Author Topic: Realforce RGB  (Read 6060 times)

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Offline Chemos

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  • Posts: 11
Realforce RGB
« on: Tue, 25 September 2018, 02:23:45 »
I have been going down the Topre rabbit hole as of late, and thought it might be helpful to share some of my personal experiences with everyone. The main focus of this posting will be a review of the Realforce RGB, a keyboard that seems to get a lot of hate from Topre enthusiasts.  Some of this criticism I feel is warranted, but not to the degree that I sometimes read. 

A little background to this review is that The Realforce RGB was my first foray into the world of Topre. I had owned several mainstream mechanical keyboards before this one. Mostly Corsairs and Razers with either tactile or linear switches. I had placed an order for a Realforce RGB after watching some positive YouTube reviews from mainstream channels like Hardware Canucks. Once I had my order placed I continued to read reviews and get information and was disheartened by the amount of negative postings I had seen with people dinging its poor build quality and terrible sound compared to ďrealĒ Topre boards. When I received the keyboard I started putting it through its paces and fell in love with the Topre experience. I then went on a tear and started ordering one topre board after another. I now have 2 Realforce 55g 87u, a Leopold fc980c, and 2 leopold fc660c. I ordered a hhkb but returned it because I didnít care for the layout. Now being able to compare it to other topre boards, I think it fares very well. On to the review.   

Overview: The Realforce RGB is a full size topre board that is based on the new R2 platform. It comes with full RGB backlighting, ABS backlit keycaps, 45g weighting, media keys, mx stem compatibility, and adjustable actuation points. The included realforce RGB software is easy to navigate, and can save settings directly to the board.

Build Quality: The board had more heft to it than I thought it would have, and displayed very good fit and finish out of the box. The stabilizers were well fitted, factory lubed and displayed no rattle with even movement. There are four rubber pads on the bottom with flip out feet that have a cheap rubberized plastic tips. The clamshell plastic case feels nice and the Slider housings are attached to a full length metal plate thatís painted white for RGB color reflection. The included doubleshot ABS keycaps had a cheap feel to them, and were somewhat on the thin side. 

Typing feel: The typing experience on the board was really nice right out of the box. The topre switch gives resistance at the top of the keypress, then when the shoulder of the rubber dome buckles thereís a clean break with a smooth linear finish. A lot of reviews complained about the stock sound not being deep enough. There is some truth to this in stock form albeit a bit exaggerated, but the thack sound is still very satisfying. Topre in general is a joy to type on, and works great in most games, however it does leave a bit to be desired in FPS and MOBA platforms. The Adjustable actuation points do help with gaming, but overall I think there are much better gaming switches out there. 

Modifications: The first thing I knew that I wanted to change was the keycaps. I went through several sets before I found what I liked. The first set I tried was a set of xda profile godspeed keycaps. Although itís a beautiful set, the profile numbed the feel of the switches and made the board feel sloppy to type on. The next set I used was the Maxkey SA lime set. These keycaps produced a much richer thock sound than the stock keycaps. The height of the keys produced much more noticably key wobble, and I didnít care for the slick finish of the keys and they were ultimately removed. I finally decided to order a set of black vortex doubleshot pbt backlit keycaps, and I love how they feel. They were competitively priced, I think I payed 35 usd for the set and they work perfectly. They are nice thick keys with a rough texture that are great to type on. They improved sound by lowering the pitch closer to other topre boards. The legends arenít the nicest Iíve seen but for the money I think they are a steal.     

The next modification I did was lube the sliders and slider housings with tribosys 3204. This made a marked improvement in the feel and sound of the switch. This board really does well with lube. 

I then installed silence-x rings from Kbdfans. This is another mods that made a huge difference. It really smoothed out the sound of the board without perceivably effecting key travel. The rings are extremely thin. Iíve read that the rings need to be trimmed to clear the rgb box on the slider housing. I trimmed the rings on the numpad only so I could test how they felt. When I disassembled the board to add the rest of the rings I noticed that all the rings that I had already trimmed had moved so that the cutout portion was no longer sitting straight. I then decided to put the rest of thing rings on unmodded without complication. 

The last mod I did was install BKE redux heavy domes. The domes have to be trimmed to accommodate the rgb lighting on the board. This process took hours to accomplish and it was an absolute nightmare to align them straight after doing enough trimming to accommodate the RBG lighting. After several tries of placing the PCB down only to have 1 key not register I got it working. After all that work I ended up not liking with heavies. The increased tactility was kind of nice but the weight was not. It ruined the refined feeling of the topre switch. I ended up putting the stock domes back on.

Summary: In comparison to other Topre boards I think that the Realforce RGB really holds its own in terms of the Topre typing experience. If you love the Idea of Topre but still want RGB and MX keycap compatibility itís a wonderful keyboard that does great with a couple simple modifications. Thanks for listening.   



Offline nelamvr6

  • Posts: 58
  • Location: New London, CT USA
Re: Realforce RGB
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 25 September 2018, 17:26:12 »
Great review, very thorough and well written. Thanks!
IBM Model F AT | IBM Model M White Label | PFU Limited Edition Realforce | Leopold FC660C

Offline SamirD

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  • on Buckling Springs since '88
Re: Realforce RGB
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 28 September 2018, 12:01:20 »
Thank you!  Was just looking at one of these boards recently. :)

Offline jerrywoohu

  • Posts: 1
  • Location: US-AL
Re: Realforce RGB
« Reply #3 on: Tue, 02 October 2018, 14:44:39 »
My experience with the Topre RGB and Silence-X is that they make the board susceptible topre fart. As in, the ring gets stuck to the top of the housing instead of to the slider. This causes the slider to slide past the ring on keypresses creating this "woosh" or squeak sound which I really didn't like. I think 50% of the keys did this after silence-X on the rgb, vs like 10% when I installed them on an HHKB. I think it's a static electricity issue, and I don't know if this is something that goes away with time. I also noticed that the sliders had some of lube installed from the factory because I would get a weird residue on my hands after working with the board.

That being said, I think KeyClack's silencers would improve it since one side is adhesive. The circumference of the opening is also large enough so that the slider would not rub against the ring on keypresses. You'd still have to cut a notch in the silences to clear the LED channel though.

Offline Riverman

  • Posts: 235
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Realforce RGB
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 04 October 2018, 15:11:52 »
Great review!  I agree with everything you said.  I also have a Realforce RGB, and after installing KBDFans silencing rings (the clear version), it's at least as good as any other Topre keyboard I've used.  I didn't trim any part of the rings, and so far I've had no problems except that the "C" key stiffens up from time to time.  I'm assuming that the silencing ring is interfering with something, and it takes a few key presses to get it back to normal.  Other than that, I've had no issues.  I'm currently using mine on a Mac with a set of white on black doubleshot Tai-Hao ABS keycaps and all of the Mac modifiers and F keys from WASD Keyboards.

Offline Peripheral Prophet

  • Posts: 147
  • Location: Trinity Grid
  • Lets change the game
Re: Realforce RGB
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 01 November 2018, 15:11:56 »
Having plenty of experience with topre switches, and the realforce rgb, this review is pretty much spot on.. Stabs feel and sound amazing out of the box.  People are exaggerating the sound of the upstroke, sure its not quite what you are used to if you are coming from a realforce or an hhkb, but by no means is it unpleasant to the ear insofar as it requires you mod the keyboard immediately, This keyboard is unmistakably classic in the feel of the topre typing experience.

Absolutely solid build, Ive seen videos where the chassis appears to flex or something, but mine doesnt have that issue, it is of course made of plastic so the case can flex if you push hard enough, but flimsy this board is not.

I almost cant believe what you get for 209.00 in a topre board of this quality, its an absolute pleasure to type on.  I could care less about the leds, I guess its cool, but the board doesnt give you many options to configure the leds the way a ducky kb would for example.

All in all, I feel like I got away with a crime on this board, lots of people made it seem like the board had some super annoying sound, and it simply sounds amazing even before modding it with silencing rings.  I went with the sp sa keycaps and it only sounds better..

Compared to a cherry board, you just cant beat the typing experience you get with this board, the feel is 'tight' and 'snappy'... 

Not sure if Id call it "end game" but then I dont really think there is such a thing as an end game keyboard personally...

**I am doomed forever to having a full size keyboard for data entry as well as daily typing, so I understand this board may not be for everyone, but it really is amazing for the price**

Check out my live build streams on twitch and join my discord!

Offline thelaughingman

  • Posts: 218
  • Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Re: Realforce RGB
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 06 November 2018, 01:43:01 »
thanks for the right up! but personally I can't use fullsize keyboards anymore, TKL or nothing nowadays for me