Review: Saitek Eclipse II Backlit Keyboard

USB Keyboard for big hands (December 28th, 2006)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Saitek Industries Ltd.

Price: $69.95

The Good

  • Adjustable backlight in 3 colors. Removable wrist rest. Number keypad.

The Bad

  • Keys spaced far apart. Huge keyboard. Backlight shines too brightly through keys.

When my PowerBook G4 keyboard, barely a year old, started popping keys and sticking, I sought an external keyboard to use, until I have time to send my machine to Apple for repair. The Saitek Industries Eclipse II Backlit Keyboard looked like a good solution.

The Look and Feel

The silver casing, its weighted base, and rubber feet keep it from moving around any surface. It is formidable at best. With the comfortable snap-on wrist rest attached, it takes up almost as much space as the PowerBook. It measures about 19" long by 6.5" wide, compared to an old 15" iMac keyboard that is 15.5" long by 5" wide, and both have a separate number pad. I needed a much larger desk to accommodate the keyboard. The wing-like looking corners are not as big as they look in the pictures though.

The red, blue, or purple backlighting can be changed on the fly with a simple button that also works as a dimmer switch. The laser-etched keys show the light through them, so a dimmer light is better for your eyes. Adjustable hinges on the underside let you adjust the angle for comfort. While this USB keyboard is advertised on the site as only Windows compatible, the public relations teams offers it up for Macintosh reviews. Plus, it works just fine with a Macintosh, well almost. I went to hit command-S and pressed some foreign key - Alt. Whoops, the keys are definitely PC-oriented. The little white not-quite-Windows insignia button does serve as a Command key though.

A Big Accessory

The problem with this keyboard is not that it is PC-compatible, but that it is huge for most desks, and that the keys are widely spaced apart. I feel like my fingers are jumping over chasms to get to the keys. On the other hand, all the keys work, which is more than I can say for my PB G4. If you have large hands you might not mind the reach from key to key, but for my size 7 hands, it was just too much. The backlighting shines brightly through the keys, so it is less effective at lighting up the keyboard and more effective at lighting up the room. The dimmer switch helps because you can lower the light to almost nothing.

Works Well, But Too Big For Me

I only used the keyboard for a couple of hours, because my wrists started screaming at me. The pain got very intense very quickly, so I carefully packed the keyboard back up and thought, okay this is not a good product for me. Your experience may be better, if you have bigger hands. So, for the time being I shall stick with my iMac keyboard and an open case to be filled with Apple Computer.

by ilene hoffman, Reviews Editor


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