Thursday, March 12, 2015

Know how a Backlit Keyboard Operates Before Buying

One of the best features available in some laptops and ultrabooks is the backlit keyboard feature.  Backlit keyboards work by effectively allowing light to peek out around each key on the keyboard making keys easier to navigate.  A backlit keyboard may not be a necessity, but they are highly effective when using devices in low light conditions where additional light is not available, when turning on a light is not feasible, or while traveling.  The most important thing to note about backlit keyboards is they do not all work the same and most do not offer a way to adjust the intensity unless using a MAC.

One-Touch Backlit Keyboards
Some backlit keyboards are set manually utilizing a one-touch media button on the keyboard to toggle the backlit keyboard on and off.  These are quick and easy to use, but are manual nonetheless.

Automatic Backlit Keyboards
Some backlit keyboards turn on automatically when they sense low light conditions while others respond based on settings configuring in software.  Software based backlit keyboards can be set to come on automatically, be on all the time, or be off all the time.  Many times these settings can be configured independently based on when the device is running on battery or plugged into a power source as in the example below from a Sony Vaio device.

Once a backlit keyboard is on the end results are similar but if you have a preference on how they work this will be important to know before purchasing a device.  Both ways work adequately and knowing how is only important to meet a preference.  If you prefer to control the backlit keyboard via a one-touch button and find a device requiring it be set using software, you might consider a different device.  However, if you do not have a strong preference or plan to change the option often, it may not be as important.  Plan on having a new device for three to five years and estimate how often you might change the backlit keyboard setting.  This will help determine if how the setting works plays a critical part in the decision of which new device to purchase.

Whether automatic, controlled by one-touch buttons, or using software settings, backlit keyboards are extremely helpful in many situations including when in low light and when traveling.  Knowing how a backlit keyboard operates before purchasing a device can be important depending upon how strongly your preference is.  Being informed and choosing wisely when purchasing new devices helps prevent disappointment and frustration later.

As always good luck and enjoy the technology!

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