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Saitek Eclipse keyboard review

Discussion in 'Computers & Technology' started by binary visions, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Thought I'd post up a review of this keyboard now that I've had it and used it every day for a week or so.

    http://www.saitekusa.com/usa/prod/eclipse2.htm

    It's not every day you drop $50 on a keyboard. Especially not one without a single multimedia control panel, scroll wheel, or extraneous key anywhere on it. But me, that's what I live for - simple items, high in quality, low in complexity. I don't want sixteen programmable buttons that can be set to flash in twelve different colors in time to whatever tune you have playing on WinAmp at the moment.

    If you want simple, this is your keyboard. There are exactly four buttons on it, three of them control system volume (up, down and mute), and the fourth controls the backlight LEDs. It doesn't get any simpler than that.

    The Good:

    There's a lot good about this keyboard. It's well built, with four large glossy black screws holding it together. The four rubber pads on the bottom are huge and work very well to hold the keyboard in place. The keys are solid and generally don't rattle (see note in The Bad). The keys are laid out well in a standard configuration - no halfsized backspace or backslash keys here. The backlight looks extremely cool, although it's mostly a non-value added feature for a touch typist. It does make for an easy reference in the dark, though, and I've got glowing blue LEDs on my router and a blue mouse so I guess it matches in a meterosexual sort of way (woohoo, my keyboard and router match :rolleyes: ). Backlighting is fairly uniform - it's excellent looking down at it, but gets worse when you start to look at it from an angle. Some of the reviews indicated that they couldn't read the keys at extreme angles but unless they've got the keyboard right up level with their forehead, I think they're full of crap - you can see all of the keys at any angle. More good stuff: it's very low profile, quiet to type on (see note in The Ugly), you don't need any drivers or software to use it, and (a nice little touch) the USB cable is very long.

    Oh, and I like the oversized space bar.

    The Bad:

    Everyone raved about how solid and heavy this keyboard was in the reviews I read. I guess I was raised in the time with keyboards were serious devices, peripherals that you could use in hand-to-hand combat, or to drive in railroad spikes in a pinch. My Compaq keyboard weighed a few pounds and was built like the proverbial brick sh*thouse. I opened this box and was simply unimpressed. Okay, so it feels pretty well put together, but it doesn't weigh all that much and the build quality was good, but not exceptional. Most of the keys don't rattle, but they're a little spotty - my backspace key rattles when my fingers brush it, and a couple other keys do the same. Not a big deal at all, but for $50 with no real features to speak of, it'd be nice if the tolerances were a hair tighter. The rattling is very minimal, though, and is only noticable because most of the keys don't rattle a bit.

    Another thing that is slightly irritating is that you cannot set the keyboard's default lighting setting, and it doesn't come defaulted to off. Anytime you reboot your computer or plug the keyboard in, it's going to turn on the LEDs. Again, not a big deal, just something that would be nice to be able to change. Or at least default it to off since the LED on/off button is easily accessible in the dark.

    Incidentally, this keyboard can not be rearranged into a Dvorak layout, since the F and J keys are mounted on different sized posts from the rest of the keyboard. Any new layouts you want will have to be stickered or blind typing. All the keys are removable, though. I checked before I purchased it.

    The Ugly:

    This is a soft touch keyboard.

    You don't so much press the keys as push on them and they give way under the pressure. I'll eventually get used to it but I'll never love it. It makes for a very quiet keyboard but I like the tactile sensation of having the keys click under my fingers. It's purely a matter of personal taste, but I knew going into it that this was a soft touch keyboard so it's something I was prepared to get used to. However, the keys have a nice firm feel and good action.

    The Conclusion:

    Overall, I really like this keyboard. I'd highly recommend it to anyone that doesn't despise a soft touch keyboard. The three lighting levels (bright, dim, off) are nice, and the layout and build quality are very good. If you want a keyboard without a hundred extra buttons, look no further. It's even better if you get it on sale and don't spend retail :D
     

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  2. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    You can tape/glue some lead fishing sinkers/or spare quarters across the bottom to give you the burley feel back. And if you are in a dire need of caffine, you can pull the quarters off for the soda machine :D
     
  3. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Look, I know your mother charges you for soda since all you do all day is pilfer her food/drink supply and scurry back down to the basement, but at my house, drinks are kept unlocked in the 'fridge, and I have no machine that requires money :p
     
  4. Tenchiro

    Tenchiro Attention K Mart Shoppers

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    Tsk, should have got the Logitech. ;)
     
  5. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    Too many buttons. I was only really drawn to the scroll wheel - the rest of the buttons are garbage for me (I'm only 2ft away from my mouse and speakers, why do I need to control music with my keyboard?), and it's one less piece of software that needs to be running in the background, eating CPU cycles and precious KB of memory ;)
     
  6. Pau11y

    Pau11y Turbo Monkey

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    Dah.. it was for you home.. gotcha. When I was at the hotel, I bought a really nice KB for work out of my own cash (friggin' bastards were to cheap to sport me a nice board) since I spend more time on a 'board there than I did at home. They didn't however make us pay for sodas. That was the reason I quit drinking sodas (quit refined sugar alltogether, even today) when my teeth started to hurt and I started putting on weight. You wouldn't happen to be one of the lucky ones to work out of your home ehy?
     
  7. Tenchiro

    Tenchiro Attention K Mart Shoppers

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    Yeah but while they keys take a very light touch, they have a wonderful click to them. They almost sound happy do be pressed.

    Very snappy indeed.

    EDIT -- But I never run the software, it is kind of sucky.