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Does Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Extreme have a backlit keyboard?

Does Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Extreme have a backlit keyboard?

Best answer: Yes, the second-generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme's keyboard has an LED white backlight with three stages: off, bright, and brighter. Despite being a 15-inch laptop with plenty of space, there is no number pad included.Versatile Ultrabook: ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) (From $2,459 at Lenovo)Easy on the wrists: Surface Ergonomic Keyboard (opens in new tab) ($130 at Microsoft)

ThinkPad keyboards are some of the best around

A laptop like the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is designed to promote productivity, and everything from ports to performance hardware inside plays a role. The keyboard — in this case, a six-row setup with multimedia Fn keys — mimics many other ThinkPads, bringing deep travel, smooth and balanced action, and a soft click for the slightly cupped keys. It's certainly not going to impede your work, and you might find that keyboards on other laptops pale in comparison after using the X1 Extreme. The backlight is enabled by hitting the Fn key and the spacebar, and you have two brightness levels to choose from when it's not turned completely off.

ThinkPads undergo MIL-STD 810G durability testing to ensure they can stand up to conditions more extreme than you'll find in an office or home setting. Plus, the keyboard gets some spill-resistance to avoid failure if you happen to knock a cup of coffee over near the laptop. There's no flex in the deck, and the entire thing feels sturdy enough to put up with a life of work.

Built into the center of the keyboard is a red pointing nub that makes up part of the TrackPoint system, complete with three physical buttons below the spacebar and above the Precision touchpad. Not everyone uses TrackPoint, but it's there if you're used to the days of old when it was the go-to pointer on ThinkPads.

What about a more ergonomic typing experience?

Surface Ergonomic Keyboard

The two Thunderbolt 3 ports — as well as two USB-A 3.1, HDMI 2.0, SD card reader, 3.5mm audio, and RJ45 Ethernet extension adapter port — make it easy to turn the ThinkPad X1 Extreme into a grounded workstation, especially if you add a quality Thunderbolt 3 docking station.

In that case, using the built-in ThinkPad keyboard might be inconvenient, but you can use something like Microsoft's Surface Ergonomic Keyboard. It's made from aluminum for a durable build, it connects with Bluetooth, and it has a palmrest covered in Alcantara fabric to add as much comfort as possible.

The overall design allows your arms and wrists to sit at a more natural angle to alleviate stress over long typing periods. If you missed having a quick way to crunch numbers, the Surface keyboard also includes a full number pad.

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.