Forum Thread

Power users: how important is a backlit keyboard to you?

ilovetofu 1,453 413 September 1, 2015 at 09:09 AM
Debating in this thread about the usefulness of a backlit keyboard, so I thought I'd ask you power users: how important is a backlit laptop keyboard to you?
How important is a backlit keyboard on a laptop to you?
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#2
I would say it's a nice feature but it won't stop me from buying an otherwise great machine.
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Vague questions receive vague answers . . . . . .
#3
Not at all important. I don't generally look at the keyboard unless I'm trying to find some obscure fn key, so if anything I'd rather it not be lit.

If you don't touch type, think of it as a motivation to learn Smilie
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#4
I don't look at the keyboard when I'm typing... The laptop I have with a backlit keyboard has the backlight turned off.
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#5
Quote from quotidian View Post :
Not at all important. I don't generally look at the keyboard unless I'm trying to find some obscure fn key, so if anything I'd rather it not be lit.

If you don't touch type, think of it as a motivation to learn Smilie
I touch type, but it's the function keys (especially since they're smaller than the regular keys on many keyboards) that get me since I like to use lots of keyboard shortcuts. That and the fact that I switch between 5 different machines throughout the course of the day (gotta love being in IT!) makes any visual aids helpful when I'm in a dim lit environment. YMMV.
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#6
I bought a laptop with a backlit keyboard and it always stays off, same thing with my desktop keyboard which is backlit (light only comes on when the computer is restarted...lol).

Being a power user I would think that you would already have most if not all of the regular keys memorized and would be able to type without looking at the keyboard...I think of the backlit keyboard more of a novelty than a necessity. If you are in a dim lit environment doing IT work a backlit keyboard might be more beneficial to you than it would be to me however.
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#7
Quote from Zodiac View Post :
I bought a laptop with a backlit keyboard and it always stays off, same thing with my desktop keyboard which is backlit (light only comes on when the computer is restarted...lol).

Being a power user I would think that you would already have most if not all of the regular keys memorized and would be able to type without looking at the keyboard...I think of the backlit keyboard more of a novelty than a necessity. If you are in a dim lit environment doing IT work a backlit keyboard might be more beneficial to you than it would be to me however.

I have spent many a year in IT and while I can touch type, I find I make a LOT more mistakes doing so and have become a very fast non-touch typist as such lol. I suppose if I was forced to do only touch typing I could get better, but I never found that worthwhile as I was always hitting Ctrl this or Fn that.

As to back lit keyboards...they are a nice to have. I tend to like to work in a darker office or room and was Ops manager for quite some time so not having to turn on some harsh room lights at 3 AM in the morning I always found to be a benefit lol. Turn on the backlit keys to the lowest setting so you can recline in your chair and not have to squint to find a key when you need to. As to not buying a laptop without one, I would tend to think it is a nice to have but not a deal breaker. If you are buying a higher end laptop, it probably comes with it in most cases these days.
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Last edited by YanksIn2009 September 1, 2015 at 12:48 PM.
#8
Quote from ilovetofu View Post :
I touch type, but it's the function keys (especially since they're smaller than the regular keys on many keyboards) that get me since I like to use lots of keyboard shortcuts. That and the fact that I switch between 5 different machines throughout the course of the day (gotta love being in IT!) makes any visual aids helpful when I'm in a dim lit environment. YMMV.
Yeah, your workflow factors in a lot. I don't use a lot of fn shortcuts specifically because I have to look down at the keyboard and hunt and peck. And those tiny chiclet function keys are terrible. Of course this means more multi key and key sequence shortcuts, so it's a trade off.

It probably helps that I do most of my real work on Linux. Most of the classic Unix apps are optimized to keep your hands on the home row, so you have to go more out if your way to get a fn key heavy workflow. Windows apps love their function keys. I'm not sure you could ever completely disentangle them Smilie
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#9
Quote from quotidian View Post :
It probably helps that I do most of my real work on Linux. Most of the classic Unix apps are optimized to keep your hands on the home row, so you have to go more out if your way to get a fn key heavy workflow.
I guess that's I like to be different. I've switched to typing using the Dvorak layout [wikipedia.org]. That forces me to know how to touch type since I can't physically change keys on most keyboards (especially laptops). That also means that keys which usually sit on the home row in a QWERTY configuration are not in the home row in the Dvorak layout. So while I'm a heavy Linux user, the commands aren't the most optimized for my use.
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Last edited by ilovetofu September 1, 2015 at 03:16 PM.
#10
I don't need to see the keys to type. I need to see a few for things like volume and function keys. I use little glow in the dark stickers to guide my way. I put the stickers on the keys I know I will need to find in the dark and boom...easy to see.
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#11
On my own laptop, I don't need it at all - I know where all the keys are, and would much rather have issues with a non-standard layout (fn button in lower-left, backspace/enter not full-sized, etc.) than anything else. If it really was an issue, id bring a decent keyboard with me.
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#12
Quote from ilovetofu View Post :
I guess that's I like to be different. I've switched to typing using the Dvorak layout [wikipedia.org]. That forces me to know how to touch type since I can't physically change keys on most keyboards (especially laptops). That also means that keys which usually sit on the home row in a QWERTY configuration are not in the home row in the Dvorak layout. So while I'm a heavy Linux user, the commands aren't the most optimized for my use.
if you like the DSK that much, i guess you can remap the physical keys then in OS level too, maybe physically isn't necessary if don't look at keyboard
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#13
I'm really surprised by how little people care about backlit keys, to be honest.

Personally, I love the ambient lighting they provide, and give the laptop a very high end look. I wouldn't buy a laptop without backlit keys at this point because I would feel like I'm using a cheap laptop each time. Even though I touch type, it also helps to have the f keys illuminated.
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#14
Why would people debate this? What would the ultimate purpose of such a debate be? Might as well debate favorite colors or flavors of ice cream.
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People who quote themselves probably shouldn't.
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#15
Quote from chuckd View Post :
Why would people debate this? What would the ultimate purpose of such a debate be? Might as well debate favorite colors or flavors of ice cream.
Why debate anything? Because some of us care about the topic at hand. I'm sure there are many things you find interesting that are irrelevant/trivial to other people, but that makes it no less important to you.

Actually, your comment exemplifies what I'm talking about: users who don't care about feature X or topic Y and ridicule those who do care about them. I'm open minded enough to acknowledge that some people don't care about the specific feature, but I'm not narrow as to say that because I don't care about it, therefore it isn't necessary at all--and if you do find it important then you must be stupid.
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