Alienware is known for being one of the most prominent companies when it comes to getting some of the best gaming gear. The new m15 notebook is their newest laptop to hit the shelves. Co-founder of Alienware Frank Azor gives us all the cool tidbits behind this brand new powerhouse.
Gamers Classified: I’m with Frank Azor, the Co-founder of Alienware. Hey Frank, how are you doing?
Frank Azor: I’m doing great! Having a great time here at PAX Australia.
GC: So you’ve just launched one of your thinnest laptops, so can you tell us a little bit about that?
FA: Yeah, it’s a really exciting week for us. We actually came to PAX Australia. [We] launched our brand new Alienware m15 Laptop. It’s the thinnest and the lightest weight laptop we have ever launched before. So we took our Alienware 15 notebook which we’ve been selling for a few years now and put it on a massive diet. So that notebook weighs about almost double of the new notebook we just launched. You can count on it being half the weight. I don’t know how it translates into kilograms but it’s about 4.7 pounds (2.1kgs).
FA: The new Alienware m15 has the latest processors from Intel, the latest graphics from Nvidia, it has 144-hertz screens, up to a 90watts hour battery so you can get up 17 hours of battery life on this notebook. All the Alienware effects lighting you can expect on our keyboard, the Alienware industrial design. Probably what’s most important and what’s really impressed everybody at the show is the build quality of the notebook. Alienware is known for building really solid tanks when it comes to gaming notebooks and people were worried when we built our first thin and light gaming notebook that we would have to compromise that, but we didn’t at all. We used magnesium alloy and all the typical construction techniques we used over the last 20 years or so and when you pick up this laptop, you can feel it is just an absolutely quality product. So we’re really proud of it.
GC: So what can you tell us about the design process or the development process without giving us any trade secrets?
FA: Well, I’ll tell you, it took us about 20 months since we started the process with this notebook until where we are today, launching it. The amount of thoughtfulness that goes into the planning, all the design decisions we make, the thermal decisions, the battery decisions, the features… I mean every millimetre of this product is debated, researched, argued and carefully decided upon. That’s part of the reason why it takes us so much time to do this, is that we really take this matter seriously. We have a brand that has a promise with it, people have an expectation when they own an Alienware product and we take this as a very serious responsibility. So when it came to the m15 product, we had a lot of debates around; how much battery life do we want to give to customers, how are we going to design it so that the skin temperatures are comfortable for people, how are we going to ensure that performance meets and exceeds customer’s expectations because we didn’t compromise any performance between the new model and the old model. Weight, what materials are we going to use, what’s it going to cost so that it could be somewhat reasonable in terms of affordability. There are just so many factors that go into this product, I cannot understate how every millimetre is debated.
GC: So as a layperson, sell this to me. Why should I purchase this laptop over everything else in the market?
FA: Well first and foremost, it’s an Alienware product and anybody that knows Alienware knows that we build a really high quality, highly dependable product. Gaming in the old days was just a hobby, an entertainment, it was just kind of all fun and games. Today, it’s much more serious, people are much more competitive, we have Esports, aspiring Esports athletes and your machine is something you highly depend on to be able to compete effectively. You want to compete with something that is not only going to perform well, but you can also depend on and that’s going to mean the difference between you spending time training, competing or you spending time trying to tinker with your computer. We don’t want you to worry about that.
FA: Second of all, it’s a lightweight notebook that has incredible gaming performance. You finally have a gaming notebook that you can use all day, every day with you whether you are at school, at work and when you do have time to play games, it’s one product, you do all your gameplay in it. It’s kind of the all-in-one notebook if you will and it’s relatively affordable. It’s reasonably priced all over the world, even here in Australia. With all these three things combined, it’s the perfect product for anybody that’s willing compromise with just a tad bit of performance or they want a smaller screen size than our flagship 17s product has to offer and they want something more mobile.
GC: You mentioned Esports a little bit and I know that you talked about Esports potentially becoming an Olympic sport one day, how is that sentiment being received?
FA: I think there is a lot of energy, a lot of excitement for Esports right now. When you look at the traditional sports leagues and how they’re crossing over to Esports, we’re partners with Mclaren for example and the racing circuit, so we’re partners on the actual racing side and the Esports side. We’re partners with the NBA on their efforts, and 14 of the 17 teams that are part of the NBA2K league are using Alienware systems. Our partner, Team Liquid, they actually have a lot of professional athletes and owners from basketball, baseball and football associations that are part of their ownership structure and they just recruited Michael Jordan as one of their ambassadors. So there is a lot of crossover going on now between traditional sports and Esports. We kind of, personally, look at the Olympics as their flagship to symbolize, that we have finally crossed over. So we’re doing what we can, it’s a slow process, it’s going to take some time, it’s going to take a lot of proving itself. We’ve seen some less exciting Esports enter the Olympics games and Esports more than merits its position there. It’s just going to take some time and we’re more than happy to be part of the journey.
GC: I was doing a little bit of research and in London 1948, the arts like poetry were in the Olympics, so anything could happen.
FA: Anything could happen, absolutely!
GC: So if people wanted to purchase your product or stay in touch with you, how could they do that?
FA: So if you want to stay in touch with me, you can follow me on Twitter @AzorFrank, I suggest you follow @Alienware as well. If you want to purchase our products in Australia, JB-HIFI offers just about every Alienware product, and they’ll have the brand new m15 in stores. Finally, our website, Alienware.com, you can find everything there as well.
GC: Thank you! Is there anything else you would like to add?
FA: It’s just that (PAX) is an incredible show, I was here 2 years ago at PAX Australia and the show has grown so much. There is so much more people here, more space allocated, it’s really great to see the Australian gaming community come together with the way that they are. We’ve been selling and coming to Australia about maybe 14 years if I remember correctly. So we saw the opportunity a long, long time ago before many did, but we kind of almost alone in this, in terms of being a company here. To see all these great companies, to see all these great gamers, enthusiasts and cosplayers, it’s just the excitement and the energy that we’ve seen in North America, in Europe and in China, it’s here now in Australia. Gaming is relevant in Australia, it’s growing, it’s big, we’re just really happy to be a part of it.
GC: Frank Azor, thank you for your time.
FA: Absolutely! Thank you for having me!
With the m15 now becoming one of the new interesting laptops to hit the shelves, there is no doubt that Frank and Alienware will continue to work and innovate on the coolest new gaming machines and help bring the best of gaming in Australia and around the world.