UPDATED: There is now an official response from Alienware to the screen side light issue and they have provided a software patch to fix the light for those that got a model without this working. Going forward all m15x laptops will have the screen side light activated.
There has been an interesting development regarding the new Alienware m15x gaming notebook. Our forum members have discovered that the Alienware Area-51 m15x is no longer being offered with the lights along the side of the LCD – the side lighting is apparently no longer a part of the "six distinct lighting zones." In fact, Alienware has taken down all pictures from their site that show the lighting and redefined what the "six distinct lighting zones" are. See the following two images – the first one (courtesy of CNET) is from CES and shows the side lights as part of the six, while the one does not: instead the power button is counted as one of the six (note the circled descriptions):
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Numerous members who have received their m15x over the last couple of days have confirmed that there are in fact no side lights. Alienware told our investigative forum members different information regarding the issue. A corporate sales rep in the US says that an update will be released to enable the lighting for those that do not have it:
"The lighting is not currently working on the systems that are being sent out, but an update will be available in a couple of weeks either for download from our site or sent directly to the customer. So even if you do get a system without active lighting, a fix should be along soon after."
Forum member Velacio was told that the preconfigured models were shipped with the side lights while customized orders did not, with no mention of an update being available (translated from Spanish):
"We have been informed that the computers that where preconfigured (Those that no change was done to when the order was placed) Will have the lights on the Side Screen LCD, but not on the keyboard. In Exchange, ordered perzonalized (like yours) will not have lights on the LCD screen, but they will on the keyboard."
It is unknown at this time whether the lights are there yet disabled or not included at all. According to mrwater, who has an early preconfigured (non-customized) m15x with side lights, says there is no way to tell whether they are installed or not:
"I already said before- there is no way to tell that there are sidelights when they are turned off. It’s not the same as the touch pad or alienware name, it kind of is built into the plastic. The bright glow is what seeps out of the crack between the black and grey plastic."
Adding to the story story, An Alienware UK rep says the m15x will no longer be offered with the side lights, also with no mention of an update being available:
"Regarding your inquiry, currently, the Area 51 m15x is not being offered with the lighting around the LCD. Some of the models sold in Alienware US do have this feature. It was a limited option which is no longer available."
In a nutshell, the m15x is not being offered with side lights at this time according to our information. Where the confusion starts is why. Alienware reps have said different things:
- Only the preconfigured models had the side lights (unknown whether that applies to current preconfigured models)
- The side lights were only available for a short time and are no longer being offered (no mention of the configured/preconfigured issue)
- The lights may be fixed via a BIOS update
Please note that Alienware has posted a downloadable fix for the light pipe surrounding the LCD on the Alienware.com’s support site: http://aliendl.alienware.com/Mobile/m15x/m15x_LightPipePatchInstaller.exe.
To clarify: the light pipe was only activated on the pre-configured model that was available on the site, but it was not activated on the configurable models. Because we’re working with extremely cutting-edge components from a number of vendors, we were unable to test the light pipe on every conceivable hardware configuration before the notebook was released. As a result, we temporarily deactivated the light pipe until we could validate the light on all configurations. We were planning to reactivate the light pipe on all existing notebooks via the patch at the upcoming launch of the $1,499 version of the notebook. We were also planning to ship all Area-51 m15x products with the light pipe activated from then on.
On these early units, as you know, we have a portion of our customer base that is very interested in being the first to have the latest and greatest from us. Getting the Area-51 m15x in their hands as quickly as possible was a top priority. Obviously, we underestimated how important this one feature would be to our customers, and we apologize for that as well as any inconvenience or confusion it may have caused.
Alienware is pleased to announce that, moving forward, all Alienware Area-51 m15x computers that ship from Alienware will have the light pipe around the LCD activated. Additionally, a downloadable fix to activate the feature for those who have already purchased the configurable version has been made available on the Alienware support site. Notifications for the fix have also been placed on the product site for the Area-51 m15x, the configuration page and the main page for notebooks on the site.
One thing your readers may note is that the picture of the Area-51 m15x on the Web site doesn’t have the light pipe enabled. This will be fixed as soon as possible, but may take a little time to implement, although your readers can be assured if they buy a system right now it will have the light pipe activated.
Again, we apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this has caused our customers, and we are working diligently to remedy the situation.