Published on January 28th, 2009 | by Greg0
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.