Saitek For The Gamer - Eclipse II Keyboard Info and Testing

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Saitek For The Gamer
Mouse Software Installation and Testing
Eclipse II Keyboard Info and Testing
Cyborg Evo Wireless Joystick Info & Testing

First Look - Eclipse II Keyboard:

I know that many people think that "a keyboard is a keyboard".  I also know that many enthusiasts would argue that point and be willing to put their life on the line to defend their creed.  I believe that there are two kinds of keyboards - good ones and crappy ones.  Good ones generally cost more than $20 and are not stocked at your grocery store.  As part of the Saitek for Gamers thing we've got going on, we are looking at one of the flashiest and best keyboards I've used - the Eclipse II.

Eclipse II - Box
 Eclipse II - Box

Eclipse II - Bundle
 Eclipse II - Bundle

The Eclipse II keyboard doesn't come with any software or drivers.  This keyboard has a few multimedia functions and works straight out of the box.  While this limits its set of customizable features, it does mean that you won't have any software running in the background to control the extra buttons.

Specs & Features:

  • Key characters and keypad illuminate through laser-etched keys
  • Media keys for volume control, play/pause and skip tracks
  • Variable backlighting adjusts through dimmer mechanism
  • Angle adjustment and extendable wrist rest for maximum comfort to suit the way you type
  • Weighted base with large area rubber feet to keep keyboard securely planted to the desk
  • Quiet, cushioned keys for hours of stress-free use
  • Familiar 104 key layout

The keyboard follows the standard 104 key layout but does have some extra buttons above the number pad for special media features such as play/pause, stop, forward, back, volume up/down and mute.  There are also controls for backlight LED color as well as a dimmer control.

Although many people want to lay their keyboard flat on their desk, there are still a few of us that like the keyboard on a bit of a slope.  Logitech keyboards I've used in the past have very small and flimsy height adjustments, and usually only offer one setting.

Eclipse II - Adjustable Height
Eclipse II - Adjustable Height

The Eclipse II from Saitek has very sturdy feet and actually has two different positions for two different heights.  The wrist rest can also be adjust in several positions from being tight to the keyboard as well as extended to separate it away from the keyboard.

Although Saitek may have not been the first company to put LED lights in a keyboard for backlighting, they certainly have done one of the best jobs with the Eclipse II.  It has three user-selectable colors that can be adjusted for brightness.  Not only do the LED lights backlight the keyboard, but they also light up the desk on either side.  This is handy for low-light gaming sessions when you need to find your can a Red Bull without knocking it over in the dark.

Eclipse II - Colors!
Eclipse II - Colors!

Testing:

We've used this keyboard right along side of the GM3200 for the past few weeks and I can honestly say that this is the nicest keyboard I've ever used.  While some of you may argue the usefulness of a backlit keyboard, it is actually a very handy feature - especially since my wife's computer is in our bedroom and she likes to occasionally stay up and game after I go to bed.  The key presses are smooth and very quiet and the LED gives off a nice aura on red, purple or blue.

Finally, we'll take a look at the Saitek Cyborg Evo Wireless Joystick on the last page.