Cell phones have allowed people to take phone calls whenever and wherever they are. Smart watches have allowed people to check emails and messages whenever and wherever they are. Tablets have allowed people to take their work with them wherever they go. Handheld gaming consoles throughout the years have allowed people to take their entertainment with them wherever they go. We are all living in a world that is becoming increasingly more remote and on-the-go. Some say it’s for the convenience; some say it’s because we’re getting lazy. It doesn’t matter which school of thought you side with, it’s no secret that people want the convenience of being lazy. Maybe it allows lazy people to feel better by saying that it’s about convenience?
Like it or not, Nintendo certainly has a stronghold on the handheld gaming console market. When I think of handheld consoles, I think Nintendo. I mean, you had the Game Boy, all the iterations of the DS, the Wii (to an extent), and now the Switch. Of course you had others throughout the years too: Sega Game Gear, PlayStation Portable [PSP], PlayStation Vita. But let’s face it, none of those have compared nor have lasted like those of Nintendo. With the popularity and staying-power of the handheld gaming devices, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that other companies are trying to cash in on the craze. Enter Dell and Alienware!
Dell teased onlookers and fans at CES 2020 in Las Vegas with the [prototype] Alienware Concept UFO! Alienware with a handheld gaming console? But they only make gaming desktops and laptops… right? Well, yes, Alienware is most widely known for their work on gaming desktops and laptops, but if you have a chance to get into and potentially stay in the game of handhelds, why not? Why not turn your PC’s into a handheld device? But that’s what a tablet is… a handheld PC. True, but tablets aren’t designed as gaming devices.
Similar to the Switch, the Concept UFO has the main display, two detachable controllers, and the ability to be plugged into a larger monitor. Once you plug it into a monitor, you can connect the two controllers to the bridge accessory and use it as one unit. However, a disadvantage of detaching the controllers is that they cannot be used separately (or as two separate controllers). The Switch allows this feature. The Concept UFO’s controller bridge accessory contains the battery pack that powers the controllers once they are detached, thus not allowing the controllers to be used individually. A huge advantage the Concept UFO has over the Switch is that it is a full-fledged PC. It contains USB-C ports that allow you to connect both a mouse and keyboard and use the display as a computer. Once you’re done with gaming, you can hop online and surf the net or check your emails with ease, or work on your school presentation.
Fans will say it’s the coolest thing to hit the market ever. Haters will say that it’s just a copycat version of the Switch. Either way you see it, it is pretty cool. I mean, okay, so the Concept UFO does look very similar to the Switch. And if you do a quick comparison with the images above, you’ll notice that although the overall appearance and concepts are the same, there are slight aesthetic differences.
Most of the research I’ve done (and with very limited information available), it’s said that one of the most noticeable differences is its overall weight. The Switch weighs less than one pound, whereas, the Concept UFO is said to be upwards of two pounds. Some people might say that two pounds is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but when you’re referring to handheld devices, two pounds will start to add up and weigh you down real quick, especially if you’re gaming for a couple of hours at a time.
Another difference between the two is the overall screen size. The Concept UFO boasts an 8 inch screen, whereas, the Switch has a 6.2 inch display. Again, with a slightly larger display, details become clearer and/or easier to see. And if the console is close to two pounds, you can hold it out a bit further from your face if needed and not lose much from your experience.
Because the Alienware Concept UFO is just a prototype, nothing is official and there is currently nothing to confirm that the UFO will even go to production. Dell and Alienware have not and probably will not release specs, dates, or anything else relating to the Concept UFO until they get closer to turning it into an actual product on their line. However, people are super excited and are hoping that it does become a reality. There are a lot of unanswered questions as of its teaser during CES 2020, but you have to admit it was a great way to keep people interested… release a prototype of a product into a market you’re already familiar with [albeit maybe a different sector of the market], give people just enough to let them know what they’re looking at, but then don’t tell them anything more and make them think and speculate on what the final product may be.