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Alienware 13 laptop promises compact virtual reality-capable gaming

It’s not easy to get firsts in the PC hardware space when the competition is stiff. However, Alienware is looking to lay claim to one anyway, stating it is the world’s first producer of a virtual reality-capable, 13-inch laptop. The new Alienware 13 packs a GTX 10-series graphics card, with high-end Intel CPUs and boatloads of memory to make a powerful little notebook.

With the debut of virtual reality headsets from HTC and Oculus earlier in 2016, the bar for entry was set relatively high. However, as new generations of hardware have been released and manufacturers have played around with setups and specifications, we now have some relatively compact systems that can quite easily handle commercial VR.

One such system is the new Alienware 13, which if you adjust it right, is truly capable. Of course, the entry-level models are not as impressive, with the basement $1,200 model only packing integrated graphics. It has a powerful CPU, but do not expect much gaming ability.

Related: Alienware Alpha R2 review

If you are willing to shell out a little more, though, you can get yourself a GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5, which should have no problem pushing out 90 frames per second in virtual reality. Especially when combined with a Core i7-6300HQ or i7-6700HQ and up to 32GB of DDR4.

If that is not enough for you, you can also utilize Alienware’s Graphics Amplifier system to add in an additional desktop graphics card for extra power.

Storage-wise, it comes with up to 2TB of storage, split between a 1TB of PCI Express solid-state as a boot drive and a secondary terabyte of PCI Express for storage.

For when you are not moving around in virtual realms, though, you also have a few different 2D-display options. There is the standard 13.3-inch, 1,366 x 768 display, a 1080p-IPS version, and a QHD 2,560 x 1,440 option, with built-in touch control. These do crank up the cost by quite a lot, with the QHD 2,560 x 1,440 variant starting at $2,100.

Beyond the hardware itself, Alienware seems rather proud of the construction of this laptop. It introduces the use of “premium materials,” such as anodized aluminum, steel reinforcements, and copper thermal management to improve cooling, while maintaining rigidity and strength, without compromising on weight.

Speaking of which, the Alienware 13 weighs in at just under six pounds and is less than an inch thick at its widest point. It also features a 76-watt battery and customizable color schemes for the keyboard, letting you pick from millions of hues.

The new Alienware 13 is available in the U.S. starting on Tuesday and will arrive in Europe on the 10th.