Best Laptops with Backlit Keyboards

I’ve been a fan of backlit keyboards since my junior year in college. Right after I became overloaded with classes and had to lock myself up in the library to finish my assignments overnight. Back then, I had no choice but to start looking for the best laptops with backlit keyboards .

Of course there are several other reasons I found an illuminated keyboard just as useful over the years:Playing video games in the dark (you don’t want to hit the wrong action button in the middle of a raid, do you?)
Writing a document during wee hours while everyone else is catching ZzZz (might want to get a silent keyboard too)
And I know some of you just want one:

  • To start programming overnight and avoid hitting page up and down by mistake
  • To waste time on FaceBook at night like most people reading this
  • There are all good reasons to get a laptop with a backlit keyboard.

But be aware that just having a backlit keyboard won’t make a keyboard “great”. You should also make sure that keyboard is nice to type in, what’s the point of having a backlit keyboard if you don’t feel like typing because you got a crappy keyboard? Right.

So in this post I’m going to list laptops with great keyboards to type too. I’ll try to describe the keyboard’s travel distance/type/finish, etc. If you don’t know what those term mean or how they will affect your typing, then jump to the last section where I give everyone a brief summary of what you need to know about keyboards.

Top 10 Best Laptops with Backlit Keyboards

IMAGEProductDetailsPrice


MacBook Air 2017

AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
4GB RAM DDR4
Vega 3 Graphics
128GB SSD
15” TN full HD 1080p
3.97lb
8 hours

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Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Intel Core i5 2.9GHz
8GB RAM LPDDR3
Intel HD
256GB SSD
13” 1440×900 TN
~3lb
+13 hours

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ASUS ZenBook 13

Intel Core M3-8100Y
4GB RAM DDR3
Intel HD
64GB emmC
14” full HD IPS
3lb
+10 hours

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This list is aimed to satisfy different type of users: gamers, writers, office workers,etc, and different budgets.I know it is a bit long but if you go through it I’m sure you’ll find the best pick for you budget.

1. MacBook Air 2017

MacBook Air 2017

Specifications

AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
4GB RAM DDR4
Vega 3 Graphics
128GB SSD
15” TN full HD 1080p
3.97lb
8 hours

The best selling laptop on Amazon. it has everything you can ask for (except probably RAM which can be upgraded later or at the time of purchse). Perfect for regular office work.

Keyboard

Travel distance: medium travel distance 1.5mm
Type: Full size clichet style keyboard; includes numpad
Backlit: Can be turned on and off with FN+F9, and the backlit feature will turn off after 30 seconds of inactivity to save energy.

Backlit feature turning on/off can be annoying if you are not constantly typing.

2. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Specifications

Intel Core i5 2.9GHz
8GB RAM LPDDR3
Intel HD
256GB SSD
13” 1440×900 TN
~3lb
+13 hours

This old version of the MacBook still holds the tile of the best keyboard ever designed by many websites.Extremely lightweight and thin, can fit into any crowded space you got on your backpack. Also with one of the longest battery lives on the market.Useful for all purposes even triple A games like WoW, Fortnite all at low settings of course.

KeyBoard

Travel distance: Great traveling distance despite being extremely thin (1.5mm) vs (.8mm of the MacBook Pro).
Type: Cichet type keyoard, no numpad
Backlit: You can adjust backlightining levels by pressing one of the FN keys. Includes light sensors to activate “automatic backlightining” that will adjust according the intensity of light in the surroundings. It can also be programmed to automatically turn off after a period of inactivity. Light sensors located in the speaker grilles.

3. ASUS ZenBook 13

ASUS ZenBook 13

Specifications

Intel Core M3-8100Y
4GB RAM DDR3
Intel HD
64GB emmC
14” full HD IPS
3lb
+10 hours

Although this is just a ChromeBook. This laptop can be used by writers, students and those working with documents or surfing the web on the go because it is extreme portable and has a long battery life like the MacBook Air. This is a premium chromebook, so it’s going to be more expensive than the average but this is the only way to get a great keyboard with backlit features. ChromeBooks below 400 bucks are very unlikely to have a backlit keyboard.

Keyboard

Travel distance: medium travel distance 1.4mm
Type: Full size clichet style keyboard; no numpad
Backlit: There are 5 levels of adjustment for the lighting, it will turn off automatically when not in use or when a video plays, and there is a built in proximity sensor that brings it back on when you move your hands over it.

Typing is fast and keys register more accurately than most chromebooks.

4. ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

Specifications

Core i5-8250U 3.4GHz
8GB RAM DDR3
Intel HD
512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
13” full HD IPS
2.5lb
11 hours

Great windows alternative to the MacBook Air. Extremely thin and lightweight. One of the best keyboards designed too.

KeyBoard

Keyboard is great, backlit with an auto-light sensor (sensor can be shutoff)

Travel distance: 1.6mm
Type: clichet type keyoard, no numpad
Backlit: Similar to MacBook Air’s backlit keyboard. Brightness levels can be adjusted and the light sensor feature (which turns off the backlightining in bright conditions) can be turned off as well.

5. HP ENVY x360

HP ENVY x360

Specifications

Core i5-8250U
8GB RAM DDR4
Intel HD Graphics 620
256G SSD
14” full HD IPS TouchScreen
3lb
10.5 hours

Ultrafast convertible laptop with about the same performance as the MacBook Air and ASUS ZenBook.

KeyBoard

Travel distance: 1.3mm
Type: clichet type keyoard, no numpad
Backlit: Backlit Keyboard can be activated by pressing FN+Spacebar, two levels of brightness.

Despite the low traveling distance, it has great tactile feedback because of the forced required to type.

6. Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1 Ultrabook

Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1 Ultrabook

Specifications

Core i7-10510U
12GB RAM DDR4
Intel UHD
512GB PCIE NVMe SSD + 16GB Optane
15” 13” QHD+ (3200×1800) IPS
4.2 lb
10 hours

Premium 2-1 Laptop with tons of fast PCIe Storage and the latest Core i7 mobile U processor.

KeyBoard

Travel distance: 1.2mm
Type: clichet type keyoard, no numpad
Backlit: Several levels of brightness. Light Sensor can be turned on/off.

7. 2020 Lenovo ThinkPad E15

2020 Lenovo ThinkPad E15

Specifications

Intel Core i7-1065G7
32GB RAM DDR3
Intel HD
512GB SSD
13” full HD TouchScreen 2 in 1 IPS
6lb
7 hours

Cheapest and most recently released Dell XPS 13. Extremely lightweight with insane battery life (on par with the MacBook Air’s).

KeyBoard

Travel distance: 1.22mm
Type: clichet type keyoard, no numpad. Comfortable palm rest.
Backlit: Several levels to adjust brightness. Can automatically switch off and on depending on your surroundings. You can also program the time it takes to switch off after a period inactivity.

8. Dell XPS 13 9360

Dell XPS 13 9360

Specifications

Core i5-10210U
16GB RAM DDR4
Intel HD
512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15” IPS full HD 1080p
4.3lb
8 hours

Business type Laptop with fingerprint reader and quad core processor. Faster than all ultrabooks shown above when exposed to calculations (spreadsheets, programming). The ThinkPads have the best keyboards among Lenovo’s laptops, they’re just as good as the MacBook as far as typing experience goes.

Keyboard

Travel distance: 2.3mm
Type: Conventional KeyBoard, does not include numpad.
Backlit: Two steps for brightness levels.

9. ASUS ROG Strix G

ASUS ROG Strix G

Specifications

Intel i3-1005G1
8GB RAM DDR4
Intel UHD 620
128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
15” full HD IPS 1080p
5.1lb
5 hours

Laptop capable to run for all applications including graphical intensive 3D games at high settings.

KeyBoard

Travel distance: 1.3mm
Type: Cliche Type KeyBoard.
Backlit: Several steps for brightness levels.

10. ASUS ViVoBook 15

ASUS ViVoBook 15

Specifications

Intel Core i7-9750H
16GB RAM DDR4
GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5
1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
15” IPS full HD 60Hz
5.28lb
4 hours

KeyBoard

Budget gaming laptop with mid-range GPU to play all AAA games at medium to high settings.

Travel distance: 1.8mm
Type: Full sized Cliche Type KeyBoard. Includes NumPad.
Backlit: Several steps for brightness levels. Illuminating colors can be adjusted and assigned to different sections all across the entire keyboard. Includes highlighted QWER keys for easy hand placement in several games.

Backlit KeyBoard Buying Guide

Whatever type of laptop you buy, you should be aware of the most common features these backlit keyboards offer, in case you have to decide between two or three laptops:

Extra Features

Some laptops allow you to control the brightness usually using one of the F keys. These are usually found in premium laptops. The MacBook Air is a clear example and I personally found this to be the most useful feature.

Sensor

A light sensor will automatically adjust the brightness level based on your sorroundings and might completely turn off during daytime.

Programmable Lightining

Very expensive gaming machines from any of the popular brands MSI/ASUS/ALIENWARE will let you do pretty much anything you can think of when you have total control of the color and lightining behind each key.
These fancy features range from setting a specific color to a group of keys(or even an individual keys) to different transition effects (keys switching between colors continously). This is kind of useful for hardcore gaming but not for anything else really.

KeyBoard Quality

All backlit keyboards are prone to problems in design and functionality, be aware of:

Backlit Bleeding

The best backlit keyboards will have lighting isolated under each key, illuminating each symbol on top of each key and not around the efdges.

But there’s always some degree of backlit bleeding. The keys may not be placed properly, some might be too tall for the surface their on, etc. But there are a few laptops out there with almost no backlit bleeding (Lenovo ThinkPads and Macbooks).
This is a personal preference. It pretty much means how far the keys have to travel down to register. Stricly speaking as long as you have a good keyboard, it shouldn’t deter you from hitting your typing speeds. Gaming laptops or thicker laptops are usually thick enough to allow more vertical/travel which are prefered by the majority of typists.

Ultrabooks on the otherhand are too thin and have to settle for shawllow vertical travels. Despite the low vertical travel, a few ultrabooks have managed to design keyboards with great tactile feedback and quality as traditional keyboards. The MacBook Air and ASUS ZenBoook (2017) are a few good examples.

Keyboards with low key travel tend to be less noise for the obvious. (1.5 to 2mm is typical for mainstream laptops)
The layout will be of two different types: island style and conventional.

Island keyboard simply have space around each key while conventional keys are all mashed together as you can see above. This is a matter of preference too.

I use both of them (one of them is external) and i have no problems switching back and ford between them . However since im more used to conventional keyboards, I can type much faster with them.

What Laptops Have BackLit Keyboards?

Backlit keyboards aren’t easily found in regular laptops. You’ll usually find them in:

Premium Laptops

Premium laptops and expensive laptops mostly come with LED-illuminated keys which usually start at 800$. The MacBook Air and the Dell XPS 13.

Gaming Laptops

If you are a gamer, all high end gaming laptops come with RGB backlit keyboards and a few of them haven eve more fancy features(For ex: changing the colors, divididing the keyboard into sections each bein illuminated by a different color, etc). These laptops cost around 1000$.

Ultrabooks

If you are picking an ultrabook, pretty much all of them have it. So you should focus on the specs rather than backlit keyboard feature.

Budget Laptops

They’re extremely rare among budget laptops unless you go for really old models launched years ago. I’ll only list the recent models since these will not be too slow to deal with current applications.

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