ASUS N56VM has no backlit keyboard and no keyboard backlight!
The ASUS N56VM does not have a keyboard backlight. Even though plenty of reviews mention it as a feature, they are incorrect. I just spoke to ASUS support in the UK and they confirmed this. All those professional reviews out there, appear to have got it wrong:
Oh, and give us a backlight—the F3/F4 keys are silkscreened for it, and I hope that the lack of a backlight on our test unit is simply because we’re looking at early hardware; however, I worry that ASUS will remove the silkscreened labels and leave us with a non-lit keyboard. If I had my way, all laptops that cost north of $800 would include keyboard backlighting.
The N56VM has software called ATKACPI driver and hotkey-related utilities installed. This appears to suggest, through the use of the function keys F3 and F4 that you can dim and brighten the keyboard backlight, however, this is a red herring. This ATK software is designed to run a number of ASUS system models:
In computing, an ATK package is a collection of utilities used for hardware configuration and power management.
ASUS uses ATK packages as utilities for ACPI implemented OSPMs. So simple!
Breaking down the acronyms will add a lot of clarity:
- ASUS is a company that makes computers and computer parts, like notebooks and motherboards. The company’s name comes from Greek mythology; the Pegasus (peg-ASUS) represents imagination and creativity. Rumors predict a tablet PC to hit the market by the end of 2012 from a joint effort between ASUS and Google.
- ATK packages are bundles of ASUS utility/driver software. “ATK” comes from ASUS’s official company name—ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
- ACPI stands for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface. This interface enables the computer to communicate with all the attached hardware (peripherals). For example, the ACPI will power-down the CD/DVD drive when not in use. ACPI also handles configuration duties, such as defining hotkeys and more complex tasks like 3D graphics and overclocking without hardware modification. ACPI is used by most notebook and laptop computers.
- OSPM stands for Operating System-directed configuration and Power Management. This is a term used to describe an operating system that is using ACPI.
Yep, so if you have the N56VM then you have the software, but not the hardware. the N56VZ is supposed to have the hardware and the software, but you’ll struggle to buy that in the UK (although you can buy it is various other European countries, but without the UK power / keyboard layout). Bummer.
So, for those of you (like me), who read reviews with inaccuracies, or misread reviews about the ASUS N56VM, please note that you don’t have a backlit keyboard. That’s right, no keyboard backlight.
It must be said though that the ASUS N56VM is still a nice machine. Mine has been loaded with 16GB of RAM and a 516MB SSD. It boots in literally 2 seconds. Awesome. Double the performance of the highest spec Macbook Pro and half the price (and it is still all sliver and shiny)!