Saitek Eclipse 3 Review

The Saitek Eclipse 3 is the latest version of the popular gaming keyboard. It takes some of the features of the Saitek Cyborg and sticks them onto the old version to create a new mid-range keyboard.

Saitek Eclipse 3 at Amazon

Backlighting

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.

Multimedia Keys

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.

Saitek Eclipse 3 at Amazon

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.

Other Features

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.

Price

Retail price for the Eclipse 3 is a little high at £50 or $80, but Amazon are already selling it for £38 or $77.

Conclusion

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

Saitek Eclipse 3 On Ebay

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Author: Chris

Chris is a devout PC gamer who spends way, way too much time sat at his PC either gaming or writing. You can find Chris on Google+

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5 Comments

  1. Hey, dude, those are two different pictures. Plus, the second one has both the Cyborg and Eclipse logos. The original Eclipse 3 doesn’t have the multi zone back lighting. I have one…it doesn’t multi light. Just felt like pointing that out…

  2. You’re right Marshie! The only thing I can think is that picture was an early promotional shot before they finalized the design as its got some elements of the Cyborg but not all.

    I didn’t think there was any multi-zone lighting after I’d had a go with the Eclipse 3, but then I saw that picture and thought I must have missed out on one of its more important new features. That’ll teach me to believe everything I see on the internet. Doh!

    Ah well, I live and learn! The post has been updated to reflect this and I’ve changed the picture.

  3. Wish I had read this before buying it. How has media keys that you cant reprogram. NO ONE USES Windows Media Player and you cant change it to iTunes or WinAmp. Waste of money. What a terrible evolution of the Eclipse 2.

  4. I agree – definitely a backward step.

  5. haha i know this is a while later but you CAN actually change what music player it opens. you have to go into control panel, defaults and change which music player you want to the default audio player. then the button works perfectly!

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