Author Topic: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome  (Read 20015 times)

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Offline tweakedmind

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Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome

I have been following this forum for the past 4 weeks and after I recently bought a new Topre keyboard I felt it’s time to contribute something.
So here is my very first topic: The review of the Topre RealForce 105UB.



It got quite a bit long, but I hope not too long.

Preface

Please keep in mind that a review like this is nothing more than an opinion of a single person.
It’s neither meant to be nor is a scientific measurement or classification in any way.
I do realize that Topre keyboards are a very controversial topic here on geekhack. Some love it, some hate it.
So this review is not meant to start (yet another) heated or polarized discussion on the topic.
It’s meant to give people who are interested in Topre keyboards some insights. No more, no less.

Please excuse my limited English skills, my native language is German.
I am sorry for any misspellings or mistakes, but the good news is: If you find ‘em, you can keep ‘em!

About me

I think it helps when the person reviewing tells a bit about himself and his history with other similar goods (in this case keyboards).
It puts his opinion into perspective. If he has the same opinion like me on keyboards I already know, then there is a great chance we share the same opinion about the reviewed keyboard and hence I might better estimate if I will like or dislike it.
And it might be entertaining and a good opportunity to introduce myself to the community.
So first a bit about myself.

I began using computers when I was about 9 years old.
At that time I got a C64 and I was immediately blown away by all the things I could do with it, especially coding.
The moment I discovered the BASIC interpreter on it I lost my heart to software development.
Since then I’ve used ATARI computers, an IBM PS/2, a 386 and later on my first 486.

Now, 21 years later I am working as a self-employed software developer and have been doing so for about 11 years now.

I almost exclusively do development with C# / .NET nowadays.

Like many programmers I don’t do touch typing (but I am working on it). I use my own method where I use up to 6 fingers simultaneously.
However my typing speed is still a good 60 wpm for German texts and I can type blindly for about 80% of the time.
I only use full size keyboards, because I have to do accounting on every end of the month, so I do appreciate the Numpad.

Keyboards I have used so far

IBM Model M (Buckling Spring)

That was the first Keyboard I’ve used and for which I can still remember how it felt.
I loved it very much for its tactility and especially the gorgeous sound, while other members of my family hated me, because they couldn’t get any sleep while I was hammering on it at nights :)

+ Build like a tank
+ Great tactility
+ Nice sound
- Very loud (definitely nothing for an office environment with others)

All kinds of rubber domes

In all the years I have used an endless number of low to middle priced rubber domes.
Well, there is not much to say about them. They did what they were designed for. Some of them even did not feel that bad. But it was not very pleasant to use them for long coding session.

+ Cheap
+ Easy to replace (because they’re cheap and available everywhere)
+ Doesn’t die immediately when you hit on it (back in the 90s Windows used to crash a lot and I used to hit on my keyboard a lot :) )
- Not ergonomic at all
- Not very pleasant to type on

Cherry G83-6105LUNDE-2 (Rubber Dome)

Actually not that bad of a keyboard as long as you don’t compare it to any kind of mechanical keyboard. However it is not really good for long typing sessions. I still have one here (I think it is more than 7 years old now) and it is still working, but it feels terrible.

+ Cheap
+ Very durable (still works after 7 years)
- Hurts after long typing
- Mediocre typing feeling

Cherry G80-3000 LPCDE-2 (MX Black)

I think this was my first keyboard with MX switches.
It is quite nice actually. Not superb, but it gets the job done.
I still got one around which is about 4 years old now.

+ Quite cheap
+ Nice typing feeling
+ Works for long typing sessions
+ Quite durable (still works after 4 years)

Thinkpad T500 Keyboard

For me Thinkpads (especially the original IBM ones) always had the best keyboards found in any notebooks for a long time.
The current (Lenovo) models are not as good as the old ones but still better than most notebook keyboards.

+ Very nice typing experience (for a notebook keyboard)
+ Useable for long typing sessions
+ I love the included TrackPoint (still way better than any touchpad I’ve used)
- Expensive (the T500 :) )
- It’s still a notebook keyboard :)

Steel Series 7G (MX Black)

+ Very good build quality
+ Nice typing experience
+ USB Hub included (can be useful sometimes, but not really a killer feature for me)
- Expensive
- Annoying indicator LEDs (they were way to bright, I put tape on it in the end)
- Very lose keycaps (when it was delivered some keycaps where already floating around in the package)
- Weird layout, especially the way too small backspace key (I prefer the German T1 layout, which is the standard on most German keyboards)
- Bad Included wrist rest (Not comfortable because it’s made of very hard plastic and way to big too)

Unicomp Classic (Model M) (Buckling Spring)

I bought this keyboard, because I remembered how much I liked the IBM Model M back in the early 90s and I wanted to upgrade from the Cherry G80-3000 LSCDE-2.
I liked it very much for its build quality, but I could not get warm with it. The high profile keys just didn’t feel “right” to my fingers and I was mistyping all the time.
My fingers often laded in between the keys. Eventually I gave it to my wife and she’s been using ever since. She loves it and wouldn’t give it away for the world.

+ Very high build quality
+ Great tactility
+ Nice sound
+ Very easy to clean
+ When someone’s trying to break into your house you can use it to kill the rubber easily (it’s basically a weapon without the need for a gun license)
- Expensive
- Hard to get here in Germany
- Very loud (I can hear my wife typing on it when I am 2 rooms away)

Cherry G80-3000 LSCDE-2 (MX Blue)

This is the keyboard which I have been using for the last 3 years.
I love the feeling of the MX Blues and the clicky sound. This is the keyboard where I can type with the highest accuracy. I can use it for 10 hours in a row without feeling any fatigue.
However the build quality is very, very bad. It is not at all up to what Cherry keyboards use to be like back in the 90s or early 2000s.
In the last 3 years I had to buy a new one every 7 months, because it began to not recognize keystrokes anymore on some keys or it would register multiple for a single keystroke.
I must add that I am a heavy smoker (especially when I am sitting in front of the PC). So after a while a lot of cigarette ash has fallen into it, which is probably not that good for it :)
Anyway, even under these circumstances I would have expected it to last longer.

+ Quite cheap
+ Available in many shops
+ Great tactility
+ Great sound
- Mediocre build quality (Particularly the current ones)
- Loud
- Very low durability

The Topre RealForce 105 UB (Variable weighting)

Reasons to buy

I had to replace my Cherry G80-300 LSCDE-2 every 7 months, because it was failing to register keystrokes (see notes above). So I had have enough of that and was looking for a better keyboard that would likely last longer.
This time I wanted to get the damn best keyboard in existence. So I was reading review after review for days to finally realize that there is no such thing as “the best” keyboard.

So I started to define my requirements for “my best” keyboard instead:
- Of course it should last much longer than the cherry board did
- It should have a nice and comfortable typing feeling
- It should be a full size keyboard with a standard (German T1) layout
- It should have a very good build quality
- It should allow me to use it for hours without causing fatigue

Because of the first point I started to search for a switch type that doesn’t have a complex construction with fragile parts (like the Cherry MX switch), can withstand heavy use and is not sensitive to dust or cigarette ash.
That very quickly directed me to the Topre switch. The switch is constructed of very few and very simple parts (PCB (Capacitive Sensor) -> Spring -> Rubber Dome -> Housing) and the rubber dome is protecting the internals from the environments (like dust and ash in my case).
It also utilizes a capacitive mechanism instead of directly closing (or opening) an electrical circuit. So it should in theory not be as sensitive to dirt even when the dirt had entered the internals.
So I thought it might be the best candidate to survive in my environment for more than a couple of months.

I then read as many reviews and opinions I could find on the internet about Topre keyboards.
Most of it I have found here on geekhack. Eventually I decided to give it a try.

Unboxing

I ordered the RealForce at the Keyboard Company (England, http://keyboardco.com/), because this was the only European shop I was able to find that sells Topre keyboards.
I ordered it on the 31th December and chose TNT express for delivery.
It was shipped at the 2nd January (because The Keyboard Company was at vacation till the 2nd) and arrived at the 3rd January. So TNT Express really delivered in just one day!

I must admit I was very excited when the TNT delivery boy rang the doorbell.
I had read so much about the Topre that the night before it even appeared in my dreams.

The packaging was sufficiently good, but the package was missing an invoice. (I email the Keyboard Company about it later and it they sent me one very shortly).

At first I was a bit disappointed because the keyboard came in a cardboard box that was completely blank on the outside.
I was expecting a box that had the famous “Good feeling of oneness with cup rubber” printed on it. The box felt quite heavy.
In it there was only the Keyboard itself and a short manual / specifications sheet.

First Impressions

My very first impression was: “Wow, what a build quality!”.

The Keyboard is very heavy and the surface feels very nice.
Right at the beginning I noticed the coating on the USB cable. It has a very nice “feel” and looks like it is an industrial quality.

The PBT keycaps looked and felt very nice too.
The keyboard is a bit slimmer than my cherry G80-3000 which I appreciate.

Build Quality

I do not have a single thing to say against its build quality.
It is a very fine piece of craftsmanship.
It’s very heavy and reminds me a lot of the IBM Model M / Unicomp.
It’s “build like a tank” too (although the Model M is still the mother of all tanks). It has very little flex and feels incredibly solid.

The Keycaps feel very nice and solid and way better than any other keyboard I have used so far (apart from the Model M / Unicomp maybe).
They have a smooth, somewhat textured finish. It’s hard to describe, but it doesn’t fell as “plasticy” and plain as other keycaps I’ve used.

Typing

For me (as probably for most other people here too) the feeling when I type on a keyboard is by far the most important aspect of a keyboard.
Built-in USB hub, background lighting and media keys: Such things have no importance to me at all.

Typing on the RealForce is somewhat similar to other rubber domes, yet completely different. It’s somewhat confusing at first.
It’s much smoother to type on the Topre switches. It takes way less energy to do so than on common rubber dome.
Someone described it as typing on a small trampoline. That’s actually a very accurate description.

It feels very pleasant to type on it.
For me that’s the biggest difference to a common rubber dome.
You literally feel the build quality when you type on it.

The variable weighting of the keys works pretty well for me. However I do not feel the different key weighting very much. I can tell it when I deliberately watch for it, but in daily use I barely notice it.

Anyway, for me it is not a perfect typing experience yet:
I do mistype much more on the Topre than I used to do on the cherry G80-3000 (MX Blues).
It’s somewhat a similar experience than what I had with the Unicomp Model M. My fingers often simply hit the wrong key or they do not land in the middle of the key, but rather on the edge of the keycap.
However the keys on the Topre do not have a high profile opposed to the Model M and the keycaps have a very similar shape as the ones on my cherry board. So it must be something else.
I guess it has something to do with the force required to actuate the keys. When I type on the MX blues, they feel very light. The Topre switches feel much heavier to me.
But I guess people doing touch typing will have much less problems with mistyping on it. It could also be the much less visible key letterings on the Topre.
Maybe I look at the keyboard much more than I am realizing and because the gold on black lettering on the Topre is much less visible than on the cherry I might simply have more difficulties seeing the right keys to hit.
I also noticed that the letterings on the cherry do have a much bigger font, so another reason why they are much better visible on the cherry board.

Some people here have said that it takes some time for the Topre switches to “break-in”.
I wonder if that’s true. I have used the Topre now for about a week and the problem with the mistyping got a bit better, but it has not improved as much as I would like it yet.

I will keep an eye on it and report my experiences here after some more time has passed.

The million dollar question: “Is it just an expensive rubber dome?”

Yes and no.
Of course technically it is a rubber dome. It has rubber cups to provide the tactility and support for the keycaps, so of course it is a rubber dome keyboard.
But besides the technical definition, most people associate this with the term “rubber dome”: Cheap, rough feeling, bad quality, no/bad tactility, not useable for long time without fatigue.

This is where the Topre differs from all other rubber domes I have used so far.
It’s has a way better quality, is much smoother and I can use it for a longer time before feeling fatigue.

Comparing a common rubber dome to a Topre is like comparing a 20$ crack hooker to a 1000$ / hour high class hooker:
It’s still a hooker, but “feels” (both metaphorically and literally speaking :) ) very different and is much more elegant (hence the title of this review).
(Sorry to all the ladies here for this kind of comparison :) )

So to answer the question: Yes it is an expensive rubber dome, but not “just” an expensive rubber dome.

Conclusion or “Is it worth the price?”

At first I was amazed by the RealForce and disappointed at the same time.

Amazed because of the very high build quality (which I appreciate a lot in any kind of product).
You can actually feel the build quality when typing on it.

Disappointed because it felt a bit (!) like other rubber domes.
After I’ve read a lot about Topre keyboards before, my expectations where getting very high (and of course because of the high price tag).
I was expecting a “completely new typing experience”, which is probably an expectation which no keyboard can fulfill.

In the next days I was constantly battling with myself.
Had I paid a too high price for this thing?
Do I just think it’s great because it must be great based on the high price?

Now some time later I calm down a bit and my conclusion so far is:
It is a very nice keyboard. But it’s not a perfect one. (But I guess as with most things in life there is no perfect thing).
However I think that the RealForce does fulfill all of my requirements.

Due to the build quality and the construction it will probably last much longer than my cherry board.
I can type on it with a good enough accuracy (not perfect yet, but I hope it will improve over time).
And I do not feel fatigue even after long usage.

So is it worth the price? For me: Yes.
It does what I wanted it do to, even though at a very high price and not in an absolutely perfect way.

On the other hand I use this keyboard to do my work for a living.
I have paid much, much more on software and PC hardware that I need for my work.
So in comparison with other work related “tools” which I purchased, the price of the Topre is actually quite low.

And I think that’s the whole point of Topre keyboards:
As far as I can tell these are not targeted for gamers or enthusiasts (besides the HHKB of course), but they are designed as tools for professionals.
It’s simply a workhorse.

So too sum it up in one sentence:
For me the Topre keyboard is an “elegant rubber dome”.

So would I recommend a Topre keyboard to others?

Yes, if...
...you do have a need for a particular attribute that only a Topre board can offer (like in my case the resistance to a harsh environment aka cigarette ash).
...you’re looking for a special, exclusive product (but there are other exclusive boards too).
...you need a good workhorse for your work.

No, if...
...you’re just looking for a great keyboard.
...you absolutely hate the feeling of rubber domes (I mean not just the cheapness of most rubber domes, but the actual general feeling of typing on rubber).

I hope you liked this review and I furthermore hope that it helps at least some other people on deciding if they should or should not give a Topre board a try.
« Last Edit: Sun, 19 January 2014, 00:33:37 by tweakedmind »

Offline boost

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 11:09:22 »
Nice review and welcome to geekhack!
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Offline riotonthebay

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 11:15:08 »


Welcome to GeekHack! Great review.

Offline tbc

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 15:15:15 »
^

it's a programmer thing lol
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Offline riotonthebay

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 15:18:01 »

^

it's a programmer thing lol

Semantic line breaks rule in READMEs. I'm a fan.

Offline eth0s

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 15:43:27 »
Welcome to GH!

Great review, and very accurate.  However, I would dispute your opinion that the RealForce is just a "rubber-dome" keyboard.  The two switching technologies are totally different.  Both employ rubber, but the effect, implementation, and feel are all totally different.  A bicycle and a motorcycle are both made of metal, but nobody would confuse the two.  Nobody would ever say, "this motorcycle is like an elegant bicycle".  Well, maybe they would, who knows?  But the motorcycle and the bicycle are completely different.   And so are rubber-domed keyboards and Topre switch keyboards.
I ♥ Click Clack.  I ♥♥♥ Bro Caps.

Offline osi

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 15:59:40 »
Good write up. I enjoyed it. Let us know how it's going after a month of use!


Offline tweakedmind

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 17:04:52 »
^

it's a programmer thing lol

Maybe, but actually I did it, because I find it hard to read texts with very long lines.
A line break here and there makes the text much more readable to me.

Offline tweakedmind

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 08 January 2014, 18:47:15 »
However, I would dispute your opinion that the RealForce is just a "rubber-dome" keyboard.

Well, that’s precisely the point:
Topres are rubber domes, but not just rubber domes.

I think when people say rubber domes what they actually think is cheap.
To me Topre keyboards are a proof that rubber domes can actually be decent. Which is something that other manufactures should contemplate about... Rubber dome by itself does not necessarily mean that it’s a bad keyboard. I think Topre keyboards are about the best what you can achieve utilizing rubber domes.

However, my Topre does feel like a rubber dome to me. An extremely well made rubber dome, but still like a rubber dome. It simply has the typical rubber dome jump and bump and it sounds a bit like a rubber dome too. That’s at least what my fingers und ears tell me. Cherry switches or buckling spring switches feel completely different to me.

But the actual question is:
Does it even matter if it is and feels like a rubber dome, when it’s made extremely well and feels very good?
I think no. As long as it feels good and I can type on it without getting fatigue I don’t give a damn about what kind of switches it has.
Maybe people tend to argue it’s not a rubber dome, because they don’t want other people to think they have been unwise paying such a high price for a rubber dome. But I don’t care about that. For me the only important thing is if the damn thing gets the job done or not.

The only really annoying thing is when people argue about Topre boards (or other stuff), which they have never actually used by them self. Simply doesn't make sense doing so.

That's said, if you like your Topre, be happy with it, if you don't like it, sell it. In the end your fingers don't care about opinions, they just care about the feeling.
« Last Edit: Wed, 08 January 2014, 18:49:08 by tweakedmind »

Offline berserkfan

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 17 January 2014, 13:14:55 »
Good write up. I enjoyed it. Let us know how it's going after a month of use!

I agree; this is a seriously good review and author has clearly devoted time and real usage.

I am greatly amused, though, by his mention of Robber Domes... nearly all Germans I have met have flawless English, including the author, so this minor spelling mistake is kinda amusing.
Most of the modding can be done on your own once you break through the psychological barriers.

Offline phoenix1234

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 17 January 2014, 13:42:18 »
Appreciate when you did a very detail review  :thumb:
I like linear switches

Offline tweakedmind

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 19 January 2014, 00:34:50 »
I am greatly amused, though, by his mention of Robber Domes... nearly all Germans I have met have flawless English, including the author, so this minor spelling mistake is kinda amusing.

Thank you for the note. I've corrected the misspelling.

Thank you all for your feedback!

Offline tweakedmind

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #12 on: Sun, 19 January 2014, 02:00:42 »
Update (after 15 days of daily usage)

I have used this keyboard for more than 2 weeks now and my resume so far is: I am a bit disappointed.

Before I bought the keyboard I’ve read an endless number of reviews and opinions about it on the internet (mainly here). So many people had said that nothing compares to Topre switches and that they are superior to other mechanical switches.

For me they do feel a lot like other rubber domes.

Yes, they are much, much smoother than any other rubber dome keyboard I’ve used and they have a build quality light years away from other rubber domes. But they still feel like rubber domes and not much like other mechanical switches (like buckling springs or cherry MX switches).

I mistype a lot on the Topre. I haven’t yet exactly nailed it down what the problem is, but it seems it’s the missing clickiness that I was used to on my Cherry G80-3000 (with MX blues). My fingers seem to need the click-feedback to know when they actually actuated a key.
Typing on the Topre feels like pressing my fingers into foam or rubber (which isn’t that much of a surprise on a rubber dome keyboard anyway :) ). My fingers just don’t feel when they actually actuated the keys. I also had the problem with too many mistypes on my Unicomp (an IBM Model M replica). But there I blamed the high profile keys for (my fingers often landed in between the keys).

I don’t know if I will ever get used to the Topre switches. Maybe it is just a matter of training and habit. I certainly hope that my fingers will adjust to it, because for the reasons I wrote in the review I cannot use MX switches.

On the other side I catch myself often going to my PC and pressing some keys (while the PC is turned off!) just to feel the Topre keys again. So there is something about this keyboard that attracts me. It does definitely feel extremely solid and smooth. Also the keycaps with their textured surface are very appealing to my fingers.

By the way: It seems that what some people wrote about that Topre switches will break-in after some time is correct. After 2 weeks now the keys feel a bit lighter to me that at the beginning. So either they broke-in or my fingers have somewhat adjusted to the heavier keys.

So to summarize:
The Topre keyboard has an extremely high build quality and the keys are very smooth. But saying it does feel completely different than other rubber domes is (at least for me) not true. I have to say that after all I’ve read about Topre switches before and considering the very high price tag it has I would have expected more from this keyboard.

I will continue to use this board as my daily driver and I really hope my fingers will adjust to it.
But for anyone who is interested in buying a Topre keyboard:
Don’t expect too much or you might be disappointed. It is certainly not a “completely new typing experience”.

Of course these are all just my very own observations and my opinion. Other people might feel completely different about Topre keyboards, which is of course just as valid as my feelings are.

Offline Coreda

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 19 January 2014, 03:25:55 »
So the Topre feels like a 1000$ / hour high class hooker.

You learn something everyday!

Your English is excellent btw

Offline rowdy

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 19 January 2014, 03:26:42 »
Thank you for posting the feedback.

A lot of people after 2 weeks love Topre switches, and cannot switch back to anything else.

So what do you think of other switches now you have had a couple of weeks of oneness with cup rubber?

Personally I still like my MX switches, although I do lean towards stiffer switches, such as blacks and greens.  I also still like buckling spring - nothing quite like that sound!

And then I love my HHKB :)
"Because keyboards are accessories to PC makers, they focus on minimizing the manufacturing costs. But that’s incorrect. It’s in HHKB’s slogan, but when America’s cowboys were in the middle of a trip and their horse died, they would leave the horse there. But even if they were in the middle of a desert, they would take their saddle with them. The horse was a consumable good, but the saddle was an interface that their bodies had gotten used to. In the same vein, PCs are consumable goods, while keyboards are important interfaces." - Eiiti Wada

NEC APC-H4100E | Ducky DK9008 Shine MX blue LED red | Ducky DK9008 Shine MX blue LED green | Link 900243-08 | CM QFR MX black | KeyCool 87 white MX reds | HHKB 2 Pro | Model M 02-Mar-1993 | Model M 29-Nov-1995 | CM Trigger (broken) | CM QFS MX green | Ducky DK9087 Shine 3 TKL Yellow Edition MX black | Lexmark SSK 21-Apr-1994 | IBM SSK 13-Oct-1987 | CODE TKL MX clear | Model M 122 01-Jun-1988

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Offline tweakedmind

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 19 January 2014, 05:06:52 »
A lot of people after 2 weeks love Topre switches, and cannot switch back to anything else.
So what do you think of other switches now you have had a couple of weeks of oneness with cup rubber?

Well, I do think right now I would prefer MX blue switches. But I am forcing myself to get used to the Topre switches because going back to MX blues is not an option for the reasons mentioned in the review.
While typing on the Topre is enjoyable I still have these problems with mistyping. And that bugs me a lot, because I use the keyboard for my job, so I kind of depend on a good keyboard. Mistyping all the time slows me down and disturbs my workflow.

On the other hand, when I switch back to the MX blues for a minute, I can type without problems, but I noticed that the MX blues do not feel as “high-class” as the Topre keys do. But it could also be that my brain is just telling me that the Topre keys feel better quality wise because I have paid so damn much for it :)

I will continue to try to adjust to the Topre keys and see how things will go.
I will give the Topre keyboard another 4 to 6 weeks before making any final decision.

Anyway I guess my fingers would have some trouble adjusting to any kind of new keyboard after using the same keyboard model for the last 3 years. My fingers are probably highly adjusted to the MX blues.

Offline tbc

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #16 on: Sun, 19 January 2014, 05:34:05 »
lol everything you just said applies to me lol.

i find that topres aren't 'bad' but they're not twice as good as my blues.  they're alot more refined, but the blues are more accurate and MUCH more fun to use.

all in all,  topres are the 'office worker' switch because they feel better than membranes and they're quiet

« Last Edit: Sun, 19 January 2014, 14:39:05 by tbc »
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Offline 1pq

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #17 on: Sun, 19 January 2014, 11:19:56 »
I will continue to try to adjust to the Topre keys and see how things will go.
I will give the Topre keyboard another 4 to 6 weeks before making any final decision.

You definitely should wait a bit before coming to a decision. I used MX Blues for about a year, and it took me a full month (at least) to appreciate topre.
main kbs:  87UB (55g)  Custom Filco TKL (62g clears)

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Offline rowdy

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #18 on: Sun, 19 January 2014, 12:55:29 »
Do you know WHY you make mistakes when typing, why you hit the wrong keys with particular frequency on particular boards?

Maybe it is the shape or feel of the keycaps that guides, or not, your fingers towards the right keys.

Maybe it is something more subtle, like the overall shape of the keyboard, than the switches.
"Because keyboards are accessories to PC makers, they focus on minimizing the manufacturing costs. But that’s incorrect. It’s in HHKB’s slogan, but when America’s cowboys were in the middle of a trip and their horse died, they would leave the horse there. But even if they were in the middle of a desert, they would take their saddle with them. The horse was a consumable good, but the saddle was an interface that their bodies had gotten used to. In the same vein, PCs are consumable goods, while keyboards are important interfaces." - Eiiti Wada

NEC APC-H4100E | Ducky DK9008 Shine MX blue LED red | Ducky DK9008 Shine MX blue LED green | Link 900243-08 | CM QFR MX black | KeyCool 87 white MX reds | HHKB 2 Pro | Model M 02-Mar-1993 | Model M 29-Nov-1995 | CM Trigger (broken) | CM QFS MX green | Ducky DK9087 Shine 3 TKL Yellow Edition MX black | Lexmark SSK 21-Apr-1994 | IBM SSK 13-Oct-1987 | CODE TKL MX clear | Model M 122 01-Jun-1988

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Offline 1pq

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #19 on: Sun, 19 January 2014, 19:13:55 »
Yeah I make more mistakes on MX Blues and MX Blacks than on topre 45g. I'm surprised to hear that you're making more mistakes on a topre board.
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Offline noisyturtle

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #20 on: Mon, 20 January 2014, 08:28:20 »
This was a great "little" review. Would read again  :thumb:

Offline Findecanor

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #21 on: Mon, 20 January 2014, 11:38:38 »
Great review!
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Offline Elrick

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #22 on: Mon, 20 January 2014, 17:02:22 »
Anyway I guess my fingers would have some trouble adjusting to any kind of new keyboard after using the same keyboard model for the last 3 years. My fingers are probably highly adjusted to the MX blues.

Trust me, REALFORCE can never replace an MX Blue keyboard.  As you know clearly the feel of the Cherry switch is very different to a spring and rubber switch.  So glad another rational person here isn't a "Thorpie" fantasist.

Trust me, whether you spend another 4 weeks or 4 months on a 'thorp' the Cherry will always win in the end, if you just want to type  :thumb: .

Offline deSheol

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #23 on: Mon, 20 January 2014, 21:25:34 »
Anyway I guess my fingers would have some trouble adjusting to any kind of new keyboard after using the same keyboard model for the last 3 years. My fingers are probably highly adjusted to the MX blues.

Trust me, REALFORCE can never replace an MX Blue keyboard.  As you know clearly the feel of the Cherry switch is very different to a spring and rubber switch.  So glad another rational person here isn't a "Thorpie" fantasist.

Trust me, whether you spend another 4 weeks or 4 months on a 'thorp' the Cherry will always win in the end, if you just want to type  :thumb: .

Exact same thoughts, I can't say I'm a "thorpie" fantasist. I have loved using MX Blues, and MX Clears, but had always wondered what it would be like to type on a Topre, until I owned one myself. Topre Switch is the exact switch I was looking for, something like in between MX clear and MX blue, but I can definitely differentiate the difference between the three. Topre and MX switches just feels so damn different. As much as I like MX clears, I love Topres too.

I just don't understand the hate between people who loves either Cherry or Topre though, both feels absolutely perfect to me.

Offline Elrick

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #24 on: Mon, 20 January 2014, 22:30:45 »
I just don't understand the hate between people who loves either Cherry or Topre though, both feels absolutely perfect to me.

Perfectly correct, the hate is usually directed from people who have made a sudden purchase and then realize that their lives have no meaning without their chosen keyboard in front of them.  Those that have both style of switches have already made their choice to live and be free but some have that child like ignorance of it's 'got to be either this or that'.

Geekhack has always been the place for equal admiration across all switch types, although (un)fortunately the design and manufacture of key-sets will always be for the Cherry-MX switches.  Just waiting for CM's new keyboards to be released, they have at least matured to establishing a very unique product line for 2014  :thumb: .
« Last Edit: Mon, 20 January 2014, 22:32:37 by Elrick »

Offline tbc

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #25 on: Mon, 20 January 2014, 23:14:27 »
^ I would say that regularly switching between switches makes you enjoy each of the switches MORE.  something about 'variety is the spice of life' or something.
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Offline rowdy

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #26 on: Mon, 20 January 2014, 23:53:48 »
^ I would say that regularly switching between switches makes you enjoy each of the switches MORE.  something about 'variety is the spice of life' or something.

I'd go with this, although I've found that I have a preference for stiffer switches.  I'd like to try Topre 55g (having only a HHKB for comparison).
"Because keyboards are accessories to PC makers, they focus on minimizing the manufacturing costs. But that’s incorrect. It’s in HHKB’s slogan, but when America’s cowboys were in the middle of a trip and their horse died, they would leave the horse there. But even if they were in the middle of a desert, they would take their saddle with them. The horse was a consumable good, but the saddle was an interface that their bodies had gotten used to. In the same vein, PCs are consumable goods, while keyboards are important interfaces." - Eiiti Wada

NEC APC-H4100E | Ducky DK9008 Shine MX blue LED red | Ducky DK9008 Shine MX blue LED green | Link 900243-08 | CM QFR MX black | KeyCool 87 white MX reds | HHKB 2 Pro | Model M 02-Mar-1993 | Model M 29-Nov-1995 | CM Trigger (broken) | CM QFS MX green | Ducky DK9087 Shine 3 TKL Yellow Edition MX black | Lexmark SSK 21-Apr-1994 | IBM SSK 13-Oct-1987 | CODE TKL MX clear | Model M 122 01-Jun-1988

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Offline Elrick

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #27 on: Tue, 21 January 2014, 00:27:26 »
I'd like to try Topre 55g (having only a HHKB for comparison).

You should, the REALFORCE TKL 55g is quite nice if you're into firmer thorpie's  :thumb: .

Offline deSheol

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #28 on: Tue, 21 January 2014, 00:36:05 »
^ I would say that regularly switching between switches makes you enjoy each of the switches MORE.  something about 'variety is the spice of life' or something.

I'd go with this, although I've found that I have a preference for stiffer switches.  I'd like to try Topre 55g (having only a HHKB for comparison).

They feel amazing, I have the Topre 55G, mods and number row 45G (not spacebar). Again.. just feels amazing. : D

Offline rowdy

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #29 on: Tue, 21 January 2014, 02:57:16 »
I'd like to try Topre 55g (having only a HHKB for comparison).

You should, the REALFORCE TKL 55g is quite nice if you're into firmer thorpie's  :thumb: .

That's just it - I've never tried any Thorpe apart from 45G HHKB.

I think I'd quite like a 55G TKL RealForce.
"Because keyboards are accessories to PC makers, they focus on minimizing the manufacturing costs. But that’s incorrect. It’s in HHKB’s slogan, but when America’s cowboys were in the middle of a trip and their horse died, they would leave the horse there. But even if they were in the middle of a desert, they would take their saddle with them. The horse was a consumable good, but the saddle was an interface that their bodies had gotten used to. In the same vein, PCs are consumable goods, while keyboards are important interfaces." - Eiiti Wada

NEC APC-H4100E | Ducky DK9008 Shine MX blue LED red | Ducky DK9008 Shine MX blue LED green | Link 900243-08 | CM QFR MX black | KeyCool 87 white MX reds | HHKB 2 Pro | Model M 02-Mar-1993 | Model M 29-Nov-1995 | CM Trigger (broken) | CM QFS MX green | Ducky DK9087 Shine 3 TKL Yellow Edition MX black | Lexmark SSK 21-Apr-1994 | IBM SSK 13-Oct-1987 | CODE TKL MX clear | Model M 122 01-Jun-1988

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Offline quickcrx702

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #30 on: Sun, 02 February 2014, 06:45:53 »
55g feels completely different in the best way possible.  It is much more tactile while remaining smooth.  I wish that I hadn't wanted to try the 45g and instead just got another 55g board.  It's the difference between MX red and MX Blue, both in tactility and force.  Yes, I realize that reds are linear, and am still making the comparison.  As I've said before, the 55g is very tactile, almost like popping bubble wrap every time you press a key.  There is a lot of resistance at first, then smooth as you unavoidably bottom out.

Offline gh_pp

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 03 February 2014, 23:27:08 »
Update (after 15 days of daily usage)

I have used this keyboard for more than 2 weeks now and my resume so far is: I am a bit disappointed.


For me they do feel a lot like other rubber domes.


Yes, that's an accurate description.
Other mech switches (BS, mx) debounce much faster than topre switches.
It's like your fingers are dancing on the springs.

Topre, as other have said, is like cloud of boobs.
They are very soft, high quality rubber dome but they take a tiny little bit of time to bounce back.

That's why I have my cherry keyboard on the left and topre on the right, so I can use them both and don't miss the other one as bad.  It works great with dual monitor setup where I research and reply to email on the left and do actual work on the right. If you have the keyboard at the center you have to tilt your head constantly and it's getting uncomfortable.  I don't know why I didn't think of that in my 20+ years of computing life. Maybe because I just discovered the joy of the TKL layout last year.

« Last Edit: Mon, 03 February 2014, 23:48:00 by gh_pp »
QFR brown x2, Realforce 45G, Type-S, Keycool 22 blue

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Offline Jumpjet

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 04 February 2014, 14:32:08 »
Quote
cloud of boobs

Gotta try me some of them Topres!  ;D

Offline quickcrx702

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 04 February 2014, 15:36:09 »
Update (after 15 days of daily usage)

I have used this keyboard for more than 2 weeks now and my resume so far is: I am a bit disappointed.


For me they do feel a lot like other rubber domes.


Yes, that's an accurate description.
Other mech switches (BS, mx) debounce much faster than topre switches.
It's like your fingers are dancing on the springs.

55g does not suffer from this, which is why I prefer it to the 45g.  Some people describe the 55g as being too stiff actually, but I don't think it's an issue unless your hands get fatigued very easily.  Don't give up on Topre until you try the 55g, you will be very pleased, from day 1.  As I have said before, the feeling is completely different from the 45g(and by association the variable).

Offline smknjoe

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 04 February 2014, 15:40:58 »
Thanks for your honest review. I like the build quality of my HHKB but it's more tiring during long typing sessions to me when compared to MX or BS.

...and yes Topre is a rubber dome mechanism just like all rubber domes are mechanical. They are just actuated/activated differently.
SSKs for everyone!

Offline Polymer

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #35 on: Tue, 04 February 2014, 17:33:31 »
Thanks for your honest review. I like the build quality of my HHKB but it's more tiring during long typing sessions to me when compared to MX or BS.

...and yes Topre is a rubber dome mechanism just like all rubber domes are mechanical. They are just actuated/activated differently.

You think your HHKB is more tiring than BS?  That's odd....If you like how Topre feel but the HHKB is tiring you out, you might try a variable...it is a lot easier on your pinky finger...I prefer the feel of my HHKB but I know for longer sessions my variable RF is easier on my hands..

Offline 1pq

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 05 February 2014, 10:59:20 »
Wow, really? My FC600C is much less tiring than BS, stock clears, or blacks. It's about the same as mx blues.
main kbs:  87UB (55g)  Custom Filco TKL (62g clears)

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Offline Linkbane

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #37 on: Thu, 13 February 2014, 13:55:33 »
Wow, really? My FC600C is much less tiring than BS, stock clears, or blacks. It's about the same as mx blues.

The same experience for me. My FC660C is very similar to blues in terms of fatigue.
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Offline Pacifist

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #38 on: Tue, 11 March 2014, 20:49:47 »
A lot of people after 2 weeks love Topre switches, and cannot switch back to anything else.
So what do you think of other switches now you have had a couple of weeks of oneness with cup rubber?

Well, I do think right now I would prefer MX blue switches. But I am forcing myself to get used to the Topre switches because going back to MX blues is not an option for the reasons mentioned in the review.
While typing on the Topre is enjoyable I still have these problems with mistyping. And that bugs me a lot, because I use the keyboard for my job, so I kind of depend on a good keyboard. Mistyping all the time slows me down and disturbs my workflow.

On the other hand, when I switch back to the MX blues for a minute, I can type without problems, but I noticed that the MX blues do not feel as “high-class” as the Topre keys do. But it could also be that my brain is just telling me that the Topre keys feel better quality wise because I have paid so damn much for it :)

I will continue to try to adjust to the Topre keys and see how things will go.
I will give the Topre keyboard another 4 to 6 weeks before making any final decision.

Anyway I guess my fingers would have some trouble adjusting to any kind of new keyboard after using the same keyboard model for the last 3 years. My fingers are probably highly adjusted to the MX blues.

Have you made a final decision? Is it the profile messing things up?

Offline tweakedmind

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #39 on: Tue, 06 May 2014, 12:41:39 »
Have you made a final decision? Is it the profile messing things up?

Sorry for the long delay.
I was busy with business, so I could not get back to the forum.

I have used the Realforce now for a couple of months as my daily driver.
I am quite pleased using it. The problems with mistyping are almost completely gone.
I guess it's just a matter of practice and adaption. Maybe you can get used to almost any kind of keyboard after using it for a long enough time.

I have switched back a couple of times to my old Cherry keyboard (MX Blues). But after a couple of minutes I switch back to the Realforce.
Overall I am satisfied with the Topre right now and have no intention of switching to anything else in the near future.

I have also noticed that the Topre can deal with my heavy smoking habit quite well.
Although a lot of cigarette ash has fallen into the keyboard in the past months, it still works very well.
So I assume the sole purpose of switching to a Topre keyboard has been accomplished: It can deal with my "environment".
Whether it ill survive my environment for years is of course a question that cannot be answered as of today.
But I am very confident that this keyboard will not need a replacement for quite a while.

Cleaning it up was also very easy and quick. So a big advantage when you're a smoker like me.

Another big plus is that the Realforce is very quiet compared to the MX Blues.
This allows me to use the keyboard in situations where it might been bothersome to others around me otherwise (e.g. during phone calls or late in the night).

So my final word is: My wallet is not happy with it, but I am  :))
« Last Edit: Tue, 06 May 2014, 12:45:56 by tweakedmind »

Offline Elrick

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #40 on: Tue, 06 May 2014, 19:00:19 »
Cleaning it up was also very easy and quick. So a big advantage when you're a smoker like me.

It's the only keyboard that is even Mocha/Coffee resistant.  Have spilled numerous times my fave drink over it, after a heavy night and a brief cleanup, it works again as new.

You have to thank all that silicone goodness in keeping the internals sealed and safe from my moronic/lazy attitude with drinks  :thumb: .

Offline Hyde

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Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #41 on: Wed, 07 May 2014, 18:52:24 »
Yeah Topre took me maybe 2-3 weeks to fully appreciate it, it's like you said it doesn't feel drastically different or anything.  It just feels..... "comfortable" to type on.

As for your tactility issue, I think you should try 55g Topre as people have mentioned, or even 45g uniformed.  I think in variable Topre some of the keys are 30g and those can feel quite linear from what I've heard.

Or if you have tactility and noise issue, you can give Matias Quiet Pro a try later down the line.  Those Quiet ALPS are very "crunchy" and geekhackers will never stop buying new keyboards anyway lol.

But yes very good review sir.  :thumb:

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Offline aref

  • Posts: 581
Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #42 on: Tue, 27 May 2014, 12:00:26 »
tweakedmind: I've used a 55g 87UB keyboard and I was not able to use it for lengthy writing sessions. I found a fatigue factor with the heavier Topre switch;
And after about 5 months with it, the switches still felt stiff to me. But, I preferred the accuracy of 87UB to my Cherry MX keyboards. And, like you, when I'd switch
o a Cherry keyboard, I didn't care for the difference in feel and returned to the 87UB. I'm looking at buying a 45g 87UB. I've had to resort to MX Red key switches
in order to type hours or prose without feeling finger strain. The MX Red is a switch that I've gotten used to using; but I miss the feel of Topre key switches.

With this said, if you like the feel of Topres, the 55g switch is a curiosity that you may have to try for yourself. Your review and followup posts were interesting.
Thanks for posting your observations.
« Last Edit: Tue, 27 May 2014, 12:41:55 by aref »

Offline Elrick

  • Hype Master
  • Posts: 4895
  • Location: CrapTown, Convict Settlement
  • Keyboard Orgasmist
Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #43 on: Tue, 27 May 2014, 22:15:26 »
tweakedmind: I've used a 55g 87UB keyboard and I was not able to use it for lengthy writing sessions. I found a fatigue factor with the heavier Topre switch;
And after about 5 months with it, the switches still felt stiff to me. But, I preferred the accuracy of 87UB to my Cherry MX keyboards. And, like you, when I'd switch
o a Cherry keyboard, I didn't care for the difference in feel and returned to the 87UB. I'm looking at buying a 45g 87UB. I've had to resort to MX Red key switches
in order to type hours or prose without feeling finger strain. The MX Red is a switch that I've gotten used to using; but I miss the feel of Topre key switches.

That's what it's like, every single keyboard currently sold throughout the world will have it's users that appreciate it but also has it's detractors.  When buying a keyboard you have no idea what to expect (unless you've already used it before hand) until it arrives and you start typing.

Choosing a keyboard can be as confusing as choosing a Mouse and if you've read the comments about mouse usage in the "Input Device Section" of this website it can be quite confusing to say the least.  Unfortunately you have to experience all these input devices yourself because no one here can push their choice upon you.  Everyone has a different usage pattern for their own keyboard (or mouse) and not everyone is a 100 wpm 'freako' able to type mad in every circumstance.

Just be glad that we as consumers, have now a huge choice when it comes to using a variety of keyboards  :thumb: .

Offline aref

  • Posts: 581
Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #44 on: Wed, 28 May 2014, 11:49:35 »
tweakedmind: I've used a 55g 87UB keyboard and I was not able to use it for lengthy writing sessions. I found a fatigue factor with the heavier Topre switch;
And after about 5 months with it, the switches still felt stiff to me. But, I preferred the accuracy of 87UB to my Cherry MX keyboards. And, like you, when I'd switch
o a Cherry keyboard, I didn't care for the difference in feel and returned to the 87UB. I'm looking at buying a 45g 87UB. I've had to resort to MX Red key switches
in order to type hours or prose without feeling finger strain. The MX Red is a switch that I've gotten used to using; but I miss the feel of Topre key switches.

That's what it's like, every single keyboard currently sold throughout the world will have it's users that appreciate it but also has it's detractors.  When buying a keyboard you have no idea what to expect (unless you've already used it before hand) until it arrives and you start typing.

Choosing a keyboard can be as confusing as choosing a Mouse and if you've read the comments about mouse usage in the "Input Device Section" of this website it can be quite confusing to say the least.  Unfortunately you have to experience all these input devices yourself because no one here can push their choice upon you.  Everyone has a different usage pattern for their own keyboard (or mouse) and not everyone is a 100 wpm 'freako' able to type mad in every circumstance.

Just be glad that we as consumers, have now a huge choice when it comes to using a variety of keyboards  :thumb: .

I agree with you. Each of us has preferences for keyboard layout and switch type; and, perhaps, the best we can do on GH is air them. Reading 'mindful' opinions/experiences of other keyboard enthusiasts has been helpful.

Offline badboybry9000

  • Posts: 63
Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #45 on: Tue, 03 June 2014, 09:45:43 »
Thanks for that extensive review. I've been trying to convince myself to try Topre switches for a while.

Offline Speakeazy

  • Posts: 24
Re: Topre RealForce 105UB (Variable) Review – The elegant Rubber Dome
« Reply #46 on: Sat, 14 June 2014, 03:41:42 »
I actually just got the Topre 104UB variable-weighted keyboard and like you, it took me a while to transition from my Corsair K70 with MX Browns. Tactile-wise, it has a bit more "bump" than the Browns, but not by much. Pressing down feels very smooth, almost like a smoother MX Red with a bit of the MX Brown's tactile feel.

It does feel more substantive to push down the relatively light-actuation of the Browns, but does have a very positive spring back (hence that trampoline). As for key accuracy, I am still getting used to typing on it and I haven't decided whether my typing has improved, stayed the same, or become worse. I do feel that sometimes, the variable weight may throw me off, a bit, but I'm still not quite sure yet.

That being said, the build quality and feel of the PBT keys are definitely a cut above most keyboards I've tried (K70, Blackwidow Ultimate, and Ducky Shine 3).  I am getting the Keycool 104 keys with MX Clears in a few days, so I'll be deciding which keys work the best for me.
Topre RealForce 104U dark grey caps on black | Corsair Vengeance K70 with MX Browns | (on the way) Keycool 108-keys keyboard with MX Clears and POM keys