Keyboards are probably the last thing you think of when you look at upgrading your computer. We often look for better graphics and sound, but don’t pay attention to the way we interact with our computers. Enthusiasts know how important it is to have all the pieces of their computer working together in perfect harmony to provide the best experience.
- Three lighting levels: High / Low / Off
- Volume control / Mute
- Adjustable keyboard angle
- Adjustable wrist rest
- Black finish and silver keys with laser-cut lettering.
Saitek Eclipse keyboard is the upgrade from the Gamers keyboard that Saitek released a while ago. The Eclipse keyboard has several new features and has lost one. If you own a Gamers keyboard and you get one of these you will first notice that the Eclipse is missing the command pad. This idea was so popular that they actually spun it off into its own product. It is now called the Pro Gamer Command Unit and includes many new features. We will be reviewing that at a later date.
The Eclipse keyboard keeps a lot of the same features as the Gamers keyboard: Colors, wishbone design, lighted keys, and volume and light control buttons. The wrist rest is very similar to the gamers keyboard, except that the Eclipse’s wrist rest is adjustable. While the colors are the same, black and silver, the colors are reversed. The gamers keyboard was silver with black keys and silver lettering. The Eclipse’s keyboard is black with silver keys and black looking lettering.
The most noticeable new feature is the keys. While the lettering looks black, they are actually laser-cut so that the light from the bottom of the keyboard can shine through. This is a huge feature because you can now be playing games in the dark and still see the keys.
When you first take the keyboard out of its box you will notice how big it looks. This keyboard is actually only slightly wider than normal keyboards, it only looks bigger because of the wishbone design. I think the wishbone design looks OK, but if Saitek made the keyboard smaller then it would easier to squeeze it into tight spaces. I also don’t believe it would lose any of its appeal or functionality. The keyboard is also quite heavy when it comes to keyboards. This could be a good thing for those that don’t like their keyboard sliding around. This would be a bad thing for people that like to put their keyboard on their lap.
The keys on the keyboard are comfortable to use. They do not require a lot of pressure to press and they don’t make a lot of noise when they are pressed. They are painted silver and have the letters laser-cut into each key. The laser-cut is actually quite interesting because Saitek had to invent their own process for this. They did this so they could control how much light comes out of each key. If you have too much light then you cannot recognize the letters on the keys because of light blooming. If there is too little light then the back light around the keys would wash out the letters. Luckily, you have some control over the light level. Saitek provides a light control button that can set the lights to High, Low or off.
Besides the normal set of keys and the light toggle button the Saitek Eclipse keyboard also has three additional buttons that control the volume. There is a volume up, volume down and mute button. While these are probably the most used media buttons on the keyboard, it would have been nice to have the other media buttons like: play, stop fast forward, and rewind. It would also be nice to have some of the other buttons like: home, back, forward, and refresh.
The Eclipse also features a Zero-Slope design. This means the keyboard is flat. It is completely up to the user to determine the slop of the keyboard. If you want a slope on the keyboard, then all you need to do is extend the risers.
There is not much to mention about the bottom of the keyboard except to point out the very nice rubber anti-skid pads. Those in addition to the extra eight should keep the keyboard from sliding around.
One additional feature they could add that would make this better is a built in USB hub. I have found that you can never have enough USB ports. I already have about 8 USB ports filled up with various things and it would be nice to have more.
Performance on a keyboard comes down to how it feels while you type. With the Saitek Eclipse keyboard there is also the issue of lighting. The lighting on this keyboard works really well. I usually leave the light on high and pick out all the right keys even in the middle of the night. There are some keys that suffer from blooming. I often found that I could not pick out the different symbols that are above the numbers. They are small and the designs are more complicated, than letters and numbers, so the light blurs things. I had to turn down the lighting so that it cut back on the blooming. This usually helped me to be able to see all the keys correctly.
Even without the lights, the keyboard is very capable. The keys respond very nicely to touch and they have a nice textured feel. They are not really bumpy, but in the same respect they are not glass smooth.
Instillation is a snap. All you need to do is plug it in. Because the keys are not programmable you do not need to install any drivers or special software.
As with all of Saitek’s products, there is a two year warranty on the Eclipse keyboard. This is decent, but I keep hoping that more companies will offer lifetime warranties.
The Saitek Eclipse Keyboard is very nice. Except for some design issues, I have nothing but good things to say. One can only hope that in the next revision that they will add some of those features that I mentioned above, and make it even better. I highly recommend this keyboard to anyone who simply wants to enjoy using their computer.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|