Author Topic: Back with a Leopold FC980M, now with MX Blacks - REVIEW -  (Read 3136 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Entropia

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 221
Back with a Leopold FC980M, now with MX Blacks - REVIEW -
« on: Tue, 11 April 2017, 15:11:31 »
Some months ago I purchased a Leopold FC980M with red switches, which I found to be too light and too scratchy. I returned it inmediately (by the way, amazing service by www.mykeyboard.eu). I decided to try a Unicomp Ultraclassic, but it was a big disappointment (some heavy, some mushy and some squeaky keys, poor case assembly quality, random legend alignment, etc.) so I ended up selling it.

I have a Tesoro Durandal with black switches that I really like, but I didn't want to stick with it, but to go for something more high-end and less gaming. Since I missed the build quality and the form factor of the Leopold, I ordered another one, but with MX blacks this time. To my surprise, these black switches are much much smoother. Maybe they belong to those new production batches with new stems. I find the typing experience much more enjoyable, also because I can type softly without bottoming out. After having owned blacks, reds, browns and buckling springs, I think I've found the right switch for me: linear and not very light. I don't need tactility and I don't like how the blues sound. Topre isn't for me either.

As regard the rest of the features of this keyboard, let me remark again how incredibly well built it is. It's heavy, sturdy, doesn't flex at all, doesn't slide on the table, doesn't creak when you rest your hands on it, has a beautiful and uniform texture, and it looks elegant and minimalist. Also, unlike the model I tried with reds, there's almost no metallic ping coming from any key. The layout is fantastic. I wish more manufacturers adopted this key distribution because, for me, it's far better than tenkeyless. I've exchanged the position of the numlock and the del key (remapped by software), so that it sits in a more accesible position. Leopold should have added another dipswitch for this. Another thing about dipswitches that could be better is the fact that remapping the FN key to the Windows key makes it work as left Windows, not as right Windows key.

I was worried about the Cherry stabilizers. However, the long keys feel quite neutral thanks to their clipped stabilizers, better than in others keyboards I've tried with standard stabilizers. The bottom is a little mushier and they (some more than others) feel a bit scratchy, but nothing annoying or distracting. Maybe the spacebar, when pressed slowly, is the only key that sounds and feels a bit cheaper. Hopefully with time and use it will improve.

The keycaps have a mat finish, which feels a bit strange, but I think it's a matter of me being too used to soft and almost shiny ABS keycaps. As you know, these keycaps are 1.5 mm thick PBT. Another thing to consider is the ninja legends (front printed keycaps), which are almost like blanks in the dark. This means that you have to learn to touch type because looking at your keyboad doesn't help. I've accepted this as a challenge and I expect to improve every day until I'm finally able not to make any mistakes. However, it would be nice if there was a good replacement set for this model but with top legends. By the way, one minor issue I've noticed: the legend on the back slash key on this model is not correct. The slash, which is the primary function should be on the left and the vertical bar on the right, because this one is generated with shift.

This keyboard comes with some extras, such as keys for exchanging the control and the caps lock, the alt and the Windows key and the FN and the Windows key. As I said, there are dipswitches settings that allow you to adjust these settings, and also to disable the Windows key. The packet also includes a basic keycap puller and a very practical plastic cover that prevent dust contamination when the keyboard is not being used. It would have been fantastic if they also included a red esc and enter key, which are sold separately.

Finally, the detachable cable is a good thing, but why not a good braided cable instead of a standard rubber cable? For a premium keyboard like this it would have been a better choice.

In conclusion, this is a fantastic keyboard with for those who want something premium without the need to purchase extra keycaps and especially if you like the great 1800 layout, which is quite uncommon in mass produced keyboards. The quality of the construction and the materials is amazing. The mechanisms work and feel very well. The looks are elegant and sober. The front printed legends require a little effort and practice if you are not a good typist, so that's something to consider. Another con is that some keys are not of standard size, such as the right shift, which is a bit shorter. This doesn't require much time to get used to, but it would be a problem if you plan on installing custom keycap sets.
« Last Edit: Sun, 16 April 2017, 13:10:34 by Entropia »

Offline SpAmRaY

  • NOT a Moderator
  • * Certified Spammer
  • Posts: 14414
  • Location: \(_o)/
  • because reasons.......
Re: Back with a Leopold FC980M, now with MX Blacks - REVIEW -
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 11 April 2017, 15:18:56 »
I don't understand the remapping of numlock it seems it would be very odd to not have it wit the rest of the numberpad keys.

What I wish they had a dip switch for is making home/end primary instead of secondary.

And on the cable if they would have had any thicker cable it wouldn't fit in the cable channel.

Also my back slash key is the same as yours with backslash on the right, looking at others photos this appears to be the way all these sets were made.

I prefer the side print but I use mine in an office environment that is always lit up.

Offline Entropia

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 221
Re: Back with a Leopold FC980M, now with MX Blacks - REVIEW -
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 11 April 2017, 16:08:22 »
I don't understand the remapping of numlock it seems it would be very odd to not have it wit the rest of the numberpad keys.

What I wish they had a dip switch for is making home/end primary instead of secondary.

And on the cable if they would have had any thicker cable it wouldn't fit in the cable channel.

Also my back slash key is the same as yours with backslash on the right, looking at others photos this appears to be the way all these sets were made.

I prefer the side print but I use mine in an office environment that is always lit up.

Well, my new numlock key placement is not bad at all because it's still aligned vertically with the numlock led, so it makes sense. I find much more practical to have the del key in that place, which is easier to reach.

I never use the home, pgup, pgdown, end... on the central block on my previous 100% keyboard. I always use the keys on the numpad, especially for browsing and editing text documents. The top row keys on my Leopold are for: numlock, printscreen, launch foobar2000, pause foobar2000 music.

Do you mean that any braided cable wouldn't fit in the channel? I wanted to buy one, but now I'm not so sure...

As regard the back slash key, it must have been some sort of design mistake, because it doesn't make sense that the rest of they keys has the primary function on the left and the secondary on the right. It's not anything of importance, but I think I will e-mail the manufacturer and I will pretend I am very angry and disappointed about it, just to check their reaction. Who knows, maybe they will send me another keyboard for free. :D
« Last Edit: Tue, 11 April 2017, 16:11:30 by Entropia »

Offline SpAmRaY

  • NOT a Moderator
  • * Certified Spammer
  • Posts: 14414
  • Location: \(_o)/
  • because reasons.......
Re: Back with a Leopold FC980M, now with MX Blacks - REVIEW -
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 11 April 2017, 17:03:36 »


Do you mean that any braided cable wouldn't fit in the channel? I wanted to buy one, but now I'm not so sure...

I don't see how one would fit as the stock cable is very tight.

Offline Entropia

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 221
Re: Back with a Leopold FC980M, now with MX Blacks - REVIEW -
« Reply #4 on: Tue, 11 April 2017, 17:55:32 »
I have tried this one which I had laying around in my house and it fits well. It's very inexpensive. I'd like a better one and in black or dark grey.

https://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B00PV6S5K0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1