Author Topic: Leopold FC980C Review  (Read 2623 times)

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Offline DannyHuynh

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Leopold FC980C Review
« on: Thu, 02 February 2017, 18:45:45 »
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

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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 HHKB


Leopold 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 box

Packaging

Front


Back


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 video



Conclusion.

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.
« Last Edit: Fri, 03 February 2017, 09:45:27 by DannyHuynh »

Offline hking0036

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  • Location: NC, USA
Re: Leopold FC980C Review
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 03 February 2017, 06:32:29 »
Very nice looking board, Leopold really seems to know how to put them together. The sticker thing is sort of weird but I don't think that many people will be leaving stickers on here anyways . :p The big turn-off for me though, why would they put the usb port on the bottom of the keyboard? I don't know why companies do this, it just ends up with ****ed up connectors every time. The Micro USB port on the WASD screws up the cables (and micro is already fragile enough as is), even the infallible KUL ES-87 screws up Mini USB which I've never seen done before! The only advantage of it is cable routing. Do you happen to have a stock HHKB white spacebar? I'm interested to see if the 980c has the same off-white that the 660c has. If it's the case, I should try and let matt3o know and see if we can get a run of Leopold PBT spacebars. Thanks for the review!

You can see how leopold white compares to the white the PBT bars come in:
More
(white pbt on bottom).

It's hard to get a solid picture of but it's pretty noticable in person. It's not a huge difference but when you compare the alphas to the spacebar you can tell.
« Last Edit: Fri, 03 February 2017, 06:39:56 by hking0036 »

Offline DannyHuynh

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Re: Leopold FC980C Review
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 03 February 2017, 09:55:36 »
I don't have the HHKB's ABS spacebar, I only have the pbt one, I heard that it's only a little bit whiter than the abs.
Here's how it looks on the FC980C




Here's another picture of a guy that put the HHKB caps on the FC980C


The color beige on the FC980C looks very aged, even more than the Modern Beige set I have on my HHKB.
I don't know if it matches the color of the FC660C though, but I do think they match

Offline hking0036

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  • Location: NC, USA
Re: Leopold FC980C Review
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 03 February 2017, 15:43:54 »
I don't have the HHKB's ABS spacebar, I only have the pbt one, I heard that it's only a little bit whiter than the abs.
Here's how it looks on the FC980C

Show Image

Show Image


Here's another picture of a guy that put the HHKB caps on the FC980C
Show Image


The color beige on the FC980C looks very aged, even more than the Modern Beige set I have on my HHKB.
I don't know if it matches the color of the FC660C though, but I do think they match
Thanks! Those are great comparison shots. I do like the beige color, but it does look a little strange with the pbt one.

Offline losing_ctrl

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Re: Leopold FC980C Review
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 05 February 2017, 17:34:21 »
Very nice review, thanks for posting all this good info.  :thumb:

Offline rabbitfire

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  • Location: Rainforest
Re: Leopold FC980C Review
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 17 February 2017, 06:16:09 »
thanks for your detailed review!  :D