In January, Avram introduced us to the new Alienware m15 and m17 R4. This gaming laptop is considered to be the best performing laptop for gaming on the market today. But, like almost all gaming laptops, the biggest issue is the keyboard. Gamers tend to prefer a mechanical keyboard, but that has generally not been available on a portable rig. Thanks to a new set of switches from CherryMX, however, the m15 and m17 now have that option.
The new switches, known as CherryMX Ultra Low Profile switches. These all-new keyboard switches are designed specifically to create a mechanical keyboard that is still thin. This is because normal mechanical switches are taller than a normal laptop, and when you add the keycaps, they're even taller. For most people, that is an unacceptable situation, and so we have our new design.
A traditional CherryMX switch is 18.5 mm, the newer low profile switches are 11.9 mm, but the newest ultra low profile switches are just 3.5 mm tall. And, because of the design of the switch, the keycaps stretch across the top, as opposed to sitting on top of a post, meaning that all together they are just barely thicker than a traditional laptop keyboard. That is perfect for the m15 and m17 R4, because they are already super thin.
This new design switch maintains the ever important clicky feel while also slimming down. The design, according to the company, is based on the "Gullwing" doors from the Delorean car. When you press down on the middle of the key, a swing pulls two edges up, which the company says was directly inspired by the iconic doors from Back to the Future. No matter the inspiration, it is a welcomed addition to the laptop.
You can get both the m15 and m17 laptops right now for an additional $176.40.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.