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I’ve written before about laptops sporting curious “dual pointing devices” designs. The HP Elitebook 8540w is such a machine but the mouse isn’t the bit that has prompted this post. No, for it has another, more bamboozling, feature.

The 8540w is a decent spec’d business laptop which is relatively good looking (at the side of the Toshiba Tecra M10-17H i covered before) and, as i said, sports the very odd trackpad and nipple-in-keyboard mousing options…

HP Elitebook 8540W

But the part that immediately sparked my curiosity was this…

HP Elitbook 8540W lamp!

Yes, that’s a pop-out lamp! A little push-to-open, push-to-close LED lamp built into the monitor bezel. Oh, how i laughed. I laughed and laughed. And shook my head. And then laughed some more.

Why laugh at this novel approach to solving the problem of typing in the dark? Well, there are a few reasons. Firstly, the lamp is not centred over the keyboard that it is meant to light; it’s positioned over to the right. Secondly, while the LED appears to be SUPERBRIGHT, there isn’t a great deal of that candescence reaching the keyboard level – even in a pitch-black room. Finally, this solution looks more than a little clumsy, inelegant and backwards when compared with Apple’s automatic backlit keyboards.