Alienware and Cherry have worked together to cram what both companies are calling the “first true” mechanical keyboard into a gaming laptop. Starting March 18th, you’ll be able to purchase Alienware’s M15 R4 or M17 R4 laptops and upgrade them to a Cherry MX mechanical keyboard for an extra $150 at checkout.
The laptops will house a new kind of Cherry switch called the MX Ultra Low Profile, which is 3.5mm thick (compared to the 11.9mm-sized MX Low Profile switch). The switch is built with stainless steel wings that swing open and push down — picture the way a DeLorean’s car doors open and close. (Cherry not-so-subtly teased these new switches with a picture of the famously heavy car that’s built with stainless steel). The rest of the switch is made of thermoplastic polymer that can withstand high temperatures.
Cherry touts 1.8mm of total travel for this switch, which the company says provides a satisfying amount of feedback. The design of the switch is also said to improve typing accuracy, as well as self-clean with each press to prevent particles from messing it up over time. And, based on this tweet from Alienware, the switches seem like they’ll have that signature “thock” sound that’s associated with mechanical keyboards.
The new MX Ultra Low switch in action.GIF: Cherry
As for its integration into the latest Alienware M15 and M17 R4 laptops, the companies say that the laptop designs didn’t need to be tweaked at all to accommodate the new Cherry switch. The lids will still close just fine, which seems like a testament to how thin the switch is.
When you purchase the Cherry upgrade, you’ll get per-key RGB backlighting and AlienFX customization, along with full N-key rollover with anti-ghosting, so it won’t get overloaded when you’re pressing a lot of keys at once. One thing to note is that when you get the keyboard upgrade, all keys, aside from the function row, will have the Cherry MX Ultra Low Profile switches.
I haven’t had the chance to try out these new switches, so I can’t attest to how they feel compared not only to other Cherry MX switches but to the switches Alienware typically uses as well. Admittedly, $150 is a steep add-on for a laptop that’s already going to cost you a lot of money, but it could end up being a good investment if you’re obsessed with mechanical keyboards.