Peripheral and controller maker Mad Catz is getting into the "lifestyle orientated mice and PC keyboards" game, launching the Eclipse line of high end PC accessories later this year. We went hands and lifestyle on with the line at CES.
The wireless Eclipse litetouch Keyboard is the most impressive offering, a slick looking, minimal design keyboard with one very cool feature, a touch sensitive LCD screen where one would normally expect a numerical key pad. The keyboard itself is backlit for easier viewing in darkened multimedia rooms and a trackball and pair of mouse buttons sit directly below the LCD screen, nice additions, but it's the touch panel that has me considering the hefty price tag.
The buttons on the LCD panel can be swapped to perform multiple functions, including acting as a standard numerical pad. There's a multimedia shortcut setting for accessing video and music, plus the MyEclipse mode, the most customizable of the three options, letting the user assign the shortcuts and functions of their choosing to a series of buttons.
The wireless 2.4GHz keyboard that we played with was comfortable and sturdy, with the LCD touch panel surprisingly responsive and easy to navigate. The only concerns, beside the $US129.99 USD price for the wireless version, was the smaller size of the function icons on each key and the lack of a scroll wheel on the keyboard itself.
But that's probably what Mad Catz's Eclipse touchmouse and mobilemouse are for.
We played around with the Eclipse touchmouse to know that it's a solidly designed wireless option that looks like a good complement to the keyboard offerings. It features a touch sensitive panel where one would normally find a mousewheel, letting the user touch-scroll up, down, left and right. While the tactile sensation of scrolling is gone, we're getting pretty comfortable with swiping and sliding at this point.
The Eclipse touchmouse also has some fancy gesture recognition tech built in, something we didn't get to test. But we'll hopefully test it out, giving it a thorough review when the Eclipse line starts shipping later this month.