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Alienware Alpha Review

Combining the UI of a gaming console with the power of a PC, the Alienware Alpha is a force to be reckoned with.

Alpha UI

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. To make the Alpha as enticing as possible, Alienware’s Alpha User Interface — brightly skinned in blood red — mimics what you’ll find on the Xbox One and PS4.

You can navigate the Alpha UI’s console mode using just a controller. In this case, I used the Xbox 360 wireless controller Alienware bundles with the Alpha along with my USB Wireless Gaming Adapter. The setup was fairly straightforward; the software prompted me to choose a username and password.

Navigating the virtual keyboard using my controller was easy, but it was much slower than the XBox One and PS4 keyboards. You have to use the left stick or d-pad to navigate to the letter you want and then press the A button to input your choice. It would have been nice if Alienware had mapped one of the controller buttons as a Backspace key instead of making me trudge over to the button on the on-screen keyboard.

Alienware did add several controller-friendly shortcuts to simplify Console Mode. For example, simultaneously pressing Left Trigger, Left Button, Right Trigger and Right Button (LT, LB, RT, RB) and pressing down on the left analog stick will cue up a virtual mouse. LT, LB, RT, RB with the Xbox Guide button launches the System Menu.

Once I created my account, the system installed a few updates. In the meantime, Alpha UI gave me the option to adjust the screen resolution and scale along with audio output. After a quick reset, the Alpha UI presented me with four choices: Launch Steam, Settings, Help and Power. The whole process took approximately seven minutes.