Typing in the Dark with Auravision and Zippy

We all want to type in the dark and actually see the keys on the keyboard. Now we can with illuminated keyboards from Auravision and Zippy.
| Oct 29, 2003 at 11:00 pm CST
Manufacturer: none

Typing in the Dark - Introduction

IntroductionEver been a victim of late-night typos? It's 7:00PM and you can see the back of your hand better than your keyboard; you hastily type 'go go go!' to your teammates in a vicious game of Counter-Strike, but it unintentionally comes out as 'ho ho ho' - there's an uncomplicated solution to your crisis. The answer has been around for quite some time actually, but we have yet to see a comparison of this solution. It is, if you haven't already guessed, illuminated keyboards. There are numerous ways one could go about illuminating their keyboard: perhaps modding one (voiding a warrantee), by ramming two thin cold cathodes behind your keys...Or, possibly painting all your keys with UV-reactive marker and strapping a UV light-emitter on your forehead. Let's just keep it simple, shall we?Tonight we'll be looking at the market's two most popular illuminated keyboards: Auravision's eluminX (kindly donated by eXcaliberPC.com) along with Zippy's EL-610 (kindly donated by Directron.com).

Typing in the Dark - The Artillery

The ArtilleryOur first victim, with quite a bit of publicity behind it, is Auravision's eluminX Illuminated keyboard. Putting aside its glowing aspect, it is one of the most beautiful and sleek keyboards I have used in a very long time.
Secondly, we have the miniature Zippy EL-610. We've heard reports of consumers being 'fooled' into thinking this particular keyboard is standard sized - it is not. The Zippy EL-610 has dimensions of 290 x 135.5 x 21.4mm; this is much smaller than even your typical laptop keyboard.

Typing in the Dark - A Closer Look

Auravison's eluminXWhen I initially laid my eyes on Auravision's eluminX, I instantaneously was taken over by the 'wow' effect. The eluminX emulates a polished look and feel, from the clear keys to the smooth and edge-less design of the keyboard.
Each key has its corresponding letter, symbol or function clearly imprinted on it in dark black. Due to the standard colour scheme, it might be difficult for the elderly or visually impaired to clearly differentiate one key from another in dim-light situations.One of the clever features of the eluminX is its substitution of the standard green Lock LED's (Num Lock, Caps Lock and Scroll Lock). The Lock LED's on the eluminX are super-bright blue - matching sleekly with the aquamarine layout of the keyboard.When not illuminated, the eluminX layout is completely clear. While we can see how this might be a necessity, we wouldn't have minded a different lighting approach as the eluminX can be somewhat aesthetically displeasing when exposed to daylight.

Typing in the Dark - A Closer Look Continued

Zippy's EL-610Upon receiving the Zippy EL-610, I immediately took a few pictures and then opened the package. Once again, I was met with the 'wow' effect, but this time for another reason...The EL-610 is nearly half the size of the eluminX!While the EL-610 is stylish and sleek-looking, it feels a great deal cheaper than the eluminX.
The keys on the EL-610, unlike the eluminX, are completely opaque. The backlight shines through the spaces of the keys; as a result the keys appear brighter.Zippy's EL-610 includes three onboard buttons, all of which are very useful.- Light on/off apparently allows you to manually turn on/off the backlight feature (a necessity the eluminX is lacking)- Sleep will make your computer do just that (or hibernation mode, depending on your computer's settings)- Power will no doubt shut down your computer.While the latter may seem the most useful (a one-touch solution!), it consequently creates a considerable CAUTION. One accidental finger slip or a wrong push of a button will immediately turn off your computer, forcing it to close any running programs and processes. I learnt this the hard way and lost an entire page of writing in Microsoft Word.

Typing in the Dark - Keyboards to the Test

Keyboards to the TestBoth the eluminX and the EL-610 do a great job at what you're paying for. The Zippy operates using a noticeably brighter backlight than the eluminX - which makes you wonder just how long it will last for. The eluminX, on the other hand, has a mild and subtle glow to it - making the light easier on your eyes.

Typing in the Dark - Conclusion

ConclusionMidnight gaming has finally become a little easier. Both products we tested tonight properly demonstrate their advertised uses, and meet the requirements we set out.As previously mentioned, the Zippy EL-610 is tiny and unsuitable for anyone with large fingers or who are visually impaired. Another one of the EL-610's noticeable faults is its keys weak responses. The sole uses I see for this product are: as a mobile external keyboard for a laptop or small form factor computer, or for someone who really needs a helpful light at night whilst typing. Although the EL-610 has a brighter backlight than the eluminX, we do not understand the need for such a strong illumination.On the other hand, we have Auravision's eluminX - a sleek and beautifully crafted keyboard. It makes a perfect desktop keyboard replacement, and includes the benefit of a strong backlight and very responsive keys; perfect for gaming during the night or day.The EL-610 runs for around $35 USD while the eluminX will set you back a hefty, but worthwhile, $69 USD. While the price for the EL-610 is considerably lower than that of the eluminX, it is still a hefty cost for a standard keyboard. Auravision's set price of their eluminX isn't exactly a small setback either, but it is definitely passable and will more than pay off in the long run; a true 24/7 keyboard for all purposes.

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm CDT

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