Saitek Eclipse 3 Review
Starting off with the lighting, the Eclipse 3 borrows the Cyborg’s multi-zone lighting. Different areas of the keyboard can be illuminated in three different colours (red, blue and purple) using the touch-sensitive panel that runs across the top of the keyboard. The settings you choose are remembered after a reboot, an improvement over the old model. The touch-panel also houses the brightness controls, as well as buttons for the media controls.
The next new feature on the Eclipse 3 is the column of six buttons down each side. At first glance this looks like a series of programmable keys as you’d find on the Cyborg but sadly they’re not, they’re a set of multimedia keys whose functions can’t be reprogrammed. Down the left you’ll find keys for open browser, forward, back, new tab, refresh page and favourites and down the right there are sleep, My Computer, search, open email program, open media player and calculator. Not exactly the stuff of dreams for gamers, but they’re OK for everyday use once you get used to their position.
The keys are laser-etched so the backlighting shones through clearly and the consistency of the colours is pretty good across the board, with only the keys at the far corners being slightly brighter than the others. The key press action is light to the touch and very nice to type with – if you’ve used an Eclipse 2 then you’ll be pleased to hear that the Eclipse 3 feels just as good.
The other new feature is a pair of pass-through connectors for headphones and microphone, allowing you to cut down some of the wiring clutter on your desk. Not a hugely important feature, but some people will appreciate it.
As far as comfort is concerned the keyboard has two levels of height adjustment and has a removable wrist rest. Whatever your preference you should be able to get comfortable using the Eclipse 3.
You can’t really call the Saitek Eclipse 3 a gaming keyboard. If the multimedia keys had been reprogrammable then you could justify it as a gaming device, but really this is a standard multimedia keyboard with smart backlighting. As it is the multimedia keys push the width of this keyboard up to 21 inches without adding much in the way of benefit.
However, the backlighting is good and nicely controlled with the touch-panel, and the fact that the keyboard remembers your settings is a big improvement over the old Eclipse 2. It is very comfortable to use and they keys are a joy to type with.
If you’re after a gaming keyboard then you might be better off upgrading to a Saitek Cyborg or picking a Razer Lycosa or Logitech G11, but if you aren’t too fussed about gaming features then the Saitek Eclipse 3 is an excellent choice.
Gaming Weapons Rating – 7/10