The 10 Best Laptops with Backlit Keyboards in 2021

I’ve been a fan of backlit keyboards since my junior year in college. Right after I started to get overloaded with classes and had to lock up myself in the library overnight.

Back then, I had no choice but to start looking for the best laptops with backlit keyboards .

Of course there are more reasons why 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,  usually premium laptops have these)

And I know some of you just want one to:

  • Avoid hitting up the page up and down buttons accidentally when programming
  • Waste time on FaceBook at night like everyone else

These are all good reasons to get a laptop with a backlit keyboard.

Finding a backlit keyboard on a laptop doesn’t necessarily make the keyboard great to type on.

There’s no point in getting a backlit keyboard if you don’t feel like typing because you got a crappy keyboard. Right?

In this post I’m only going to list laptops with GREAT keyboards as well .

If the data has been published or is available, I will mention the keyboard’s travel distance/type/finish.

If you don’t know keyboard jargon or how other features can affect  your workflow (or gaming), then jump to the last section. You’ll find a brief summary of what you need to know.

Top 10 Best Laptops with Backlit Keyboards

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 bare with it I’m sure you’ll find the best pick for you budget and purposes.


1. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Best Budget Laptop with BackLit KeyBoard

  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 could ask for. Perfect for everyday purposes and 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. MacBook Air 2017

Best Laptop KeyBoard 

  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 is still being praised of being one of the best  , if not the best, keyboard ever designed: silent, unique travel distance, backlit and good looking.

If you want the new version with the M1 Chip, that’s a fine choice too. However, the keyboard, although still much better than virtually all windows laptops, is still not as good the old model which Steeve Job took part in its design:

New MacBook Air M1 Chip

As for the laptop itself, it’s extremely lightweight and thin and still useful for all purposes and games at low settings.

 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 to the intensity of light in the surroundings.

It can also be programmed to automatically turn off after a period of inactivity.

Light sensors are located in the speaker grilles.


3. ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

Best Chromebook With Backlit Keyboard

  Intel Core M3-8100Y

  4GB RAM DDR3

   Intel HD

  64GB emmC

  14” full HD IPS

  3lb

  +10 hours

Although it doesn’t have Windows 10 on it, thanks to the Chrome App Store, it has all the software needed by  writers, students and really every software for everyday tasks and purposes.

It is extreme portable and has a long battery life like the MacBook Air so it can be used everywhere and all the time.

This is a premium chromebook though (~500$) so it’s going to be a lil more expensive than the average chromebooks 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 ZenBook 13

BackLit KeyBoard Laptop ASUS

  Core i5-1035G1

  8GB RAM DDR3

   Intel UHD

  256GB PCIe NVMe SSD

  13” full HD IPS

  2.62lb

  11 hours

Great windows alternative to the MacBook Air. Extremely thin and lightweight. One of the best keyboards found on Windows laptops. The only 13” laptop with a numpad too.

 KeyBoard

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

Travel distance: 1.6mm 
Type: clichet type keyoard, it has a numpad on the trackpad.
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.

Buy Now


5. Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1 Ultrabook

Backlit Keyboard Laptop Lenovo

  Core i5-8250U 

  8GB RAM DDR4

   Intel HD Graphics 620

  256G SSD

  14” full HD IPS TouchScreen

  3lb

  10.5 hours

Ultrafast convertible laptop. 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. HP ENVY x360 

Backlit Keyboard Laptop HP

  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 Convertible Laptop with extra PCIe NVMe SSD Storage and the latest Core i7 mobile 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. Dell XPS 13 9360

Dell Laptop with BackLit Keyboard

  Intel Core i7-1065G7

  32GB RAM DDR3

   Intel HD

  512GB SSD

  13”  full HD TouchScreen 2 in 1 IPS

  6lb

  7 hours

 

This model may or not may not be cheap but it’s got one of the best keyboards on Windows Laptops for sure. It’s like a MacBook Pro version with Windows 10. You can find more models on Amazon just by typing Dell XPS 13 or by clicking on this link:

DELL XPS 13.

They’ve all got great keyboards and most of them are backlit.

 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. 2020 Lenovo ThinkPad E15

  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 a fingerprint reader and a quad core processor.

Faster than all ultrabooks shown here ( the first five laptops).

Thinkpads are primarily known for their keyboards. As fast as typing experience goes, comparable to the MacBooks.

 Keyboard

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

 


9. ASUS ViVoBook 15

Gaming Laptop with BackLit KeyBoard

  Intel i3-1005G1

  8GB RAM DDR4

   Intel UHD 620

  128GB PCIe NVMe SSD

  15” full HD IPS 1080p

  5.1lb

  5 hours

 

Another budget laptop with a premium quality to it (similar to the Acer Aspire 5, the first laptop).

 KeyBoard

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


10. ASUS ROG Strix G

Best Backlit Keyboard For Gaming

  Intel Core i7-9750H

  16GB RAM DDR4

   GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5

  1TB PCIe NVMe SSD

  15” IPS full HD 60Hz

  5.28lb

  4 hours

This is one of the most budget friendly of the ASUS ROG series. It’s capable of capable of running all AAA games at high or  medium settings.

You cand find cheaper or more powerful and expensive models on this link:

ASUS ROG Laptops

 KeyBoard

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

Brightness

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).

 


Key Travel

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)

 

 


Key Layout

 
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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