Generally speaking, mechanical keyboards are usually the only domain of desktop computer games. Although rarely found on gaming laptops, Alienware is striving to change that, today announcing a new configuration option for both the m15 R4 and m17 R4 laptops that fit with mechanical keyboards. Specifically, these laptops use Cherry MX Ultra Low-Profile switches, and Alienware says these two laptops have the distinction of being the first in the world to be designed in collaboration with Cherry MX.
In fact, to hear Alienware tell the story, it took three years of corporate collaboration to come up with these new mechanical switches. Apparently by using the 11.9mm Cherry MX Low Profile switches as a starting point, companies were able to create 3.5mm Ultra-Low Profile switches that use stainless steel mechanical components. Alienware said in its announcement today: “Inspired by the open-top gull wing doors of the iconic DeLorean sports car, the goal was to engineer the keyboard to be an extension of the player’s senses and allow you to press deeper with more focus.”
That might be a bit thick, but these switches allow 1.8mm of key travel. Ultra-Low Profile switches also use a “self-cleaning mechanism that has been tested for 15 million keystrokes per key.” Looking at the comparison picture listed above, it does indeed seem that Cherry MX mechanical switches have to undergo a somewhat dramatic redesign, and Alienware promises that each switch will provide lighter operating power and distinct acoustics, just as we had expected from a mechanical switch.
Of course, anyone who has seen the spec sheet for the m15 R4 and m17 R4 before Cherry MX collaboration will know that these laptops aren’t slouchy in other areas as well. Both come with 10th Gen Intel Core processors and an RTX 3080 laptop GPU. These days, it’s not a true gaming machine without a bit of RGB, and Alienware says every laptop provides RGB backlighting for each key.
Obviously, with the kind of hardware inside, the m15 R4 and m17 R4 have the potential to be really expensive laptops, and if you want to equip one of these laptops with a mechanical keyboard, it will cost you more. Alienware says configurations with its Cherry MX keyboard will cost $ 150 more than standard keyboard models, and with the M15 R4 starting at $ 1,799.99 and the M17 R4 starting at $ 1,899.99 already, that’s definitely an expensive addition. Alienware doesn’t specifically say when models with the Cherry MX keyboard will be available, but we do imagine they’ll go on sale soon.