Peripherals manufacturer Saitek is well known for their balance of good prices and cool features. A variety of equipment is available from the Hongkong-based outfit, including the Eclipse II gaming keyboard. We got our hands on an Eclipse II, and took it for spin. Read our thoughts below.
Layout & Design
The styling of the Eclipse II clearly reflects what could be called “gamer chic” – there is nothing subtle about the silver and black design used. Additionally, a slew of LEDs is built into the keyboard to provide lighting effects, and indicate if Caps Lock, Num Lock, or Scroll Lock are activated.
As a full-sized keyboard, the Eclipse II naturally features a 104+ key layout, complete with function keys and number pad. Sadly, there are no macro/gaming keys to be found – a rarity on modern gaming keyboards.
Above the number pad, users will find a small set of media control keys. Three rocker switches allow for control over Skip Forward/Back, Play/Pause as well as Volume Up/Down. A final rocker switch accommodates the Mute button, along with a button for cycling through the keyboard lighting options. In between the two pairs of switches, a small knob allows for regulation of the keyboard lighting intensity.
Sadly, the media control keys only fully control Windows Media Player – they will only work for other players if you have the player open as the top-most window, effectively negating the advantage of having media keys if you don’t use WMP as your primary player. Seeing how the keyboard connects via USB, we think this easily could be changed with a small utility or driver.
Comfortability of Use
With the Eclipse II, Saitek has definitely tried to make a keyboard that is very comfortable to use. Not only can the keyboard be set to a variety of angles with the small legs that can be folded out from the bottom, there is also a generously-sized palmrest included. This palmrest, emblazoned with the Saitek logo just like the keyboard itself, can be removed at will, and can even be set to sit a few millimeters from the keyboard. This leaves a small gap between the palmrest and the rest of the unit, but is definitely a nice addition for those with large hands looking for more typing comfort.
Regarding build quality, our test unit couldn’t hold its own against other keyboards – the entire unit felt plasticky and kind of cheap. There is a small amount of flex throughout the keyboard, especially in the palmrest. Also, the four rubber feet underneath the keyboard, each in one corner, don’t provide very much grip, despite being generously dimensioned – ever so often, the Eclipse II would just slide away under our hands.
Overall, the Saitek Eclipse II gaming keyboard was not able to convince us. While it was fairly comfortable to type on, the lackluster build quality and lack of dedicated gaming keys were substantial downsides. From our point of view, hardcore gamers probably won’t be satisfied by the Eclipse II.
We’ve rated the Eclipse II gaming keyboard the same way we rated keyboards in other reviews, letting you easily compare scores.
Layout & Design: 7
Media & Gaming Keys: 4.5