Topre’s Type Heaven mechanical keyboard reviewed

Mechanical keyboards have enjoyed something of a renaissance recently. Much of that revival can be attributed to Cherry’s MX mechanical key switches, which have cropped up in all manners of clicky gaming keyboards—as well as more austere offerings designed for hardcore typists.

The Cherry MX switches aren’t the only mechanical ones around, though. For many years, discerning users with ample budgets have splurged on Topre keyboards—high-priced, made-in-Japan offerings that feature a unique type of mechanical key switch made up of metal springs and rubber domes. Where most Cherry MX-based keyboards rarely venture far from the $100 mark, Topre offerings cost upward of $230.

Correction: they used to cost upward of $230.

Earlier this year, Topre introduced the Type Heaven, a keyboard that brings the firm’s unique spring-and-rubber switches to a no-frills package with a less terrifying price tag. Right now, you can find the Type Heaven on sale for $150 at Amazon—not a huge step up from, say, the Cherry MX-based Das Keyboard Model S, which sells for $139.

Topre had to cut a few corners to reach the lower price point, of course. The Type Heaven is manufactured in China rather than Japan, and it lacks some of the bells and whistles of its pricier brethren, such as distributed key switch weighting and the ability to re-map keys with hardware DIP switches. Also, the Type Heaven’s key caps are made of a different type of plastic, and they’re laser etched rather than printed using more durable dye sublimination.

Those sacrifices are small, though, and they’ve helped to make the Type Heaven an interesting—and competitive—alternative to high-end Cherry MX keyboards. The folks at EliteKeyboards.com were kind enough to send us one to test, and I’ve spent the past little while banging away on it.

Rubber domes with a twist

Before we talk more about the Type Heaven, we should first explain what makes it special: those fancy Topre switches. The proper term for them is “electrostatic capacitive switches,” and their operation is different from that of other mechanical switches like the Cherry MX series or even IBM’s buckling springs.

According to Topre’s original patent application, the electrostatic capacitive switch design combines a conical spring with a rubber dome, and it’s actuated capacitively, without requiring the physical coupling of internal parts. What this means is that, when a key is depressed, the top end of the spring is pushed toward an electrode at the bottom until the capacitance reaches a certain threshold. At that threshold, the switch is actuated, and the rubber dome generates a “snap feeling” that gives the user some tactile feedback. The switch can then be pushed farther down until it bottoms out, or it can be allowed to spring back up to its resting position.

The patent application outlines an interesting rationale behind the design. It explains that conventional key switches need to be depressed “halfway down” to reach the actuation point. As a result, users may be inclined to bottom out in order to ensure that the switch is properly actuated. Over time, the patent application goes on to say, repeated impacts from bottoming-out can result in “inflammation of the tendon sheath.” The patent calls such inflammation an “occupational disease” that provokes “social concern.”

Topre’s design purports to address this problem by putting the actuation point only 1-2 mm below the key’s resting position—and by generating that aforementioned “snap feeling” to inform the user of a successful actuation. In theory, then, the user should have less of an incentive to bottom out, since he or she will need to push down only a small part of the way to actuate the switch and trigger the tactile bump. If Topre is to be believed, this should lead to less tendon sheath inflammation (and, I suppose, less social concern). More to the point, less bottoming out should mean less fatigue.

Topre filed its patent application way back in 1984, when IBM’s buckling springs ruled the land. Big Blue’s patent application indeed shows that buckling springs must be pushed down about half-way to be actuated. What of the Cherry MX switches that populate more modern mechanical keyboards? They aren’t entirely dissimilar, as it turns out. This PDF on the Cherry website shows the pressure point ergonomic (brown) and linear (red and black) MX switches actuate at 2 mm out of a 4-mm travel distance. The pressure point click (a.k.a. blue) MX switch actuates at 2.25 mm out of 4 mm—even farther than the half-way point.

Neither the Topre patent nor the company’s website quotes the exact actuation point for Topre switches. However, according to my measurements, the Type Heaven’s keys actuate at roughly 1.5 mm, and they bottom out just after 4 mm. Actuation requires 45 g of force, which is the same as for Cherry’s MX brown switches.

The Topres have another thing in common with the Cherry MX browns: both switch types provide tactile feedback without generating an audible click upon actuation. Discounting the different internal structures and different actuation points, these two switches—the Topres and Cherry browns—seem pretty comparable on paper. As we’re about to see, though, they feel quite different.

Now, if you’ve ever used laptop-style keyboards with scissor switches or cheap desktop keyboards with rubber domes, you may be aware that those, like the Topres, require very little travel to actuate. However, because they also have a short travel distance, those switches bottom out very easily. That’s precisely what Topre switches are designed to prevent. Rubber domes aggravate the problem with muddy response and a bouncy bottom-out point, which may encourage some users to push down even harder.

In short, Topre really may be on to something here, if the theory matches the reality. Let’s find out if that’s the case now.

Hands-on with the Type Heaven

I’ve used many mechanical key switches over the years—buckling spring, Cherry MX, Alps, you name it. I’ve also typed on plenty of rubber dome and scissor-switch keyboards. The Type Heaven doesn’t really feel like anything I’ve used before.

Its action has much of the rigidity and precision of conventional mechanical switches, but it also has an unusual softness and quietness, no doubt because of the rubber domes covering the springs. The feeling is hard to describe. There’s something stealthy and classy about it, though. The soft, muffled ka-chunk the keys make when they bottom out, the matte, slightly rough finish of the key caps, and the fact that this thing weighs just over three pounds—it all comes together to make the Type Heaven feel like a decidedly premium product. That’s despite the fact that the Type Heaven is Topre’s most affordable keyboard.

For a more meaningful comparison, I whipped out the version of Rosewill’s RK-9000 keyboard based on Cherry MX brown switches. That keyboard is currently available at Newegg for $84.99. As I mentioned earlier, the Cherry MX browns resemble the Topres on paper. They, too, have a 45 g actuation force, a total travel distance of around 4 mm, and a tactile bump without a corresponding click upon actuation.

In practice, that’s about as far as the similarities go. The Cherry MX browns are grittier, snappier, less cushioned, and quite a bit louder. Despite the identical actuation force, the browns feel like they need to be pushed harder to actuate than the Topres. That could be because one needs to push about a half-millimeter farther to reach the actuation point. What really bothers me most about the Cherry MX browns, though, is that gritty feeling around the tactile bump. It’s a bit like there are little grains of sand trapped inside the switch mechanism; you can feel the grittiness in your knuckles as you type, and it can get annoying.

The Topres, by contrast, are totally smooth—but their tactile bump is much less distinct, so it’s harder to know for sure if you’ve actuated a key switch properly. I suppose that’s a downside of the rubber domes. There’s also a little bit more cushioning when you bottom out. The RK-9000 has a sharp bottom-out point that’s quite loud, and so do most other mechanical keyboards I’ve tried. The Topres, by comparison, bottom out very softly and very quietly. The bottom-out point is nowhere near as soft as on cheap rubber-dome keyboards, though.

While we’re on the subject of bottoming out: despite what Topre’s patent application suggests, one does tend to bottom out on these Topre switches. It’s possible to type by skimming across the keys, but the muddiness of the tactile bump makes it difficult. What does happen, though, is that I find myself pushing down slightly less and not feeling as hard an impact when I reach the bottom-out point. That makes the Type Heaven feel more comfortable than the Rosewill with the Cherry MX browns overall.

The Type Heaven also feels like it has taller, wider keys with more travel distance than the Rosewill RK-9000. In reality, the key caps are the same height and a little narrower at the top. The feeling of width probably comes from the rougher, grippier finish of the Type Heaven’s caps, which did a better job of keeping my slightly sweaty fingertips from sliding around. As for the mistaken feeling of height, I assume that’s a combination of the higher actuation point and the fact that the frame of the keyboard sits lower in relation to the key caps.

Mistaken or not, these impressions are important. The Rosewill RK-9000 feels flatter and more precise, but also more cheaply made and, at times, annoyingly gritty. It’s loud, too. The Type Heaven is quieter, and it feels smoother, better made, and more comfortable to type on. Yet it lacks some of the precision of more conventional mechanical switches like the Cherry MX browns.

Before moving on, I should say a few words about gaming. The Type Heaven may be marketed more as a typist’s keyboard than a pro gamer accessory, but it’s perfectly capable in games. In fact, I think it feels better in games than the RK-9000 with the Cherry MX browns, because the actuation point is closer to the top, and the response curve is simpler, with a tactile bump that corresponds more closely to the actuation. As you can see in this graph, the Cherry MX browns actuate a ways after the bump, and there’s kind of a dead zone in between. The response curve graph on Topre’s website shows a much more linear curve without comparable tomfoolery. The only downside of the Topres is that the tactile feedback is very subtle, so accidental key presses may be more likely to occur. That may not be a downside depending on how you look at it, though. Some gamers seem to love Cherry’s MX red and black switches, which have a completely linear response without the faintest trace of a tactile bump.

Oh, and the Type Heaven has six-key rollover. I tested that feature on this website, and it does seem to work. Any combination of six keys can be pressed and registered simultaneously. Hardcore gamers may hold out for a keyboard with n-key rollover (where all keys can be pressed and registered simultaneously), but six keys should be plenty for the rest of us.

Noise recordings

I can come up with some very vivid prose to describe the noise of mechanical keyboards, but nothing beats actual audio recordings. Here’s a couple: one for the Type Heaven and another for Rosewill’s RK-9000BR, which features Cherry MX brown switches. You can switch between the two by clicking the buttons under the embedded YouTube video.

The recordings are of me pressing a single key three times, then typing “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” once at my usual typing speed.

I’ve said it, and the recordings confirm it: the Type Heaven’s Topre switches have a much quieter, softer sound than the Cherry MX browns. In fact, most of the Type Heaven’s noise is from key cap chatter, not the switches themselves. The Rosewill keyboard couples key cap chatter and switch noise, and there’s a sharp clacking sound at the bottom-out point. (It is possible to dampen the Cherry switches by ordering and installing o-rings, but I haven’t had a chance to try those yet.)

If you’ve been holding off on using a mechanical keyboard due to noise concerns, the Type Heaven could definitely be an option worth considering. My only gripe with it is that some of the function keys, including left and right shift, tab, and backspace, make a louder snapping sound than the other keys when they spring up. The difference isn’t huge, though, and it’s hardly a deal-breaker.

Other observations

We’ll render our final verdict in a minute, but first, let’s take a quick run through the Type Heaven’s other features and peculiarities. This is, after all, more than a mere repository for exotic key switches.

You may have noticed that the USB cable comes out the right side of the keyboard. The cable actually starts in the middle and runs through a little gutter with snaps to keep it in place. The gutter goes both ways, so if you like, you can route the cable so that it comes out the left side. For what it’s worth, having the cable on the right didn’t disrupt my mouse movements.

The Type Heaven also has the requisite feet on the bottom to angle it up. I don’t think people are supposed to do that, though. Typing with your wrists at too steep an angle is a surefire way to contract some manner of RSI. Or, you know, to inflame your tendon sheath or whatever.

What else? Well, the cable measures 1.5 m, or 4.9 feet, which is plenty long. The num, caps, and scroll lock indicators have little green LEDs that won’t blind you if you look directly at them. Also, the rubber pads on the bottom of the keyboard do a good job of keeping the thing anchored. The left side actually slid around a little more than the right out of the box, but grabbing the plastic casing and twisting it slightly fixed the problem. Now, relocating the keyboard to accommodate my typing position takes a fair bit of effort—as it should.

Conclusions

I’ve faced a bit of a conundrum these past few years.

I used to type on one of those gray-label, made-by-IBM Model Ms. I still think it’s the finest clicky keyboard around. However, I now live in a tiny apartment with someone whose sleep schedule doesn’t always match mine. The Model M is too loud for this arrangement, and Cherry MX keyboards aren’t that much quieter. Even if they were, I still don’t think they feel nearly as good as the Model M.

So, for the past few years, I’ve been typing on a scissor-switch keyboard. I’m not crazy about it, but it feels fine, makes almost no noise, and gets the job done.

This is all a very long-winded way to say that, as of now, I’ve switched to the Type Heaven as my daily driver. This isn’t just the quietest mechanical keyboard I’ve had a chance to use; it also exudes quality and comfort. Something about those electrostatic capacitive switches is just downright satisfying—perhaps not as satisfying as the Model M’s buckling springs, but definitely more satisfying than Cherry’s MX switches. And somehow, that curved back and those rough, lighter-than-black key caps just look good, like an expensive 1970s calculator or something off an old SGI workstation.

Yeah, the Type Heaven is really growing on me.

Topre Type Heaven

October 2013

Now, that’s not to say this thing is perfect. The high actuation point and soft tactile bump occasionally conspire to induce typos, although that’s getting better the more accustomed I am to this keyboard. Also, I sometimes miss the nimbleness of scissor switches. Still, the Type Heaven is fast and accurate when used properly. I measured my typing speed on TypingTest.com the other day, and I managed 129 words per minute with just one error. I don’t recall doing much better with the scissor switches.

The Type Heaven’s only other downside is its price. $150 might not be outlandish in the world of mechanical keyboards, but it’s pretty steep in absolute terms. Heck, even those Rosewill RK-9000s can be had for as little as $74.99. It may be hard to justify spending literally twice as much for something that’s not hugely different—and lacks common premium features like media buttons, macro keys, backlighting, and USB and audio ports.

You know what, though? If you want a serious typist’s keyboard that’s quiet, comfortable, and pleasing to the eye, then the Type Heaven is worth the money. Personal preferences always prevail in these matters, of course, and your tastes might not match mine. Even so, I think you’d do yourself a disservice not to at least consider this thing.

Comments closed
    • Linkbane
    • 6 years ago

    This review is highly biased. The author uses subjective terms like ‘gritty’, but I don’t think that anyone typing at 129 wpm would feel grittiness in the keys. I certainly don’t feel it when I’m typing over 140, or under 100. Perhaps there’s an island in the middle where the author can feel this grittiness.

    As you might also notice, Topre is not a typist’s switch in the same way as a Brown isn’t. They’re in between switches, so it’s foolish to glorify it and say how wonderful it is for gaming when it clearly is not good. It’s worse for double-tapping than MX Blues are, because the travel is further you have to reset at the top, just like a rubber dome.

    Also, the Type Heaven has been criticized for having some terribly keycaps, which are ABS and definitely not rough at all.
    Every flaw, including the 6KRO, is just brushed off with ‘it’s perfect’. It’s worse, please just admit it and move on. Lack of a braided cable was not mentioned either. nor the non-removable cable.

    Guarantee that the Model M, and any clicky switch is superior for typing over a Topre. A rubber dome is a rubber dome, it provides less feedback than a brown and has to reset nearly to the top to be usable again. There’s a reason that not any top typist uses Topre switches.

    I mean, the high actuation point might sound good in theory, but most people bottom out on their boards, and that just means that you have to bring up the key further.

      • WaltC
      • 6 years ago

      I have to be honest, though–I could *hear* the grittiness/non-grittiness in the two audio samples he supplied. That surprised me. It’s that obvious, so the author is definitely not picking nits. Basically, those audio samples precisely reflected what he said–right down to the nitty-“gritty”…;) If I can hear it in those audio samples it’s for sure I’d feel it. Perfectly objective review, I thought. The audio samples completely justified his remarks.

      Am I disappointed that he picked a favorite? Heck, no–I’ve never liked reviews that attempt to hide the preferences of the reviewer behind semantically neutral allusions that pretend an utter objectivity and neutrality not really held by the reviewer (because it’s easy to read between the lines and you feel as though the reviewer is trying to pull a fast one, somehow, even if you aren’t quite sure what.) I much prefer a hardware review in which the reviewer states which of the contrasted products he prefers most and then *tells us why.* As long as he can justify those preferences, I’d prefer to see them as opposed to not seeing them. If a hardware reviewer walks away from a contrasting hardware review covering two or more like devices, and he pretends to have liked them all equally with no favorites in the bunch, then he automatically devalues his review as he leaves me believing that he didn’t do enough testing to be able to arrive at a preference.

      May I politely ask what has got you so upset here?…;) He said he preferred the Model M, even though that was not one of the keyboards he contrasted in this review. He also said that he likes the Topre well-enough to use it himself. I don’t recall him saying that in his opinion the Topre was the best keyboard on earth…;) He didn’t even get close to that, really. He simply said that of these two keyboards reviewed he prefers the Topre, even factoring in the significant cost differential. Understandable for me after listening to the two audio samples. His review surely supplied enough “objective” information for a reader to make his own decisions rationally, regardless of what the reviewer’s preferences were–because one of the keyboards cost 2x the price of the other, the reader has enough information to decide for himself whether that price premium is justified.

    • aspect
    • 6 years ago

    According to the review the Topre tactile bump is less noticeable than Cherry browns, do all Topre switches have the same tactile bump or are there ones more pronounced like Cherry clears?

    • Crackhead Johny
    • 6 years ago

    My mother is an author and has been for a very long time. She is now elderly if you are wondering how long
    I got her a Topre last year or the year before knowing that she would never buy herself a ~250$ keyboard.
    She says that it is incredible if you spend your days typing. The greatest keyboard ever.
    It is very interesting to see a Topre offering for ~100$ under the going price. I’d get one for work but I suspect that I’ll just pick up another Ducky. I’m not a typist I’m a gamer and I expect that feel from a keyboard. This may be great for people who type professionally but I’m not sure how good they are for gaming.
    I do think that the variable weighting in a standard Topre is probably part of what makes it so nice to type on and this is missing that. Also The dye sub keys will not wear away.. Not that big a deal when the ‘l33t folk are already buying all black keyboards.

    • anotherengineer
    • 6 years ago

    Interesting a Topre made in China. Another nice mech keyboard review.

    Now still waiting on that Cherry Clear review with o-ring dampeners.

    [url<]http://codekeyboards.com/[/url<] [url<]http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/index.php/products/code-keyboard.html[/url<] [url<]http://www.wasdkeyboards.com/index.php/cherry-mx-rubber-switch-dampeners.html[/url<]

      • Airmantharp
      • 6 years ago

      I would have taken a CODE with Clears, for sure 🙂

    • derFunkenstein
    • 6 years ago

    I’m typing on an old Apple Pro keyboard from an iMac G5 right now. Definitely need a new one. This review made it just a little tougher for me. *sob*

    • Airmantharp
    • 6 years ago

    I was waiting to do some research to see if they offered versions with backlighting before commenting, but I can’t find any. I’ll be sticking with ma browns and white backlighting for now :).

    • jehurey
    • 6 years ago

    The Typing of the Dead Overkill just came out today. That should be the de facto test for al keyboard reviews from now on.

    • bthylafh
    • 6 years ago

    This is the second Topre review I’ve seen, the first being Casey’s video review on Ars of the more expensive version. I’ll keep watching Topre units with interest in case my Model M finally dies and the family wants me to have something quieter.

    • meerkt
    • 6 years ago

    $150 for a keyboard… I don’t get it. Some keyboards feel bad, yeah, but others, similarly $5-10 priced, feel okay. I wouldn’t mind NKRO, though.

    My main problem is finding the layout I like: in the Backspace/Enter/R-Shift area, mostly, and to a certain degree proper horizontal spacing between the 3 major key groups.

    There are other minor aspects that are variable between keyboards and can be difficult to find, but these are smaller problems: the shape of the case needs to be right to be able to move the keyboard a bit with one hand while typing/playing, and relative key height. In my current main keyboard, an A4Tech, the bottom keys (Ctrl/Alt…) are slanted and their upper edge sits a bit higher than the next row (ZXC…). It took some usage adjustment during which I’d get things like Alt mispressed while using keys in the next row.

      • bthylafh
      • 6 years ago

      Have you tried a mechanical keyboard, or just those $10 units? If you haven’t, you just don’t know the difference.

        • meerkt
        • 6 years ago

        I can’t say with certainty, but based on noise: maybe. I did have quite noisy ones in the past, e.g., a Chicony. But feel aside, I don’t like noisy.

        But what’s supposed the gain? Nicer feel? It’s not like I have fatigue or other problems with my fingers. +10% WPM? 🙂

          • bthylafh
          • 6 years ago

          Maybe nothing, it’s a personal preference on how it feels, I think. Give one a try if you’ve ever got the opportunity.

          • Kurotetsu
          • 6 years ago

          [quote=”meerkt”<]But what's supposed the gain? Nicer feel? It's not like I have fatigue or other problems with my fingers. +10% WPM? :)[/quote<] If you type for a living, like the writers for Techreport, then yes those are all significant gains. If you just game or whatever, then you probably won't appreciate the difference.

            • superjawes
            • 6 years ago

            I wouldn’t say you have to type for a living to appreciate mechanical keys. You just have to spend enough time at a computer.

            And on the same note, don’t lump all of Cherry switches together, either. I cerntainly prefer the tactile response of my Cherry Blue keyboards, but the linear response from the reds or blacks are also quite nice compared to other keyboards I have used. There’s just something about actual springs that offers a better feel, IMO.

        • FuturePastNow
        • 6 years ago

        I’ve used both and some cheap keyboards are just as good. After I spilled a beer on my mechanical keyboard, I needed a replacement right away, so I ran out and bought a $12 Logitech K120.

        That was months ago and I still haven’t bothered trying to clean the mechanical. I should probably just throw it away at this point.

    • colinstu12
    • 6 years ago

    IBM Model M for life!

      • DreadCthulhu
      • 6 years ago

      My Unicomp Model M clone agrees with you; if you can’t bash some nefarious home invader on the head with it, and then go back to work/gaming, it isn’t a real keyboard.

        • bhtooefr
        • 6 years ago

        Bah.

        My 122-key Model F can break your Unicomp Model M in half.

        (I’m cheating on it with a Matias Tactile Pro right now, though. The Model F really does have late actuation, and I like me some early actuation, which Alps gets, but good Alps are rare. Matias did good Alps with their Click switch, and I like the vintage Taxi Yellow-colored genuine Alps switches as used on the Memory Expansion Apple //c.)

    • Dezeer
    • 6 years ago

    Nice to see a Topre review. I haven’t personally noticed the grittiness of brown switch, maybe I would need a comparison point.

    Wow, you have to pay $230 for Realforce, here in Finland they are 114 and 130 euros for black and white.

      • Airmantharp
      • 6 years ago

      No grittiness for browns or blues here- but man is that blue click annoying!

    • jehurey
    • 6 years ago

    Hey hey, I haven’t logged in for years, but my TR account is still active. I’m a Cherry MX brown 4LIFE type of guy, and as I’m typing now, I’m trying to sense that “sand stuck at the bottom” grind that’s described, but I don’t feel it. I have that same Rosewill model. Since I bought it for about $65 on special, I can’t complain. I just wish it didn’t have the cheap looking Rosewill logo on it. When I type really fast, the clacking noise seems to get higher pitched.

    I’m interested in any keyboard that resembles the behavior and feel of Cherry MX browns. I bought a Das Keyboard Professional S on special as well, and the best way I can describe it is that it feels like a keyboard that really wants other people to notice that you’re typing on a keyboard. It feels like tap dancing on wood, where MX browns feel like strutting on marble with dress shoes.

    Love these keyboard reviews.

      • Klyith
      • 6 years ago

      When I first got my board with browns, it felt gritty. In fact I described it with the identical “grain of sand” analogy. But within a week I was completely used to it. I also think a brown switch gets better with a little bit of break-in — the sharp point on the leaf slide mechanism may smooth down a tiny bit.

      If Cyril had that rosewill sitting in his closet from an old review or something I could totally see him feeling weird about the typing feel. I think it’s not a completely fair comparison, but what can ya do?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 6 years ago

        I’m actually thinking of buying a keyboard with MX Browns. Cooler Master has a couple 80-90$ models and then there’s the Rosewill. How would you compare the noise to rubber domes, and how would you compare the noise to the old buckling springs? With Prime shipping I could have a keyboard on Thursday for under $100.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 6 years ago

          I haven’t used bucking springs in a long time, but the noise you see in most videos comes primarily from bottoming out the keys. The keycaps hit the switch mount which surrounds the key stem and adds a good deal of noise. When I added these: [url<]http://www.elitekeyboards.com/products.php?sub=access,slpads&pid=sl120_cf[/url<] to my Rosewill RK-9000 (both a brown and blue switch keyboard) the noise was greatly decreased even during vigorous typing with the browns, and the blues just have their pure clicky noise with no bottom out sound to ruin it. I have to intentionally try to make the bottom out noise that is featured in most videos.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            OK so I was weak and I bought a new keyboard. Cooler Master Quick Fire with Cherry MX Brown. And you’re right the noise is primarily from bottoming out. I’m not used to the keys yet and I make tons of typos but i’m sure they’ll go away. $90 it was similarly priced to the Rosewill the only difference being that someone would actually ship it to me (I live in Illinois and have the weird restriction that just brew it! first posted about).

            So those rings really make a huge difference? The noise isn’t bad but if I can diminish it somewhat more then I’m all for it.

            • Airmantharp
            • 6 years ago

            Got my X8 in yesterday, .4mm rings pre-installed and white backlighting with Browns, and they certainly do make a difference over my Rosewill with Browns :).

            Cooler Master might’ve got my business if they’d offered the dampeners.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            I’ll just do it myself. If I need something mundane to do I can get a keycap puller and a set of rings and do it. The rubber rings are kinda pricy, like $20. The $12 pads might be cheaper but they look thicker. Hm.

            • Airmantharp
            • 6 years ago

            Well, the .4mm rings/pads give the keyboard an almost membrane-like soft touch, while being very quiet and not compromising the solidity of the keyboard one iota. I’d think that the .2mm offerings might be better for those looking to maintain the ‘mechanical’ experience, but judging my X8 with Browns and .4mm dampeners as a tool for user interface, it’s the best I’ve ever had- over naked Browns, naked Blues, and numerous membrane keyboards. I think the only better keyboard I’ve ever used has been that Mac one mentioned elsewhere in this article’s comments. I remember using them in junior high and just absolutely loving typing on them.

            But my new keyboard is damn close :).

            Actually, who/where would you recommend getting .2mm dampeners and a key-puller from? My Blackwidow needs a good cleaning, and I have no intention of using it without making some modification to it, and I might as well do my Rosewill too, especially if they let me take it to work!

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            just brew it! had a thread in the forums recommending WASD, so that’s who I ordered from. I went with .2mm and got the key puller. It was like $26 after shipping by USPS first class. It’s coming from California and USPS says expected delivery is Monday, so I expect they’ll actually show up on Wednesday.

            Here’s the thread where he seemed to really recommend them, which you posted in a while back but maybe don’t recall.

            [url<]https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=89745[/url<]

            • superjawes
            • 6 years ago

            Yes, they do. I use blues, so my keyboards still have an audible click when the switch actuates, but the bottoming out noise is gone.

            Be aware that the rings do change the feel a bit, though, and there seems to be a difference between keyboards as well. My Blackwidow felt about the same when I put the rings on, but the Rosewill I picked up for work feels very different.

            • Airmantharp
            • 6 years ago

            You know, grabbing the .2mm rings for the Blackwidow might make it tolerable for me. Otherwise, it’s the loudest keyboard I’ve used since the M.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            I’m sure the feel will be a little different but these keys have such a travel distance that I don’t think it’ll matter too much.

            • superjawes
            • 6 years ago

            That’s good to hear. You can get a sampler if you want to check things out before modding the entire keyboard. Shipping is very fast on it, too, since it can be carried by any USPS worker (I assume it would take longer if you got a full keyboard).

            • derFunkenstein
            • 6 years ago

            I had already ordered, so we’ll see. I should get them next week. I don’t need all the sound to go away but I’d like the worst of it to be gone.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 6 years ago

    If you were going to pay $150+ for a keyboard for Topre switches, I’d argue you might as well go full monty and buy one of the more expensive ones.

    I’ve long watched Topre switches, suspecting they’d be the next place that “all the rage” goes. Looks like that’s probably going to happen. Seems logical. I’m not willing to pay that much for a keyboard so barebones, though.

    That’s ridiculously barebones. I’ll wait for the big boys to smell a change in the wind and turn their greedy eyes to Topre, compelling price wars and reductions and cheaper versions with it and backlighting.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 6 years ago

      To me, “barebones” is perfect. I don’t want backlighting, 100 different media buttons, and macros. I just need a keyboard that doesn’t feel like ass when I type on it.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 6 years ago

    First good review of a Topre switch keyboard I’ve read…I’ve been tempted to try one a few times but the price versus basic Cherry switch keyboards has kept me away. Maybe one day I can be like Geoff.

      • cynan
      • 6 years ago

      Yeah, my cheapo (for a mech) Cherry MX brown for $50 was kind of hard to beat at the time. I wonder if this is really worth $100 more.

      • superjawes
      • 6 years ago

      …you mean Cyril?

        • MadManOriginal
        • 6 years ago

        No, he’s French!

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