In context: If there's one event we at TechSpot look forward to every year, it's the Consumer Electronics Show. Companies don't always bring their most practical in-dev products to the show, but they do tend to bring their most ambitious or otherwise exciting ones. Alienware arguably has a foot in both camps this year following the reveal of its "Concept UFO" handheld gaming device.
When you first lay eyes on the Concept UFO, you'll likely notice some striking similarities to Nintendo's ever-popular Switch console. It has an almost identical overall design (with a unique Alienware spin, of course) and similarly-placed buttons and joysticks.
That's not where the similarities end, though. Like the Switch, the Concept UFO features detachable controllers, as well as a kickstand that allows you to prop the device up on a flat surface -- say, an airplane tray or a coffee table. Further, the Concept UFO can be hooked up to an external display for big-screen gaming, just like -- you guessed it -- the Switch.
However, for all of the parallels we could draw between the two gadgets, the Concept UFO does have one key thing that sets it apart: it's a full-fledged Windows 10 gaming PC. Indeed, Alienware is positioning the UFO as the PC gamer's Switch alternative -- it's just as portable (from what we can tell), but presumably far more powerful, and with access to a far bigger game library.
We're not sure exactly how much more powerful it will be, but those who have gotten hands-on time with the UFO at CES this year say the device managed to tackle a decent array of games with ease.
Titles like Rocket League, World War Z, and Mortal Kombat 11 were among the games tested by journalists on the Concept UFO, and by all accounts, they looked and ran well. Or, at least, they performed significantly better than the average Switch title.
To be clear, we aren't bashing Nintendo here. The Switch came out years ago, so dated hardware (by modern standards) is to be expected, and it remains an impressive device regardless (primarily due to its fantastic game library). Further, without testing the Concept UFO for ourselves, we can't verify the performance or gameplay claims Alienware and members of the press are touting.
Regardless, Alienware says the Concept UFO will pack 10th-gen Intel chip hardware (no word on its GPU), which will apparently deliver "uncompromised" on-the-go performance and excellent battery life.
Alienware also claims the Concept UFO will ship with an 8-inch, 1900x1200 display (with an unknown refresh rate), which is pretty good for a handheld console. For reference, the Switch has a 6-inch, 1280x720p screen.
Unfortunately, that's about all we have for now. Alienware hasn't given the public much information to go off of here, so we have no idea how big the UFO's battery will actually be, nor do we know what kind of real-world gaming performance we can expect from it.
Details like pricing and availability are also up in the air, which is to be expected, since the UFO is effectively just a concept gadget at the moment. Regardless, it's an interesting idea, and we look forward to seeing what (if anything) Alienware does with it over the coming months.