Dell owned brand Alienware, unveiled a prototype, handheld gaming PC at CES 2020, and it looks like a Switch.
CES is where innovators come to showcase not just consumer-ready devices, but interesting concepts that help push the industry forward. Alienware showcased a fascinating piece of tech that shows their “VISION FOR A HANDHELD GAMING PC.”
Okay, let’s deal with the elephant in the room. The device looks a lot like a Nintendo Switch that’s been working out at the gym. The Concept UFO bears several similarities to Nintendo’s beloved, convertible console.
The controllers are removable. When detached from either side of the “Head” unit, the two controllers can be attached to a bridge, forming one, uniformed gamepad in “Power Bridge Mode”.
The device looks a lot like a Nintendo Switch that’s been working out at the gym.
The controller has the usual directional pad, two thumbsticks on either side and X, B, A, Y buttons. However, Alienware added some RGB goodness to the thumbsticks for a unique experience.
“Docked” mode enhances the handheld experience. You can plug in the Concept UFO to a TV or monitor and enjoy a more immersive, traditional console experience.
Though the device looks and works like a Nintendo Switch, the Alienware Concept UFO is not a blatant rip-off. Here’s what’s different. The device has an 8-inch, 1200p, touch screen, and runs a full version of Microsoft Windows 10. So, it plays PC games.
Gamers could access an extensive list of PC games including Steam, and Epic titles. The device has a kickstand that allows the miniature PC to stand on its own when the controllers are detached. The kickstand is an excellent addition to the machine. There’s also a honeycomb-style thermal vent on the back to prevent the device from cooking itself and the user’s hands.
Dell is tight-lipped on specs. However, their Alienware brand is known for top-tier components and beastly machines that perform demanding tasks. Those who know Alienware realise they want ultimate performance. It could be a custom Intel chipset. However, in this case, it’s unlikely that the Concept UFO has any desktop-class chips as the device would suffer from intense heat.
The move by Dell/Alienware to produce a concept, handheld gaming PC is a good one. The Nintendo Switch is immensely popular, with over 40 million consoles sold to date. It showed that gaming doesn’t have to be tied to a gigantic, VCR looking device in your living room. The Switch transforms the gaming experience granting portable, fun gameplay. And, if you want to game on a big screen, plop it in the dock.
The Alienware Concept UFO seeks to bring that experience to PC gaming. However, don’t expect to fork out wads of cash to purchase one. The Concept UFO is just a prototype.
Dell doesn’t seem to have any plans for a consumer-ready device any time soon. However, the Alienware Concept UFO looks quite refined. I wouldn’t be surprised if a market-ready version hits the market shortly.