What Is A Backlit Keyboard?
A backlit keyboard is a regular keyboard with a backlight underneath the keys. This backlight illuminates the keys and thus makes the letters and symbols visible in dark environments. A backlit keyboard is incredibly useful in dark and low light areas, as it helps improve visibility. Nowadays, a backlit keyboard is an essential, incredibly useful, and in-demand feature on laptops.
Who Should Buy A Laptop With A Backlit Keyboard?
Every person who tends to work in low light areas or during the night would greatly benefit from having a laptop with a backlit keyboard. This kind of keyboard is literally a lifesaver for every student who is working late to finish an assignment, for every employee, who is chasing a deadline, for every nocturnal person who tends to be more productive at night, for all the people using public transportation during the night, when the lights are off and the other passengers wouldn’t want to be disturbed, and for those who tend to play video games or enjoy some kind of entertainment in the dark. This feature is especially valuable for all those individuals who, for whatever reason, have to or choose to use their laptops at night in a room they share with their spouses, partners, or roommates, who are trying to get some sleep. This way they can do their work without having to turn on the light and their roommates are very grateful. If that is the case, you may also want to consider purchasing a silent keyboard.
The Top 8 Best Cheap Laptops With Backlit Keyboard
In this section, we will take a look at the top 8 high-quality, yet cheap laptops with backlit keyboards.
1. Acer Aspire 5 – Laptops With Backlit Keyboard
Acer Aspire 5 may be the cheapest traditional laptop for everyday use with backlit keyboards currently on the market. The device comes with a sleek, portable, and lightweight design with an aluminum top cover and a silver finish. It has a comfortable full-layout backlit keyboard with a number pad. The trackpad is relatively large, which may cause brushing while typing. It is powered by an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor with integrated Vega 3 graphics and it offers 4GB DDR4 memory and 128GB NVMe solid-state drive for storage. The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel display provides excellent viewing angles and clear, vivid graphics thanks to the Acer Color Intelligence technology. The device supports Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity.
- Very affordable
- Solid performance
- Slim and lightweight design
- Comfortable keyboard
- Lacking USB-C port
- Average battery life
2. Asus VivoBook 15 – Laptops With Backlit Keyboard
The VivoBook 15 from Asus is a great alternative to the Acer Aspire 5. It’s one of the cheapest ASUS laptops with a backlit keyboard and great features, such as a Type-C port, a large display, and an exceptionally ergonomic and unique design. It features a 15.6-inch full HD display, which provides sharp and bright images. It also comes with a full-layout comfortable backlit keyboard with a number pad. The keypad is very ergonomic and it has a 1.4mm key travel distance. The device also offers a fingerprint scanner, a 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of memory, and 128GB M.2 NVMe storage. This outstanding laptop with a solid performance for its price comes with the latest selection of ports and supports Wi-Fi 802 11ac for wireless connectivity.
- Ergonomic keyboard and design
- Lightweight and portable, yet compact design
- Great performance
- USB-C port
- Poor color reproduction
3. Apple MacBook Pro – Laptops With Backlit Keyboard
The new Apple MacBook Pro definitely isn’t one of the cheap laptops with backlit keyboards on this list, but it is a great and high-performance computer. It is Apple’s best laptop with backlit keyboards. The device is powered by the latest 10th generation Intel Core processors, features up to 1TB SSD, and up to 32GB RAM. It has configurable storage options up to 2TB or 4TB SSD. This model is also equipped with an amazing retina display and true tone technology, which provides a wonderful viewing experience. The device also features Touch Bar and Touch ID. However, its greatest feature may be the iconic Magic keyboard with a travel distance of 1.5mm, which provides a very comfortable and smooth typing experience. It is lightweight and it has a sleek design and it features LED-backlit for each key. This laptop is a great choice for business and entertainment, nonetheless, it may not be the best option for heavy gaming.
- Great performance
- Beautiful retina display
- Magic Keyboard and LED Backlit for each key
- Very expensive
4. HP Pavilion x360 – Laptops With Backlit Keyboard
There are many HP models to be found among quality yet cheap laptops with backlit keyboards, including HP 14DF, HP Notebook 14-dq1033cl, HP Chromebook 15, HP EliteBook 840, and HP Envy 17. However, this model is known as a very stylish, powerful, practical, and user-friendly everyday laptop. This 15.6-inch convertible computer is powered by an 8th Generation Intel Dual-Core i3-8130U processor and it features 20GB RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. The device has an ultra-thin and light design, powerful performance, solid audio, a very responsive touchscreen with a 1920-by-1080 px resolution, and 7-hour battery life. It comes with an island-style 360-degree hinge backlit keyboard and a fingerprint scanner, which is rarely found on a budget laptop.
- Convertible screen
- Touchscreen assistance<
- Very affordable
- Not a very bright display
5. Dell Inspiron i5575 – Laptops With Backlit Keyboard
This device is Dell’s answer to a low-budget, super-fast computer with rich graphics and swift performance. It comes with an integrated Radeon VEGA 8 GPU, which is powerful and fast enough to manage 3D Modeling and 3D gaming software. It has an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Mobile processor, a 1TB hard drive, and 8 GB DDR4 RAM. It also has a 15.6-inch touch screen with a 1920-by-1080 px resolution, which provides incredibly rich and accurate graphics with its exclusive Dell Cinema feature. The design is sleek and slim-built. It features a stylish and user-friendly backlit keyboard with adequately spaced keys, providing a comfortable typing experience. The battery life is relatively short – with an average of 4 hours.
- High-speed performance
- Powerful Integrated GPU embedded
- Touchscreen assistance
- Very affordable
- Fixed Video RAM
- Slow Upgrades
6. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 – Laptops With Backlit Keyboard
Lenovo offers a number of powerful yet cheap laptops with backlit keyboards, including Lenovo V330, Lenovo ThinkPad T480S, Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5, Lenovo ThinkBook 14S, Lenovo Flex 14, Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1 Ultrabook, and Lenovo Ideapad S340. However, this laptop from Lenovo is considered the cheapest Chromebook with a backlit keyboard. It is a powerful 13.3-inch computer that is powered by the 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor and comes with 4GB RAM, and 64GB SSD. It features Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, USB Type-C connectivity, a high-quality IPS panel, and a full HD touchscreen display providing crystal clear images with a 1080p resolution. This is a convertible device with a 360 degrees hinge. It’s very light and portable and it has a delicate design. The backlit keyboard has a 1.4mm key travel distance, providing a comfortable typing experience.
- Powerful and fast
- Sharp display
- Great value
- RAM and SSD not replaceable
7. Acer Nitro 5 – Laptops With Backlit Keyboard
Acer Nitro 5 is known as the best gaming laptop with backlit keyboards. It has a 15.6-inch full HD widescreen IPS LED-backlit display, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, 8GB DDR4 2666MHz memory, an upgradeable RAM, and a 9th generation Intel Core i5-9300H processor. It has a thin and delicate design yet it is a very powerful machine. It features NVIDIA GeForce technology that provides incredible graphics, Acer’s widely praised TrueHarmony feature, which provides a crystal clear and deep sound, dedicated NitroSense command keys, and highlighted arrow keys. The color of the backlit is red and the keyboard has tactile keys for optimal speed and performance. The device comes with built-in Alexa and it has a powerful battery that can last up to 6-7 hours. It isn’t one of the cheapest devices on our list, but for true gamers, it’s sure worth the expense.
- Long-lasting battery life
- Great screen display
- Amazing sound quality
- Precise touch screen
- A little bit pricey
- Requires customization and upgrading
8. ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH55 – Laptops With Backlit Keyboard
Some consider this ASUS model to be the best lightweight laptop with backlit keyboards. This high-quality 13.3-inch laptop has a stylish design, 256GB M.2 SSD, 8GB DDR3 memory, and Intel’s 8th gen processor i.e Intel Core i5-8250U. It is not the company’s newest model, but it is still widely praised for its great specifications, which are very similar to MacBook Air. As this laptop is around $200 cheaper than Apple, it is said to be the perfect alternative to Apple’s MacBook Air. The keyboard is very soft, user-friendly, and has a 1.5mm travel distance. The color of the backlit is white and the brightness levels can be adjusted. However, the keyboard doesn’t have a full-sized number keypad. The device also has impressively long battery life. If you are mostly planning to use it for MS Word/ Excel, browsing the internet, and multimedia, it will last 9-10 hours.
- Solid performance
- Long-lasting battery life
- Less than perfect viewing angles
Benefits Of Laptops With Backlit Keyboards (Why Use Laptops With Backlit Keyboards?)
A backlit keyboard is a simple yet exceptionally valuable feature that enables you to use your laptop in low light conditions. The feature is priceless in many circumstances and it offers a large number of benefits.
- It enables you to type and use other features of your laptop in the dark.
- If you are chasing a deadline, it allows you to finish all your assignments on time, even during the night.
- It is great for writers, especially those who tend to work in low light conditions.
- It allows professional gamers to do their thing no matter what time of day it is without disturbing their roommates. In addition, it helps gamers to differentiate between the keys, and thus lead them to more victories.
- It enables you to program successfully without making mistakes in the dark.
- It is invaluable for students who work during the night and can’t turn on the light.
- In creative professionals, such as designers and writers, a backlit keyboard may spark their creativity.
- It even enables you to search the web and waste your time scrolling through social media.
How To Switch On Backlit Keyboard Of An Apple Macbook
To switch on backlit keyboard, open the Apple menu and go to ‘System Preferences’. Under ‘System settings’ select ‘Keyboard’. Afterward, find the option ‘Illuminate keyboard in poor lighting conditions’ and check this checkbox. If you want to switch the feature off, simply repeat the process and uncheck the checkbox.
Note that the Apple MacBook comes with an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the keyboard backlight brightness to match ambient light. It is located on the left side of the FaceTime camera and is designed to detect lighting conditions. You can this feature off by going to the keyboard panel and unchecking the ‘automatic illumination’ option. Also, you can adjust the keyboard backlight by pressing F5 and F6.
How To Switch On Backlit Keyboard Of A Windows Laptop
The keyboard illumination in most Windows laptops is normally controlled by the function keys on the keyboard. In some models, there is even a separate key with which you can switch on, switch off, or control the keyboard illumination. The process is simple, however, some reports have shown that the users of Windows 10 occasionally experience not being able to control, activate, or deactivate the keyboard illumination. In this case, check if you have the latest drivers installed for your device. If not, make sure to download and install all the available drivers, software, and tools for your laptop from your manufacturer and to restart your laptop afterward.
When Would A Backlit Keyboard Be Useful?
A backlit keyboard would prove incredibly useful when you are at home with your family and you get together in the evening to watch a movie or enjoy a bonfire in the backyard. You would want to join your loved ones but you still have some work to do. In order to combine family time and work without ruining the cozy dimmed atmosphere by turning on a light, you would need a backlit keyboard.
As it is hard to see laptop keys in dark rooms, a backlit keyboard would also come in handy in classrooms where it tends to be dark due to PowerPoint presentations, as well as in all other low light areas.
One or more colors
Some laptop models enable you to choose from a variety of color options for your keyboard and even to add a bit of flair to it. These types of keyboards are usually called ‘RGB’, and they are mostly available on gaming laptops.
Not only makes a backlit keyboard on your laptop way more practical, it also makes it more attractive. And while attractiveness may not be the defining factor, it is quite important, as it will make you feel good about your purchase. In addition, it will allow you to enjoy whatever it is you are doing on your computer.
Backlit Keyboard Buying Guide
As backlit keyboards offer some different features, make sure to check them out before buying a laptop. The items below will enable you to understand what features are available and which of them will you want to have in your new backlit keyboard laptop.
Adjustable brightness levels
It is useful to have a backlit keyboard, however, if it doesn’t offer you to adjust the brightness level, it can often be either too bright or too dark. Thus we highly recommend you consider laptops with that feature.
Luckily, most premium laptops allow you to control and adjust the brightness levels of the keyboard light. Usually, you can do so with one of the [F] key commands. One of the laptops which offer this useful feature is the MacBook Air.
Ambient light sensor
Having an ambient light sensor is also a highly practical feature. Aside from being able to adjust the brightness level manually, the sensor enables you to use the automated brightness adjustment, which will consider the brightness level of your current environment. During the daytime, it may turn off the backlight completely.
Some of the most expensive gaming computers allow you full control of the color and the lightening behind each individual key, which enables you to program the lighting in any way you please. You can set a specific color to a group of keys or even to one individual key or set different transition effects, like keys switching between colors continuously. This feature may be useful for hardcore gaming but for anything else, it doesn’t provide any benefits other than perhaps making the device more aesthetically pleasing. If eye-catching looks are what you are after, then this is something for you.
There is a whole science behind the keyboard quality. If the keyboard quality is high, it will be silent, and provide you with responsive and properly sensitive keys. It will enable you to type as fast as possible and offer the best responsiveness if used for gaming. Moreover, keyboard quality will also determine the durability – the higher the quality, the more durable keyboard. As such, make sure to choose a high-quality keyboard that will give you a user-friendly feel as you place your hands on it to type.
Avoid backlit bleeding
Backlight bleeding occurs when the LED backlight is visible, as it escapes along the edges of the keys. Excessive backlight bleeding can be disturbing and annoying to such a degree that some people prefer to turn it off. Keyboards with a solid border around the keys keep backlit bleeding to a minimum and thus provide an uninterrupted experience and eye comfort when working in the dark. Make sure to choose a keyboard that illuminates each symbol on top of each key and not around the edges.
Key travel means how far the keys have to travel down to register. Gaming laptops and thicker laptops are usually thick enough to allow more vertical travel and as such, they tend to have high standard switch keycaps (11.5mm). These keycaps are preferred by the majority of typists. Thin laptops, on the other hand, tend to have slim keycaps (6.2mm) and shallow vertical travels. These keyboards tend to be less noisy. Choosing keyboards with more or less key travel usually depends on personal preference, as strictly speaking key travel shouldn’t affect your typing speeds as long as you have a good keyboard. You can get used to either option rather fast.
There are two types of layouts. One is the conventional type, in which all the keys are tightly packed together. The other type is the island type, in which keys have sufficient space between each other. As both types of layout are equally effective, this feature also depends on your preference. Switching from one layout type to another may simply require a short adjustment period. For gamers, the island type may be more suitable, while most typists prefer the convenient type.
The Difference Between A Backlit Led And A Backlit Keyboard
It is important to distinguish between a backlit LED and a backlit keyboard. Obviously, not everyone who is looking to buy a laptop is tech-savvy and many of us can easily get confused by laptop specifications, therefore confusing the terms ‘backlit keyboard’ and ‘LED-backlit display’ is very common.
A backlit keyboard is a keyboard with a backlight underneath the keys. A LED-backlit display, on the other hand, is a liquid-crystal display that uses LED backlighting instead of traditional cold cathode fluorescent (CCFL) backlighting. The bottom line is that a laptop that has an ‘LED-backlit display’ doesn’t necessarily come with a light-up keyboard too. If you are planning on buying a laptop with backlit keyboards, you can choose from our list above or ask your seller whether the keyboard is backlit or not.
Do all laptops have backlit keyboards?
Not all laptops have backlit keyboards. However, nowadays, most high-quality laptops include this feature. Business laptops, on the other hand, may sell this feature separately.
What laptops have a backlit keyboard?
Nowadays, all mainstream commercial laptops, especially high-quality gaming laptops, offer backlit keyboards. However, this feature may not be available in all budget laptops.
Why are laptops with backlit keyboards important?
Some time ago working in the wilderness where there is no light or working at night in a low light area may not have been very common. Nowadays, however, it is very common to use our laptops in darker settings, therefore it’s very important to have a laptop with backlit keyboards. This feature may be especially handy for gamers, coders, and creative professionals.
Can I install a backlit keyboard on any laptop?
No, it is not possible to install a backlit keyboard. However, you can always opt for a wireless keyboard that is backlit.
Does a backlit keyboard affect battery life?
Yes. The illumination of the keyboard puts additional strain on the battery (especially if you are using a gaming laptop), even if the feature is enabled and the backlight is turned off. However, the drainage is only about 2-3%, which is not so critical.
How do I know if my laptop has a backlit keyboard?
You can determine whether or not your laptop has a backlit keyboard by checking if any of the F commands, such as F5 and F6 on Apple MacBook or F1, F2, and right arrow key, have an illumination icon printed on them. If they do, it means it’s a backlit keyboard.
Is a backlit keyboard worth it?
It depends on whether you ever use your laptop in low light areas. If the answer is yes, then backlit keyboards are totally worth your money. Their brightly lit keys not only allow you to easily type in a dull room but also aim at making you differentiate between the keys resulting in enhancing your typing speed.
How long does a backlit keyboard last?
Backlit keyboards have LED lights that can give you a maximum life expectancy of 50,000 hours before they wear out.
How do I turn on the backlit keyboard lights on MacBook Air?
You can turn on the backlit keyboard lights on MacBook Air by using the F5 and F6 commands. For more information on that subject check out the fifth chapter of this article.
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