Saitek Eclipse II Gaming Keyboard
Reviewed on: July 2, 2007
Price: $54.99 USD
The one peripheral all of us need and rely on is obviously the keyboard. Likely the object we will spend the most time hovering above or slumped over, a bad keyboard sticks out like an ‘emo’ kid at a Justin Timberlake concert. It is this pressure that had me chomping at the bit to try out the latest Saitek Eclipse. I absolutely fell in love with the first incarnation and assumed the second would only be an improvement. Would I be surprised, content or irate with my findings? Let’s find out.
The appealing packaging that envelopes the Saitek Eclipse Two is what we have come to expect from the 28 year-old peripheral company. The ever expanding and well known gaming peripheral company, Saitek, has struck again with their latest high-end keyboard. Since 1993, Saitek has moved up through the gaming market and has become a major force in gaming peripherals for the PC. They boast their products are ‘designed by gamers for gamers’.
The Saitek 2 is as surefooted as a cat on Velcro, thanks to the well-made feet located on the bottom of the unit. The weight and stiffness help to keep it in place, while assuring you of a solid key press every time. I honestly can’t recall one instance where the keyboard moved away from me when I didn’t want it to. The extendable legs also work nicely, and have less chance of folding down by mistake than either the original Saitek, or any other keyboard I have tested.
The action is stunningly smooth on each and every one of the 104 laser etched keys on the Saitek 2. The keys are quiet, and with the exception of the slimmer function keys, all of them feel very similar to the original model, which I feel is a good thing. The buttons used for volume, light and dimming are satisfying to use. I enjoy adjusting the light output via the dimmer switch in particular. The dial-like movement of the dimmer mechanism is also very clean, which is a good indicator of how well-built the keyboard is. There is no play or creaky plastic feel evident here. The volume buttons are very solid and the weight of the keyboard helps affirm any press of these keys. The media keys are also of high quality and are pleasing to use. They received more use than most media buttons I have experienced, simply due to the action.
I actually feel the sturdiness helped me win some MSN arguments as I punctuated some of my retorts with a resounding “Boom!” on the ‘enter’ key. In retrospect, I wish I had been arguing about something more useful, given my new authoritative keyboard. I feel as though I could have hammered home more important points, rather than correctly stating which season they changed out the mother on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
The ability to swap between blue, purple and red lighting is a neat one. This makes the keyboard match up with any enthusiast’s rig and also makes for a nice change of scenery. My only complaint about the light would be that it could use to go a little brighter. It’s not even as bright as the Eclipse One was, and given the new dimmer you would think it might go a little brighter. The lights located on the side of the unit are actually rather cool, and I have even found them useful to read small notes with at night.
Buyers are facing the standard installation with the Eclipse 2. No software is needed or present inside the package. The only component that comes included is the palm rest, which I never use, regardless of shape or design. For the purposes of testing, I did attach it and try it out. Not surprisingly, I removed it after a short while, as I simply can’t get used to them. In its defense, it is a well-crafted addition. It has been built with supports all along the underside in order to prevent the bend that usually happens at various points along this superfluous piece of trim. The rest is extendable by just under an inch, and it even has its own rubber feet to further eliminate slippage. Someone was clearly thinking clearly when designing this part and not simply using left-over plastic to create a slapped-on afterthought.
I got used to this device in a very short period of time. It usually takes me a good few days to get used to a new peripheral, but I instantly felt at home on the Saitek 2. It could be the fact it shares similarities to the Eclipse One, but even so, it just felt right. During my testing period, I was engaged in heavy studying for cinematography and I did not experience discomfort during any time in my hours and hours of studying online and MSN activity.
- AMD 4200X2
- 2GB Kingston Memory
- 320 SATA HDD
- 2 6800GT SLI
- 650 Watt Thermaltake PSU
- WinXP Pro Service Pack 2
Gaming wise, I found the device to be a complete joy to use and literally had zero keyboard related complaints. My only speed bumps were due to the fact I have spent less time gaming of late as I haven't found any new games to be of any real interest to me. Other than that I tried out the usual suspects for games and was comfortable for long stretches in FPS, RPG, sports games and more.
In addition to gaming I also used the keyboard to slowly write a number of scripts. These writing sessions can often be very long and bleed into the early hours of the morning but still I never had an issue with comfort or extended use.
One thing I am now on the lookout for is overall wear and tear of the keys. I look back at the Logitech G15 and see that the keys are wearing horribly after only six months of moderate use. I am really unimpressed with this, not that I was floored by that keyboard in the first place. I shall watch the Eclipse 2 closely to see if similar erosion of the keys develops.
One small gripe about the device is its susceptibility to finger prints. The black area around the keys starts off as shiny as Britney's head and has a harder time staying clean than Robert Downey Jr. on a location scout in Amsterdam. The silver area that outlines the entire unit however, shows very little dust if any at all. Overall, this is the finest keyboard I have owned to date. I liked it from the get-go and continue to be impressed by both its ease of use and the overall appealing design and function.
- Smooth action keys
- Quiet usage
- Quick adaptability
- Nice color lighting
- Volume and light switches are pleasing
- Solid as can be
- Good value for money
- Looks dirty fast, due to shiny black finish
- Rubber feet stick out at corners