Over at Dell’s booth at CES 2020, visitors were making a beeline towards the brand’s gaming section which is hosted by its well-established gaming brand, Alienware. The reason for this was primarily because they wanted to see the Concept UFO, the company’s new “gaming console” and portable PC.
There’s no prize for guessing where Dell looked to for inspiration when designing the Concept UFO. It’s painfully obvious that the Alienware team has taken a page from Nintendo’s Switch portable console, right down to the controllers.
Allow me to be painfully clear: the outlook of the Concept UFO may be identical to the Switch, but the innards are those of a full-fledged PC, powered by an Intel CPU. Specifically, it’s a 10th generation Intel Core processor but beyond that bit of information, Dell isn’t divulging a whole lot else about it.
There are, of course, some differences and tweaks to the Concept UFO’s design. For a start, the rear is partially exposed in the form of three hexagonal grilles. Acting as the ventilation port for the system. At the top, the system sports what appears to be a 3.5mm port, a USB-C port, as well as the volume rocker. On both sides, you can see the magnetic connectors that are clearly made to connect and hold its proprietary controller modules in place.
Speaking of which, the controllers for the Concept UFO are also a near carbon copy of Nintendo’s own Joycon controllers, albeit with a sharper and more angular cut at the top of it. On another note, the controller layout is like the Xbox One’s, although the necks of thumbsticks are slightly longer. The trigger buttons at the top look just as pronounced but don’t sink in as deep and are far more tactile to the click.
Again, the Concept UFO isn’t just a game console, but also a proper PC. To that end, the person at the booth continuously hammered that point. By showing the machine running a full version of Windows 10, and with good reason; instead of restricting it to a single game launcher, you can practically launch any game title from any of several game clients that currently exist on the PC.
While my time with the Concept UFO was extremely brief, I did manage to see the machine in action. With two titles being demonstrated on it, Mortal Kombat 11 and an F1 racing simulator. With the former title, it was clear that the graphics preset was not at its highest, while the framerate count was visibly dipping below the 60 fps mark, even during cutscenes.
Unsurprising and at the time of writing, there’s still no indication from Dell when the Concept UFO will be made available to the masses, or if even if this is the machine’s final design. On top of that, when it does make it to mass production, I can’t imagine that the entire setup is going to be affordable. For now, only time will tell.