Saitek Gamers Blue Lit Keyboard Review

skinny - 2007-06-17 07:34:33 in Input Devices
Category: Input Devices
Reviewed by: skinny      
Reviewed on: January 25, 2006
Price: $40
Nik's Thoughts
The Saitek Eclipse keyboard has been a surprisingly good buy. After initially favoring the keyboard due to the "blue glow" coming from it's illuminated keys, I have found it to be equally as suitable for hardcore gaming as I have for my work which involves countless hours at the computer. With a shelf full of keyboards that have failed to keep up with my heavy (and sometimes temperamental) usage I am pleased to find the keyboard originally bought as a novelty is now one of the components I cannot live without. Although I purchased it with gaming in mind I had to have something that didn't look absurd when daytime rolled around and work was back to being a priority. At first I looked at the Z-Board but couldn't imagine one of my clients taking me seriously if they saw the overly colorful input device sitting in front of my monitor. That said, having a keyboard that garners some attention would still be nice. When shopping around I found the gaudy Z-Board looked like a flattened cereal box while the slicker Eclipse looks more like someone ripped it straight out of Cypher's hands in the first Matrix.

Brad's Thoughts
The Saitek Eclipse keyboard is quite visually appealing, with or without the glow of the blue backlighting. The black body with 104 silver keys appears subtle, yet classy. This is a bare-bones keyboard in terms of extras, with only four extra buttons on it: three for volume control, and one that controls the backlighting. There are three settings to the light, which are bright, dim, or off. Not only are the keys backlit, but the character on each key glows blue as well.


Closer Look
Nik's Thoughts
So it looks great but how does it respond? Well, the keyboard is an absolute pleasure to use. The supple keys haven't bothered me in the way my Dell and Microsoft keyboards did after extended use. Even after a night's worth of marathon 300 ticket rounds of Battlefield 2 my hands don't develop any discomfort while on the Eclipse. Although the keyboard is eye catching, the keys are setup in a surprisingly utilitarian way. The standard 104 key-keyboard features buttons for volume adjustment and a button to adjust the amount of light given off. Options for light inlcude low, high and off. The Eclipse also comes with red glowing keys. The keys are soft to the touch and relatively quiet even under rapid fire use. Up until this keyboard, my girlfriend was able to hear my typing from one room over but has not complained once since the purchase of the Eclipse. You see dear, I spent 60-plus bucks on this keyboard for you. A worthwhile mention is the fact I have found one of my pet peeves is absent in the way the spacebar operates. I have always hated when it felt as if I were only depressing the left or right side of the spacebar on most keyboards. That flexibility isn't present here as the entire spacebar depresses not matter where you hit it.

Brad's Thoughts
The keypress on this keyboard is very nice. It is firm but very smooth. The keys are quiet when pressed, avoiding the loud clacking found in some cheaper keyboards. The is a plain, flat board, there are no ergonomical curves or fancy shapes. The blue glow is not very visible with the lights on (which I guess shouldn�t be a surprise), but with the lights off, the glow is quite attractive. If you can avoid any other light source hitting the keys, the blue glow works very well. However, with any other light (such as the glow coming from my 19� monitor) the lettering on the keys does not stand out nearly as well.


Nik's Thoughts
After a few weeks of use I can definitely say this is how keyboards should feel. After all aside from the mouse, this is the input device a user will spend the most time with. It has an almost authoritative feel as if it confirms that you are indeed the one in control unlike some keyboards that make you feel as if you are asking the computer to do something not telling it. After a recent rash of Windows issues caused me to use system restore a number of times I found the Eclipse was quite durable. The frustrating process of finding a solution lead to my pressing of the keys harder and harder each time I was forced to try a new solution so if it can withstand that it can take quite alot of abuse. As far as improvements for the next incarnation of the Eclipse, I'd have to say my only gripe is the lack of any programmable buttons. Even a handful across the top in similar fashion to the light and volume controls would be a welcome addition. Saitek's Gamer's keyboard offers programmable buttons in the form of an external "number key pad". Aside from that, the Eclipse is a top notch purchase that I highly recommend.

Brad's Thoughts
Other than typing this and a few other documents, not much was done to test this keyboard, as like I mentioned a few times above, this is a basic keyboard. You will not gain any special advantages in gaming with this board. Your ability to type 200 words per minute will not magically appear. You will not be able to open special programs with the touch of just one key. However, you WILL have one of the coolest looking keyboards around.