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The Best Illuminated LED Keyboard Under $150 - Luxeed U5, and the Most Expensive Illuminated Keyboard - Optimus Maximus!

Updated on October 5, 2012

Lighted Keyboards:

Today we're NOT looking at affordable lighted keyboards, we're going to look at the BEST!
Today we're NOT looking at affordable lighted keyboards, we're going to look at the BEST!

Illuminated Keyboards - The Short Version

Best LED Keyboard Under $25 - black led lighted keyboard w-9868bk usb

The Best LED Keyboard Under $45 - Logitech Illuminated Ultrathin Keyboard with Backlighting

NOTE: Last time I checked, Amazon has 3 White Luxeed U5 Keyboards at $149.50, and 3 Black Luxeed U5 Keyboards at $139.50.  If you've been on the fence, now's the time to get one!

Recently I wrote another hub about the best/most affordable illuminated keyboard, the W-9868bk. In it, I already talked about how useful an LED lighted keyboard can be. Typing in darkened rooms, less eyestrain locating the keys when you first put your hands to it. Yes, I know… most keyboards have raised areas on the 'f' and 'j'. But on mine, they are very low on the keys, and hard to initially locate. The lighting helps.

The Best There Is

Over TheTop - The Worlds Most Expensive Illuminated Keyboard

Let's throw common sense and a real-world budget out the window for the moment.  I'm here now to tell you about the board with the most glitter.  The best that's available.  The illuminated keyboard that you would buy if you had too much money and not enough common sense! 

And after that, I'll tell you about the second best illuminated keyboard.  A fabulous led backlit model that's expensive, yes, but not beyond consideration.

CES 2008 - A little boring, but informative

Best Iluminated Keyboard Ever

The Optimus Maximus at a glance
The Optimus Maximus at a glance

Little Bitty Computer Screen in Every Key

First, lets take a look at the Optimus Maximus.  Pictures don't do this baby justice.  You need to watch the videos.  Seriously! 

The Optimus Maximus is far more than a back-lighted led keyboard.  This computer keyboard is the ultimate geeks dream illuminated king-of-the-world keyboard. 

It comes with a screen in each key!  You can program it with included software to show any images, even animations.  Change the language - go from English, to Cyrillic, Greek, or Elven Runes for LOR fans…  :^)

Not in English, But Still a Great Demo

Optimus Maximus - The Most Possible Images?

Think about it… a little tiny video screen on each and every key. ..  A grand total of 98 little computer monitors!  What could I do with one of these?  The mere thought sends shivers down my spine.  You could play a DIFFERENT Quicktime movie on each key!

The keys are complete units that can be easily popped out and cleaned.  Or even replaced.  With such an expensive keyboard, that's a huge consideration.  You don't want to spend one and a half thousand dollars on a throw-away board. 

In all it's boxed glory

Did You Say $1,500 in US Dollars?

Yes, I said $1,500 dollars.  Hope you weren't drinking something when you saw the number.  Like I said, this illuminated keyboard is only for those who have too much money and not enough sense. 

I can't honestly expect anybody in real life to buy one of these.  (Though SOMEONE must buy them or they wouldn't be available.)  But it's super-cool to dream about.   So watch the videos.  Drool over the keyboard.  This is fun stuff.  If you're serious about this keyboard, it's available at Amazon and at  (Hint:  Thinkgeek has more information and pics, Amazon is about $300 cheaper, at least for the moment.)

The Luxeed U5 Lighted Keyboard


Luxeed U5 - Still Over The Top, But Just Within Reach

Now, that's out of our systems.  Lets get serious.  For an over-the-top lighted led keyboard that's outrageously fun, daringly colored, and psychedelically wild, we turn to:

The Luxeed U5 White LED Illuminated and Individually Programmable Keyboard with 430 LED Colors

This is a fabulous illuminated led keyboard with 7 distinct colors in each key (with an exception or two).  At around $150-$200, it's price still qualifies for over-the-top.  But at least with this keyboard, I can actually believe I might someday just accidentally find a couple of hundred-dollar-bills that weren't required elsewhere.

 Yes, it's entirely possible I might buy this keyboard someday, where the Optimus Maximus is clearly in the "look but don't touch" category.

Comes in White and Black

Which style do you prefer?
Which style do you prefer?

Wild and Crazy? Or Sleek and Sophisticated?

Lets get some details.  The Luxeed U5 comes in White, and Black.  In white, the entire key glows.  Way cool, outgoing rainbow kind of glow.  The black keyboard is much more subdued.  Tasteful and elegant, only the letters themselves are lit from beneath. 

Which one you like best is purely a personality issue.  Do you have the class and panache of a classic James Bond villain?  Black keyboard.  Are you more the wild and crazy kind of guy?  White keyboard.

Both designed have the same functionality.  Illuminated back-lit led keyboards with some serious high-class personality.

Just a quick commercial, but cool

What Can The U5 Actually DO?

There are a total of 430 programmable color diodes.  You can program each key, groups of keys, or use nifty preset effects.  Spark, rainbow, slideshow… Lots of fun to personalize.

Design up to 4 of your favorite custom keyboard light layouts, then call them up at a moments notice with the dedicated preset buttons.

Connects by USB.  Since all this light uses a good bit of power, you wouldn't want wireless.  Batteries would always be running out.

For you serious gamers, the Luxeed U5 has anti-ghosting capability.

 The Luxeed measures 15" x 7.5" x 1".  There are 98 keys (11 are special function).

Video by ThinkGeek

Special Functions with Special Effects

Comes with software to fully control each light in multiple ways.  While there's lots of fun to be had, it's also quite useful.  For every program you like to use, you can lay out custom light designs for favorite keyboard commands.  Works as well for games as for utilities. 

With all this light, it's a good thing Luxeed uses an energy efficient design on it's lighted led keyboard.  It draws all the power it needs through the usb connection.  The U5 allows brightness control as well as color. 

May have some weak spots, but I can live with them!

Some Weak Spots

Works with any version of Windows, also with Linux and Mac.  The only downside to this keyboard?  No numeric keypad.  True.  Kind of hard to imagine.  Though I've heard they have a keypad for it, I haven't actually seen it anywhere.  On the other hand you can buy ordinary numeric keypads very easily if you need one. 

Not necessarily a downside, but of note is the fact that the space bar does not light up, and a few of the other special function buttons.  Worth paying attention when you watch the video to see what actually lights and what doesn't.

The U5 has 7 Colors Per Key,

each key uniquely programmable
each key uniquely programmable

You Really Have To See It To Believe It

With preset effects like Spark, each key lights as you strike it. Or send an animated rainbow of vari-colored lights across the keyboard. The latest models are totally plug and play, no drivers needed. Any software you need to control colors, presets, and effects is built right into the keyboard itself.

I can talk until I'm blue in the face (or whatever color you'd care to program in) but in this case, words just aren't enough. If you can't actually get your hands on a Luxeed U5, do the next best thing… watch the videos here. I've already dropped hints to Monique that this would not be frowned on, should she decide to surprise me with an extravagantly expensive gift at some randomly chosen time. I've also explained why I don't want a substitute lighted led keyboard. Only the Luxeed. After you've seen the videos, you'll see why.

Best, or Second Best?

The Optimus Maximus is hands down the most spectacular (and expensive) keyboard.
The Optimus Maximus is hands down the most spectacular (and expensive) keyboard.
The Luxor U5 is second best, but far more affordable!
The Luxor U5 is second best, but far more affordable!

Optimus or Luxeed? Choices, Choices!

After comparing the Optimus Maximus and the Luxeed U5 illuminated keyboards, have you decided which one you want? For me, the Optimus Maximus is the absolute coolest keyboard ever made, but it's price places it forever out of my reach. On the other hand, the Luxeed is clearly the second best lighted led keyboard in existence, and while it's way more than I'd like to spend, I can still imagine that some day I can own one. It's all fun stuff, though!

First half is cool, 2nd half all interview


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    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 6 years ago

      Thanks Retrobrothers! If they do, try to sneak in an extra for me? By the way, I LOVED your Amiga hub and blog. Keep the faith!

    • RetroBrothers profile image

      Martin Allan 6 years ago from Sunny Scotland

      What a great hub, and what great keyboards!

      I wonder if I can persuade my workplace to buy one of these for me? ;-)

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 6 years ago

      Thanks so much Katrinasui; I appreciate you stopping by!

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      Illuminated LED keywords are good. It is good to know about these keywords. A very interesting hub.

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 6 years ago

      LOL, Pente, you and me both! Thanks for making me chuckle out loud.

    • Pente profile image

      Pente 6 years ago from Planet Earth

      Optimus Maximus, wow, made me drool. Now, I know what to do if I find a million dollars in my backyard!

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 7 years ago

      You made me choke on my drink laughing! I agree. I put this hub up as a logical extension to the affordable lighted keyboard hub. I plan to do a midrange one as well, which well appeal to my sense of balance. Besides, while it may be too expensive to buy, I love eye candy like this, the more 'geek' in my 'tech' the better.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Holy cow - for that price I think they should at least do the dishes or balance my checkbook - something!

      Interesting to find out so much about all these 'toys'. I am a gadget lady and only wish I had more $$ to buy more's a sickness!