Topre. The well known and opinion dividing switch, is usually difficult to acquire because of the high prices.However like the Cherry MX line, clones exist for the electrostatic capacitive keyboards. And of course these bring the lower prices with them.
LAYOUT & SIZE
This is a tenkeyless keyboard, meaning that it doesn't have the numpad on the side. However this also does come in a full sized version if needed. It has 87 keys, and has a completely standard ANSI layout, so the keycaps are easily replaceable, especially since they have Cherry MX stems!
The extra space gives you more room for your mouse, or whatever else on your desk. And allows for better shoulder and arm positioning by having the mouse closer to the centre, which is more natural.
DESIGN & BUILD
Overall it's quite a traditional and simplistic design which I appreciate, and many others do. It has a black enclosure with black keycaps. However the texture of the black plastic of the enclosure is a bit weird. It's difficult to describe, but it's kind of got a coarser texture and comes off as a bit sparkly. I think it perhaps would have been better to tone it done a bit with a more satin to make a more cleaner look.
The keycaps while they are double shot, the typeface is quite bad with that hint of gamer. And that's the thing, it's not targeted at gamers, so why put a gamer font on the keycaps? Almost nobody likes it, so it's best to keep it clean and professional.
The build is solid. The plastic enclosure feels rugged and the keyboard is quite heavy because of the internals with the metal backplate. But it's what you would expect from an expensive keyboard.
This is where it differentiates itself. This uses electrostatic capacitive switches, which are clones of the original Topre switches. This is different to a traditional mechanical keyboard, and the experience is completely different. These use a rubber dome, much like a cheap membrane keyboard. However it uses a conical spring which is under the rubber dome, and when compressed it interacts with the electrostatic layer, and actuates the switch.
The feeling is like a better, more tactile, smoother, cleaner rubber dome keyboard. It's smoother than any stock Cherry MX switch, however the tactile feeling is different. It's like a normal membrane keyboard where we get the tactile feedback from the rubber dome collapsing, while on a Cherry MX style switch, there's just a small bump on the contact leaf.
So it offers a less sharp tactile bump. If we depress the key slowly, it almost feels like a linear switch. When we bottom out, it's also naturally dampened because of the rubber dome, which is different to the abrupt sharpness of MX style switches. This keyboard also has o rings installed to dampened the top out noise, and it adds to the softened feel when typing, and it makes it quieter.
See video above for typing demonstration.
This could be mistaken for an RGB keyboard. While it does have a few colours you can choose from, plus even having software that seemingly offers any possible software, it's very limited. It can only be customised in zones. But the worst thing is that the lights can't be turned to white. For a full lighting demonstration, please see video above.
At the end of the day, it's using clones of the original Topre switches. And it's recognisable in that they're not as tactile and not as smooth as the real Topre switches. However these will still give you that unique rubber cup feeling that can't really be had with traditional mechanical keyboards. It's also quite quiet as it is using small o rings to help dampen that upstroke sound.
The looks of it are a bit off to me. I don't find the typeface on the keycaps to be particularly nice, and the lighting isn't proper RGB, only offering a few different colours, which doesn't include white!
The price is still quite high, since it is an electrostatic capacitive keyboard. So if you want Topre or want to try it, but can’t afford it, then this may be an option. However, if you can afford to go that bit more, then perhaps it would be better to save a bit more, and go for a Realforce, Leopold, or HHKB or something. It just depends on your situation.
A big thanks to Banggood.com for providing me with this keyboard, and their continued support.
Product link : http://bit.ly/2dbgq4t