The Best Illuminated LED Keyboard Under $150 - Luxeed U5, and the Most Expensive Illuminated Keyboard - Optimus Maximus!
Illuminated Keyboards - The Short Version
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
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… :^)
Worlds Best Illuminated Keyboards
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 ThinkGeek.com. (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
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,
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?
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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Looking at Other Choices
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