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EluminX Lighted Keyboard

Friday, December 20, 2002 by TheDoc


Over the past year or so I have seen several attempts at making a "glow in the dark" keyboard. The most common process is to string some glow wire under your keys on the board. This does work to a certain degree. The downfalls of this are pretty obvious. For one, you now have an extra wire running from the keyboard to your PC. But perhaps the most notable downfall is that, while your keyboard is lit up, only the edges of the keys glow. The actual keys themselves are usually a solid color and do not glow. If your keyboard had clear keys than things might look better; yet still, this glow wire does not give off an even amount of light. The area around the wire is going to be much brighter than an area that doesn't have wire around it. This causes an uneven lighting which leads to an unprofessional look. Another attempt at lighting your keyboard would be to use LEDs placed in strategic places under the keys. Again, this would cause uneven lighting and only the edges of the keys would glow unless you had clear keys. After well over a year of D.I.Y. "glow" mods, a professional "glow in the dark" keyboard has come to market, in the form of the EluminX.

This keyboard was originally designed for military use. On the battle field or even in the office, troops were having a difficult time typing in the dark (they are troops, not typing experts). The keyboards creators picked up on this while visiting a military special operations facility and came up with a "glow in the dark" keyboard, the EluminX. The obvious selling point of the keyboard is the "glow in the dark" feature. This glow is given off by an electroluminescent (EL) back panel behind the keys. Not only does this keyboard glow during night use, the military versions are shock proof, waterproof to 3', and are resistant to chemical and biological hazards. It comes as no surprise that the government is scooping these keyboards up like hotcakes. Even the FBI has enlisted these keyboards for use in bomb squads and other hazardous activities.

Today we will be looking at the desktop version of the EluminX. We were sent the beige version for evaluation. An identical version is also available in black.

Let's get some quick specs, taken directly from EluminX...

Our package included the keyboard as well as an instruction manual.

News of this keyboard hit the community rather quickly. I have read on a few forums about this keyboard. To answer a commonly asked question, the keys on this board do NOT have the rubbery/plastic feel that many thought they might have. The keys are in fact made of hard plastic, much like you would find on any other keyboard.

A quick look at the backside of the keyboard reveals nothing out of the ordinary. Rubber grips are provided to prevent the keyboard from sliding around on your desk.

One thing I found lacking on the backside of the keyboard was the adjustable "feet" which are standard on most keyboards. These raise the top portion of the keyboard just slightly, allowing for easier typing.

The key layout on this board is pretty standard. The only difference here from a regular keyboard is the placement of the Page Up, Page Down, Insert, End, Home and Delete key placement. These keys are placed vertically in order to reduce overall width of the keyboard.

Let's move ahead with installation and see how things look...

Installation of this keyboard is no different than any other. Simply plug the PS/2 connector into the keyboard port on the back of your computer, power up the system and you are ready to go. It doesn't get much easier than that folks. A USB adaptor is available, should your application require it.

Powering up the system, we instantly see the keyboard come to life...

Aside from the slim design, clear keys and dull blue haze behind the keys, this keyboard appears to be nothing out of the ordinary. It is not until we dim the lights that we are greeted with the real light show:

Wow, this keyboard is gorgeous. The color is right on with the Aqua Marine given in the specs.

A close up of the keys reveals that we have even lighting across the board. The traces of light are from the monitor being on. Below is a side shot of the keyboard in total darkness...

The pictures speak for themselves. This keyboard looks stunning in the dark. Even with the lights on, the clear keys give the board a unique look.

Overall, this keyboard is extremely nice. The keys are very responsive and easy to press. When depressed, the keys give that faint "click" noise which many users have come to love. Personally I am able to type faster on such a keyboard, as opposed to the "soft" touch keys. The slim design of the keyboard will allow for placement on pretty much any desktop. This also will make transportation of the keyboard that much easier (i.e. LAN Party). The placement of the keys between the number pad and the keyboard keys (Delete, Home, etc) may take a little time to get used to. Like most other keyboards, green LEDs are present above the number pad displaying the status of the Num Lock, Caps Lock and Scroll Lock keys. This board would be perfect for those who are new with computers or haven't quite mastered the keyboarding skill. While the lighted keys aren't a necessity for me while typing in the dark, they are definitely a sweet feature to have. I can remember when I was learning to type. Typing in the dark was such a hassle. I would have to tilt the keyboard towards the monitor in order to locate specific keys. Had this product been available to me at that time, it would have proven to be a life saver. With this unit, the glow effect remains on constantly. I have been told that an "on/off" feature is in the works for future models. A one year warranty covers any malfunctions or defects which may arise, excluding alterations or damages brought on my misuse. Some "feet" on the under side of the keyboard would be a nice touch. Again, this unit is available in the beige shown today as well as a black version. Laser printed letters on the keys ensures that the letters will not wear down in few months. One of the few downfalls many will find with this keyboard is the cost. Coming in at $99.95, this keyboard is not cheap; but if you are looking for the ultimate keyboard to impress your friends or to provide easier typing in dark conditions, this could be the board you have been searching for.

You can purchase an EluminX keyboard directly from EluminX for $99.95 in either beige or black.

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