A continuous plastic sheet covers the M17x 17” display, its frame, and an integrated webcam. Alienware bests most competitors by retaining the classic 1920x1200 panel resolution, even as the rest of the industry downshifts to 1080p.
The keyboard, touchpad, and front-vent lighting feature a user-configuration color palet of Quasar Blue, Astral Aqua, Mars Red, Terra Green, and Plasma Purple.
A touchpad above the keyboard provides hardware control, eliminating the need for switches that we've previously seen wired to the sides of other notebooks.
An impressive selection of video outputs allows M17x users to easily attach VGA, HDMI, and DisplayPort monitors. Also found on the left edge are gigabit Ethernet, dual USB 2.0, an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, and an IEEE-1394 FireWire mini-port.
The M17x's power connects at the back, while the remainder of this edge is used for ventilation.
On the right edge, Alienware includes the ExpressCard 54 slot missing from its recently-reviewed supersized competitor, but does not include that competitor’s USB 3.0 ports. A similarly-capable flash media drive is found between those interfaces, and a more convenient slot-loaded BRD/DVD-RW combo drive is located beneath them. Towards the rear, twin headphone connections allow M17x users to share music and movies privately with a friend.