The first reviews of the Alienware Alpha PC gaming console have emerged – with a mixed reception.
The console was originally going to be a flagship device for Valve’s Steam Machine initiative, but after a delay in the launch of the Steam Controller, Alienware decided to go it alone and ship the Alpha with Windows and an Xbox 360 controller.
Gadget Review noted that one of the most important traits the Alpha carries over from the PC gaming world is the ability to be easily upgraded ‘at least as far as software is concerned’.
However, Gadget Review stated: “The Alpha will be a bit limited when it comes to downloading the latest games. While it can handle most of the Steam catalogue, it may have difficult chugging through the new releases, at least for now.
"Players will also have to bounce back and forth between desktop devices like a mouse and controller to complete some of the installation and launching procedures. For those who really want to invest in the console, other upgrades are available to help the Alpha tackle those new releases."
PC World (not the retailer) gave the device three and a half stars out of five, saying it has a ‘hell of a lot going for it’ as both a general-use PC and as a console complement.
“The Alienware Alpha should be viewed as a great console complement, rather than a replacement. The Alpha isn’t smooth enough to be the hardcore console gamer’s sole experience, especially if that gamer wants the carefully controlled environment of the consoles," said PC World.
"If that console gamer, however, wanted to sail the vast ocean of PC gaming, where fantastic titles can be had for a pittance, the Alpha would be a wonderful addition to a shelf that already holds the Xbox One, PS4, Ouya and Wii.”
While Gizmodo praised Alpha for its compact size, it was not quite convinced it will become a staple addition to most gamers’ console line-ups: “The Alienware Alpha is pretty half-baked. With monthly updates, it might get a lot better. It might not. Today, there’s nothing else like the Alpha, and I don’t expect that to change overnight. Still, by the time it gets better, something new might come along.”