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Cover image for Keyboards - Does backlighting matter?

Keyboards - Does backlighting matter?

_garybell profile image Gary Bell ・1 min read

Simple discussion - do you feel that keyboards need to be backlit, and why?

Do you currently have a backlit keyboard, and would you swap with the alternative?


Cover photo by Jay Zhang on Unsplash

Discussion

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Yes, backlighting matters. To some people.

I use a black keyboard on a black mat in a relatively dark room, and if I turn the backlight off on my keyboard I find it trickier to line my hands up before I start typing.

Same with the mouse. When I got a "gaming" mouse with a coloured LED in the back, I thought it was silly and looked to disable it, but now it means I can locate the mouse in the dark without having to grope around my desk.

I'd love a keyboard with a plain white or single-colour backlight, but it's difficult to find them with a quality board and an ISO layout. All the good combinations assume you're using US layouts :/

On a laptop, I have a toplight (on a Thinkpad) which is ok. The backlight on my Macbook keyboard is much more pleasant to use though.

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alexanderjanke profile image
Alex Janke

I'd love a keyboard with a plain white or single-colour backlight

How about a multi-colored LED and set the color to be always white (or any other single colour)?
I personally use this at home and I can just set the color I want in the software. I'm currently stuck on a color schema where the keyboard reflects my colors on the screen. So when the top half of my monitor is red, the top half of my keyboard is also red.
Also, it's pretty slim. I don't like bulky keyboards.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

RGB is fine, but the one I've got right now (a TKL Tecknet cheapy) is one of those that has a different fixed colour for each row, so I can have flashing effects (NO!) or a solid rainbow or all-off. All-off is too dark to see and the rainbow is kinda garish and ugly (and this is coming from someone who wears rainbow gloves, so...)
On the other hand, it's UK-layout, blue switches, solid metal backplate and feels really good to type on, so...

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alexanderjanke profile image
Alex Janke

All in one color isn't possible with yours right now? bummer :/

I've got blue switches at work too - great choice!

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_garybell profile image
Gary Bell Author

Looks nice. Compact and useful. Shame the UK layout is out of stock.

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_garybell profile image
Gary Bell Author

I'm thinking that because my room is mostly light (and my 3 monitors make it light in the dark) that I likely won't need the backlight on a keyboard. My current keyboard is backlit, but I don't think I really use it.

If I went for a backlit keyboard, I'd probably want one where each key can have a different colour, simply so I could set most of them one colour, and then have the "Super/Windows" key in Ubuntu Orange.

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nuritnt profile image
Tuğçe Nur Taş

I am using mechanical keyboards already some time now but never had one with backlighting.
I never had the feeling I would need one or saw the benefits of it.

It would be very interesting to hear the insights from someone who had both:)

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_garybell profile image
Gary Bell Author

I think they can add a slight ambience and potential personalisation to the keyboard, but when most of my room is light, even at night because of the screens, I am not sure I would benefit much.

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Vicki (she/her)

I have a backlit keyboard. Previously, I couldn't care less about having the color. Though, my keyboard has software to choose what keys are what color. I use one color for the whole keyboard, then a different color to make the differently programmed keys a different color. For example, my right-hand alt, fn, gui, and ctrl are a contrasting color to remind me they are actually up, down, left, and right

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ahferroin7 profile image
Austin S. Hemmelgarn

In the dark, if you don’t know your setup well enough to find home-row by touch, then yes it can help. Depending on the key-caps themselves and the layout, it may also help if you need to find things you don’t type frequently enough that they’re muscle memory. In both cases, it’s usually better for visibility than top-illumination unless you have a lot of ambient light in the room that is a constant uniform color (that is, not glow from your monitors, but something like a light fixture).

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trashhalo profile image
Stephen Solka

I have a mechanical keyboard with backlighting and I generally keep it turned off. I find the backlighting effect that cause flashing or moving lights to be too distracting to code.

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Harsh Singh

Doesn't matter much to me. I'm using a cheap logitech keyboard and most of the time, when I work in the night, I have the lights on, so no.

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Devang Hingu

it may vary in person to person. in my case it does not matter. because i just need to two keys F and J. 😃😃