In the course of a year, the Test Center examines products ranging from high-end servers to lower-end netbooks—and everything in between. But the one piece of technology that we seem to touch the most is what often gets the least attention: the keyboard.
Logitech recently launched its Illuminated Keyboard, a $79.99 peripheral that stands out because of the backlighting it provides the keys in addition to a few other nifty functions. After trying out the USB-connected device for a few days, it becomes clear that it is one of those rare products that enhances the computing experience so much that it's worth recommending strongly.
For starters, the Illuminated Keyboard is a full-function keyboard with a number pad to the right. And, as its name suggests, the keyboard can be illuminated to any of four different brightness levels with the touch of a special function button (noted on the keyboard with a light bulb icon.) For those who occasionally look down at they keyboard while typing—even those who can type at warp speed—a lighted keyboard does make it easier even if the room itself is fully lighted.
But the first trait we noticed in the Illuminated keyboard isn't really the light. It's that the keyboard itself is flatter than a pancake, at 9.3 millimeters, and it doesn't tilt like other keyboards. But rather than making it more difficult to type, Logitech has added its trademarked "PerfectStroke" key design. While it allows you to "feel" each keystroke as it's happening, it does so in a firm but comfortable manner. If you learned typing on, say, an old IBM Selectric typewriter or even on a standard PC keyboard, it simply feels a lot easier.
The keyboard also provides one-touch multimedia controls, which make it a lot easier to handle features like volume control.
Bottom line: For anyone who spends even a couple of hours a day typing on a PC, the Illuminated Keyboard can make a noticeable difference. If the keyboard becomes an issue that makes a customer think beyond the $10 that a standard, off-the-shelf keyboard costs, the Illuminated Keyboard is one that should be considered.