While at Fry’s yesterday, I picked up a BTC 6300CL.

This is an illuminated keyboard, but the illumination is almost incidental. The most eye-catching thing about it is its conspicuous sleekness: the unit was clearly designed to be sexy and, it must be said, Mac-like, though the Windows keys along the bottom betray its true intended audience. Its silvery-metallic finish highlights the gentle beveling used to accent its edges, and the whole thing is flat, flat, flat.

After it’s caught your eye, you type on it experimentally and notice how strikingly comfortable it is. The layout is an absolutely-standard 104-key arrangement, making this the first illuminated keyboard I’ve seen that doesn’t arbitrarily and unnecessarily muck with convention just to be different. In addition, the keys use short-throw laptop-style scissor switches. My initial impression is that this seems to help avoid striking adjacent keys by accident.

The illumination, which can be toggled by pressing Esc and F10 simultaneously, is the standard gentle electroluminescent blue. The frosted, translucent keycaps are eminently legible in low-light conditions, or even total darkness.

I’m still in the adjustment phase, but so far I find myself liking it very much.

Footnote: the product page claims that the EL backlight’s lifetime is about 3000 hours. That bloody well better be a typo, since that amounts to barely 4 months of continuous use, at least one order of magnitude less than I’d expect from something that isn’t putting out any perceptible heat. Fortunately, it’s a nice keyboard even when dim, so I’ll still like it even if it burns out. Time will tell.

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