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Alienware launches $1,299 laptop with OLED display

First announced at CES, the special version of the Alienware 13 gaming notebook comes with a display sporting a 100,000:1 contrast ratio, thanks to a material used in some smartphones and a handful of high-end HDTVs.

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Alienware 13 OLED gaming laptop

While consoles will once again dominate news from this week's E3 trade show, gaming PC stalwart Alienware always brings its A-game (pun intended) to the expo. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Dell subsidiary is not only rolling out a refresh of its desktop lineup, but a special laptop it teased at CES in January is also being released -- one with a feature that may appeal to a wider audience than just gamers.

As its name promises, the Alienware 13 OLED uses a material associated more with smartphone screens and high-end TVs than with computer displays. Despite being seen as something of a Holy Grail for HDTVs for over a decade, thanks to its superior black-level performance and razor-thin dimensions, OLED technology has never become cost-efficient enough to become mainstream at larger screen sizes.

Nonetheless, Alienware, working with Samsung, has managed to fashion a 13-inch OLED display without breaking the bank. While the 13 OLED notebook isn't exactly bargain-priced starting at $1,299, it's certainly not outrageously priced compared to high-powered laptops that can run more than $2,000. For that amount, you receive a touchscreen display with 2,560x1,400 resolution, but more importantly an impressive 100,000:1 contrast ratio and a response rate as low as 1 millisecond. Tech press that has laid its eyes upon the screen has raved about it, including our sister site CNET.

Other base configuration specs include an Intel Skylake Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB hybrid hard drive, Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics, and Killer Networking Ethernet and WiFi. You can upgrade to a Core i7 CPU, double the RAM, a more powerful GeForce GTX 965M graphics card, and/or solid-state drive if you have a need for better performance -- and a wallet to match. The 13 OLED laptop is also compatible with the company's external graphics solution, the Alienware Amplifier.

The Alienware 13 OLED is in the first wave of laptops offering the vibrant display technology, along with HP's Spectre x360 and Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga, though both of those are convertible notebooks. Though Dell says the OLED screen is now available for the laptop, the Alienware site hasn't been updated to reflect this, so you'll still have to wait a little longer if you want to get your hands on this laptop with the cutting-edge display.