For many computer users, there will come a time when they need to so some typing in a place that has poor lighting. It may even be during a blackout when they are trying to save files before the backup power runs out. Without proper lighting, typing is a difficult task which takes longer and results in many errors. An illuminated keyboard allows a computer to be used regardless of the lighting conditions. They are only slightly more expensive than a regular keyboard and come with all the usual features. There are even keyboards that have tiny displays on the keys that can show animated images.
Trying to type where there is not enough light to see the keys can be a challenge, especially for people who cannot touch type. The light from the screen is usually not enough to make it any easier. Even those who can touch type will have trouble finding all the accessory keys. An illuminated keyboard solves this problem by giving each key its own backlight which makes it visible even in total darkness. They are especially popular with video gamers who prefer low lighting to enhance the atmosphere of the games they are playing.
The keys on an illuminated keyboard are made from transparent plastic that has been laser etched on the surface to allow light to pass through them. The lighting in most of these keyboards is created by either fluorescent tubes or light emitting diodes (LEDs). The brightness is adjusted either by using a dimmer control located on the keyboard or by using keyboard software. It may also be possible to change the color of the lighting. Importantly, an illuminated keyboard feels just like a regular keyboard when typing, and it even looks the same when the lighting is switched off.
Except from the lighting, an illuminated keyboard is essentially the same as a regular keyboard. The wired models need to be connected to a USB port because a PS2 port cannot provide enough power for the lights. That is not a problem as most peripherals sold today support USB. There are not many wireless models available though, because the lights tend to drain the batteries. The lights do not restrict the travel of the keys in any way, ensuring that they have the same feel as regular keys.
Lighting isn’t the only feature to look for in an illuminated keyboard. It should also have adjustable legs and a wrist support for improve comfort while typing. Along with the standard set of keys, it should also have multimedia keys and shortcut keys for Windows and the internet. Headphone and microphone pass-through ports are also a good feature to have. Some models also have a memory card slot for loading and saving the lighting patterns. As with all expensive peripherals, it should also come with a long warranty.
Wireless connectivity is almost a standard feature for keyboards, mice, tablets, and other computer peripherals sold today. However, there are currently very few illuminated keyboard models that support it. Those keyboards that do support it typically use the same Bluetooth technology that other wireless peripherals use. They come with a small receiver unit that plugs into a USB port. Wireless keyboards have a relatively short range of around thirty feet but this is not a problem for most computer users.
The latest innovation in illuminated keyboard technology is the use of tiny screens on the keys. The screens show images that can be changed to suit whatever task the keyboard is being used for, such as playing a video game or using an application that has many shortcuts. They can even be made to show animations, giving the keyboard a very dynamic appearance. Key layouts can edited and saved for future use or copied to other computers. While these amazing keyboards are expensive, they should become more affordable in the future.