Have not seen a FC980C Review yet, so I decided to do one. First time writing a review, please look over any glaring mistake if possible m(-_-)m
This is second Topre board I’ve purchased and the first stock Topre board at the same time. The first board is the heavily modded HHKB Pro 2 with Lubed Novatouch stem, Hydrodipped case, Hasu Bluetooh Controller, and used with Cherry Keycaps. Therefore, my experience of this board will be directly compared to the HHKBLeopold FC980C
The second Leopold board with Topre Switch and also the first one to come with the “modern 1800 layout”. Some info from the recycled-paper boxPackaging
Compatible with windows 10 (What about Mac ? T_T)
The content of the box only including the board with plastic cover, a manual piece, and a mini usb cable.Design - Build Quality
I’ve got the white version because of the retro look. The color did not disappoint, it’s not snow-white like the Filco Hakua, but has a very nice beige color for the case. The light grey keycaps also match the case while the dark grey make the board screams classic. The front of the case is printed with a Capacitive Formula instead of the Leopold logo, just like the FC660C
The board feels extremely solid and not creaking even a slight bit. Note that the HHKB case creaks when press down at the bottom corners and even the Filco Camouflage and Hakua I posses make some noise when pressing the the middle of the case. None of that appear here, no creaking, no flexing, nothing, it is a solid block of plastic, period.
The back of the board features the routing cable ability, with detachable mini usb cable.
Here’s the stupid thing, the sealing stamp is torn if you are not being careful enough, or using a slightly fat mini usb cable.Layout
The board feature a revised layout based on the famous 1800 layout (dubbed from series of keyboard from Cherry with model such as G80-18xx or G81-18xx). This layout has been utilized in custom keyboards like TX-CP or the CP-SQ. This is the first “off-the-shelf” keyboard that features this layout. Unlike the OG 1800 layout, the revised layout remove one row of navigation keys and put the missing keys into the function layer. This allows the keyboard to be extremely compact but still retain almost all of the keys of a full-size keyboard. This keyboard is only one column wider than the popular TKL layout.
The board also comes with the DIP Switch to change the modifier keys
SW1: Swap Caps Lock and Left Control
SW2: Swap Left Alt and Win
Sw3: Swap Win and Fn
SW4: Disable Win (I think >.<)Keycap
The keycaps are PBT and Dye-Sublimated. The grey mods look exactly like the keys on the Realforce boards, I think, I have yet to touch a Realforce. The Alpha’s font looks like Leopold took the font on the FC660C, made it non-Italic and a little bit bigger to match the mods. I don’t know what to say about this. This is pretty easy notice if comparing the Function Keys and the F key, the fonts are slightly different. Overall, the Leopold-font keys are a tad thinner than the Realforce-font keys. This trigger my OCD sense a lot because you can easily see the mismatch between the alphas compared to the rest of the boards.
The texture on the keycaps are also different. The alphas are gritty while the rest of the caps feel smooth.
I also cannot tell if the spacebar is PBT or not, but Topre doesn’t make long spacebar anyway.Typing Experience
Like I said at the beginning, this is only my second Topre Board, so I can only compare this keyboard with the HHKB.
On a single switch, it’s a renown Topre feeling, a huge but ultra smooth tactile bump at the top of the keypress, a satisfying thock when bottom out and non-silence clack after debouncing.
On actual-typing, here’s what I notice compared to the HHKB
- The switches are extremely smooth and virtually no key wobble at all. My HHKB is lubed but the FC980C rivals that, probably even smoother. However, for some reasons, the FC980C feels lighter and not as responsive as the HHKB (I felt that the depressing is a little bit slower on the FC980C)
- The bottoming out are very harsh to my fingers, I know that is is because of the plate, but somehow this is even harsher than cherry bottom out
- The up clack sound is very loud, much louder than the HHKB even when non silenced.
All of this made the board a favorite board of mine right now, but the most loved one is still the HHKB
Here’s some typing test videoConclusion
I’ll leave this empty temporary because I want to wait a few more day for the board to “break in” before jump to any conclusion.