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Illuminated keyboards...

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  • Homebuilt
  • Playstation
  • Keyboards
  • Systems
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December 19, 2006 6:47:33 PM

I've been looking for a top-quality illuminated keyboard for two years now. Compact and slim-line laptop -like illuminated keyboards are a dime a dozen but I want a REAL keyboard. Full travel keys that actually have FEEL. And I need a PS2 port because of my 8-port KVM switch.

Saitek's Eclipse came out a while ago but the feel was mediocre, the funky design doesn't sit properly in a keyboard tray, and keytop wear was a problem. Saitek recently came out with the Eclipse II which solved many practical problems and made the shape a little less funky, but made no improvements to keyswitch feel, left durability still questionable, and its lighting is uneven. Logitech has the G15 but its shape too is a bit funky, is actually a bit too large for a keyboard tray, I'll never use all those widgets and like the Saitek, it's USB -only.

I really wanted to try and use the Eclipse II. Picked one up cheap ($45!) at Best Buy, tried to stick one of those $3 USB-PS2 adapters on it but no joy, so back to the drawing board I went.

What I needed was a converter, not an adapter. And so I went digging through the Internet to find USB to PS2 converters. Unfortunately due to extremely limited demand they don't come cheap. The least expensive one was around $80, pumping up the price of my $45 keyboard to over $140 with tax and shipping.

While I was looking for information on those converters however, I stumbled upon Déck Keyboards. I can't believe that in the hours and hours I have spent searching the Internet for illuminated or luminescent keyboards I never found Déck, only to discover them last week while searching for only vaguely related information!

So over this weekend I ordered myself the Déck Legend "Ice", in a PS2 version. It's a standard full-size conservative format keyboard, supposedly built like an APC, with good ol' Cherry keyswitches and LEDs under each long-life keycap. And if I ever decide to join the 21st century and replace my old KVM with something more current, the Legend can be converted to USB in just a few minutes with basic soldering skills.

Yeah, I know, it's $170 shipped. Not cheap by a longshot. Then again it's only $30 more than the cheesy Eclipse II with a converter, and I'd be spending just as much money next month on the power supply alone for my upcoming new PC build. There are freaks out there who would eagerly pay that much money for an old IBM Model M clickity-clack keyboard fresh in its original box, so I don't feel too extravagant.

The UPS truck should be dropping off the new keyboard on Thursday. Expect me to post a review by the weekend.

-Brad

More about : illuminated keyboards

December 19, 2006 7:42:00 PM

I am also looking for a clear/Illuminated keyboard.
December 19, 2006 8:06:43 PM

Have you taken a look at Logitech's G line of keyboards? The G15 may be a little more than what you're looking for with it's additional small LCD screen, but there is a lower end version, think the G10 (not 100% sure on the name) that does not have the LCD and the macro keys.
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December 19, 2006 8:46:33 PM

razer also has an illuminated keyboard...
December 19, 2006 8:51:54 PM

how about the new microsoft 5000 multimedia keyboard. looks sweet. not sure if its out yet though.
December 19, 2006 9:02:18 PM

looks like a pretty awesome keyboard. nice find. :) 
December 19, 2006 9:11:24 PM

VERY slick marketing, I'll give them that. WOW.

Dunno about the price....OUCH. I could get a G15 and a G5/G7 for that. I wonder about the build quality, especially the long-term. My G15 is losing some of its black "paint" on certain keys, but I've had it for a year. However, the LCD display is truly indispensable to me.....I doubt I could go back to a keyboard without one.

Report back with some analysis and photos after you get it running for awhile, be interesting to see more of it.
December 19, 2006 9:29:08 PM

Illuminated keys...the one feature that 15" PowerBook had over the classic 12" (best. computer. ever.)

A question for you:

If 'Das Keyboard' makes you type twice as fast, does an illuminated keyboard make you type slower?
Anonymous
December 19, 2006 9:31:47 PM

I totally enjoy my Logitech G15 keyboard. They had a problem with paint coming off the keys but it has been fixed with e new coating.
December 19, 2006 10:12:01 PM

Quote:
I totally enjoy my Logitech G15 keyboard. They had a problem with paint coming off the keys but it has been fixed with e new coating.


I love my G15 as well, I spend about 14 hours a day on my G15 because I work at home and game really hard at night.

This keyboard is by far the best feeling keyboard in my experience. If you don't like the LCD screen that the G15 comes with just get the G11 and save yourself some money.
December 19, 2006 10:17:36 PM

Keyboard looks sweeet! - Looking forward to your review.
December 19, 2006 10:44:37 PM

usb to ps2 converter...ever hear of one... all my keyboards i have ever bought in the last 5 years have come with one... solves the usb/ps2 problem
December 19, 2006 10:52:25 PM

i never really thought of an illuminated keyboard.

but you can bet i am now :D 
December 19, 2006 10:55:14 PM

nevermind the deck legend for 159$ uhm no.
December 19, 2006 11:22:41 PM

Yeah I used to have a normal USB keyboard that had no illuminated keys, and I found that when playing some games, where you had to type some out of the way key, like 7 or u or something, I would often type the wrong button, so most of the time I'd have my light on in my room. Now with my G15, no more of that horrendus mis-typing, though when I'm just typing on my keyboard normally, I turn the lights off, unless there's something on the LCD that I would like to have on. LCD is very very handy.
December 19, 2006 11:32:42 PM

i might start looking at a new k/b.

have always used the ones that come with dells or gateways
they are the best. durable and have a better feel. for me that is.
have tried the 20 and 30 dollar ones and they suck.

havent tried a 50 dollar or more keyboard.
like my 6 year old m.s. joystick, it rocks.
better than syeteks, have had a couple of them.
December 20, 2006 12:35:13 AM

I love my Saitek Eclipse with it's blue illuminated keys, really makes late-night surfing a hoot.
I designed the entire system around a blue color theme, what i really want is a keyboard like the Eclipse but with a built-in touch-pad mouse,
a combination mouse/keyboard input device to eliminate the clutter..
December 20, 2006 12:48:35 AM

havent tried the saitek k/b,s, but have tried/owned their joysticks.
for flightsims and bf2, they are good but im just use to my old sidewinder joystick. it has slack from so much use and the new saiteks are tight
but thats my fualt for not getting use to them :lol: 
December 20, 2006 12:49:02 AM

The Deck is a great looking keyboard just like the Eclipse, i can't justify paying over 3x as much for it though....
Another thing that bothers me about the Deck is individual lighting for each key, hmmmmmm.....a minimum of 105 LED's to replace at some time in the future, maybe that's why they have a repair link posted on the webpage.... 8O
December 20, 2006 1:17:26 AM

I am thinking about getting the Eclipse II from Saitek or the Tarantula from Razer. Friend won a Razer through an online giveaway and it is very heavy and feels like a tank, I love it. Silent keystrokes and the customizable profiles for different games is really cool.
December 22, 2006 7:20:29 AM

Got the Déck keyboard in today. Took a couple of photos but won't do anything until tomorrow probably. Quick impressions before I hit the pillow...

The lighting is BRIGHT. The lowest setting is brighter than the Eclipse's highest. The brightest setting stands out boldly in a room with a 300W halogen lamp.

The rows of keys are not dished. Then again, nor are Saitek's. The key tops are dished normally.

The space bar sits a bit low.

Keys with dual markings are lit so the primary use is lit best.

The keys have a slightly mechanical sound and solid feel, long throw, and it seems like they require a touch more travel to activate. The keys are not at all clicky or snappy, just linear.

It works perfectly fine with my legacy KVM switch.

The key spacing on the bottom row is just a wee bit different due to the inclusion of the FN key, which is used to adjust the backlighting and indicators.

The new keyboard is about ten or eleven ounces heavier than the refugee Dell keyboard I've been using. The cord is about one foot shorter. It has rubber feet in front but not in back.

To quickly address a few comments:

balister, yes I've looked at Logitech's G line, I even mentioned the G15 in the original post. Their web site does not list a G10 but does list a G11, which is still a bit too large and most problematic for me in particular, is USB -only. In that respect refer to my original post and what I'm about to mention to Lowsky.

Waylander, yes, Razer has illuminated keyboards. So do many outfits. They do not, however, offer a truly full size standard layout keyboard with full travel keys. Right now that category seems to belong strictly to Logitech, Saitek and Déck.

Lowsky, there's a subtle but very important difference between adapters and converters. The adapters rely on the keyboard (or mouse for that matter) being designed to "speak" PS2 or USB and just re-map the wires from one connector to the other. Not all keyboards and mice are so capable. The converters actually include an electronic module to change the USB HID protocol back to the PS2 protocol. I also have to mention that a side-effect of this translation is that USB -only keyboards offering special features (i.e. LCD displays, programmable keys, etc.) will not be able to use those features through a converter.

sirheck, I mentioned the price in the original post. Where were ya', dude?

mad-dog, LEDs last a VERY long time. I'd worry about hardware obsolescence or my own death before I'd worry about those LEDs burning out.

TTFN,
-Brad
December 22, 2006 12:23:02 PM

I love my G15. The illuminated keys are great for low light times. the only thing that is rough is if you try to use it when it is not illuminated its is very hard to see, same thing ti really bright light. (Be a true gamer & dont open the shades!)
The only thing i can honestly say i wish was better was that more games had support for the lcd screen.
December 22, 2006 12:24:57 PM

Quote:

To quickly address a few comments:

balister, yes I've looked at Logitech's G line, I even mentioned the G15 in the original post. Their web site does not list a G10 but does list a G11, which is still a bit too large and most problematic for me in particular, is USB -only. In that respect refer to my original post and what I'm about to mention to Lowsky.


I realize, but they also come with a USB to PS/2 adapter which I didn't find any trouble with (I have a G15 and I've tried it both with USB and with PS/2 adapter and there was no difference).
December 22, 2006 4:47:42 PM

Quote:

To quickly address a few comments:

balister, yes I've looked at Logitech's G line, I even mentioned the G15 in the original post. Their web site does not list a G10 but does list a G11, which is still a bit too large and most problematic for me in particular, is USB -only. In that respect refer to my original post and what I'm about to mention to Lowsky.


I realize, but they also come with a USB to PS/2 adapter which I didn't find any trouble with (I have a G15 and I've tried it both with USB and with PS/2 adapter and there was no difference).
Very interesting. I stand corrected, then. I was given different advice.

And does the LCD function via PS2 as well?

-Brad
December 25, 2006 12:09:01 AM

Quote:

To quickly address a few comments:

balister, yes I've looked at Logitech's G line, I even mentioned the G15 in the original post. Their web site does not list a G10 but does list a G11, which is still a bit too large and most problematic for me in particular, is USB -only. In that respect refer to my original post and what I'm about to mention to Lowsky.


I realize, but they also come with a USB to PS/2 adapter which I didn't find any trouble with (I have a G15 and I've tried it both with USB and with PS/2 adapter and there was no difference).
Very interesting. I stand corrected, then. I was (obviously) misinformed! Apologies to anyone who is misdirected as a result.

Curious, what happens with the LCD display, etc. when you use the G15 keyboard on a PS2 port?

Thanks,
Brad
December 25, 2006 12:58:26 AM

Saitek has a lighted keyboard the Eclpise. Nice board. It is black not sure if they have any other colors it was an xmas present.
December 25, 2006 4:17:01 AM

I have the G15 and Auravision(slimseries)by EluminX. It is pretty cool also.
December 25, 2006 4:22:28 AM

I love my Tarantula, best keyboard I have ever used. Although I must admit it is not a truly illuminated keyboard - it simply has 11 keys light up and an illuminated Razer symbol.
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