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Biggest CES Disappointment: Lack of Backlit Keyboards

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backlitKB

With the increased mobility of notebooks and netbooks and better battery performance of new Intel processors I was expecting to see more notebooks, and yes even netbooks, at CES available with backlit keyboards.

A feature typically reserved for Macbook Pro’s and High end notebooks backlit keyboards are a must have for anyone working in a dimly lit environment. Which, thanks to the new portable nature of today’s notebooks and the always on connectivity options like Wi-Fi covered campuses or the MiFi personal hotspot devices,  are all around us.

Yet, despite the excellent application for travelers, students and businesspeople backlit keyboards; even the option to pay a premium for the sweet sweet ability to type in the dark, are as elusive as the boogeyman himself.

Yes. There are more devices than a year ago with the Sony Vaio F series offering backlit option and the Toshiba E205 as well; but many great looking notebooks and netbooks that would otherwise fit my purchasing criteria are relegated to second place because they lack a simple backlit keyboard.

Am I really the only one who hates fliping the screen down so I can see the keys and back up to read what I typed, repeating until a post or email is finished?

Image via Remko van Dokkum

Josh Smith is a longtime mobile tech user, currently using a Droid as his primary smartphone. Josh is also an editor at Notebooks.com where he reviews notebooks and other mobile tech. Follow Josh on Twitter @Josh_Smith or email him Josh@Notebooks.com.

18 Comments

  1. K. T. Bradford

    January 14, 2010 at 5:19 am

    I am with you 100%. I never saw the point of backlit keys for non-gaming laptops until I started covering press conferences where companies insisted on turning the lights down low. I did that exact same screen lowering move a hundred times at CES.

  2. Mike

    February 1, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Awesome article. Why are'nt all laptops illuminated? It is such a useful feature.

  3. Xazur

    February 16, 2010 at 2:34 am

    Same, here currently looking for a gaming laptop, running i7 processor, 8gb ram, and 1 GB gfx card, but not many laptops meet the requirement, as well as me trying to find one with backlit keyboard. The Dell XPS 16 looks good, but pricey, I can get same features on a HP dv6t for cheaper, but it has no backlit keyboard. My final straw would be to get the Alienware mx15 or w/e, but I don't like the multimedia keys.

  4. Grains of Sound

    February 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I couldn't agree more and so do many people I know!

  5. Laptop-shoprrr

    March 9, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I've been looking for a 13 inch with backlit keys for years but will not pay over $600 for one. I don't need a strong processor, I just want light weight and backlit keys. Unbelievable that of the zillions of laptops on the market, no one makes them. Big lost opportunity for companies that make 'value' priced laptops…Dell are you listening?!

  6. Jetgirl

    March 25, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I just requested that Best Buy include backlit keyboards as a search function for laptops and they did! Now to get them on notebooks that cost less than $900…..

  7. Jetgirl

    March 25, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I just requested that Best Buy include backlit keyboards as a search function for laptops and they did! Now to get them on notebooks that cost less than $900…..

  8. Raj

    April 5, 2010 at 6:39 am

    I agree. Dell is really good as they are providing Back-lit Keyboard with their high end Laptops, though the price is comparitively higher than HP. HP is worse and they are not keeping up with the trend. They really needs to grow up. Only because of the lacking of this feature so many are switching to other brands..

  9. DrRose

    May 17, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Ditto!!!

  10. Adam

    May 27, 2010 at 2:26 am

    I am so with you on this. I've been looking for a 14″ SPECIFICALLY with a backlit keyboard now for months now and I am so angry and frustrated with the lack of choices out there. Are laptop manufacturers just plain stupid or do they not listen to their customers requests? It shouldn't be an option, it should be a standard!! I'm sure thousands of people must feel the same way. Look at home phones and cell phones for example, can't these stupid ignorant laptop makers see and understand why all phones are now backlit and put 2+2 together and do the same. If they just stopped and thought about the millions and millions of people who use their laptops in bed and in other low lighting situations then these idiots might have a revelation!

  11. Adam

    May 27, 2010 at 2:27 am

    I am so with you on this. I've been looking for a 14″ SPECIFICALLY with a backlit keyboard now for months now and I am so angry and frustrated with the lack of choices out there. Are laptop manufacturers just plain stupid or do they not listen to their customers requests? It shouldn't be an option, it should be a standard!! I'm sure thousands of people must feel the same way. Look at home phones and cell phones for example, can't these stupid ignorant laptop makers see and understand why all phones are now backlit and put 2+2 together and do the same. If they just stopped and thought about the millions and millions of people who use their laptops in bed and in other low lighting situations then these idiots might have a revelation!

  12. Santigozeballos

    June 26, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    como se enciende la luz de teclado de una sony vaio vpccw27fx

    • AmericanBob

      November 12, 2011 at 4:06 pm

      What was thet? Using google translator???

  13. Wolfgangsicle

    July 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Here's a really-crude-but-just-effective-enough workaround until manufacturers wake up:

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/what-notebook-s

  14. Thiseye

    July 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Just learn how to type and the need for one goes out the window.

    • AmericanBob

      November 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

      Yes, like HELLO? What a bunch of whiney bitches.

  15. Allie

    December 6, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Yes, keep writing about this; I work in the manufacturing sector and I can’t figure out why such an obvious feature is not added into laptops to give them an edge over competition. It’s a NECESSITY! I am on a technology fast until I can buy an affordable mainstream laptop with a backlit keyboard. Take that, industry!

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