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9 Best Laptops With Backlit Keyboard For 2020

laptop with backlit keyboard

The keyboard of your laptop is apt to be one of the last things you think about when choosing your new device. Yet, it is how we make all the magic happen! Gamers will know the pros and pitfalls, and they will also know the benefits of a backlit keyboard. It is not an obvious thing to think about for many people, but it is very important! This is why we have come up with the 9 best laptops with backlit keyboards. Updated for 2020!

We will talk types of lighting, functional settings, colour-changing, the importance of key travel, and how those keys feel against your fingers. It’s suffice to say, by the end of our journey you wont ever take your keyboard for granted ever again!

laptop with backlit keyboard
Photo by AnnaStills on Envato Elements

 

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9 Best Laptops with Backlit Keyboard

Keyboards are important! 90% of the functionality of your new device is based on the way we use the keyboard. Having a backlit keyboard can help in low ambient light settings, but also can assist users with typing without having to look at the keyboard.

It is also wise to asses how the buttons feel under your personal touch. You might not know it, but different models have different types of keys, set out in different ways and with varying key travel when pressed. So, finding your keyboard uncomfortable could well reduce your productivity. As can buying a laptop without a backlit keyboard! How can you burn the midnight oil if you cant see where your fingers are on the keys?

Without further ado, lets jump in!

Dell XPS 13 Inch FHD 2019

First up is the Del XPS 13inch Full High Definition model. Advertised as the ‘world’s smallest laptop’ for the screen size, and weighing in at 1.2kg. It’s thin, it’s light, and super transportable without feeling fragile.

The keyboard is built in an island or ‘chiclet’ style, meaning they pop out of the cutout surround. This is a fairly common feature of laptop keyboards, and can make it easier to clean and generally makes for a more sleek design to the old mechanical style common for external/PC keyboards. functions well, and the near edge-to-edge design compliments the narrow bezels of the InfinityEdge laptop screen. The HD webcam has been designed to be unobtrusive, and is almost invisible sitting on the narrow top bezel above the screen.

You can work long into the night with several tiers of brightness on the backlit keyboard. You can also automatically switch off the light at the touch of a button, or set them to switch off after a period of inactivity. Average travel distance between keys is 1.22mm, which is ok. A travel distance of 1.4mm and above is generally optimal. Though this does depend on personal preference.

We recommend opting for the black on silver design, rather than pure white. It marginally cheaper, and the backlighting works far better in contrast with the black key-surround. Sadly, the Dell XPS doesn’t have a number pad, though this isn’t likely to be a deal breaker given whats under the hood.

This laptop features a 10th generation Intel Core i5-10210U processor, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB solid state drive (SSD), and comes with Windows 10 Home as standard. The DDR3 SDRAM graphics makes for great viewing capability, whether that be games, movies, even office and web browsing. The XPS comes with two thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, an SD slot and headphone jack. The anti-reflective coating and 400-nit measure of brightness means that views are superior form every angle, and you can use your laptop in a variety of ambient light settings, indoors or outdoors. With a battery life of around 7 hours with intermediate use, this gives you a lot of scope for adventure!

A nice additional factor with Dell is that the almost all of the parts in this model are widely recyclable, and even the packaging is made from white bamboo, so entirely able to be recycled. It also boasts use of safer materials and has been Energy Star certified as a very energy efficient model.

Key Features:

  • Energy Star certified
  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • InfinityEdge screen
  • 400-nit brightness level

ASUS VivoBook S413FA

This is a great budget option at around one third cheaper than the VivoBook Metal, which we will come to later. the 14″ screen is surrounded by a NanoEdge display, similar ballpark to Dell’s InfinityEdge. And also features an island-style keyboard with a 1.3mm key travel. The F-keys feature backlight brightness control for the keyboard, and thats not all!

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Where the keyboard differs in these newer models is with the track pad. Asus have utilised the space to bring you a touch sensitive LED number pad. The classic number pad layout also features additional calculator elements touch buttons to the right hand side, for easy calculations in a jiffy.

The VivoBook has a metal lid supporting the screen, giving the model a sturdier feel and luxury look. At length of 43.4cm, the newer model is also smaller than its predecessor. It features an Intel Core i3-10110U processor, and 8GB of RAM combined with 256 GB M.2 non-volatile memory express (NVMe) PCIe SSD. This acronym speaks to a streamlined performance of the solid state drive, and a faster processing speed overall. This laptop is fantastic for running various graphics-intensive programs and games alongside each other.

All Asus models also come with Windows 10 as standard. The VivoBook also has a solid set of connectivity options, featuring one first generation USB-C 3.2 port (featuring the ‘any way up’ design), two USB 2.0 ports, and an SD card slot. For a budget option, this certainly does tick a lot of boxes.

Key Features:

  • 8GB RAM and 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD
  • Intel Core i3 processor
  • Windows 10
  • LED touch number pad built into trackpad

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HUAWEI MateBook 13 2020

The Huawei MateBook is a great new model with plenty of potential. Featuring an island-style keyboard, but no number pad. It does, however, have several backlighting settings. In terms of laptops with backlit keyboard, this model ramps things up with a backlit fingerprint reader. That’s instant power-up and personalised accessibility at the touch of a button! Huawei Share also allows your laptop to access your phone, as long as it is on the same local area network (LAN). Both Android and IOS phones are said to be able to connect so that you can drag and drop files seamlessly to your laptop!

The features that really make this product shine are the graphics and processing power. Intel core i5-10210U (10th generation) combined with NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics means you can edit videos, images, watch HD videos and play graphics-intensive games. The operation is speedy, and with 8GB of memory, and a storage capacity of 512GB of PCIe SSD, Huawei have built this model with the multitasker in mind!

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Dolby Atmos® internal sound adds depth to those base-notes and weight to those headphones moments. Connectivity is also fairly decent, with one USB-C data port and a USB-C charging port. Also included in the box is a USB-C to USB-A connector. Another neat feature of this model is the charging cable. It is slim enough to fit right in your pocket. The fast charging feature also allows you to gain 2.5 hours charge from just 15 minutes connected to a power socket!

Huawei might have copped some bad press recently, but this is a solid piece of tech! If not a little higher on the price-point.

Key Features:

  • NVIDIA GeForce graphics
  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • Backlit Fingerprint reader
  • Charging cable that fits in your back pocket, with fast charge capability

ASUS ROG Strix G512LV

The second of our Asus models, the ROG Strix is fantastic for gamers. It is also one of the finest  laptops with a backlit keyboard. The 15.6inch screen is built for optimizing those fast paced, graphics-intensive games, and the supporting features enhance this.

The backlight is fresh, with several brightness modes and highlighted QWER keys for those gamers who need it. But the best function of all is the specifically assigned colour-changing functions. These can be adjusted and changed to highlight various areas of the keyboard in an array of colours, making quick-touch gaming infinitely easier! The keyboard travel distance of 1.8mm is very decent indeed, and its island-style also features a number pad.

When gaming, losing connection can be a royal pain in the proverbial. That’s why Asus fitted the ROG Strix G model with Intel Wifi 6. A technology that makes connection to your network smoother, faster and all-round better for gaming long into the night. While you play, you can rest assured that the liquid metal cooling technology inside will prevent over-heating and burnout!

This model comes with 16GB RAM, which is fantastic for a product of this calibre, and 512 GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD. As with the VivoBook, this heightens the processing speed and allows for smoother action whilst you play. Dedicated Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics and full HD 144Mhz display bring the action right into your home. And the 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor is the top end option to allow you to do all of your favourite high-intensity online pursuits with impunity. Streaming 4K videos, editing videos, gaming. You name it, its quick, easy, slick and beautiful.

As you might expect, this is a fairly pricey model, but well worth it for the obsessive gamers amongst you. Cheaper options in this range are also available from Asus.

Key Features:

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics
  • Intel Core i7 processor
  • Backlit keyboard with multi-colour function
  • 16GB RAM and 512GM M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD

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New Apple MacBook Air

(13-inch, 1.1GHz dual-core 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB) – Space Grey

The MacBook is known by many to be one a superior product all-round. Sleek, chic and beautiful, it is pretty much the only branded laptop to have a following of this magnitude. Some might say almost cult-like. But how does it match up in keyboard specs?

The backlighting function of the ‘magic keyboard’ is decent, with several settings via the F-keys, and an automatic backlighting function that adjusts to the ambient lighting of your surroundings. The ‘magic keyboard’ on this new model has replaced butterfly switch for the scissor switch, and Apple has increased the key-travel to 1ms. The overall feel of the keyboard has improved, and the scissor switch gives key depth and tactility. The trackpad has also increased by roughly 20%, bringing you more space for easy multi-gesture capability.

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The 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 processor makes multi-tasking easy, and with 8GB of RAM and 256 or 512GB SSD storage (depending on which size you opt for), speed and responsiveness are optimal. Intel Iris Plus graphics are also slick and beautiful, as you would expect from a MacBook! Retina display brings you up to 4 million pixels in a single hit, giving divine colour, image quality, and fresh, clean text.

Stereo speakers are arranged vertically down the sides of the keys for superior audio quality. Connectivity is also fairly good, featuring two thunderbolt USB-C ports, and a touch-ID button for quick access and a personal flourish!

  • Key Features:

  • ‘Magic keyboard’, backlit and with new scissor switch
  • Intel Core i3 processor
  • Iris Plus graphics and retina display
  • Larger trackpad for multi-gesture sensitivity

ASUS Metal VivoBook S433FA 14″

Another of the Asus laptops with backlit keyboard, the VivoBook S433FA is a slender full-metal laptop with fabulous gaming capabilities. As with the Asus S413FA the keyboard includes an LED number pad on the trackpad, utilising the space cleverly to bring you increased possibilities. This function can be turned off and on by tapping the touchpad icon. The backlight also has several light settings, for various ambient light settings. The impressive 1.4mm travel means great responsiveness and a quality feel to the touch.

The Metal VivoBook houses Intel Core i5-10210U processor (10th gen.), 8 GB RAM, 512GB SSD and 32GB Intel Optane Memory. It has full HD capability, with a resolution of 1080p and in-plane switching (IPS) panel, giving impressive viewing quality with its 1.6GHz processing speed. The narrow bezels also bring s seamless feel to your working experience. This can certainly be used for light gaming, editing, writing and browsing the web.

Despite its impressive functionality and full aluminium casing, this Asus model is ideal for travel too. It is thin, measuring in at 15.9mm depth, and the whole product weighs 1.4 kg. The fast charging option also promises to give you 60& battery in just under an hour. And with the impressive battery life of around 8 hours with medium usage, this will truly keep you going whatever the setting.

Key Features:

  • 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD and 32GB Optane Memory
  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • Windows 10
  • LED touch number pad built into trackpad

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 (20RD001FUK)

This Lenovo is one of the more weighty laptops with a backlit keyboard. By that, we mean one of the best out there. The two-level backlit keyboard function doesn’t give huge scope for customisation, but the brightness level is great and the keyboard is high spec. Whilst many laptop feature island style, Lenovo have opted for the standard or mechanical keyboard. Increasing travel distance to 2.3mm gives an impressive all-round responsiveness, and they come with a number pad as standard.

The ThinkPad E15 has a full HD 15.6″ screen, and the Intel Core i5-10210U processor works beautifully with the AMD Radeon RX graphics. The Quad Core processing power also gives you uninterrupted work-flow for multi-tasking or using heavy graphics based software. Whilst this is predominantly seen as an office-based laptop, it can also be used for gaming, browsing and even small amounts of photo editing. And with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage, you wont be short of space.

This model has also been designed with security in mind. All information (such as passwords and secure data) is encrypted via a TPM 2.0 chip, a fingerprint ready for personalised access, and a ThinkShutter slide bar that covers the webcam when not in use.

Key Features:

  • AMD Radeon RX graphics
  • Intel Core i5 processor
  • Quad core processing for multi-tasking
  • Backlit fingerprint reader and TPM 2.0 chip for security

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HP ENVY x360

This 13.3inch HP ENVY 360 is a great option as it gives an extra dimension to the keyboard usability. Literally. With a near 360 degree hinge and Corning Gorilla Glass NBT touchscreen you have options! Users can opt for finger swiping or using a stylus for convenience, then switch back to the keyboard with ease.

Yes, this is one of a couple of backlit keyboard laptops, with a difference! When utilising the keyboard, travel distance is around 1.2mm. This is admittedly the lower end of the scale, but still presenting good tactility under the fingers. The backlit keys also have several lighting levels, and the sensor can be switched on and off with ease. Which can also save battery.

Not that you will find you need it. The battery life on this model is astounding at around 11hours with medium usage. The AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor and Radeon Vega 8 graphics bring you a smart laptop that looks and feels like a tablet! With 8 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD memory, you will be able to work smart on the go. This model also comes with Windows 10 home and Windows Ink: software geared towards using your laptop with a stylus. Multi-functional you say?! HP have it in spades.

The whole design has a premium quality feel hat compliments its high function, with an all-metal chassis designed to protect and last. Their Quad HP speakers have also been tuned by audio marvels Bang and Olufsen! Connectivity is again pretty decent, with one ‘SuperSpeed’ USB-C two ‘SuperSpeed’ USB-A ports. This also features an ‘un-hackable’ camera with shutter, and microphone mute button. Designed with your personal safety in mind!

Key Features:

  • AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor
  • Radeon Vega 8 graphics
  • Windows 10 and Windows Ink as standard
  • Touchscreen and 360 degree hinge for versatility

ASUS C434 Full HD 14 Inch

And finally! This is the last Asus in our review. It is also a touchscreen model with a 360 degree hinge! The ChromeBook is a little wonder, with a NanoEdge display for immersive use. The 14 inch screen is complimented by the full-sized, backlit keyboard. This has 5 levels of light adjustments and is smart enough to turn off when playing video, avoiding any distracting glare. The C434 will also turn off when not in use, saving battery. So, when you want to find those keys again, no problem! A sensor will know when your hands are hovering and up come the lights again! The island-style keyboard also has 1.4mm key-travel.

Sadly, the memory is lower than other models, with only 4GB RAM and 128GB eMMC (a cheaper version of storage, lacking the capacity of SSD). It does however possess the Intel Core M3-8100Y Processor, which is marginally less functional that the i5, but better than the i3 processor.

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There are two fully functioning USB-C ports, and one standard USB-A port, which is only really useful for peripheral devices. Whilst it is let down on memory, this device is for students and text-based work on the go. It wouldn’t, however, function sufficiently for intensive graphics based software or gaming.

That long battery life, portability and 360 hinge make it a great option for all other uses whilst travelling, even watching movies! If you aren’t looking for impeccable graphics that is. The keyboard is also absolutely fantastic for this type of device, with great sensitivity and backlighting.

Key Features:

  • Backlit keyboard has 5 brightness settings, can be set to turn on when hands approach the keys
  • Intel Core i3 processor
  • NanoEdge dislpay
  • Touchscreen and 360 degree hinge for versatility
backlit keyboard laptop
Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

 

What to Look out for in a Backlit Keyboard

Hopefully you will have picked up on a few things to look out for when choosing laptops with a backlit keyboard. But lets do a quick review:

Backlighting Options

Commands with backlit keyboard are important in laptops. As is extra programming, such as light adjusting and colour changing modes. These are great for gamers and the user can set colours for key groups, making it easier for game-play in dark settings. However, this is also a great function for typing! So, definitely something to be aware of all-round.

backlight bleeding can be an issue, as it can be distracting when using. Again, Lenovo ThinkBook is a great option for reduced bleeding. MacBook have great backlighting too.

Being able to adjust or switch off the backlighting is a huge plus. Switching off can remove distracting glare when not in use, and gives you the ability to work in a dark room which can often improve focus. Laptops with a backlit keyboard like the Asus C434 with automatic keyboard motion sensor would function perfectly for this eventuality!

Keyboard Size

A screen size of 11.6 inches or more should feature a full-sized keyboard. Some may have a number pad, though this is not always common. If you are looking for this, think Lenovo or the newer Asus models.

Key Travel

This is important to consider, and often based on personal preference. The chiclet or island is the most common style for laptop keyboards. These have flat keys pop up out of the cutout surround. the conventional style usually have keys placed closer together, with taller with sloping edges. This is common with Lenovo laptops. Mechanical keyboards are an option, though these are generally used for PC keyboard and not laptops.

 

backlit keyboard
Photo by Derick David on Unsplash

 

 

Conclusion

It is worth bearing in mind that not all laptops will come with a backlit keyboard. While many budget laptop options have started to include this feature, it is always worth doing your homework. Not only do you need to look at the type of lighting that would work for you, but also how the keyboard itself handles with personal use.

If you have found this useful, leave a comment below to let us know! Hopefully by now you will feel emboldened by the information you have learned here to go out and get that new laptop and boost your productivity!