Alienware Concept UFO: Is that a Nintendo Switch?

The Alienware Concept UFO. (Photo: Alienware)

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.

Handheld mode. (Photo: Alienware)

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.

The Concept UFO has detachable controllers. (Photo: Alienware)

“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.

Power Bridge Mode (Photo: Alienware)

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.

Honeycomb-style vent. (Photo: Alienware)

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.