Author Topic: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.  (Read 9544 times)

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Offline JackieOReally

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3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« on: Fri, 30 December 2016, 15:35:08 »
This is self-indulgent but I want to have a whinge.

I've been using the HHKB2 for 3 years both at home and at work. You're all aware of the positives regarding this board so I wont go into that, but I feel the negatives don't get the attention they deserve.


Here in Australia the board cost me 2.5x what a filco costs. I have a filco too, and it feels like it will outlast me. I don't get that impression from the HHKB2. After 3 years of babying it, it creaks when i pick it up and apply even the slightest pressure. It's super light and doesn't feel as sturdy as a lot of reviewers imply. This is probably my biggest gripe with the board, at the price i paid, frankly I feel ripped off. Good keycaps though.

This is personal preference, but I feel like topre is overrated too. I enjoy blues more. But yeah that's not a knock against the board.

The layout is a pain in the ass. Don't get me wrong, I really like it, but when I had it at work (programmer), colleagues trying to do something on my PC weren't able to use the keyboard. We jump on each others computers a lot and in the end I had a second keyboard plugged in for when they were using my pc. Also some people don't seem to have an issue with jumping between layouts, but I do. I've been touch typing since I was 13 but I can never get used to switching between hhkb2 and other layouts. I can do it of course, but I make typing errors. And that annoys the hell out of me. I type on laptops, at work and at home and on colleagues PC's etc, so I can't have a HHKB2 everywhere i type. I just find it annoying switching.

And lastly, you can't do much customisation of the board. There are so many beautiful keycaps and cases etc, but not for the HHKB2. For me thats a big part of the fun of being into keyboards and it's gone with the hhkb2.

Anyway, that's my rant. I feel like the keyboard is one of the best you can get, but not way out in front like everyone makes out. I think the fact it's so expensive and exclusive makes people think it's the best.

Offline Geroximo

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 30 December 2016, 15:52:24 »
If you
a) don't like light keyboards
b) don't enjoy topre
c) don't like the  HHKB layout and
d) want to customize your keyboard

.... don't buy a goddman HHKB. Easy as that.

It's personal preference. If the board doesn't meet your preference - don't buy it.

EDIT: What's true however is: It's overpriced for what it is. Sadly, there is no competitor to this keyboard, nothing else like it, that's why the price is so high.
« Last Edit: Fri, 30 December 2016, 15:59:35 by Geroximo »

Offline JackieOReally

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 30 December 2016, 15:57:12 »
Guys close down the review section. Geroximo just discovered it's all personal preference. This section is no longer required.

Offline Geroximo

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 30 December 2016, 16:09:33 »
You're not judging the keyboard objectively. All you do is whining about how it doesn't fit your needs and therefore it's bad.
What's next? You opening a thread about how you think the Model M is a terrible keyboard because it's too big for your desk and you don't like the clicky noise?

Offline JackieOReally

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 30 December 2016, 16:13:38 »
But I said I like the layout... it's just inconvenient when the board is so expensive that owning more than one is difficult so you're forced to switch layouts. I also said it's overpriced and I felt the build quality is sub par especially at the price point, it's plasticky and creaky. I mentioned topre being overrated but also said this isn't a knock against the board. But the board is often recommended strongly based on topre being the best switch so I thought I'd mention it. Sorry you took it so personally. And the lack of customisation is still relevant whether you know it before hand or not.

Offline dyrdevil

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 30 December 2016, 16:32:35 »
re: the creakiness - my board creaked a lot until i tightened the 3 back screws.No more creak. I've only had my board for under a year, so it might not be the same, but thought I'd chime in.

Offline rabbitfire

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 30 December 2016, 19:37:51 »
If you
a) don't like light keyboards
b) don't enjoy topre
c) don't like the  HHKB layout and
d) want to customize your keyboard

.... don't buy a goddman HHKB. Easy as that.

It's personal preference. If the board doesn't meet your preference - don't buy it.

EDIT: What's true however is: It's overpriced for what it is. Sadly, there is no competitor to this keyboard, nothing else like it, that's why the price is so high.

A, C, D for me. Thank for your suggestion cause I'm thinking about buying a HHKB to experience torpe switch. Probably I should change to realforce.

Offline hanoipho

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #7 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 07:10:51 »
If you
a) don't like light keyboards
b) don't enjoy topre
c) don't like the  HHKB layout and
d) want to customize your keyboard

.... don't buy a goddman HHKB. Easy as that.

It's personal preference. If the board doesn't meet your preference - don't buy it.

EDIT: What's true however is: It's overpriced for what it is. Sadly, there is no competitor to this keyboard, nothing else like it, that's why the price is so high.

A, C, D for me. Thank for your suggestion cause I'm thinking about buying a HHKB to experience torpe switch. Probably I should change to realforce.

I think you should try both before making any purchase.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #8 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 07:48:36 »
This is the problem with HYPE..


It can be small, BUT WHY... this is where people disregard FUNCTIONAL aspects for aesthetic/ emotionally driven ones..


In the end..   it doesn't matter what the person believes or says on the internet.. they're the ones who get burned by this malignant conception.


Offline clappingcactus

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #9 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 08:12:41 »
My problem with HHKBs is their build quality as well. But RAMA is going to fix that with an aluminum case this year, apparently. Customization has always been a 3D print of stems or adapters away. Lots of examples on shapeways.

Offline potatobot

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3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #10 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 08:31:44 »
What made you go for an unusual layout with topre switches and an OP price tag in the first place?

I dont own an HHKB but a friend lent me his for a night, switching layouts is a nightmare at first but i definitely love the delete/backspace position.

Coming from gateron browns they really felt better to type on as i get annoyed typing on mx blues because of the clicky sound.

But yeah the weight of the keyboard feels really cheap to me, well if you're going to spend more than $200 on a keyboard out of the box, it should feel solid/rigid.

Im still considering hhkb as my first topre keyboard, but serveral drawbacks you've mentioned would also apply to me (my gf would flip).

I wish a new 65% or 75% topre keyboard be released soon with mx compatible stems like the new RF Rgb, that would be the dream!




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« Last Edit: Mon, 02 January 2017, 08:34:59 by potatobot »

Offline Waateva

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #11 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 11:18:05 »
If you
a) don't like light keyboards
b) don't enjoy topre
c) don't like the  HHKB layout and
d) want to customize your keyboard

.... don't buy a goddman HHKB. Easy as that.

It's personal preference. If the board doesn't meet your preference - don't buy it.

EDIT: What's true however is: It's overpriced for what it is. Sadly, there is no competitor to this keyboard, nothing else like it, that's why the price is so high.

Maybe he didn't know that...

A. He didn't like light keyboards
B. He didn't prefer Topre
C. He didn't prefer the HHKB layout
D. He wanted to customize his keyboard

...before he bought the board?  I mean isn't the point of trying different things to see if you like them or not?  And in this case the user didn't care for some aspects of the HHKB while he liked others?
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Offline FLOCKA

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #12 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 12:11:37 »
If you
a) don't like light keyboards
b) don't enjoy topre
c) don't like the  HHKB layout and
d) want to customize your keyboard

.... don't buy a goddman HHKB. Easy as that.

It's personal preference. If the board doesn't meet your preference - don't buy it.

EDIT: What's true however is: It's overpriced for what it is. Sadly, there is no competitor to this keyboard, nothing else like it, that's why the price is so high.

Maybe he didn't know that...

A. He didn't like light keyboards
B. He didn't prefer Topre
C. He didn't prefer the HHKB layout
D. He wanted to customize his keyboard

...before he bought the board?  I mean isn't the point of trying different things to see if you like them or not?  And in this case the user didn't care for some aspects of the HHKB while he liked others?

Yeah, I'm thinking this is the most likely case. The HHKB is held in such high regard, so when somebody new to mechs in general starts poking around, they want to experience what all the hype is about. I'm sure there are many people out there who just ordered a HHKB without hunting down a topre switch tester, or seeing one in person beforehand. Naturally, some people will end up with buyer's remorse.

OP, if there's a bright side to all this, you will easily find a buyer for your HHKB if you're looking to get some of your money back.

Offline menuhin

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #13 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 12:47:43 »
More
If you
a) don't like light keyboards
b) don't enjoy topre
c) don't like the  HHKB layout and
d) want to customize your keyboard

.... don't buy a goddman HHKB. Easy as that.

It's personal preference. If the board doesn't meet your preference - don't buy it.

EDIT: What's true however is: It's overpriced for what it is. Sadly, there is no competitor to this keyboard, nothing else like it, that's why the price is so high.

Maybe he didn't know that...

A. He didn't like light keyboards
B. He didn't prefer Topre
C. He didn't prefer the HHKB layout
D. He wanted to customize his keyboard

...before he bought the board?  I mean isn't the point of trying different things to see if you like them or not?  And in this case the user didn't care for some aspects of the HHKB while he liked others?

Yeah, I'm thinking this is the most likely case. The HHKB is held in such high regard, so when somebody new to mechs in general starts poking around, they want to experience what all the hype is about. I'm sure there are many people out there who just ordered a HHKB without hunting down a topre switch tester, or seeing one in person beforehand. Naturally, some people will end up with buyer's remorse.

OP, if there's a bright side to all this, you will easily find a buyer for your HHKB if you're looking to get some of your money back.
+1

As long as a HHKB2 is properly cared for (no scratch, no ding, no crack) and with original box, after 3 years of use, one can still get back around $200 easily. It's definitely a plus side of getting an iconic product, which can also be true for IBM Model M SSK. I'm not sure about the resale values of some of those custom boards with metal cases - many of them are nice, but there's a zoo of them out there.
Wishlist: 1) hotswap boards for MX and for Alps; 2) Alps64; 3) Universal Teensy convertor; 3) Planck & Quack & Split Planck; 4) TX & VE.A
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Wishful-list: 1) HASU BT battery lasts a year; 2) ABS Shine-proof/PBT DoubleShot spherical; 3) We order from keyboard-layout-editor.com; 4) Endgame
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #14 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 13:21:55 »
My problem with HHKBs is their build quality as well. But RAMA is going to fix that with an aluminum case this year, apparently. Customization has always been a 3D print of stems or adapters away. Lots of examples on shapeways.

Sure,  but then we're paying $250 for a fixer-upper ? hahahaha..

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #15 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 13:22:39 »

As long as a HHKB2 is properly cared for (no scratch, no ding, no crack) and with original box, after 3 years of use, one can still get back around $200 easily. It's definitely a plus side of getting an iconic product, which can also be true for IBM Model M SSK. I'm not sure about the resale values of some of those custom boards with metal cases - many of them are nice, but there's a zoo of them out there.

The fact that it's resellable,  doesn't make it any LESS of a crap keyboard..

So, you get to push this crummy thing onto some one else ?

It's STILL crummy..   hahahahahaha


Offline clappingcactus

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 14:03:00 »
My problem with HHKBs is their build quality as well. But RAMA is going to fix that with an aluminum case this year, apparently. Customization has always been a 3D print of stems or adapters away. Lots of examples on shapeways.

Sure,  but then we're paying $250 for a fixer-upper ? hahahaha..

I can't name any keyboard that costs $250 that I would enjoy purely stock. Considering we're all 'enthusiasts', everything is a fixer-upper if you want to customize it a little. Arguably, Realforce 87Us are the best keyboards out of the box, and those are still modded to hell and back for improvements!

Offline Halverson

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 02 January 2017, 14:23:20 »

As long as a HHKB2 is properly cared for (no scratch, no ding, no crack) and with original box, after 3 years of use, one can still get back around $200 easily. It's definitely a plus side of getting an iconic product, which can also be true for IBM Model M SSK. I'm not sure about the resale values of some of those custom boards with metal cases - many of them are nice, but there's a zoo of them out there.

The fact that it's resellable,  doesn't make it any LESS of a crap keyboard..

So, you get to push this crummy thing onto some one else ?

It's STILL crummy..   hahahahahaha

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Offline Polymer

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #18 on: Wed, 04 January 2017, 13:41:52 »
It isn't going to be for everyone...but what I think is odd is that with all of your complaints about it, you've been using it for THREE YEARS. 

Its like you're sitting there stuffing your face with chips as you say "I hate chips". 
What I also think is odd is you've said these are just your personal opinions but you've called out others for why THEY must like it...obviously because you don't like it other people must be wrong and have justified their purchases in other ways.  Not only that but it isn't the most expensive or exclusive keyboard....

Topre is not for everyone...but the lower cost Topre keyboards out there have shown that people actually do like it NOT based on price..that whole argument has been debunked a long time ago..

Switching between layouts is a problem for some...It was a pain for me as well and I was about to get rid of it specifically because of that but at some point it became easy to switch between layouts.  The talk about other people having issues using your keyboard is, frankly, obvious and rather silly...Of course people not used to using it will be completely confused...Is that not completely obvious?

My HHKB is older than yours and it is rock solid...yes you can put pressure on it and it will move..it's not metal, its not a plate..that doesn't = build quality.  The sound you get from a HHKB is because of how it is designed...if you want a more solid feeling 60%, simply buy one with a metal case/plate...but does it sound as warm as a HHKB?  No it doesn't...

No issues with people and their opinions..I think it was mainly your last statement that tried to lump everyone else into some sort of reason why your opinion of the keyboard is correct and everyone else has rationalized their purchase...and yet you've sat there and used said keyboard for three year.s 

Offline JackieOReally

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 06 January 2017, 14:54:16 »
What made you go for an unusual layout with topre switches and an OP price tag in the first place?


Well as you know HHKB2 is frequently mentioned as the best board with an endless stream of positive reviews so you tend to think you'll love it just like everyone else does. And it is a good board, it's just you hear a lot more of the positives than the negatives.

Offline JackieOReally

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #20 on: Fri, 06 January 2017, 15:25:56 »
It isn't going to be for everyone...but what I think is odd is that with all of your complaints about it, you've been using it for THREE YEARS. 

I've been using it for three years because it was a special gift from a special person so it has sentimental value.

What I also think is odd is you've said these are just your personal opinions but you've called out others for why THEY must like it...obviously because you don't like it other people must be wrong and have justified their purchases in other ways.  Not only that but it isn't the most expensive or exclusive keyboard....

Topre is not for everyone...but the lower cost Topre keyboards out there have shown that people actually do like it NOT based on price..that whole argument has been debunked a long time ago..

Yeah, sorry if what I said came across that way, I didn't mean it to. I was trying to say that i feel it's possible a lot of the hype comes from confirmation bias. I only said that because I felt that way at first. It was just such an expensive board I thought it was truly perfect. Then as time went on the rose tinted glass wore off. Still a great board like I keep saying, just think it's overhyped. So far it's still one of my favourite boards so i wasn't trying to say that if it's other peoples favourites it's not justified.


The talk about other people having issues using your keyboard is, frankly, obvious and rather silly...Of course people not used to using it will be completely confused...Is that not completely obvious?

Yeah it's obvious but these are the things you learn were more important than you thought only after you've bought and used the product. I honestly had no idea how frequently people jumped on my PC at work. When they jump on for a minute to do something I guess I didn't really notice, but when they can't use my keyboard, suddenly i notice just how often were on each other's computers. This was the main reason I stopped using the board at work.


Offline zslane

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 06 January 2017, 15:34:32 »
I know where JackieO is coming from.  :cool:

I really feel that if Topre came out with a 60% version of the RealForce RGB and gave it the same layout as a Pok3r, I'd have an excellent option for my iPad. I really like Topre switches, but I prefer standard layouts and the ability to put SA and DSA keycap sets on my boards. That means the HHKB is out of the running on two counts. That's not really a knock on the board itself, it is just an observation as to why I would never buy or use one.

Offline happylacquer

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 06 January 2017, 17:14:13 »
I can understand a while with the HHKB and still not settling on it, after all I had a Lite2 for over a month, but 3 years and still not loving it wow. It took me a little while to get used to having Fn keys again and breaking a habit of hitting the FN key with the corner of my palm to be lazy. Well I still have caps lock and control switched on all my machines now so it had some effect on me :p

Offline pr0ximity

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 06 January 2017, 19:01:29 »
Realforce is a fantastic board worth every penny, IMO. Build quality is off the charts, Topre switches are super reliable, caps are of course awesome, aesthetics are on point, 55g Topre is better, and they come in fullsize and HiPro too.

HHKB is a great travel board and attention-grabber. People at work think my RF is a vintage board.

Offline zslane

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #24 on: Fri, 06 January 2017, 19:28:14 »
I agree with that assessment of RealForce boards, except the "caps are of course awesome" part. There doesn't exist a keyboard (RF or otherwise) made with keycaps I would want to type on (not even the Hi-Pro version). The ability to swap out stock keycaps for one of my SA or DSA keysets is essential to me, no matter what other qualities a board may have.

That's why no Topre-based board has ever been usable (for me) until the RealForce RGB came along. The compromise there is that the build quality is not quite the same as a traditional RF. But it is close, and I gladly sacrifice that small difference for the ability to put my own caps on it. I don't think I'm alone in feeling this way either.

Offline Polymer

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #25 on: Sat, 07 January 2017, 16:10:27 »
Yeah, sorry if what I said came across that way, I didn't mean it to. I was trying to say that i feel it's possible a lot of the hype comes from confirmation bias. I only said that because I felt that way at first. It was just such an expensive board I thought it was truly perfect. Then as time went on the rose tinted glass wore off. Still a great board like I keep saying, just think it's overhyped. So far it's still one of my favourite boards so i wasn't trying to say that if it's other peoples favourites it's not justified.

I'm sure there are some out there that try to justify their purchases...but really, for this type of funky layout, the cost, the ease of selling it off to someone else....I just don't see that happening a lot on this board...Topre in general might've had some sort of mystery to it years ago but not so much anymore...


Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #26 on: Sun, 15 January 2017, 05:39:51 »
Here in Australia the board cost me 2.5x what a filco costs. I have a filco too, and it feels like it will outlast me. I don't get that impression from the HHKB2. After 3 years of babying it, it creaks when i pick it up and apply even the slightest pressure. It's super light and doesn't feel as sturdy as a lot of reviewers imply. This is probably my biggest gripe with the board, at the price i paid, frankly I feel ripped off. Good keycaps though.

(1) I agree that the original Topre-keyboards (Realforce and HHKB) are expensive. However, you overlook one difference between Filco (and other typical Cherry MX boards) and Topre boards that explains the price difference: PBT keycaps. Typical MX boards like the Filco you reference come with ABS keycaps. Realforce and HHKB boards come with PBT keycaps. They are more expensive.

If you buy a Filco Majestouch or a KUL ES-87 and buy a PBT keycap set, you almost spend as much money as you would have on a Realforce or HHKB.

(2) The lack of "sturdiness" is due to the fact that the HHKB does not have a metal backplate. In addition some argue that 45G Topre (HHKB) feels a bit "mushy" compared to 55G Topre (which is in the Realforce).

If you would like a more sturdy feel, consider buying the Realforce 87U 55G uniformly weighted: it has a metal backplate and the 55G Topre-switch with the more pronounced keypress feel.

This is personal preference, but I feel like topre is overrated too. I enjoy blues more. But yeah that's not a knock against the board.

Although everybody deserves his or her preference, this doesn't really help much to get an understanding as to what you DISLIKE about Topre. What do you dislike? The sound? The feel? The travel? The sound? The weight / actuation force? It would be interesting to tell us what explicitly you dislike about the Topre-switch compare to your favorit MX Blues-switch.

The layout is a pain in the ass. Don't get me wrong, I really like it, but when I had it at work (programmer), colleagues trying to do something on my PC weren't able to use the keyboard. We jump on each others computers a lot and in the end I had a second keyboard plugged in for when they were using my pc. Also some people don't seem to have an issue with jumping between layouts, but I do. I've been touch typing since I was 13 but I can never get used to switching between hhkb2 and other layouts. I can do it of course, but I make typing errors. And that annoys the hell out of me. I type on laptops, at work and at home and on colleagues PC's etc, so I can't have a HHKB2 everywhere i type. I just find it annoying switching.

Indeed, there are enough people here in the forum who share your opinion regards the layout. For some people getting used to the diamond arrow key + fn key navigation style simply isn't their cup of tea.

If you would like the Topre-feel with a regular layout, consider the Realforce 87U (tenkeyless, 80%) or the 104U (100%, with numpad). They come in white (well.. more cream white) and black (charcoal gray).

And lastly, you can't do much customisation of the board. There are so many beautiful keycaps and cases etc, but not for the HHKB2. For me thats a big part of the fun of being into keyboards and it's gone with the hhkb2.

There is one easy customization you could do: buy the opposite keycap set separately and mix them, e.g. black board with white caps or vice versa. There are also some colored sets, but they are ABS, so worse plastic (IMHO and YMMV). Check it out on elitekeyboards and mechanicalkeyboards.com. If you google you can find it.

But yeah, overall, Topre-switch has not going a lot of keycaps for them.

Coincidentally and more recently, there is a new trend which is Topre-switch with MX Cherry stems, so that you can put MX Cherry keycaps on Topre switch, like the new Realforce 108 or the Coolermaster NovaTouch.

Lastly, although this contributed to the "elitism" we Topre-lovers are often reminded of by non-Topre lovers. Many of us argue that HHKB is end game and supreme just because of its unique feel of the case mounted and 45G Topre switch combined with its layout. What is particularly appealing is the fact that, unlike other 60% keyboards, it ditched the esc key in favor of tilde and backtick (~ and `), so you don't feel like you are missing keys. And the diamond key navigation solution is fairly elegant compared to other 60% boards out there. Also, the symmetry of the layout is considered ergonomic by some.

But yeah, Topre may be not your game and you may dislike the HHKB for many things. And that's fine. My intention was to give you some insight into the world of Topre, explain some rationale behind the force that is the Church of Topre, and provide some alternatives you may want to consider before completely ditching the Topre-switch as a whole.

But hate on brother, if that's your game. If Topre sucks for you, it sucks. No problemo.
MJT2 Browns o-rings - HHKB White - ES-87 Smoke White Clears - 87UB 55g

Offline zslane

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #27 on: Sun, 15 January 2017, 10:59:01 »
Just for clarification: the new Topre board is called the RealForce RGB, and the CM NovaTouch has been discontinued and the last of the remaining stock appears to be depleted now.

Offline digifiend

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #28 on: Sun, 15 January 2017, 11:42:27 »
As an HHKB2 owner, I can attest to the fact that the keyboard feels a bit too light (bordering on cheap) in terms of case quality, the layout isn't ideal, and the lack of programmability out of the box makes it inferior to the pok3r I was using at work before being laid off.

But I knew all of that before buying the HHKB.  I keep it as an option because the HHKB excels in one key area: feel.  It feels better than any MX or Gateron based board I've used.  And the lack of a metal backplate feels better to me than the RF topre implementation.

If I were in a situation where I was the only person using keyboards both in work and personal situations, I'd likely standardize on hasu-HHKB2s everywhere and deal with the substandard layout.  The feel is that important to me.  But I'm not so it will be TKLs for me as main drivers and pok3r/HHKB as travel boards.
HHKB Pro 2 | KUL ES-87 w/MX Clears | Varmilo VA87MR w/ Gat Browns | Pok3r w/MX Clears | RF87U 55g

Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #29 on: Mon, 16 January 2017, 17:19:28 »
Just for clarification: the new Topre board is called the RealForce RGB, and the CM NovaTouch has been discontinued and the last of the remaining stock appears to be depleted now.

Good. The RealForce RGB is hideous IMHO. Why did they make that in the first place? It's really beyond me. I can see the appeal for like 5 minutes "ooh shiny". But once you go back to work, do you REALLY want that?
MJT2 Browns o-rings - HHKB White - ES-87 Smoke White Clears - 87UB 55g

Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #30 on: Mon, 16 January 2017, 17:21:44 »
As an HHKB2 owner, I can attest to the fact that the keyboard feels a bit too light (bordering on cheap) in terms of case quality, the layout isn't ideal, and the lack of programmability out of the box makes it inferior to the pok3r I was using at work before being laid off.

But I knew all of that before buying the HHKB.  I keep it as an option because the HHKB excels in one key area: feel.  It feels better than any MX or Gateron based board I've used.  And the lack of a metal backplate feels better to me than the RF topre implementation.

If I were in a situation where I was the only person using keyboards both in work and personal situations, I'd likely standardize on hasu-HHKB2s everywhere and deal with the substandard layout.  The feel is that important to me.  But I'm not so it will be TKLs for me as main drivers and pok3r/HHKB as travel boards.

Funny you say that about the feel. I haven't been at my office as of recently and at home I have the 87U 55G which I decided is endgame. I disliked the HHKB after trying out Clears beacuse it felt too light and too mushy.

But then the HHKB won my heart over. I was at office the other day and I start pecking away and immediately I thought "man... this feel is unique." HHKB is not only Topre-feel, it is HHKB-feel. I don't know whether it is the case mounting, the lubing, or something else. But the feel (and the sound) is really unique.
MJT2 Browns o-rings - HHKB White - ES-87 Smoke White Clears - 87UB 55g

Offline zslane

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #31 on: Mon, 16 January 2017, 18:46:10 »
Just for clarification: the new Topre board is called the RealForce RGB, and the CM NovaTouch has been discontinued and the last of the remaining stock appears to be depleted now.

Good. The RealForce RGB is hideous IMHO. Why did they make that in the first place? It's really beyond me. I can see the appeal for like 5 minutes "ooh shiny". But once you go back to work, do you REALLY want that?

I love the RealForce RGB. It delivers something no other keyboard in the world does: an ANSI-108 layout with MX-compatible Topre switches. I leave the LED lighting off and I don't play with the variant actuation points. I didn't buy it for that. I bought it to put Round 6 keycaps on it. It is a fantastic keyboard and I'm not quite sure why anyone would take issue with it.

Offline Neo.X

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #32 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 12:20:28 »
I like typing on HHKB, it's unique and fun.
But I don't use it at work because the layout slows me down.
All those keyboards will be lost in time....

Offline Coreda

  • Posts: 562
Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #33 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 12:37:12 »
You're not judging the keyboard objectively. All you do is whining about how it doesn't fit your needs and therefore it's bad.

Every review is subjective to a degree. The OP had the board for three years, and clearly they liked it enough to find it annoying having to switch to other layouts (assuming I'm understanding that part correctly) and not being able to take it everywhere, which for those in a position like the OP is useful info if they're switching keyboards a lot or frequently requiring others to use their board.

Like tp has mentioned many times there's a lack of impressions about the HHKB that aren't all glowing praise. Pointing out issues is what helps others decide if a board is for them.

Offline ajx

  • Posts: 389
Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #34 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 13:51:05 »
Yes i agree too, while its been my favorite keyboard, you know people may have different taste than yours
Layout is awesome but not perfect, in my opinion, the lack of dedicated clusters is an issue, dont say to me its easier to hold fn and [;''/, its slower than simply using dedicated clusters like FC660C, in fact its an inconvenient on most 60% keyboards
Secondly, the layout is uncommon which may hurts your working habits
I dont like case quality either, and HHKB overall feels very cheap if you take account of the price
Its either you literally love it or you hate it.
I know also some people who dont like Topre and will never get accustomed to its layout

Offline zslane

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #35 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 13:58:15 »
I guess that's why keyboards with between 65 and 75 keys are all the rage now: because 60% user who want to be productive have finally realized that not having dedicated navigation keys is sub-optimal. I solved that problem by only using a full-size keyboard for all real work. I only use a 61-key model (a Pok3r) with my iPad, where I'm not doing any real work and I don't need to be productive in any meaningful sense.

Offline atlas3686

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #36 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 14:55:10 »
As an HHKB2 owner, I can attest to the fact that the keyboard feels a bit too light (bordering on cheap) in terms of case quality, the layout isn't ideal, and the lack of programmability out of the box makes it inferior to the pok3r I was using at work before being laid off.

But I knew all of that before buying the HHKB.  I keep it as an option because the HHKB excels in one key area: feel.  It feels better than any MX or Gateron based board I've used.  And the lack of a metal backplate feels better to me than the RF topre implementation.

If I were in a situation where I was the only person using keyboards both in work and personal situations, I'd likely standardize on hasu-HHKB2s everywhere and deal with the substandard layout.  The feel is that important to me.  But I'm not so it will be TKLs for me as main drivers and pok3r/HHKB as travel boards.

Funny you say that about the feel. I haven't been at my office as of recently and at home I have the 87U 55G which I decided is endgame. I disliked the HHKB after trying out Clears beacuse it felt too light and too mushy.

But then the HHKB won my heart over. I was at office the other day and I start pecking away and immediately I thought "man... this feel is unique." HHKB is not only Topre-feel, it is HHKB-feel. I don't know whether it is the case mounting, the lubing, or something else. But the feel (and the sound) is really unique.

Preach iLLucionist


This happens to me, I use my 55g 87U at home and my HHKB type-s at the office. Just when I am thinking 55g is end-game, I will sit down at the office after being away for a bit and start typing on the type-s and I'm immediately not so sure anymore. The HHKB is just something else and a lot of that comes from the plastic case. Being light is also a huge plus for a board that's made to travel, that being said my personal preference is a heavy board so I will be trying out one of RAMA's cases when they come out. I know he is working on keeping the feel of the HHKB intact.

Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #37 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 17:46:11 »
Just for clarification: the new Topre board is called the RealForce RGB, and the CM NovaTouch has been discontinued and the last of the remaining stock appears to be depleted now.

Good. The RealForce RGB is hideous IMHO. Why did they make that in the first place? It's really beyond me. I can see the appeal for like 5 minutes "ooh shiny". But once you go back to work, do you REALLY want that?

I love the RealForce RGB. It delivers something no other keyboard in the world does: an ANSI-108 layout with MX-compatible Topre switches. I leave the LED lighting off and I don't play with the variant actuation points. I didn't buy it for that. I bought it to put Round 6 keycaps on it. It is a fantastic keyboard and I'm not quite sure why anyone would take issue with it.

If you enjoy it, great of course. What I hate is that I 'distrust' Realforce's quality of manufacturing and attention to detail with this new board. Realforce as a brand in my opinion is about sleek, minimalistic carefully crafted keyboards (yes ok, quality control on the actuation force sometimes varies too much across the board, I know and some cases not perfectly fitting are also reports, but besides that...). And then they come out with this RGB keyboard WITHOUT PBT CAPS ALL ABS. Yes, you can replace them. But the board is still really expensive. At that price, I DEMAND PBT. Yes I know it is difficult to manufacture see-through / transparent PBT caps. But it can be done.
MJT2 Browns o-rings - HHKB White - ES-87 Smoke White Clears - 87UB 55g

Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #38 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 17:48:52 »

Preach iLLucionist
Show Image


This happens to me, I use my 55g 87U at home and my HHKB type-s at the office. Just when I am thinking 55g is end-game, I will sit down at the office after being away for a bit and start typing on the type-s and I'm immediately not so sure anymore. The HHKB is just something else and a lot of that comes from the plastic case. Being light is also a huge plus for a board that's made to travel, that being said my personal preference is a heavy board so I will be trying out one of RAMA's cases when they come out. I know he is working on keeping the feel of the HHKB intact.

Yeah it's weird... it almost feels like the whole switch on the HHKB is different. Interesting that you share the same opinion. It feels more like I'm touching a piano key, like you really dig in.

What are RAMA's cases? I'm unaware of them.
MJT2 Browns o-rings - HHKB White - ES-87 Smoke White Clears - 87UB 55g

Offline zslane

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #39 on: Tue, 17 January 2017, 19:49:46 »
And then they come out with this RGB keyboard WITHOUT PBT CAPS ALL ABS. Yes, you can replace them. But the board is still really expensive. At that price, I DEMAND PBT. Yes I know it is difficult to manufacture see-through / transparent PBT caps. But it can be done.

Well I'm glad they didn't put sub-par double-shot PBT keycaps (because above-par don't really exist yet) on and charge even more for it since I was never going to keep the stock keycaps anyway. I submit that the whole point of the MX-compatible sliders is that owners who care about keycaps can swap out the stock keycaps for their own. If that was not their intention, Topre would have just stuck with normal Topre switches and not bothered with MX compatibility.

Offline rowdy

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #40 on: Wed, 18 January 2017, 01:49:53 »
I got my HHKB (secondhand, admittedly) from someone up in QLD for much less than retail, and not that much more than a Filco was at the time.

The case does pop and creak from time to time, sometimes all by itself in the hot weather (yes, Melbourne does have hot weather, highest temp was 46C a few years back, but 35C is not uncommon).

I have a PBT space bar - thanks Matt3o :)  All of the keycaps are now great!

Layout-wise, I also have a little trouble switching between HHKB, TKL and various full size boards, mostly Model M, but I put that down to mostly psychological issues or conditioning.

I tried using HHKB at work under Windows, but the IDEs we used rely far too heavily on function keys and Windows relies far too much on certain cursor navigation keys with which I was not familiar at the time on the HHKB, so I quickly switched back.

But I've been using my HHKB on and off at home on my Mac without any issues.  I've even been considering taking it back into work now that I use a Mac there too, but my SSK says otherwise.
"Because keyboards are accessories to PC makers, they focus on minimizing the manufacturing costs. But thatís incorrect. Itís in HHKBís slogan, but when Americaís 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

Ị̸͚̯̲́ͤ̃͑̇̑ͯ̊̂͟ͅs̞͚̩͉̝̪̲͗͊ͪ̽̚̚ ̭̦͖͕̑́͌ͬͩ͟t̷̻͔̙̑͟h̹̠̼͋ͤ͋i̤̜̣̦̱̫͈͔̞ͭ͑ͥ̌̔s̬͔͎̍̈ͥͫ̐̾ͣ̔̇͘ͅ ̩̘̼͆̐̕e̞̰͓̲̺̎͐̏ͬ̓̅̾͠͝ͅv̶̰͕̱̞̥̍ͣ̄̕e͕͙͖̬̜͓͎̤̊ͭ͐͝ṇ̰͎̱̤̟̭ͫ͌̌͢͠ͅ ̳̥̦ͮ̐ͤ̎̊ͣ͡͡n̤̜̙̺̪̒͜e̶̻̦̿ͮ̂̀c̝̘̝͖̠̖͐ͨͪ̈̐͌ͩ̀e̷̥͇̋ͦs̢̡̤ͤͤͯ͜s͈̠̉̑͘a̱͕̗͖̳̥̺ͬͦͧ͆̌̑͡r̶̟̖̈͘ỷ̮̦̩͙͔ͫ̾ͬ̔ͬͮ̌?̵̘͇͔͙ͥͪ͞ͅ

Offline atlas3686

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #41 on: Wed, 18 January 2017, 03:55:04 »

Preach iLLucionist
Show Image


This happens to me, I use my 55g 87U at home and my HHKB type-s at the office. Just when I am thinking 55g is end-game, I will sit down at the office after being away for a bit and start typing on the type-s and I'm immediately not so sure anymore. The HHKB is just something else and a lot of that comes from the plastic case. Being light is also a huge plus for a board that's made to travel, that being said my personal preference is a heavy board so I will be trying out one of RAMA's cases when they come out. I know he is working on keeping the feel of the HHKB intact.

Yeah it's weird... it almost feels like the whole switch on the HHKB is different. Interesting that you share the same opinion. It feels more like I'm touching a piano key, like you really dig in.

What are RAMA's cases? I'm unaware of them.

A piano key is one of best ways of describing the HHKB feel. It's not mentioned enough when people talk about what HHKB to buy but the type-s feels even more like a piano key (slightly more precise travel IMO). https://rama.works/ has been teasing some alu HHKB cases (check his instagram), will be a while still as he is currently working on the M65 but he has indicated this year. 

Offline zslane

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #42 on: Wed, 18 January 2017, 12:15:47 »
Layout-wise, I also have a little trouble switching between HHKB, TKL and various full size boards, mostly Model M, but I put that down to mostly psychological issues or conditioning.

Indeed. We call it muscle memory, and it is biomechanically inefficient (and frustrating) to try to consciously override it.

Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #43 on: Wed, 18 January 2017, 16:52:26 »
And then they come out with this RGB keyboard WITHOUT PBT CAPS ALL ABS. Yes, you can replace them. But the board is still really expensive. At that price, I DEMAND PBT. Yes I know it is difficult to manufacture see-through / transparent PBT caps. But it can be done.

Well I'm glad they didn't put sub-par double-shot PBT keycaps (because above-par don't really exist yet) on and charge even more for it since I was never going to keep the stock keycaps anyway. I submit that the whole point of the MX-compatible sliders is that owners who care about keycaps can swap out the stock keycaps for their own. If that was not their intention, Topre would have just stuck with normal Topre switches and not bothered with MX compatibility.

Yeah that's true. But given ABS I'm wondering whether they cut corners elsewhere as well... is the keyboard as heavy as other RF's. Backplate strong? Case sturdy? Etc. But I guess probably they had that in mind when designing it... people will discard the caps anywas with MX sliders so why bother putting on a decent set anyway then.
MJT2 Browns o-rings - HHKB White - ES-87 Smoke White Clears - 87UB 55g

Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #44 on: Wed, 18 January 2017, 16:54:07 »

Preach iLLucionist
Show Image


This happens to me, I use my 55g 87U at home and my HHKB type-s at the office. Just when I am thinking 55g is end-game, I will sit down at the office after being away for a bit and start typing on the type-s and I'm immediately not so sure anymore. The HHKB is just something else and a lot of that comes from the plastic case. Being light is also a huge plus for a board that's made to travel, that being said my personal preference is a heavy board so I will be trying out one of RAMA's cases when they come out. I know he is working on keeping the feel of the HHKB intact.

Yeah it's weird... it almost feels like the whole switch on the HHKB is different. Interesting that you share the same opinion. It feels more like I'm touching a piano key, like you really dig in.

What are RAMA's cases? I'm unaware of them.

A piano key is one of best ways of describing the HHKB feel. It's not mentioned enough when people talk about what HHKB to buy but the type-s feels even more like a piano key (slightly more precise travel IMO). https://rama.works/ has been teasing some alu HHKB cases (check his instagram), will be a while still as he is currently working on the M65 but he has indicated this year.

I want a Type-S... but so expensive. For me it's closer to 500$ because I have to pay shipping costs to the Netherlands AND import tax. FML...
MJT2 Browns o-rings - HHKB White - ES-87 Smoke White Clears - 87UB 55g

Offline iLLucionist

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #45 on: Wed, 18 January 2017, 16:55:08 »
Layout-wise, I also have a little trouble switching between HHKB, TKL and various full size boards, mostly Model M, but I put that down to mostly psychological issues or conditioning.

Indeed. We call it muscle memory, and it is biomechanically inefficient (and frustrating) to try to consciously override it.

Biggest issue for me has been finding the Backspace-key, switching back and forth between the HHKB and the 87U. But now after a year with the HHKB at the office and the 87U at home, it has become effortless.
MJT2 Browns o-rings - HHKB White - ES-87 Smoke White Clears - 87UB 55g

Offline zslane

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #46 on: Wed, 18 January 2017, 17:13:25 »
... 1. is the keyboard as heavy as other RF's. 2. Backplate strong? 3. Case sturdy? Etc.

Those are very valid questions. Given that I've never opened up another RealForce to examine its backplate, I can only provide the following answers: 1. No. 2. I don't know. 3. Probably not.

I would have loved to see Topre spend their production budget for the RGB on a heavier, sturdier case (like other RealForce boards) rather than LED backlighting and variable actuation. But given how desperately I wanted an ANSI-108 board with Topre switches, 1.25u bottom row modifiers, and MX-compatibility, I wasn't about to disregard the RGB for its (minor) faults. For those who don't need its virtues, I think they can safely ignore the product all together.

The thing about the HHKB is that it pretty much owns its market niche: the 60% Topre niche. Topre themselves stubbornly refuse to offer their own product, leaving users with only one awkward (in my view) option. It's not as heavy or sturdy as a genuine Topre model would probably be, but it does prove that given no other options, people can get used to (and become fans of) anything.

Offline PollandAkuma

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #47 on: Wed, 18 January 2017, 18:10:50 »

Preach iLLucionist
Show Image


This happens to me, I use my 55g 87U at home and my HHKB type-s at the office. Just when I am thinking 55g is end-game, I will sit down at the office after being away for a bit and start typing on the type-s and I'm immediately not so sure anymore. The HHKB is just something else and a lot of that comes from the plastic case. Being light is also a huge plus for a board that's made to travel, that being said my personal preference is a heavy board so I will be trying out one of RAMA's cases when they come out. I know he is working on keeping the feel of the HHKB intact.

Yeah it's weird... it almost feels like the whole switch on the HHKB is different. Interesting that you share the same opinion. It feels more like I'm touching a piano key, like you really dig in.

What are RAMA's cases? I'm unaware of them.

A piano key is one of best ways of describing the HHKB feel. It's not mentioned enough when people talk about what HHKB to buy but the type-s feels even more like a piano key (slightly more precise travel IMO). https://rama.works/ has been teasing some alu HHKB cases (check his instagram), will be a while still as he is currently working on the M65 but he has indicated this year.

I want a Type-S... but so expensive. For me it's closer to 500$ because I have to pay shipping costs to the Netherlands AND import tax. FML...
Haven't tried a HHKB Type S, but as a musician I can say it feels nothing like playing the piano, which is fortunate, or else you'd all have RSI :D piano felt a lot heavier, and doesn't not have a thock haha

Offline rowdy

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #48 on: Wed, 18 January 2017, 20:04:59 »
Layout-wise, I also have a little trouble switching between HHKB, TKL and various full size boards, mostly Model M, but I put that down to mostly psychological issues or conditioning.

Indeed. We call it muscle memory, and it is biomechanically inefficient (and frustrating) to try to consciously override it.

It would be, if I had muscles to speak of ;)

Also forgot to mention that with MX-compatible stems and a little effort, it is now possible to open up new worlds of keycap swapping possiblities on the HHKB.
"Because keyboards are accessories to PC makers, they focus on minimizing the manufacturing costs. But thatís incorrect. Itís in HHKBís slogan, but when Americaís 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

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Offline atlas3686

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Re: 3 Years with the HHKB2, not my end game.
« Reply #49 on: Thu, 19 January 2017, 00:36:36 »

Preach iLLucionist
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This happens to me, I use my 55g 87U at home and my HHKB type-s at the office. Just when I am thinking 55g is end-game, I will sit down at the office after being away for a bit and start typing on the type-s and I'm immediately not so sure anymore. The HHKB is just something else and a lot of that comes from the plastic case. Being light is also a huge plus for a board that's made to travel, that being said my personal preference is a heavy board so I will be trying out one of RAMA's cases when they come out. I know he is working on keeping the feel of the HHKB intact.

Yeah it's weird... it almost feels like the whole switch on the HHKB is different. Interesting that you share the same opinion. It feels more like I'm touching a piano key, like you really dig in.

What are RAMA's cases? I'm unaware of them.

A piano key is one of best ways of describing the HHKB feel. It's not mentioned enough when people talk about what HHKB to buy but the type-s feels even more like a piano key (slightly more precise travel IMO). https://rama.works/ has been teasing some alu HHKB cases (check his instagram), will be a while still as he is currently working on the M65 but he has indicated this year.

I want a Type-S... but so expensive. For me it's closer to 500$ because I have to pay shipping costs to the Netherlands AND import tax. FML...
Haven't tried a HHKB Type S, but as a musician I can say it feels nothing like playing the piano, which is fortunate, or else you'd all have RSI :D piano felt a lot heavier, and doesn't not have a thock haha

Haha certainly not as heavy no and yes with the bump at the end but the travel is quite similar. A good electric keyboard might be a slightly more accurate comparison :) The piano key is kinda like a linear topre....

Ouch iLLucionist that price is epic! I was lucky and ordered mine quite cheap from Japan so the difference between std. and type-s was very minimal and eth0s gave me some good advice, which I am super thankful for because I would have probably just gone with the std. pro2.  I ended up buying a std. pro 2 second hand a little later so I have had lots of time to make comparisons, the difference isn't huge but definitely noticeable.
« Last Edit: Thu, 19 January 2017, 00:44:39 by atlas3686 »