Laptop gamers have always had plenty of high-end 17-inch desktop replacement systems to choose from, so we were excited to see that one of Alienware's pushed this year at CES was the Area-51 m15x, a rare 15-inch gaming laptop.
With this new model, initially announced in December but available starting later in January, Alienware has updated its iconic look, keeping the classic alien-head motif on the back of the lid, but cleaning up the design with a simple, flat look called "Ripley," which removes not only the ridges found on the lids of previous Alienware laptops, but also the indent at the edge of the touchpad, working the control surface seamlessly right into the wrist rest, where it's outlined by a backlit rectangle.
While the most exciting component in the m15x is Nvidia's GeForce 8800 video card--the first 15-inch laptop to offer that new part--we're equally enamored of the Alienware Control Center, which lets us control the system's many lighting zones. You can set different lighting colors for the backlit keyboard, the touchpad outline, the light pipes on the side of the monitor, and the quick-launch buttons.
The m15x should be available later in January, running from around $1,500 to more than $5,000, depending on configuration. Alienware is also working on a 17-inch version, but there's no availability date on that yet.