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How important is a backlit keyboard?

Answer: Today, many keyboards have keys that light up. Is this a gimmick or is it actually useful? It depends on how you use your computer, but generally speaking, it is helpful to have a backlit keyboard.

Backlit Keyboard


Many mid-to-high-end laptops come with a backlit keyboard. Some have an on/off switch, while others have multiple brightness settings. I recommend getting a laptop that has a backlit keyboard with variable brightness. This allows you to choose a setting where you can see the keys in the dark, but not so bright that it is distracting.

Since a laptop keyboard is so close to the display, the screen provides some light on the keys. Even so, it can be hard to see the individual keys if you are using your laptop in a dark room. A backlit keyboard might not be necessary, but it could make typing easier — especially if you are not comfortable typing without looking at the keys.

Desktop Computers

Desktop computers rarely come with backlit keyboards. But I think they are even more important for desktop computers since the keyboard is so far away from the screen. The only dilemma is power usage. Backlit keyboards use more power than standard keyboards, so wireless is rarely an option.

I don't mind having a wired keyboard since I hardly ever move it from my desk. The USB connection provides both I/O and power, so I can use a backlit keyboard at my desk without worrying about draining batteries. Thanks to LED backlighting, the extra energy usage is minimal.

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. Even if you're not a gamer, I would say a backlit keyboard is worth the investment.

Published: April 11, 2020 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center