Pros:Proven hardware, no-frills, ultra-reliable
Cons:Hard plastic palmrest
The Bottom Line: An easy choice for anyone needing a sturdy multipurpose keyboard.
The original Saitek Eclipse keyboard is rather legendary in its popularity and simplicity. It was a no-frills keyboard with red or blue backlighting that catered to the gamer crowd. It could take lots of abuse and was priced very competitively. So how does Saitek make the best even better?
Recommend this product?
The Eclipse 2 is an evolutionary improvement, and not a redesign or cheapening. If you have the regular Eclipse, you'll feel right at home. If you've had your eye on the original Eclipse, I encourage you to consider this for the extra $10.
This is a no-frills keyboard, so anyone wanting the crazy macro buttons or gimmicky email/Internet/search buttons need not apply. The Eclipse 2 has no keys beyond the basics. For the Eclipse 2, very small media and volume control buttons were added along with a brightness dial. These are all crammed into the upper right corner and are inconspicuous. You won't lose any desk real estate because of an oversized keyboard.
Saitek decided to offer 3 colors in a single keyboard rather than sell two different models. You can now rotate been blue and red, or run both at once for a bright purple. The dial allows you to control the brightness though I never use it. The backlighting is a tad dimmer than the original Eclipse though it's still very usable even in bright conditions. Switch to purple if you need the brightest light.
Key action is exactly as it was on the original Eclipse. Frankly, it feels like they transplanted the internals into a different housing. And that's totally fine, as the keys are weighted well and aren't too squishy or too firm. They give a reassuring "clap" when pressed. It has proven to be versatile -- writing papers, emailing, gaming, and so on. This is a keyboard that fits just about any need, unlike the Logitech G15 or Razer whatever-it's-called. (I owned both and returned them)
The palmrest was improved for the Eclipse 2. It's much bigger and feels more natural, though some purists might want the squishy gel instead. You can remove the entire palmrest if you desire. The keyboard has two height adjustments as well.
Keep in mind this is a wired USB keyboard -- you won't find backlighting on a wireless keyboard unless you want to change batteries every week.
My Eclipse 2 is now 3 years old. I've even bought other keyboards thinking I had been missing out on the latest-and-greatest but I've returned them all. The Eclipse 2 really is the class-leader here and it's easy to see why they changed so little compared to the original. Some might argue the silver/black styling is cheap looking but in my mind, form follows function.
Amount Paid (US$): 45