5 Best Laptops with Backlit Keyboard

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With a backlit keyboard, it’s easier to use your laptop in a low-light setting, whether you are coding, writing a report, or preparing a presentation. You are less likely to press the wrong keys, saving you from the trouble of having to constantly press backspace to fix typos. The same thing goes when gaming in total darkness, especially if you play games that require quick and accurate key presses.

If you are shopping for the best laptops with a backlit keyboard, this guide is for you. In this guide, we have compiled the top options on the market. All products listed here are excellent for work, school use, and general use. Some of them are also decent options for light gaming.

Budget
best-budget-laptop-with-backlit-keyboard
Acer Aspire E 15
4.0/5.0
Screen: 15.6 in 1920 x 1080
Memory: 8 GB
Long-lasting battery and comfortable keyboard.
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Best Value
best-value-laptop-with-backlit-keyboard
Dell XPS 13
4.4/5.0
Screen: 13.3 in 1920 x 1080
Memory: 8 GB
Wide viewing angles and great backlit keyboard.
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Top Pick
top-value-laptop-with-backlit-keyboard
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
4.5/5.0
Screen: 14 in 1920 x 1080
Memory: 16 GB
Long battery life and fast charging speed.
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Laptops with Backlit Keyboard Comparison Table

Make and ModelRatingScreenCPUMemoryStorageDimensionsWeightPrice
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon4.514 in 1920 x 10808th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U16 GB512 GB SSD12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 in2.5 lbCheck Price
Acer Aspire E 154.015.6 in 1920 x 10808th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U8 GB256 GB SSD15 x 10.2 x 1.2 in5.3 lbCheck Price
Dell XPS 134.413.3 in 1920 x 10808th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U8 GB128 GB SSD11.9 x 7.8 x 0.5 in2.8 lbCheck Price
Apple MacBook Air4.113.3 in 2560 x 16008th Gen Intel Core i5-8210Y8 GB128 GB SSD12 x 8.4 x 0.6 in2.8 lbCheck Price
Huawei MateBook X Pro4.313.9 in 3000 x 20008th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U16 GB512 GB SSD12 x 8.5 x 0.6 in2.9 lbCheck Price

1. Best Pick: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 CarbonView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

One of the best laptops for work and general use, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the best option if you want a laptop with a backlit keyboard. It offers excellent value for the money, featuring a good selection of ports, a fantastic keyboard, and a great display. You can customize your unit, with options for the display, CPU, RAM, and storage. The product listed here is the 6th Gen model that includes a 1080p screen, an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, a 16 GB RAM, and a 512 GB SSD.

Design & Features

While not as premium-looking as other high-end ultraportable laptops, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a well-designed unit, featuring a carbon fiber reinforced chassis and a magnesium alloy roll-cage. It’s about 0.6 inches thin and weighs 2.5 pounds, which makes it the lightest laptop on this list. The 14-inch multi-point touchscreen is an IPS panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio, with the front camera – which features a slide-in cover for privacy – in the top bezel.

Like most other ThinkPads, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a great keyboard with good key travel and tactile feedback. It’s a joy to type on the backlit keyboard, with the familiar red TrackPoint allowing you to move the cursor without moving your hand off the keyboard. The two-level keyboard backlight is good and can be easily adjusted or turned off with a simple shortcut.

The touchpad is also great; it’s smooth and accurate, easily registering multi-finger gestures. Right next to it is the fingerprint reader for added security. The laptop also features 360-degree far-field microphones for using Cortana from a distance, with Lenovo claiming a 13-foot range.

For connectivity, this latest iteration of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has one USB-A port and one audio port on the right side, along with two USB-C ports, one USB-A port, and one HDMI port on the other side, with the microSD card slot located around the back. The two USB-C ports both support Thunderbolt 3 and can be used for charging the laptop using the included adapter.

The laptop also includes built-in speakers, but they are subpar and are not recommended for watching movies and entertainment in general. Although they can get very loud and easily fill up a room, the sound quality is mediocre, with a muddy output at high volumes. It’s much better to use a pair of headphones or an external sound system.

Performance

With the powerful CPU, fast SSD, and generous RAM, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is an outstanding laptop for productivity and general use. It can easily handle different tasks, including video encoding, processing complex spreadsheets, and internet browsing with lots of open tabs. The display has excellent color accuracy, wide viewing angles, and good brightness. (The optional QHD HDR screen is even more vibrant and brighter, with Lenovo claiming a max brightness of 500 nits.)

Obviously, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon – which features an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU – is not a suitable laptop for serious gaming. But it’s decent enough for casual gaming with older and less graphically demanding games. If you want to turn it into a gaming machine for more recent games, you’ll need to use an external GPU.

While not as good as the Lenovo ThinkPad T480, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a superb battery, with up to 15 hours of battery life, according to the manufacturer. The battery is more than enough to get you through a regular work day. It charges fast as well, reaching 80 percent status after just about one hour of charging time, which is great.

Verdict

Overall, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is an outstanding product – it’s easily one of the best ultraportable laptops currently out. It’s exceptionally durable and offers great performance, boasting a long-lasting battery and fast read/write speeds. If you want the best laptop with a backlit keyboard for both office work and general use, check out this Lenovo ultraportable laptop.

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Tech Specs
Screen: 14 in 1920 x 1080
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U
Memory: 16 GB
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Dimensions: 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 in
Weight: 2.5 lb
The Pros
Great build quality
Excellent keyboard
Superb color accuracy
Good connectivity options
Long battery life and fast charging speed
Slide-in camera cover for privacy
The Cons
Subpar built-in speakers
Unimpressive camera quality

2. Best Budget: Acer Aspire E 15

Acer Aspire E 15View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4/5

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a budget-friendly laptop with a backlit keyboard that offers as much value as the Acer Aspire E 15. It’s a great product with specifications not commonly seen in laptops in the same price range. Selling for less than $600, the Aspire E 15 model listed here is the E5-576G-5762 model, which includes an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U processor, an 8 GB memory, a 256 GB SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce MX150 dedicated GPU.

Design & Features

Featuring a 15.6-inch IPS screen with a 1080p resolution, the Aspire E 15 is the least travel-friendly among the laptops listed here. It weighs around five pounds and measures 1.2 inches thick, both of which are double the measurements of our top pick. The laptop has a built-in camera in the top bezel and includes decent-sounding speakers, which is nice.

The backlit keyboard, which has a number pad, is comfortable to use for an extended period, with good key travel. It’s not as good as ThinkPad keyboards, but it’s far from the worst. The keyboard backlight is good, immediately lighting up after pressing a key. You might find the backlight timeout too fast, though. The touchpad, which is not centered and sits below the space bar, is accurate, easily reading Windows 10 gestures.

The Aspire E 15 has more ports than our top pick. On the left side, you’ll find two USB-A 3.0 ports, one HDMI port, one VGA port, one Ethernet port, and one USB-C port. On the right side, there is one USB-A 2.0 port and one audio port, along with the optical drive (DVD-RW), which is not commonly seen in modern laptops. There is also an SD card slot located on the front edge of the laptop, on the left side.

Performance

A recommended laptop for productivity and general use, the Aspire E 15 has good overall performance, but it’s got subpar display quality, with below-average color accuracy and brightness. It’s great for content writing, coding, editing spreadsheets, and web browsing. It can easily handle multiple apps open at the same time and doesn’t get too hot when under heavy load.

The battery is also excellent, with Acer claiming up to 15 hours of battery life. While the actual battery life under practical conditions is a few hours short of that, it’s still enough to get you through the day. You can easily upgrade the memory and the storage of the laptop, thanks to the easily accessible compartment on the underside. Although the CPU can’t be upgraded, Acer also offers an Intel Core i7 model, which sells for around $200-250 more.

Unlike our top pick, this laptop includes a dedicated GPU – the Nvidia GeForce MX150 – with a 2 GB GDDR5 memory. For light gaming, it’s a decent machine. It can run older and less graphically intensive games with decent frame rates at low settings. But if you are looking to play recent triple-A games such as Far Cry 5 and Assassin’s Creed Origins, this isn’t the laptop for you.

Verdict

If you want a budget-friendly laptop with a backlit keyboard, the Aspire E 15 is the best option on the market. It has better value than other products in the same price range, offering solid performance, great battery life, and generous connection options.

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Tech Specs
Screen: 15.6 in 1920 x 1080
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U
Memory: 8 GB
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Dimensions: 15 x 10.2 x 1.2 in
Weight: 5.3 lb
The Pros
Good build quality
Long-lasting battery
Comfortable keyboard
Includes dedicated GPU
Great connectivity options
Decent built-in speakers
The Cons
Heavy
Subpar brightness

3. Best Value: Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

Considered one of the best laptops around, the Dell XPS 13 is a highly recommended option if you want a laptop that strikes an excellent balance between design and performance. You can’t go wrong with either the 2018 or 2019 model, as both offer great value for the money. Even the 2017 model is still worth considering, especially if you want a laptop with a USB-A port. The product listed here is the 2018 model, or the 9370 model, which includes an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U processor, an 8 GB memory, and a 128 GB SSD storage.

Design & Features

The 2018 XPS 13 is a beautiful laptop, featuring an elegant white-and-gold color scheme that easily separates it from the competition. If the bright colors are not your cup of tea, you can go for the usual black-and-silver color scheme instead. It weighs less than three pounds and is only 0.5 inches thick, which makes it one of the slimmest ultraportable laptops out there.

The body is made of aluminum for durability, featuring a sturdy palm rest, while the 13.3-inch 1080p display is gorgeous, with thin bezels at the top and sides. The camera is in the bottom bezel, which is a terrible position for a front camera. There are side-mounted speakers on this laptop. They can get pretty loud and offer decent sound quality – but only when tuned with the included Waves MaxxAudio software.

The touchpad is smooth and accurate and easily registers Windows 10 multi-finger gestures. The click areas at the bottom don’t feel flimsy. While the keys are shallow, the keyboard is also great, with good tactile feedback. You can easily toggle between two brightness levels for the keyboard backlight. The lighting is a bit uneven, though, but it’s not a deal-breaker.

Compared to our other top picks, this Dell ultraportable laptop has more limited connectivity, with no USB-A ports, which might disappoint some of you. On the left side, you’ll find two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support, both of which can be used for charging the laptop. There is also a five-level battery gauge on this side. On the right side, you’ll find one audio port, one microSD card slot, and one USB-C port.

Performance

The 2018 XPS 13 is a great laptop for work and general use, boasting fast read/write speeds and a good cooling system. You can use it for multitasking with several applications or browser tabs open at the same time and it will barely break a sweat. It’s got a good battery as well, with Dell claiming up to 19 hours and 46 minutes of battery when using general office tools such as Word and Excel.

Regarding picture quality, this Dell laptop is great. The color accuracy is excellent, with outstanding coverage for the sRGB color space, while the screen brightness is great. And at 1500:1, the contrast ratio is also good, making for more vibrant images with deeper blacks. Since the display has an IPS panel, the viewing angles are also wide, which is useful when showing your work to a workmate or client sitting next to you.

For gaming, the 2018 XPS 13 – which includes an Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated GPU – is decent enough, but only for older or less graphically intensive games. If you want to play more recent games, you’ll need to use an external GPU, which can be connected to the laptop’s Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left side.

Verdict

In all, the 2018 XPS 13 is one of the best laptops with a backlit keyboard, offering great value for the money. It’s a well-designed laptop that offers good performance and will serve you well for at least three or four years. Whether you are shopping for a laptop for office work or school use, the 2018 XPS 13 is definitely worth considering.

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Tech Specs
Screen: 13.3 in 1920 x 1080
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U
Memory: 8 GB
Storage: 128 GB SSD
Dimensions: 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.5 in
Weight: 2.8 lb
The Pros
Slim and lightweight design
Excellent color accuracy
Wide viewing angles
Great backlit keyboard
Decent built-in speakers
Good battery life
The Cons
Poor camera positioning
No USB-A ports

4. Apple MacBook Air

Apple MacBook AirView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.1/5

Released in late 2018, the new Apple MacBook Air is a gorgeous laptop that offers solid performance, featuring a very fast SSD storage and a great screen with a high pixel density. The product listed here is the base model, which sells for around $1,200 and includes an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8210Y processor, an 8 GB memory, and a 128 GB SSD storage.

Design & Features

Available in gold, silver, and space gray, the 2018 MacBook Air is a premium ultraportable laptop made with 100 percent recycled aluminum. It’s got a 13.3-inch Retina display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution – which translates to 227 pixels per inch – and a 16:10 aspect ratio. It weighs around 2.8 pounds and measures just 0.6 inches at its thickest point.

The top-firing built-in speakers are located on either side of the keyboard and are some of the best-sounding laptop speakers out there. They have a decent bass output and can easily fill up a regular-sized room. The large touchpad is also well implemented. In the top-right corner of the keyboard, you’ll find the small fingerprint reader for quick and easy access to your laptop.

The keyboard itself is good, but it’s not in the same league as that of the Lenovo and Dell laptops listed here. While the backlit keys are shallow, they are comfortable to use, which is good news for writers and journalists. You can set the laptop to automatically adjust the keyboard backlighting with the ambient light sensor, or you can manually adjust the brightness level yourself with the F5 and F6 keys.

Regarding connectivity, the 2018 MacBook Air is easily the worst among the products included in this guide to the best laptops with a backlit keyboard. It has dual USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support and an audio out port, and that’s it. With not much connectivity options, you’ll be using quite a few adapters when connecting devices to this laptop.

Performance

Featuring an Intel UHD Graphics 617 integrated GPU, this Apple ultraportable laptop is a suitable machine for productivity and general use. You can easily multitask on it with multiple apps and browser tabs open at the same time. The laptop gets noticeably loud when under heavy load, though, which is a big turn-off for some people. The battery life is also good, with Apple claiming up to 12 hours of internet surfing.

The high-resolution display of the new MacBook Air is obviously one of its highlights. The 13.3-inch display has excellent color accuracy and good contrast. With the 2560 x 1600 resolution, images and texts are incredibly sharp and detailed. On the other hand, the screen brightness is a bit disappointing, which is bad news for outdoor usage.

Verdict

Overall, the 2018 MacBook Air is a recommended product if you prefer to use macOS instead of Windows. It has a good build quality, features an improved keyboard and screen, and boasts very fast read/write speeds. While it has its fair share of flaws that Apple critics are more than happy to point out, it’s a solid laptop for general use and work.

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Tech Specs
Screen: 13.3 in 2560 x 1600
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8210Y
Memory: 8 GB
Storage: 128 GB SSD
Dimensions: 12 x 8.4 x 0.6 in
Weight: 2.8 lb
The Pros
Good build quality
Retina display
Good battery life
Very fast SSD storage
Good built-in speakers
Easily adjustable keyboard backlight
The Cons
Limited connectivity options
Fans can get fairly loud

5. Huawei MateBook X Pro

Huawei MateBook X ProView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The Huawei MateBook X Pro is one of the best ultraportable laptops on the market, offering excellent value for the money. It’s got a brilliant display and comes with a well-designed keyboard that is better than that of the Apple MacBook Pro. The product listed here is the original 2018 model that includes an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, a 16 GB RAM, a 512 GB SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce MX150 dedicated GPU. It offers better value than the updated 2019 model, which doesn’t feature significant upgrades.

Design & Features

Featuring a durable all-metal body, the original MateBook X Pro has a slim and lightweight design, weighing around 2.9 pounds and measuring just 0.6 inches at its thickest point. It has a 13.9-inch touchscreen display with a 3000 x 2000 native resolution and an uncommon 3:2 aspect ratio. It has very thin bezels all around, which also means there is not enough room for a regular front camera in the top bezel. The built-in camera is instead located between the F6 and F7 keys and features a pop-up design for more privacy.

As with the 2018 Dell XPS 13’s bottom-bezel camera, the pop-up camera is a poor design choice, as it will mostly capture your nose, your chin, your neck, and even your hands if you are typing while video calling. (Unfortunately, the 2019 MateBook X Pro still includes the same camera design, which can’t be said for the 2019 model of the Dell XPS 13.)

The 2018 MateBook X Pro includes decent-sounding built-in speakers, which blast out from either side of the keyboard like with the Apple MacBook Air. The large touchpad is smooth and accurate, easily registering Windows 10 gestures. Located at the top-right corner, the power button doubles as a discreet fingerprint reader, which allows for quick and easy access to your laptop.

The backlit chiclet keyboard is well implemented, with many people lauding it as a much better keyboard than that of the Apple MacBook Pro. While they are on the shallow side, the well-spaced keys are very comfortable to use and offer good tactile feedback. The keyboard backlight can be adjusted or turned off using the F3 key, but there is no option to change the backlight timeout, which is too fast by default.

Regarding connectivity, the 2018 MateBook X Pro is not as versatile as both our top and budget picks, only offering two USB-C ports, one USB-A port, and one audio out port, with Thunderbolt 3 support limited to one USB-C port. The USB-A port is notable, however, considering many ultra-thin premium laptops don’t include one.

Performance

The 2018 MateBook X Pro is an excellent laptop for productivity and general use, boasting a powerful CPU, a generous memory, and a fast SSD storage. It’s great for multitasking and will have little trouble running multiple applications and browser tabs – although it can get noticeably hot on the underside when under heavy load. The battery life is good, with Huawei claiming up to 12 hours of video playback and up to 15 hours of internet surfing.

The 13.9-inch 3K display is simply outstanding, with its 3:2 aspect ratio translating to an increased screen space, which is especially beneficial for reading or editing documents and internet surfing. The color accuracy is excellent while the contrast ratio is good. Moreover, the screen brightness is great, easily reaching 400 nits, which makes the 2018 MateBook X Pro one of the brightest laptops in the ultraportable category.

You can also do some light gaming on this ultraportable laptop, which, as mentioned earlier, features a dedicated GPU with a 2 GB memory. You can run older and less graphically intensive games on it at low or medium settings. But for recently released triple-A games, it’s not a suitable option; there are better, more gaming-focused laptops on the market.

Verdict

All in all, the 2018 MateBook X Pro is a great product. It has a great design and offers strong performance, featuring a powerful CPU and an all-day battery. If you want a cheaper alternative to the Apple MacBook Pro, check out this product.

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Tech Specs
Screen: 13.9 in 3000 x 2000
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U
Memory: 16 GB
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Dimensions: 12 x 8.5 x 0.6 in
Weight: 2.9 lb
The Pros
3K display with a very high pixel density
Superb color accuracy
Great keyboard design
Includes a dedicated GPU
Good battery life
Includes a USB-A port
The Cons
Not widely available
Poorly positioned front camera
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