You’re shopping for a new laptop. Only a few minutes have passed, and you’re already overwhelmed. So many specs! There are hard drives to consider. Processors to gauge. Displays to evaluate.
And that’s not even the aesthetic stuff - remember, if you’re going to impress the shareholders at your next presentation (or that barista who works at the coffee shop), you’re going to need a laptop that looks professional.
When you’re shopping for a new laptop, you might be so concerned with the key specs that you forget to consider the keyboard specs. And that’s a real shame, because you’ll shake hands with the keyboard more than any other laptop component. It’s the face of your laptop; the bridge between human command and computer processing. A good keyboard is vital to your comfort and success.
So what makes a good keyboard? In part, a backlit keyboard.
What is a backlit keyboard?
A backlit keyboard is a keyboard that contains a light underneath the keys. The backlight illuminates the letters and symbols on the keys to make them visible in low light environments. The print on the keys is semi-transparent, so the light underneath will shine through it like a window.
Oftentimes, the backlight also illuminates the tiny space that surrounds the key, which further enhances the visibility of the keyboard. Most backlit keyboards allow you to adjust the brightness levels.
Most backlights emit white light. While there are backlights that emit other colors, too, these backlights are found mostly in gaming laptops - we’ll get to that.
Backlit keyboard versus standard keyboard
There’s little difference between a backlit keyboard and a standard keyboard except for the fact that the backlit keyboard will light up in the dark.
Keyboards do come in a variety of different sizes, configurations, and builds, but these don’t influence whether the keyboard has a backlight. Both membrane keyboards and mechanical keyboards may be built with backlights. Also, backlights are integrated into both desktop keyboards and laptop keyboards.
The quality of a keyboard’s build is not determined by whether or not it has a backlight. For example, there are different keyboard styles and builds like mechanical keyboards for specific applications or tasks.
Benefits of a backlit keyboard
A backlit keyboard is an important function on a laptop because of a laptop’s mobile nature. If you choose to use your laptop outside of an office environment, you might unexpectedly lose access to light, which may render the backlight necessary.
Here are our favorite situations that warrant a backlit keyboard:
1. Home use
Imagine it’s a beautiful midsummer’s night. The blistering sun has gone, but the air snuggly blankets you at a delightful 71 degrees. Crickets are chirping. The family’s roasting s’mores on a backyard bonfire.
All the while, you’ve got some stuff to do on your laptop. Perhaps you’re trying to get ahead of next week’s work, or maybe you’re just sifting through your family vacation photos. Either way, it’s too nice to sit indoors, so you bring your laptop out with you so you can enjoy the festivities.
Unfortunately, it’s dark outside. You don’t want to spoil the bonfire by turning on the porch light. But the bonfire isn’t much help - your laptop screen is blocking all the incoming light. If only you had a backlit keyboard.
Hopefully, all that imagery buttered you up a little. But, summer pleasantry aside, there are many home uses for a backlit keyboard that you might not ever think about. If there’s a power outage and you lose electric light, you’ll still be able to type away at your laptop keyboard if it’s backlit.
If you’re tucked in bed watching a movie on Netflix, a backlight can help you type your desired title into the search bar. A backlight is, above all else, a convenience. And sometimes convenience alone is worth investing in.
2. Public transit
You’re on a red-eye flight. Everyone’s asleep, even the little boy sitting behind you. About time! He’d been kicking your chair since takeoff.
Unfortunately, you’re not going to sleep anytime soon. The airport coffee was strong - you’re wired. So you decide to pass the time playing a PC game, and you whip out your laptop.
Uh-oh. How are you supposed to try out the demo for Anthem when you can’t see a single key? At first, you turn on the overhead light. But that won’t do - the little boy is stirring. And you’d rather do nothing for seven straight hours then spend all night getting kicked. Oh, well. Anthem will have to wait.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. A backlit keyboard is helpful when you’re on a red-eye flight or when you’re night traveling by car or train. It gives you just enough light to do what you need to do, without disturbing anyone nearby.
3. Field work
Backlit keyboards are helpful if you work in the field - especially if you work at night. Astronomers, for example, may spend all night surveying the stars at dark observation sites. Astronomers use their laptops to record observations or operate equipment. A backlit keyboard may be an absolute necessity for their work.
4. Dark rooms
Some rooms are darker than others. Perhaps you’re using your laptop to take notes in class, but the professor dimmed the lights so the PowerPoint is more visible. Or maybe you’re doing work at a coffee shop, and they’ve dimmed the lights to create an evening ambience.
If you’re working in a dark space, or if your vision isn’t great in dimmer settings, a backlit keyboard may come in handy.
Backlit gaming keyboards
You’ll find that gaming laptops have less-than-ordinary keyboard backlights. The HP OMEN gaming laptops, for example, have red keyboard backlights. This is mostly for style - after all, the HP OMEN laptops have that commanding, futuristic style with a red-and-black color palette. The red backlight fits the aesthetic.
You’ll find a variety of gaming keyboards that are backlit by other colors, like blue or green. Some keyboards have several different backlight colors all in one - this is called zoned backlighting.
Zoned backlighting means you’re able to assign different backlight colors to specific keys. A PC gamer uses a plethora of keys to do virtual combat, so zoned backlighting helps to simplify the keyboard interface through visual segmentation.
For example, a PC gamer might assign a white backlight to the movement keys (the WASD keys and arrow keys), and a red light to the item keys (perhaps the ZXC keys). When the keys are backlit by different colors, the PC gamer can locate them much faster.
Some zoned keyboards come with predetermined backlight configurations. Others let you assign the backlights to whichever keys you like.
Backlit keyboards for creative professionals
You can use backlit keyboards for creative applications, like video editing software. In the same way that PC gamers use backlights to highlight their gaming controls, video editors may use backlights to highlight keyboard shortcuts.
Creative industries require a fast turnaround, so having an organized, backlit keyboard helps the creative professional maintain a fast workflow.
Can I install a backlit keyboard on my laptop?
If your laptop doesn’t have a backlit keyboard, it’s nearly impossible to install one unless you’re a computer engineer. To operate a backlit keyboard, your laptop not only needs to have the right components, but the right programming, as well.
It’s also difficult to take apart laptop components. Most tower desktops are built to be easily disassembled - you’ve only got to loosen a few screws here and there, and you’re in. But laptops have a more compact build. It may be difficult to get underneath the keyboard plate without having special equipment to do so. You could seriously damage your computer if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If a backlit keyboard is a must-have for you, we recommend you either buy a laptop with a backlit keyboard or that you buy an external backlit keyboard.
Great HP laptops with backlit keyboards
HP® produces a solid line of laptops with backlit keyboards. These are just a few of our tremendous models:
1. HP EliteBook x360 1020 G2 convertible laptop
Have you ever thought about trying a 2-in-1 laptop? A 2-in-1 is a hybrid between a laptop and a tablet. The HP EliteBook x360 1020 has a touch screen, and you can fold away the keyboard behind the screen to operate the device like a tablet. A 2-in-1 is optimal for note-taking, digital illustration, and doing field work.
When your tasks require laptop capabilities, you’ve got a full-sized backlit keyboard at your command.
2. HP ENVY 17-inch laptop
The HP ENVY 17t laptop is a powerful computer with a strong processor and top-notch graphics card. The HP ENVY has a full-sized, island-style keyboard with a backlight. What’s great about this keyboard is the wide palm rest.
The palm rest is the area below the keys. Your hands can rest comfortably on this area when you’re typing. This is a great feature because keyboards with these specific rests cause less stress on your wrists and hands.
3. HP OMEN 15-inch laptop
The HP OMEN 15t laptop is built for gaming, with its powerful processing components and hotshot style. But those aren’t the only gaming-optimized components - the HP OMEN keyboard is designed to help gamers boost their reflexivity. The keyboard incorporates zoned backlighting.
There are 4 color-coded zones:
- Blue Zone: Arrow Keys, Number Pad, Shift/Enter/Backspace
- Violet Zone: Middle Keys
- White Zone: WASD Keys
- Orange Zone: Leftmost Keys
The keyboard strikes the right balance between flashy and functional.
Even if you’re not a gamer, you might like these colored backlights because they’re easier on your eyes. If you’re working in the dark, you might find that a bright, white light is a little bit too stressful on your vision. You may prefer backlights that are red, green, or another softer color.
For colored backlights, try the HP Pavilion 15-inch gaming laptop, which has a violet backlight (there’s also one with a green backlight), or the HP OMEN 17t gaming laptop, which has a red backlight.
Great external HP backlit keyboards
What if you want a backlit keyboard for your desktop computer? Or maybe you’re looking for an external keyboard for your laptop?
After all, using an external keyboard on a laptop has its advantages:
- An external keyboard is less cramped, which causes less stress on your wrists and hands.
- You can position your keyboard in a comfortable position that’s not dependent on where your laptop is sitting.
- You can use a wireless keyboard.
It might be difficult to find an external keyboard that has a backlight. External keyboards are meant to be used in home office settings. Thus, it’s less likely that you’ll be without an ample light source, and for that reason, manufacturers don’t incorporate backlights into external keyboards very often.
However, there are a few great backlit keyboards that you can use on either your laptop or your tower desktop.
1. HP OMEN Sequencer mechanical keyboard
The HP OMEN Sequencer is a punchy mechanical keyboard that’s built primarily for gamers. This is one of the more advanced backlit keyboards on the market. Each key is individually lit, and you’re able to customize the keys with up to 16.8 million RGB colors.
You’re able to assign a unique color to each individual key, allowing you to customize the color configuration as much as you want. The customizability makes this a great keyboard for creative professionals.
There’s a great aesthetic feature, too: you can set color effects, like a rainbow strobe that sweeps across the keyboard. This might be a fun keyboard to have at a rave.
2. OMEN by HP Encoder Keyboard-Red Switch
The HP OMEN keyboard has keys that are individually illuminated by red LED lights. It’s a mechanical keyboard that’s springy and responsive.
3. HyperX Alloy Core RGB - Gaming Keyboard
The HyperX Alloy Core RGB - Gaming Keyboard is a mechanical keyboard that has keys that are individually lit by LED lights. Unlike the HP OMEN , the WASD keys are not painted red, so it won’t be as distracting to non-gamers.
Backlit keyboard may sway the laptop decision
If you’re having a difficult time choosing between two similar laptops, you might want to choose the one that has a backlit keyboard. Remember - it’s next to impossible to add backlighting to a standard keyboard.
You’ll never know what you might need to use the backlight for, but it’s better to have it just in case than to need it and not have it. And, when it’s not necessary, you can always just power it off.
About the Author
Zach Cabading is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Zach is a content creation specialist based in Southern California, and creates a variety of content for the tech industry.
A backlit keyboard is an important function on a laptop because of a laptop's mobile nature. If you choose to use your laptop outside of an office environment, you might unexpectedly lose access to light, which may render the backlight necessary.Why do you need a backlit keyboard? ›
The most basic function of a backlit keyboard is to allow you to see the keys in the dark, so that you'll be able to type without running into problems. But it doesn't mean that you can't type in the dark without backlighting.Does keyboard backlight affect performance? ›
According to this video by linustechtips, turning on keyboard back-lighting consumes upto 16% more battery power than turning it off. So turning off backlighting is a good idea if you are on battery power and dont require them.Can you add backlit keyboard to laptop? ›
Yes, it is possible to install a backlit keyboard on your laptop. However, the process may vary depending on your specific model of laptop. Generally speaking, you will need to remove the old keyboard and replace it with the new one.Are LED keyboard worth it? ›
If you only use your desktop computer during the day — at work, for example — then a backlit keyboard might not be necessary. If you ever type at night, it is helpful to have keys that light up. Most gaming keyboards are backlit and support full RGB color, which provides another important benefit — looking cool.What does a backlight do? ›
Backlights are used in small displays to increase readability in low light conditions such as in wristwatches, and are used in smart phones, computer displays and LCD televisions to produce light in a manner similar to a CRT display.What is meant by non backlit keyboard? ›
Backlit is the smoother one (Left side), non-backlit is the textured one(right)How do I make my HP laptop keyboard light up? ›
If your notebook computer has a backlit keyboard, press the F5 or F4 (some models) key on the keyboard to turn the light on or off. It might be necessary to press the fn (function) key at the same time.Do backlit keyboards drain battery? ›
Your backlit keyboard will also drain the battery life of your laptop. When you keep the backlights on, especially if you are using a gaming laptop, they will reduce the battery faster than if they weren't on. However, it will only affect your battery life by about 2-3%.Does wired keyboard drain laptop battery? ›
Using an external keyboard and mouse does not affect your battery's life.
1. Reduce your laptop screen brightness. When it comes to power consumption, the screen brightness is one of the biggest drains on any modern device, not just laptops. Reducing the brightness will significantly increase the battery life of your laptop by up to 30 minutes or more.Can you make a non backlit keyboard backlit? ›
1. Use a USB lamp for Laptops. Small and flexible USB lamps for laptops won't exactly backlight your keyboard, but it will light your keyboard for you and not much else. These lamps are small and flexible; they plug right into your laptop's USB port.Can I replace a non backlit keyboard with a backlit one? ›
Yes, if the manufacturer sells that particular laptop with and without a backlit keyboard.Does every laptop have keyboard light? ›
The vast majority of modern laptop computers come with backlit keyboards in addition to boasting a number of other fancy features that may distract from this rather basic, but wholly necessary feature.Which HP laptops have light up keyboard? ›
- HP Pavilion 15-DK2100TX Gaming Laptop (11th Gen Core i5/ 8GB/ 1TB 256GB SSD/ Win10 Home/ 4GB Graph) ...
- HP 14s-dy5005TU Laptop (12th Gen Core i5/ 16GB/ 512GB SSD/ Win11) ...
- HP Pavilion 15-eg2009TU Laptop (12th Gen Core i5/ 8GB/ 512GB SSD/ Win11 Home)
- Home. Spectre. Envy. Pavilion. HP Essentials. Chromebook.
- Business. EliteBook. ZBook. HP Essentials. Chromebook.
- Gaming. OMEN. Victus. Pavilion Gaming.
|Asus Vivobook Pro 15 OLED M6500IH-L1701WS Laptop (Ryzen 7-4800H/ 16GB/ 512GB SSD/ Win11 Home/ 4GB Graph)||₹59,990|
|Dell Inspiron 3520 Laptop (12th Gen Core i5/ 8GB/ 512GB SSD/ Win11)||₹58,999|
|HP Pavilion 15s-eq2182AU Laptop (Ryzen 5 5500U/ 16GB/ 512GB SSD/ Win11 Home)||₹49,990|
From $299. Buy. The Magic Keyboard is an amazing companion for iPad Pro and iPad Air. It features a great typing experience, a trackpad that opens up new ways to work with iPadOS, a USB‑C port for pass‑through charging, and front and back protection.
The easiest way to determine whether your computer is equipped with a backlit keyboard is to look at the F10, F6, or right arrow key (located in the lower right-hand corner). If none of these keys have the illumination icon printed on it, your computer does not have a backlit keyboard.What does backlight key look like? ›
The "Backlight" key is always one of the function keys (typically F5) at the top of your keyboard. It has a symbol resembling three dots on it.
Backlighting works best either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as the sun is rising or setting. These times of day are known as the golden hour because the sun is positioned low in the sky and serves as a soft natural light source.What's better edge lit or backlit? ›
The directness of the LED light makes backlit more efficient than edge-lit. Unlike in edge-lit, where the light travels through the diffuser panel, light only passes through the thickness of the material in backlit.Does backlight affect brightness? ›
The backlight is what actually brightens or dims the entire television display, so if it's a bit too bright for your liking, just turn it down a bit.How can I make my laptop keyboard LED? ›
What to Know. Try F5, F9, or F11 to turn on the keyboard light on your Windows laptop. On a Mac, press the Increase Brightness key (it looks like a little rising sun). Most modern laptops have backlit keyboards, but some budget models don't have this feature.How do I make my keyboard light up in Chrome? ›
Since most Chromebooks don't have a dedicated backlight key, you'll need to use Alt with the regular screen dimming key. Press the screen brightness key. You can usually find this key above the 7, 8, and 9 keys.How do I light up my Dell laptop keyboard? ›
On some versions of the BIOS:
- Click the + sign next to System Configuration.
- Click Keyboard Illumination. ...
- Disabled or Off - The keyboard illumination is off.
HP laptops include a dedicated key to switch the keyboard lighting on and off and separate ones to adjust the brightness. Some laptops have a similar command key, while others have dedicated applications to enable and adjust the lighting.How do I know if my HP laptop has a backlit keyboard? ›
If your HP notebook computer has a backlit keyboard, take a look at the top bar of your keyboard and locate the F5 button. This button may even be labeled with a backlight icon.What is the Fn button on a keyboard? ›
The Fn key, short form for function, is a modifier key on many keyboards, especially on laptops, used in a compact layout to combine keys which are usually kept separate.How long do backlit keyboards last? ›
LEDs should last pretty close to forever. They are basically unaffected by power cycling, and unless there is a power surge, I would be stunned if any burned out in less than 15-20 years. I've had a backlit keyboard for a couple of years now, and it's still flawless.
With a backlit keyboard you have no extra airflow and overheating is pretty much inevitable. I would honestly recommend removing the backlight from your laptop's keyboard if you are having heating issues.Does keyboard backlight affect battery life? ›
Does a backlit keyboard affect battery life? Yes, of course it uses more battery power.Is it better to have a wired or wireless keyboard? ›
Best answer: Wired keyboards are better if you don't want to deal with input lag, the risk of interference, or battery life. Meanwhile, wireless keyboards are the ideal choice if you want to get rid of wires or want to use your keyboard from long range.What are the disadvantages of wireless keyboard? ›
Slower and susceptible to interference
Although rare, wireless and Bluetooth mice and keyboards can run into interference, or be slightly slower than their wired counterparts. While generally unnoticeable, this may be a no-no for gamers or anyone who requires absolute precision with their work.
You can leave them plugged in like 99% of people do, they are designed to stay connected. If anything, the constant removal every night is far worse for them, in terms of physical damage to the peripherals or ports.Is it good to keep battery saver on all the time laptop? ›
When battery saver is on, your PC temporarily turns off some things that use a lot of power, like automatic email and calendar syncing, live tile updates, and apps you're not actively using. Using battery saver is the easiest way to extend battery life.What brightness is best for battery? ›
The Purdue study found that switching from light mode to dark mode at 100% brightness saves an average of 39%-47% battery power.Can you replace a non backlit keyboard with a backlit one? ›
Yes, if the manufacturer sells that particular laptop with and without a backlit keyboard.Can I add backlight to my keyboard? ›
You can take apart your entire laptop, and change out your ordinary keyboard for a backlit one. Though this option is still cheaper than getting a new laptop, it does require a level of technical skills.Can you turn off backlit keyboard? ›
Option 2: By pressing the keyboard's shortcut keys (FN + F10) . The second key is marked as a light icon. Press FN + F10 key together to turn off the backlight and also you change the backlight brightness by pressing it once.
A backlit keyboard is a keyboard that has light shining up through the keys from beneath them. This makes the keys easier to see in low-light conditions. A non backlit keyboard does not have this feature and may be harder to see in low-light conditions.How can I make my laptop keyboard LED? ›
For most Notebook models, the backlit function key is the F7 key . If it is available, it can enable the backlit by pressing FN and F7 keys (FN+F7 keys) at the same time. Pressing the FN+F7 keys continuously increases the brightness of the keyboard backlight and ultimately disables the backlight.Does every laptop have keyboard light? ›
The easiest way to determine whether your computer is equipped with a backlit keyboard is to look at the F10, F6, or right arrow key (located in the lower right-hand corner). If none of these keys have the illumination icon printed on it, your computer does not have a backlit keyboard.How do I illuminate my keyboard? ›
Try F5, F9, or F11 to turn on the keyboard light on your Windows laptop. On a Mac, press the Increase Brightness key (it looks like a little rising sun). Most modern laptops have backlit keyboards, but some budget models don't have this feature.How do I make my HP laptop keyboard light up? ›
If your notebook computer has a backlit keyboard, press the F5 or F4 (some models) key on the keyboard to turn the light on or off. It might be necessary to press the fn (function) key at the same time.How do I put the backlight on my HP laptop keyboard? ›
How to turn on a backlit keyboard? If your HP notebook computer has a backlit keyboard, take a look at the top bar of your keyboard and locate the F5 button. This button may even be labeled with a backlight icon.What does a backlight do? ›
Backlights are used in small displays to increase readability in low light conditions such as in wristwatches, and are used in smart phones, computer displays and LCD televisions to produce light in a manner similar to a CRT display.What is the FN button on a keyboard? ›
The Fn key, short form for function, is a modifier key on many keyboards, especially on laptops, used in a compact layout to combine keys which are usually kept separate.Do all Dell laptops have backlit keyboard? ›
Depending on the model of your Dell computer and the features that are installed, it may or may not have a backlit keyboard. The easiest way to determine whether your computer is equipped with a backlit keyboard is to look at the F10, F6, or right arrow key (located in the lower right-hand corner).Where is the Fn key? ›
The Fn key is located in the bottom row of a keyboard, generally next to the Ctrl key.
Since most Chromebooks don't have a dedicated backlight key, you'll need to use Alt with the regular screen dimming key. Press the screen brightness key. You can usually find this key above the 7, 8, and 9 keys.How do I make the keyboard light up on my Lenovo laptop? ›
To turn on or off the backlight, press Fn + Spacebar on the keyboard. The keyboard backlight has three modes: Off, Low, High. Use Fn + Spacebar to change the modes of the keyboard backlight.What is meant by chiclet keyboard? ›
chiclet keyboard (plural chiclet keyboards) (computing, informal) Any of various early computer keyboards having an array of small, flat rectangular or lozenge-shaped rubber or plastic keys.