Lighting up the night

The backlit EluminX keyboard from Auravision is without a doubt the coolest keyboard any gamer can buy.

By daylight the keyboard looks like a fairly normal input device. The only real clue as to its special nature is that the keys are clear plastic instead of a solid color. The lettering is black and easy to read.

Something really cool happens however when the lights are dimmed. You notice that the keyboard is actually glowing faintly. The glow is there the entire time, but it’s subtle enough that you don’t really notice it in normal lighting conditions. But who plays using normal light? I don’t know anyone who likes bright halogen bulbs at full power around their game room. No, most gamers dim the lights or shut them off all together when playing.

The blue light that emits from the keyboard is great in dim conditions. The black keys are suddenly backlit, so they are even easier to read. And the blue glow is an extremely pleasing color, almost purplish. I have seen the bridges of warships go to blue lights during combat and I suspect it is because the blue light will illuminate the room without causing any glare on the screens. The same thing happens here. The light is extremely cool, but also helpful and non-distracting. I’ve played for hours and experienced no eye strain in any light condition from bright to dim to total darkness.

The EluminX is also perfect in complete darkness. The keyboard light is actually fairly strong, but you only really notice it in the absence of all other light. The keys are easy to see because of the backlight, and the keyboard even illuminates the immediate area around it, so you can see your mouse as well. At the E3 trade show, Auravision was showing off a glowing mouse to go with the keyboard, but as of yet I don’t think they are ready for sale. When you can combine a glowing mouse with the glowing keyboard, you will have a perfectly lit gaming station.

They keyboard uses a standard PS2 interface cable. There is no additional power cord needed to drive the light. And since it is not USB, you don’t need to have an operating system that supports that format to enjoy the keyboard. It will pretty much work with any PC.

Interestingly enough, the light does not seem to generate any heat, or at least any noticeable heat. I have played games for hours using the keyboard and never noticed any heat coming from the keys. A quick check of the entire keyboard also found no hotspots.

The $99 price may seem a bit steep, but trust me when I say that nothing you add to your computer will get you more attention. Everyone who comes anywhere near my office zeroes right in on the keyboard and comments on how cool it is. Imagine an entire team at a LAN party coming in with glowing keyboards. They would certainly get some attention.

I see two minor flaws with the EluminX as far as gamers are concerned. First off, the EluminX is not a full keyboard. You have a full number pad, but the arrow keys are folded under the Enter and Shift keys on the right side. Most gamers want to have a full multimedia-type keyboard, depending on what game they are playing. Also, there are no click-down tabs in the back of the keyboard to prop it up, so it lays almost completely flat on a desk. Some people would not care about this, but I like to have my keyboard at more of an angle.

At E3, Auravision was also showing off a variety of colors including green, purple, red and orange, but like the mice these do not seem to be ready yet either. You can get a silver, bone or black case with the standard blue (called aquamarine) backlight. For me this color is perfect because my entire game room is decked out in blue tube lights and I have a blue bulb in a poker-room type light hanging from the ceiling. So my game room glows blue anyway, and the keyboard is a perfect addition.

Gamers looking to add some flair to their lair, or those that like to play in the dark will find the EluminX a welcome treat and a fine conversation piece to boot.

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