Saitek Eclipse II Illuminated Keyboard Review

Saitek is known primarily for their line of gaming and multimedia peripherals for the PC, most

particularly their keyboards and mice. Saitek’s Eclipse II is no different, it’s a backlighted keyboard aimed primarily towards gamers and multimedia enthusiasts with many features to try and set it apart from the competition, and is currently priced at around $60. In this review I’ll list some of the defining features of the Eclipse II, and explain what I found to be great, and what I found isn’t so great about this gaming keyboard.

Features

Saitek’s Eclipse II has many decent features, some are somewhat unique while most are pretty standard for a gaming keyboard. Here’s a list of the most notable features:

  • Backlit/Illuminated keys
  • Various media keys
  • Backlighting brightness adjustment
  • Detachable wrist rest
  • Weighted base
  • Standard 104 key layout

As you can see, the Eclipse II has quite a lot of features. Some of these could definitely use more in-depth explanation, however, and there’s a few things I feel should be mentioned.
The backlighting comes in 3 different (And switchable) colors; Blue, Red, and Pink. The backlighting is a lot brighter than most backlit keyboards I’ve seen, as the backlighting is still pretty bright even in a fully lit room.
The brightness of the backlighting can also be adjusted through a dimmer knob. Rotate it left to darken the lighting, and rotate it right to brighten it. Rotating it all the way to the left will accomplish the same as turning off the backlighting.
The Eclipse II’s multimedia keys are pretty standard; Play/Pause, Stop, Rewind, Fast forward, and volume controls. The multimedia keys work perfectly well, and they work with every media player I’ve used without any hassle.
The only issue I have with the media keys is that the volume controls are buttons, as I wish they would have used a knob similar to the dimmer knob or possibly even a scroll wheel, but this is only a minor annoyance based on my personal preference.
The wrist rest that comes with the Eclipse II is fully detachable and not too dissimilar in appearance to most wrist rests. However, the wrist rest itself is far from comfortable and seems to serve no other purpose than to take up precious desk space.
The wrist rest feels like it was made from cheap plastic and is very thin, which makes it feel very uncomfortable and provides practically no support for your wrist. Worst yet, the one that came with mine got a very large crack in it after just a month of using it, and since then I have stopped using it completely as the crack made it all the more uncomfortable.

The Feel

The keys themselves feel very comfortable and smooth, requiring little pressure to push down but still enough so that it feels like you’re actually typing, and best of all, they don’t make any loud “click-clack” sounds when typing.
I feel the multimedia keys could have used some more work, as compared to the other keys they feel a lot harder and require much more pressure to press down on. I wish they would have been made similarly to the rest of the keys instead of hard plastic.
Without a proper wrist rest, typing for long periods of time on the Eclipse II can become very uncomfortable. If you don’t find the wrist rest that comes with the Eclipse II comfortable (As I didn’t) then I would advise you get a 3 rd party wrist rest to use instead.

The Quality

Asides from the aforementioned flimsy wrist rest, the Eclipse II’s build quality is superb. After over 2 years of using it I haven’t run into any problems with its quality. Even after traveling with it, it still works perfect.
There are a few issues with the paint on the keys wearing off, but it has taken 2 years for them to start wearing out, and this is expected for most keyboards in the Eclipse II’s price range anyways.

Conclusion

For $60 Saitek’s Eclipse II keyboard is a pretty good deal, despite its lack of a quality wrist rest. Its features and build quality far outweigh its few shortcomings.
If you’re looking for a gaming or multimedia keyboard around the $60 price range the Eclipse II is a pretty good choice, but if you plan to use your keyboard extensively and for long periods of time, I would recommend you to either buy a 3 rd party wrist rest as well or look elsewhere.

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