The series was originally designed by IBM, and then developed and produced by Lenovo since 2005.
A white or yellow LED (depending on model) is located on the top edge of the display, illuminating the keyboard to allow use in low-light conditions. It is activated with the key combination Fn-PgUp (the bottom left and top right keys of the keyboard). Newer ThinkPads use the combination Fn-Space instead. Sometimes this shortcut is also used in conjunction to control a backlit keyboard (if the laptop has it). The on-screen display of ThinkPad computers will display a light on and a light off indicator. The ThinkLight can be activated when the monitor is on or off but not while the PC is off.
Some ThinkPads, like the Z and R series (though not all - some R61 and R32 models still have the white light) feature an amber (yellow) LED due to the lower cost, while other models, like the T series, use a white LED (which is generally preferred).
The G series and SL series omit the ThinkLight.
The HP EliteBook series notebooks contain a similar keyboard light called HP Night Light. Unlike the ThinkLight, it is activated by a physical button next to the Night Light, rather than a keyboard shortcut. Third-parties offered external LED-based illumination solutions for the HP 200LX series of DOS palmtop computers in the late 1990s.
The Dell Latitude ATG series laptops have also contained a pair of red LEDs which are controlled in a very similar way to the IBM ThinkLight and also serve to illuminate the keyboard.
Some computer manufacturers have opted for backlit keyboards instead of illuminating the keyboard from above. Notebooks with this feature include the Dell Studio and Latitude series, some HP EliteBooks and some HP Envy models, and the Apple MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. Some recent ThinkPads included both the ThinkLight and an illuminated keyboard, and the most recent models no longer include the ThinkLight.
- IBM UK ThinkPad Designs
- ThinkLight on ThinkWiki — section listing ThinkPad models that feature the ThinkLight
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