Gadgets 294

Published on January 28th, 2009 | by Greg


Saitek’s Eclipse III: Big, Beautiful, but Shallow

Normal keyboards do a pretty good job- the better ones are durable, attractive, and reasonably sized. Some gamers and hardware aficionados don’t want a keyboard that is reasonable- they want a larger keyboard, with more buttons, and, heck, why not throw in a touch screen?

Saitek took a brash path with their Eclipse III keyboard, and ultimately will appeal to only a small audience- but those who enjoy bells and whistles and sheer bulk should like it. You’ll want to clear space though, and make sure that you have room on your desk- this bad boy measures over 21 inches and uses every inch. It’s wired, which may be a bit annoying but both conserves on battery life and is a bit more responsive than wireless keyboards.

Onto the unique features: the backlighting is only OK and though it claims to be multi-color, it isn’t really (as you are stuck with a single color/hue)… the reds and blues are unsubtle shades of each, we might add. It works, but could be brighter. Also unique is the touchpad, and it is here where the Eclipse let us down the most- it simply doesn’t work that well. It’s touchy and unreliable. The built-in volume indicator is merely alright, as the lights are oddly out of touch with the actual volume. The detachable wrist rest and keyboard layout are both fine, and the build quality is fairly high- it can take a beating.

The Eclipse lacks any USB ports, but does feature nice headphone and microphone pass-through ports which seemed to work just fine. And in terms of typing, it did take some getting used to, and felt somewhere in the middle of the pack- not as crisp as some keyboards, but not as soft as others. It also lacks some of the feedback on the keys themselves that help align your fingers but, again, this isn’t a typist’s keyboard. The Saitek Eclipse III is a gamer’s keyboard, and makes no apologies for it… but sadly offers little beyond lighting to those not inclined to marathon gaming sessions. ~$80, primarily online.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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