Keyboard backlighting is arguably the most hyped-up feature of a gaming keyboard. Since its first appearance in first-gen Razer Chroma products, companies have been trying to implement it on as many peripherals as possible. And soon enough, it made its way to laptop keyboards.
Turning on the backlight features of a laptop’s keyboard will certainly reduce its battery life. The effects will be minimal on some laptops and be more drastic on others. But some laptops will have a sweet spot that allows backlight illumination without consuming too much power.
Of course, despite looking cool, many users have some concerns about backlit laptop keyboards. The most common one is whether or not it affects a laptop’s battery life. In this article, we will investigate whether or not laptop users should be worried about the battery drain of backlit laptop keyboards. And ultimately, users should be able to decide if they can safely leave it on or if they should completely turn it off.
Why LED Backlighting is Popular on Laptop Keyboards
Most modern laptops have incorporated backlighting into their keyboards. This trend is likely influenced by the massive popularity of RGB backlighting and single-color backlighting on gaming keyboards. Regardless of what inspired it, it is a feature that many users appreciate.
Some of the reasons why backlit laptop keyboards are well-loved include better visibility in low light or poorly lit environments and how it improves the aesthetics of a laptop. Gamers, in particular, love the look of laptops that have RGB backlighting. Its customization features can easily help them match their laptops to the rest of their gaming setup.
The only drawback of backlit laptop keyboards is that the overall package will, of course, cost more. But with how efficient manufacturers are becoming, this is becoming less of an issue.
Different Types of Laptop Backlighting
Single Color LED Backlighting
The most common type of backlighting found on laptop keyboards is single-color LED backlighting. As its name implies, laptop keyboards with this kind of backlighting can only show a single color. For most professional laptops, this color is usually white.
And for most gaming laptops, the backlight color is usually red or blue. However, most laptops with single color LED backlighting still have access to different lighting effects and controls.
Per-Key RGB Backlighting
Per-key RGB backlighting is more advanced and is usually found on higher-end laptops. As its name suggests, laptop keyboards with this kind of backlighting will be able to display up to 16 million colors thanks to the red, green, and blue LED lights beneath each key. In addition, the color of each key can be individually set by the user. This is also the type of RGB backlighting found on most gaming keyboards.
Zone RGB Backlighting
Lastly, we have zone RGB backlighting. This kind of backlighting is mainly found on midrange laptops. Like per-key RGB backlighting, the laptop’s keyboard is equipped with LEDs that can show up to 16 million colors. However, the main difference is that keys can only be customized with certain groups and not individually.
Laptop Keyboard Backlighting In Relation To Battery Life
To cut to the chase, yes, turning on the backlight of your laptop’s keyboard will certainly affect battery life. Since the LEDs on a laptop’s keyboard consume power, it will certainly contribute to your laptop’s battery draining quicker. However, users should take note that each laptop will be affected differently since their specs and backlight implementation will be different.
For instance, some laptops do not have bright LEDs, even at maximum brightness. Also, some gaming laptops have more RGB backlight effects, which will certainly consume more power at max brightness.
Most laptop manufacturers do not have official figures regarding how much keyboard backlighting affects a laptop’s battery life. There are also mixed reports online showing tests that result in 11-15% power drain. But to better illustrate our point, let us look at wireless gaming peripherals.
The Razer Blackwidow V3 wireless gaming keyboard is rated to last for up to 200 hours. However, its battery life drops significantly when the backlight and different backlight effects are turned on. According to Razer, its battery life can drop to 6-15 hours, depending on the effect used.
The same is true with gaming mice. The Glorious Model O Wireless is rated to last for up to 71 hours. But, of course, depending on the RGB effects turned on and its brightness, the battery life can significantly go down. So based on these examples, a laptop’s battery can certainly be drained quicker when using RGB/Static keyboard backlight effects.
Should You Turn On the LEDs of Your Laptop?
Now that we know that laptop keyboards can contribute to less battery life, many users will certainly ask. Should you turn off your laptop’s backlit keyboard? The answer will, of course, depend on the user. Power users who need to do a lot of tasks and need as much battery life as possible will certainly want to remove all factors that can reduce battery life. This includes any keyboard backlighting effects on the laptop.
On the other hand, more casual users who use their laptops for browsing and other lightweight tasks shouldn’t be concerned too much. Since their workload does not consume too much battery, they will be free to activate or play around with any of their keyboard’s features.
And lastly, for those who are in between these two kinds of use cases, we highly recommend finding the sweet spot of your laptop’s keyboard backlight. Play around with the brightness and effects to see which settings work best. The keyboard should be bright enough to allow users to see in darker areas, but the lighting shouldn’t be too bright to help save battery life.
So, in summary, backlit keyboards are proven to affect a laptop’s battery life. The extent of its effects largely depends on the model of the laptop and its backlighting implementation. However, users should not be too concerned since they have several tools to help them conserve battery life.
Stephen is the head content creator of Keyboardsexpert. His mechanical keyboard journey began in 2014 when he got his Razer Blackwidow. Since then, he has been fascinated with all things mechanical keyboard-related. He later discovered the custom keyboard hobby and fell in love with the vast customization options. He is currently searching for his endgame and is very excited to share his journey and educate other keyboard enthusiasts.