming mice on the market, but it's still on the larger side in general: 4.9 x 2.5 x 1.6 inches (124.5 x 63.5 x 40.6mm). 

It weighs 2.12oz (60g), which puts it solidly in the ultra-lightweight mouse category. It does have the same smooth, satiny finish I didn't love in the Alienware 620M, but the weight should at least make slipperiness less of an issue. Alienware was also quick to point out that the underside of the mouse includes storage for the mouse's 2.4GHz wireless USB-C dongle (something I may have complained about on the 620M). 

The Pro Wireless mouse's big selling point is its higher polling rates — 4,000 Hz wireless, 8,000 Hz wired. Polling rates over 1,000 Hz probably won't make much of a difference (if any) for the majority of gamers, and are mostly aimed at competitive eSports gamers — hence the "Pro" monniker. The mouse does at least support these polling rates out of the box, so you won't have to spend more for a special high-polling-rate dongle.

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Polling rates aside, the mouse's specs seem to be identical to those of Alienware's current generation: a 26,000 DPI, 650 IPS optical sensor that can handle 50 G's of acceleration, optical switches rated for up to 70 million clicks, and Alienware's exclusive "magnetic force" keyplates — which are "faster, stiffer, and more durable" than traditional spring keyplates, according to Alienware. Battery life seems like it'll be decent at 120 hours with the standard 1,000 Hz polling rate (this, of course, drops to 32 hours with a 4,000 Hz polling rate). 

The Alienware Pro Wireless keyboard and Pro Wireless mouse will come in both black and white colorways and will be available starting Jan. 11. The keyboard will cost $199.99 and the mouse will cost $149.99. While these prices are in line with other gaming companies' Pro-branded peripherals, they seem a little ambitious considering Alienware's recent history in the space.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
Senior Editor, Peripherals

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware covering peripherals, software, and custom builds. You can find more of her work in PCWorld, Macworld, TechHive, CNET, Gizmodo, Tom's Guide, PC Gamer, Men's Health, Men's Fitness, SHAPE, Cosmopolitan, and just about everywhere else.