One of the basic goals us modders try to achieve is to make everything glow. From “blue-LED-ing” case indicator lights and optical mice, to case windows, CCFLs and LED fans. Making almost every part of our PC system is glowing. Case, check. Mouse, check. Monitor, it’s already “glowing”. But hey, CCFL and windows in monitors, I guess, check. The keyboard? Some people prefer blue LED-ing the lock LEDs, some routed EL cable underneath, and maybe DIY keyboard spotlights. But there has always been the need to make it really light up. I remember browsing the forums and reading about threads asking where to get transparent keys for the keyboard, and how a fully transparent keyboard would look cool. Fast forward to today and here\'s what we have...
The EluminX keyboard is actually a product from Auravision. The product is called The Auravision™ Slim Series Illuminated Keyboard, powered by the EluminX™ technology. EluminX technology is a patented luminescence feature for low-light computing. But since we are familiar with the term “EluminX”, we’ll just refer to the keyboard as that. It comes in three basic keyboard colors. Black, Silver and Bone, with glow colors varying from Sapphire and Aquamarine, to name a few (they’re coming up with more colors such as purple and white). For this review, I have the Black/Aquamarine version. Backgrounds aside, let’s look at this nifty thing.
Out of the box, the first thing you will notice (well the first thing you immediately look at anyway) are the transparent keys. They are not really fully transparent, but are a little bit “smoked” to make it glow even more. Here it is in relation to my IBM Active Response Keyboard.
The key layout is similar to most slim-style keyboards. The keys’ height is almost half the height of regular keys. Being used to typing on the regular layout, having the navigation keys relocated made me slow down for a while until I got the hang of it. It’s very annoying at first since now I would have to look down to make sure I press the right buttons again. Like when working with text, I’m used to using CTRL-left/right arrow keys to quickly move from word to word, selecting or just moving around as quickly as I can without moving my hand to the mouse. The INSERT key is moved in between the right CTRL key and the left arrow key. This isn’t really much of an issue since the distance of the right CTRL and the left arrow key is about the same as on regular keyboards. But then feeling, that there’s a button near there will make you move your thumb towards the INSERT key rather than the right CTRL. The DELETE button is also relocated on a very irregular spot. With my hands on the arrow keys, I can just move my finger up a bit to reach the DELETE key. But on the EluminX, well, I guess that can help me type more efficiently, keeping me from pressing the DELETE key not as often. But then again, these are my complaints. I don’t usually do text at home as compared to when I’m at work, since I only game, chat and forum-lurk at home and a little programming so these little peeves won’t be an issue. In another week, I would have probably trained my hands enough for this layout.
The keyboard casing itself isn’t that much of an eye catcher really. This black version has the same black plastic look as my black IBM keyboard. Having a bluish glow to the keyboard, you would think they would match the lock LEDs with it right? Nope. You guessed it. Green lock LEDs. Maybe they put the blue LEDs on the green version? Hehe. I doubt it. I’ll probably go out of lazy mode and replace them with nice blue LEDs.
I don’t know about you but when I use a keyboard, be it on mine or somebody else’s PC, I flip the back stands and make the keyboard rise up. In this case, the EluminX doesn’t have adjustable hind legs. Just tabs of plastic on the rear, and rubber feet on the front to keep you from pushing it with the end of your palms. If you look at the light/dark difference pictures on the box, you’ll see that the keyboard is raised a little off the table, looking as if it had a stand. My modding friends expect me to do something about this. Maybe some clear rubber feet from the hardware store can do it.
Looking at the keys more closely, you would notice some white plastic bars underneath the keys. These are what they call the patented “scissor keys”. These both hold the keys in place and keep the keys from tilting to the side, giving it a straight press action. On regular keyboards, the keys are held in a cylindrical mount that guides the keys to move up and down. Since the EluminX is limited in space to keep that slim form, the distance between the keys and contacts are decreased. So it’s just the key cap, the scissor mechanism, and the rubber nipple that acts as the spring. Be careful when removing the key caps. The rubber nipples are just standing there, held in place by a plastic stud on under the key caps.
Being the longest keys overall, the right SHIFT key and the SPACEBAR still used a bent piece of wire that forces the whole key to press down even if you press it from the extreme sides. They are quire noticeable since they are the only ones using it.
Since there’s minimal plastic hitting each other when pressing keys, it doesn’t make that much noise. You would mostly hear the thumping of the keys hitting the base of the keyboard, and that flicking noise you hear when your finger releases from the keys. The pressing action gives a very tactile feel. You would really know that you’ve pressed the key and registered the command. Since it’s just that rubber nipple that is working as the spring, maybe someday if you wore it out and it’s not pushing back as hard as before, you can replace it with one from a key that you rarely use, like the SCROLL LOCK key.