The best gaming laptop usually comes with a few sacrifices in the name of portability, whether it’s cooling, cost, or a smaller screen real estate. You won’t need to give up the responsiveness and signature clack of the best gaming keyboard with Alienware’s next laptop, however, as it’s the first to feature Cherry MX Ultra-low Profile mechanical switches.
After three years and more than 160 prototypes, Alienware and Cherry have finally co-developed a 3.5mm mechanical switch with the full 1.8mm key travel of its desktop counterparts. Although it’s an original design, it’s closely related to the existing Blue switches, with a satisfying tactile bump and distinctly loud click. The extraterrestrial-themed company is experimenting with the potential for a Brown-like alternative, but this won’t be available at launch.
Being 81% smaller than the MX original and 70% slimmer than the MX Low Profile, the MX Ultra-low Profile fits seamlessly into the smallest form factor laptops. Naturally, this means it doesn’t share the same stem as either of its predecessors and its keycaps aren’t interchangeable, so it’s unlikely we’ll see an entire artisan market like we do with external keyboards.
That being said, all the key features you’d expect from an external keyboard are present, such as anti-ghosting, N-key rollover, AlienFX-powered per-key RGB backlighting, and fully programmable keys from within the software.
It’s not the first mechanical keyboard on a laptop, given that MSI achieved this with the GT75VR Titan Pro over three years ago, but it is one of the first to shed the added bulk and stay truly mechanical without opting for a hybrid solution.
You’ll find the new switch on the revised Alienware m15 R4, where it’ll cost an extra £100 for the Cherry MX configuration. And if you want to know more about the new technology, you can head to Alienware’s Discord, where it’ll hold an AMA in collaboration with Cherry at 7pm GMT.