Author Topic: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?  (Read 3796 times)

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Offline dman777

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Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« on: Wed, 24 June 2020, 10:18:31 »
I was watching this review
on the Tofu Acrylic 60% Keyboard Build. He mentioned that this is a great entry keyboard. I was thinking about getting this keyboard because I like how it looks. But I also like high tier keyboards like the Ducky Shine 7.

When the reviewer said that the Tofu was a great entry keyboard, does that mean it's not on the same high tier level as the Shine 7?


Offline jamster

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 24 June 2020, 11:03:37 »
How could anyone meaningfully put keyboards into 'tiers' in the first place?

The single most important component to the typing experience is the switch, and the second is the quality of the keycaps. Way down the list are going to be things like case material or mounting system.

The Tofu uses whatever switches you put into it, and whatever caps you choose, so it's not entry level, it's not high level, it's just a case, a plate and a PCB.

Similarly, I am not sure how anyone could call the Ducky Shine7 a 'high tier' keyboard, it comes with stock Cherry MX switches and there's not a single Cherry switch that I would call great. I'm sure it's a solid board, Ducky tends to make decent products, but unless you gut it and desolder all the switches, it's inherently limited.
« Last Edit: Wed, 24 June 2020, 11:15:57 by jamster »

Offline dman777

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 24 June 2020, 13:24:37 »
Interesting..... I like blue cherry switches. What would you recommend that  is better than a blue cherry switch?

Offline envyy24

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 24 June 2020, 13:40:06 »
Tofu is an entry level of CUSTOM keyboard, ducky is a mid range stock keyboard. They belong to different categories. And if you like mx blue I highly recommend kailh box white as a better overall switch

Offline jamster

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 24 June 2020, 23:27:08 »
Interesting..... I like blue cherry switches. What would you recommend that  is better than a blue cherry switch?

If you like MX Blues, what works for you works. My own preferences lean towards a deeper click than the Cherry high pitched 'ping' noise, or preferably no click at all, just tactility. So I can't help you with suggestions. I've been told recently that the Kailh box thick click switches (there are a couple of colours) have a much deeper click, so have them on order to try out.

But it really depends on switch weight as well, whether you like very light switches like the MX Blues, or something heavier. The only way to figure this stuff out is to try a bunch of different options.

Offline Revilos

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 25 June 2020, 14:27:41 »
I was questioning this phrase after watching his video too - surely this is a subjective term? Custom kbds are already very expensive. He must be referring to more expensive cases, that only a minority of people (out of the small number of people interested in custom keyboards in the first place) will be drawn towards?

Offline envyy24

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 25 June 2020, 15:00:25 »
I was questioning this phrase after watching his video too - surely this is a subjective term? Custom kbds are already very expensive. He must be referring to more expensive cases, that only a minority of people (out of the small number of people interested in custom keyboards in the first place) will be drawn towards?

I just briefly checked kbdfans, a fully assembled tofu 60 is $153 with gateron yellow for example. Fail to see how that is very expensive given that it is just a bit above ducky and you are getting an aluminum case here.

I would suggest you to go check out Group Buy and IC sub forum here to see how much custom can go to. Not bragging or anything, I don't have any of those, just showing you that custom can go very expensive and there are still a sh!t load of people willing to pay for it.

Offline Revilos

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 25 June 2020, 15:21:23 »
But to say something is entry-level is to, for some people, imply there are flaws and better options available. Entry-level compared to what? The very expensive cases you can find in GBs? Because for many people the price range $250-300 inc. keycaps is expensive just for a keyboard (though I'd dispute this in some scenarios) and can find you an excellent case, which would be considered high-end.
All he was doing was complementing the TOFU, and then mentions at the end it's only 'entry-level' without (from what I can remember?) being specific about areas for improvement - so I think he missed out quite a lot of info

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 25 June 2020, 15:33:05 »
There is no such thing as an "entry level keyboard". Keyboards are tools, and you get the tools that get the job done.

It might be an "Entry Level Keeb" though. :rolleyes:
« Last Edit: Thu, 25 June 2020, 15:35:48 by Findecanor »
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Offline CoolMike

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 25 June 2020, 16:50:52 »
I bought two Tofus as my first keyboards, one HS one solderable and they were a fantastic starting point especially considering the options available and the cost.


I would consider it more entry level than anything if you compare its features or qualities to other keyboards that may be at a higher price point or offer more or might be more exclusive.

Offline jamster

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 25 June 2020, 22:13:11 »
I was questioning this phrase after watching his video too - surely this is a subjective term? Custom kbds are already very expensive. He must be referring to more expensive cases, that only a minority of people (out of the small number of people interested in custom keyboards in the first place) will be drawn towards?

I just briefly checked kbdfans, a fully assembled tofu 60 is $153 with gateron yellow for example. Fail to see how that is very expensive given that it is just a bit above ducky and you are getting an aluminum case here.

I would suggest you to go check out Group Buy and IC sub forum here to see how much custom can go to. Not bragging or anything, I don't have any of those, just showing you that custom can go very expensive and there are still a sh!t load of people willing to pay for it.

This whole "custom" term is something I take issue with. Custom, to me, means a one-off, designed solely for one owner. I have custom suits (not MTM/Made--To-Measure, which is similar but not custom/bespoke), custom furniture, custom outdoor equipment. All this stuff is one-off, made to specific measurements, with specific materials choices. They are literally unique items.

Group Buy keyboards are not custom
, they are more correctly 'small production run' cases with PCBs in a limited range of finishes. If there is anything that approaches 'customisation' it is when the owner installs switches and caps, but the same can be said of any mass produced plastic case that's been modified by the owner.

These expensive cases are simply pretties. And people tack on the word 'custom' to make them sound more exclusive. I'm sure they feel great when you pick them up and appreciate the heft, but CNC and aluminium have some pretty significant downsides to them compared to high quality plastic cases.

There is no such thing as an "entry level keyboard". Keyboards are tools, and you get the tools that get the job done.

It might be an "Entry Level Keeb" though. :rolleyes:

This... sums it up perfectly.
« Last Edit: Thu, 25 June 2020, 22:38:00 by jamster »

Offline funkmon

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 26 June 2020, 02:08:22 »
I think it's fine. As soon as you start buying your own components to fit together, it becomes custom. At some point it stops being a customized keyboard, like a Model M with APL keycaps, and becomes custom, like a Tofu board with a separate PCB, switches, and keycaps, and cable.

Offline dman777

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 26 June 2020, 21:26:45 »
Tofu is an entry level of CUSTOM keyboard, ducky is a mid range stock keyboard. They belong to different categories. And if you like mx blue I highly recommend kailh box white as a better overall switch


I was thinking about ordering the Tofu 60% with kailh box white switches but they don't offer the white ones for kaih. Why is that? I would think since they would be clicky, which is popular enough, they would have the white ones.

Offline jamster

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 26 June 2020, 22:03:04 »
I was thinking about ordering the Tofu 60% with kailh box white switches but they don't offer the white ones for kaih. Why is that? I would think since they would be clicky, which is popular enough, they would have the white ones.

Because it would be a total logistical nightmare, and a guaranteed way to lose money, for a board manufacturer to try stock every one of the several dozen MX-clones on the market.

Look at the major manufactuters- they will offer 3-4 variants of Cherry MX switch and leave it at that. It's typically Red, Blue, Brown.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 26 June 2020, 22:44:59 »
Interesting..... I like blue cherry switches. What would you recommend that  is better than a blue cherry switch?

Before I had tried any other clicky switch, I also loved MX blues. I used them for years straight. Then I got an IBM Model F. That was the end of that.

Most clickies you could choose at random, new or vintage, would be, in my humble opinion, better than MX blues. They're rattly, high-pitched (preference), inconsistent, not particularly crisp, and pretty light on tactility (preference).

Box jades and navies are my own favorites of modern MX-compatible clickies. For overall modern clickies, at the moment, I'm still torn between Matias' clickies, which are normally (confusingly) in boards they call "tactile". Their "quiet click" switches are actually dampened tactiles. The clickies are also only available from Matias in complete boards these days in Mac layout and colors (though this can be fixed with some resistors soldered to the controller). Matias switches may still potentially be more flaky/unreliable than Cherry MX, however, as they have a reputation to develop chatter.

As far as MX and direct clones go, I think Gateron blues are the best of those I have tried, followed closely by Outemu blues.

For vintage clickies, which are usually better overall than modern switches in my opinion, my favorites (of those I have tried) are SKCM blue Alps, which are also my overall favorites. Capacitive buckling spring (IBM Model F) isn't very far behind. NEC blue ovals and clicky space invaders are nice too. They say that IBM's beam springs are the best of the best, but I have never tried them and maybe never will. I have considered buying a few boards when I see them at somewhat reasonable prices, but those weird enter keys always help to dissuade me.

I agree with others in saying that "entry-level" is probably a stupid term for keyboards, outside of the generic Chineseium $30-50 boards on Amazon, since you're almost always limited to Outemu ... but I would also rather have Outemu blues in a $30 Amazon board than anything MX in whatever other board. If you can assemble a kit with the switches you want, that's what matters the most.

I also don't like how easily the words "custom" and "build" are thrown around. Sure, you can sort of make a unique board in that you pick your parts, but you're still just picking your parts and assembling them. I like to consider this kit vs custom, and assembling vs building. This is coming from someone who has never assembled a kit board yet, and has certainly never designed/created something custom.

Are you looking on kbdfans? It looks like they list them as box whites, along with a few others, instead Kailh box whites, like most of the others, when choosing a switch to pair with the Tofu.
« Last Edit: Sat, 27 June 2020, 01:39:05 by Maledicted »

Offline c-channel

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 27 June 2020, 03:01:12 »
I though the TS only asked a simple question relating to Tofu.

It should be a simple yes or no.  :)

Offline Revilos

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #16 on: Sat, 27 June 2020, 05:31:45 »
This whole "custom" term is something I take issue with. Custom, to me, means a one-off, designed solely for one owner. I have custom suits (not MTM/Made--To-Measure, which is similar but not custom/bespoke), custom furniture, custom outdoor equipment. All this stuff is one-off, made to specific measurements, with specific materials choices. They are literally unique items.

Group Buy keyboards are not custom
, they are more correctly 'small production run' cases with PCBs in a limited range of finishes. If there is anything that approaches 'customisation' it is when the owner installs switches and caps, but the same can be said of any mass produced plastic case that's been modified by the owner.

Custom could mean different things to different people, this seems more like a matter of semantics - the process of choosing all of your components can be a fulfilling one, while "commissioned/tailor-built/hand-made" would each encapsulate the 'custom'-ness that you describe

I though the TS only asked a simple question relating to Tofu.

It should be a simple yes or no.  :)

Gah, this world without nuances  ;)

OP is comparing it (the case) to the Ducky Shine 7, well there's general agreement that custom keyboards (i.e. where the components have been selected by the individual) can be considered comparable quality to high-end stock keyboards, and will feel just as solid and well-built (maybe excluding plastic cases if most people would say they feel 'cheaper'), or even better.
e.g. two anodized aluminium cases of the same colour are both from aluminium, so AFAIK the only difference are any potential ergonomic advantages, but stock cases are usually a pretty standard shape and not oriented around this goal.

It's not possible to compare the Acrylic in the Tofu with the non-acrylic material (Zinc Alloy according to Google) on the DS7, however, in terms of the feel of the keyboard? This would surely reduce the comparison down to the switches and plate (if we are focused on its feel rather than any other features). In this case, if the Ducky Shine 7 is high-end, then so is the Tofu, certainly not an entry-level keyboard - so it's high-end as well.

But compared to more exclusive cases that are available through more costly GBs and provide specific features that people who enter them understand and will benefit from? In this case it would be considered entry-level by some, if they prefer the design. Unless there is also 'better quality' acrylic available?

Disclosure: I recently ordered a Tofu Acrylic, then saw this video shortly after and frowned when he said 'entry-level'. It should arrive today.   :)
« Last Edit: Sat, 27 June 2020, 05:36:35 by Revilos »

Offline jamster

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #17 on: Sat, 27 June 2020, 05:43:23 »
I though the TS only asked a simple question relating to Tofu.

It should be a simple yes or no.  :)

This is the internet.

But anyway, so is it yes or no?

Offline foxtrap614

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 14:02:05 »
I would consider all tray mount boards to be entry level. So yes Tofu is a entry level board.
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Offline jackrabbit

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #19 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 15:20:31 »
The tofu can have the most expensive switches/keycaps/plate you are willing to put in it. The main thing holding it back from more expensive customs is the tray mount, which you can't upgrade. I have a tray-mount tada68 with EVA foam I cut for the case and plate, and lubed/filmed gat silent inks and EPBT keycaps, and this thing is a sweet, sweet keyboard for the $300-400 range. It's all about what you put into it. Granted, I am going to jump at that satisfaction75 round 2 when it happens because the mounting and aesthetics are so much better.
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Offline gnho

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #20 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 17:12:01 »
Interesting..... I like blue cherry switches. What would you recommend that  is better than a blue cherry switch?

Literally every other clicky switches. My favorite is Box Pink.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #21 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 17:23:47 »
I would consider all tray mount boards to be entry level. So yes Tofu is a entry level board.

The tofu can have the most expensive switches/keycaps/plate you are willing to put in it. The main thing holding it back from more expensive customs is the tray mount, which you can't upgrade. I have a tray-mount tada68 with EVA foam I cut for the case and plate, and lubed/filmed gat silent inks and EPBT keycaps, and this thing is a sweet, sweet keyboard for the $300-400 range. It's all about what you put into it. Granted, I am going to jump at that satisfaction75 round 2 when it happens because the mounting and aesthetics are so much better.

I like my keyboards thunderous and my plates stiff. I guess I just prefer entry-level then, even though I've dropped $400-500 on keyboards with designs that predate gasket keyboards by decades. That's another thing too, I suppose everything in the world was entry-level until people decided gasket mount should be trendy, for some reason. I hadn't even heard of it until a month or two ago myself.

I think this is sort of like saying that everything that's not a Tesla is an entry-level car, every coffee that's not ground yourself and made in a french press is an entry-level coffee, or that every video game not played on PC is an entry-level video game.

There are specific, measurable benefits to all of these things over alternatives ... but there are to the alternatives as well.

Interesting..... I like blue cherry switches. What would you recommend that  is better than a blue cherry switch?

Literally every other clicky switches. My favorite is Box Pink.

I wouldn't go that far, but close. I need to get my hands on some box pinks. I have been procrastinating.

Offline jackrabbit

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #22 on: Tue, 30 June 2020, 23:35:46 »
I like my keyboards thunderous and my plates stiff.

This is one of the most epic things I've read on a keyboard discussion. LOL. May I quote this in my signature?

You got me though, we should be careful not to overhype the latest design trend. I truly love my tada68, there's nothing "wrong" with the mounting method. It works great with the brass plate and feels especially good after I filled it with dense foam. I also love my dad's IBM model M with buckling springs, talk about thunderous.
"I like my keyboards thunderous and my plates stiff." -Maledicted

Offline envyy24

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #23 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 08:02:01 »


I like my keyboards thunderous and my plates stiff. I guess I just prefer entry-level then, even though I've dropped $400-500 on keyboards with designs that predate gasket keyboards by decades. That's another thing too, I suppose everything in the world was entry-level until people decided gasket mount should be trendy, for some reason. I hadn't even heard of it until a month or two ago myself.

I think this is sort of like saying that everything that's not a Tesla is an entry-level car, every coffee that's not ground yourself and made in a french press is an entry-level coffee, or that every video game not played on PC is an entry-level video game.

There are specific, measurable benefits to all of these things over alternatives ... but there are to the alternatives as well.


While gasket mount has been the hottest trend, Im pretty sure as a veteran you know that there are plenty other things that are better than tray mount without going the way of expensive gasket mount. Bottom mount, top mount, sandwich mount are all better alternative which does not kill your bank. Vintage keyboards have been using them for ages, well not sandwich but top mount and bottom mount is so common.

Tray mount is only stiff at certain point, precisely where the pcb is mounted to a case. They flex in other parts. Surprisingly, i find that the best tray mount mechanism exists in the cheapo gk61, since the pcb is tray-mounted into the case and the plate & pcb are also fixed together by screws. Otherwise, typical traymount renders the the plate pretty useless. Yet, companies like KBDfans still tries to shove bunch of different plate into new comers mouths when they dont understand that other than a little bit of difference in sound they get next to nothing when choosing between brass alu etc plate.


Offline Maledicted

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #24 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 14:23:40 »
I like my keyboards thunderous and my plates stiff.

This is one of the most epic things I've read on a keyboard discussion. LOL. May I quote this in my signature?

You got me though, we should be careful not to overhype the latest design trend. I truly love my tada68, there's nothing "wrong" with the mounting method. It works great with the brass plate and feels especially good after I filled it with dense foam. I also love my dad's IBM model M with buckling springs, talk about thunderous.

Sure thing, quote away if you like. lol

The Model M is certainly thunderous. Have you tried a Model F yet? I think my current noisiest board may be a Corsair K65 I soldered box navies into, maybe even against the Zenith boards that have beepers. A solenoid for one of my Models F may tip the balance once Ellipse has some made.

I like my keyboards thunderous and my plates stiff. I guess I just prefer entry-level then, even though I've dropped $400-500 on keyboards with designs that predate gasket keyboards by decades. That's another thing too, I suppose everything in the world was entry-level until people decided gasket mount should be trendy, for some reason. I hadn't even heard of it until a month or two ago myself.

I think this is sort of like saying that everything that's not a Tesla is an entry-level car, every coffee that's not ground yourself and made in a french press is an entry-level coffee, or that every video game not played on PC is an entry-level video game.

There are specific, measurable benefits to all of these things over alternatives ... but there are to the alternatives as well.

While gasket mount has been the hottest trend, Im pretty sure as a veteran you know that there are plenty other things that are better than tray mount without going the way of expensive gasket mount. Bottom mount, top mount, sandwich mount are all better alternative which does not kill your bank. Vintage keyboards have been using them for ages, well not sandwich but top mount and bottom mount is so common.

Tray mount is only stiff at certain point, precisely where the pcb is mounted to a case. They flex in other parts. Surprisingly, i find that the best tray mount mechanism exists in the cheapo gk61, since the pcb is tray-mounted into the case and the plate & pcb are also fixed together by screws. Otherwise, typical traymount renders the the plate pretty useless. Yet, companies like KBDfans still tries to shove bunch of different plate into new comers mouths when they dont understand that other than a little bit of difference in sound they get next to nothing when choosing between brass alu etc plate.

I may have been a little bit hasty, and I wouldn't call myself a veteran either. I have used mechanical keyboards daily for a good 6 or 7 years now, but I hadn't dove deep into actually experiencing the alternatives there may be to MX until I got a Model F XT just over a year ago. A friend planted a seed a few years prior to that in exposing me to the Model M.

Ironically, I don't know that I have ever even used a tray-mount keyboard (besides maybe the Ajazz AK33? I hate the switches in that board, but otherwise don't care), although I have now used very many keyboards (mostly vintage, and mostly top mount), so I couldn't say for sure. I ordered the parts for a tray-mounted board, many months ago, but most are out in the ether still. All I can say for sure is that I have never cared about how a plate is mounted, and still care very little about what material it is made out of either so long as it is durable.

Most of my boards have either relatively thick steel plates, or even thicker aluminum exposed/integrated plates, and I bottom out with gusto.

I suppose my biggest points of contention are that there are OEM/retail boards that are not tray mount that can be had for a lot less than some tray mount options, and that it seems a bit silly to me to categorize boards into tiers at all based on something like how the plate is mounted. The switches are what matter most, and unless you want a very specific feel and sound out of a plate/case and/or form factor/layout and/or beefiness of materials and assembly, those are all pretty irrelevant too. The full-sized Nan Tan board I got recently may literally be the lightest mechanical keyboard I have ever owned, it flexes and creaks like crazy. It seriously feels lighter than most cheapy membranes I have ever owned. I imagine it was one of the most economical mechanicals to manufacture in its day, but it feels and sounds great, so who cares? It seems like the consensus on old Alps boards in general is that some of the ones with the cheapest of construction can often sound fantastic compared to veritable tanks of the same era.

I just don't like the idea of ranking keyboards at all in a hobby where personal preference and subjective perception are what really matters. Someone may prefer their $1,500 beam spring to everything else available (because they've hypothetically tried them all) and someone may prefer their $30-100 Amazon board.

I certainly don't like fads/trends, or conventional wisdom (outside of simply using consensus as one of many factors), even when they're promoting something that has merit, because people should find their own ways.
« Last Edit: Wed, 01 July 2020, 16:34:26 by Maledicted »

Offline envyy24

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #25 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 16:01:00 »
yeah well this is a very subjective debate, and I agree with some of your points. What i am trying to say is it would be not wrong to categorize tofu as an entry level to custom, even though it is nice, there is still something left to be desired and other more expensive boards can offer what it is lacking. Whether categorizing stuffs is good or not, i have no comment. And another point is no gasket mount does not make everything else entry level, tofu is an entry level for different reason.

Offline Maledicted

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #26 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 17:02:20 »
yeah well this is a very subjective debate, and I agree with some of your points. What i am trying to say is it would be not wrong to categorize tofu as an entry level to custom, even though it is nice, there is still something left to be desired and other more expensive boards can offer what it is lacking. Whether categorizing stuffs is good or not, i have no comment. And another point is no gasket mount does not make everything else entry level, tofu is an entry level for different reason.

I do believe that the idea previously was that anything tray mount is entry level. I sort of jumped to the other end of the spectrum as a result. I think the point still stands in that it doesn't seem to make much sense to establish tiers of keyboards in a hobby that's very subjective. Unless you wanted a very different feel or sound, or a very well-machined, or a very sturdy keyboard, someone may well choose a Tofu because that's exactly what they happen to want.

The parts I ordered for a DIY/LEGO 60% board may have come in at less cost than a fully-assembled tofu board, and it has all of the features I could have wanted from it (at least of what's commercially available for such boards) ... and many I don't even care about.

I came into it all seriously wondering why anybody would ever want something that didn't have thick metal everywhere vs most other alternatives whenever possible, but found out some people like having no plate at all, etc.

This also makes me think of people who just use random $5 dome boards, or scissor switches. Some people actually prefer scissor switches, having tried mechanicals. A keyboard is just an input device to most people. Whatever has a usable layout for them is good-to-go.

What objective criteria could we reasonably set in order to even begin to say what's entry level and what's "endgame"?

Offline jamster

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Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #27 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 21:05:34 »
yeah well this is a very subjective debate, and I agree with some of your points. What i am trying to say is it would be not wrong to categorize tofu as an entry level to custom, even though it is nice, there is still something left to be desired and other more expensive boards can offer what it is lacking. Whether categorizing stuffs is good or not, i have no comment. And another point is no gasket mount does not make everything else entry level, tofu is an entry level for different reason.

Force curve graphs aside, there are almost no meaningful objective measures of performance in this hobby, so what is 'entry level' versus 'top tier' will change for different people.

I've fairly limited experience with boards (variety, rather than time, I've been using mech boards most my life), but I can't class any new-production "expensive" board as all that great*. Doesn't matter how fancy the case is- what mounting system it uses, whether it's Cerakoted in my choice of colour. The problem, in my subjective ranking system, is that they all use MX-style switches. A car analogy- it doesn't matter how nice the body is, or how elaborate the suspension is, if the engine is from a Ford Fiesta.

This also makes me think of people who just use random $5 dome boards, or scissor switches. Some people actually prefer scissor switches, having tried mechanicals. A keyboard is just an input device to most people. Whatever has a usable layout for them is good-to-go.

What objective criteria could we reasonably set in order to even begin to say what's entry level and what's "endgame"?

My wife went and ordered a Dell membrane keyboard because she didn't like any of my mechanical boards. Not only is a keyboard simply an input device to her, but she actively prefers the short travel of membrane chicklet boards. She also wants a numberpad, which most of mine lack. It works for her, and I would be all sorts of fool to try to persuade her otherwise. She also types faster than me.

Personally, my own tiering system works something like this:

  • Switch technology and feel, and layout are by far the two most important criteria
  • Quality of keycaps is third, but this is easy to change
  • A decently non flexy case is fourth, not a big deal because I don't pick up and deliberately try to bend my keyboard every half hour
  • Everything else is so unimportant as to largely be irrelevant- PCB vs plate mounting, case material, USB mini/micro/C/hardwired

I expect that this doesn't represent a majority view in any way, but it's what works for me.


* With the possible exception of the new Model F. I've never tried a Model F though, only have Ms to go with.
« Last Edit: Wed, 01 July 2020, 21:16:45 by jamster »

Offline IronCheeks

  • Posts: 40
  • Location: NYC
Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #28 on: Wed, 01 July 2020, 23:59:52 »
I was watching this review
on the Tofu Acrylic 60% Keyboard Build. He mentioned that this is a great entry keyboard. I was thinking about getting this keyboard because I like how it looks. But I also like high tier keyboards like the Ducky Shine 7.

When the reviewer said that the Tofu was a great entry keyboard, does that mean it's not on the same high tier level as the Shine 7?

So, the difference here is that the Tofu 60% is a DIY kit and the Ducky Shine 7 is a mass-produced stock keyboard that is already built. I wouldn't say the two keyboards fall into a tier - they fall into separate categories that fulfill someone's needs. Tofu is definitely targeted towards hobbyists who want to build a keyboard form the ground up, where as the Shine 7 is a pretty good entry into quality mass-produced boards. The same can be said of comparing a Das Keyboard Professional 4 to the Tofu.

Regarding tiers, it's all very subjective to the end-consumer and should belong to that sole consumer. It's making a personal rank list of what someone would call expensive or cheap in their eyes. My opinion stands that anything that I put effort into building/putting together  will always be of a higher tier to me, especially when I do it right.

I think regarding availability and price, Tofu 60% provides a good platform that anyone can start building a custom keyboard off of.
The Tofu case is highly versatile and very simple; you can get any color of Tofu, different materials, and most (if not all Tofu cases) accept the generic 60% PCB layout that can be found in the likes of the Instant60, DZ60, AN-C, and 1UpKeyboard's 60% PCB. And then you can get nit-picky with lining the case with foam or sorbothane (same material used to insulate cars from road noise).

For instance, I bought an e-white aluminum Tofu 60%, lined it with a sorbothane, dropped my Practie60 Kit from CannonKeys built with lubed NK_Blueberries into it, placed MT3 Serika keycaps and made it my own. It can definitely cost as much, or even more than the Shine 7 if you go crazy, but it can also cost way less. Again, it's all subjective and whatever you prefer is fine by me :)


Interesting..... I like blue cherry switches. What would you recommend that  is better than a blue cherry switch?

If you like that nice clicky sound & feedback, Kailh Box Jades & Kailh Box Whites are thrown around quite a lot as great alternatives to Cherry MX Blues.



Offline Maledicted

  • Posts: 1399
  • Location: Wisconsin, United States
Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 06 July 2020, 10:18:29 »
Doesn't matter how fancy the case is- what mounting system it uses, whether it's Cerakoted in my choice of colour. The problem, in my subjective ranking system, is that they all use MX-style switches. A car analogy- it doesn't matter how nice the body is, or how elaborate the suspension is, if the engine is from a Ford Fiesta.

I love that analogy. I think it fits perfectly. I agree completely with basically all of your other points as well.

* With the possible exception of the new Model F. I've never tried a Model F though, only have Ms to go with.

I cannot even begin to properly convey how much of an absolute joy an IBM 4704 keyboard, like the new production F77s, is to type on for somebody who likes beefy old boat anchors and/or thunderous clicky switches. I'll shill for Ellipse for as long as those things remain in production. I like my F107 even more, though, even though (or, maybe, because?) I have literally no practical reason to have such a gigantic 10 pound keyboard devouring my desk.

Offline djroberts

  • Posts: 5
Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #30 on: Mon, 06 July 2020, 11:46:01 »
How could anyone meaningfully put keyboards into 'tiers' in the first place?

The single most important component to the typing experience is the switch, and the second is the quality of the keycaps. Way down the list are going to be things like case material or mounting system.

The Tofu uses whatever switches you put into it, and whatever caps you choose, so it's not entry level, it's not high level, it's just a case, a plate and a PCB.

Similarly, I am not sure how anyone could call the Ducky Shine7 a 'high tier' keyboard, it comes with stock Cherry MX switches and there's not a single Cherry switch that I would call great. I'm sure it's a solid board, Ducky tends to make decent products, but unless you gut it and desolder all the switches, it's inherently limited.

Thank you. I'm pretty new to the scene and have been somewhat confused with the strange emphasis placed on certain aspect of the boards.
« Last Edit: Mon, 06 July 2020, 11:48:39 by djroberts »

Offline djroberts

  • Posts: 5
Re: Is the Tofu 60% A Entry Level Keyboard?
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 06 July 2020, 11:53:41 »
Interesting..... I like blue cherry switches. What would you recommend that  is better than a blue cherry switch?

Ditto what others are saying on clickies. I have Kailh Box Whites on one of my keebs. Love them. My girlfriend's main is Kailh Box Bronze.