Mechanical keyboard enthusiasts would be intimately familiar with Topre, the makers of arguably the best mechanical keyboard switches. At its Computex 2016 booth, the Japanese company has revealed the RealForce RGB, its first-ever RGB-backlit keyboard that aims to please gamers.
Featuring the company’s famed Topre electrostatic capacitive switches, this is the first major keyboard Topre has announced since the Type Heaven in 2013 – and it’s set to divide opinion among its fans.
Those familiar with RealForce keyboards will know that they are usually unassuming blocks of chunky plastic, looking similar to the IBM keyboards of old. The Realforce RGB is a modern-looking keyboard, not least because of the flashy RGB backlit keys, and a striking all-black exterior with minimal bezels.
What’s more interesting is in the new features Topre is introducing with the Realforce RGB. For starters, Topre is introducing customisable actuation points for all 108 keys (104 standard and 4 “special” P1-P4 keys), allowing you to set keystrokes to actuate at 1.5mm, 2.2mm, or 3mm. In the software, these points are set as “low”, “medium”, or “high”.
This is an interesting solution to those who prefer shorter actuations during gaming, but longer ones when typing. It’s also a property inherent only to Topre’s electrostatic capacitive switches, unlike Cherry MX and its various third-party duplicates.
This 1.4kg keyboard is made in Japan (key switches supposedly made in Taiwan), offers full N key rollover via USB, 16.8 million colours via per-key RGB LED, double molded keycaps, and variable key weights (another electrostatic capacitive property) where less common keys have higher key weights to prevent accidental presses.
What’s also new on a Realforce keyboard is that the Realforce RGB uses Cherry MX-compatible stems, which means you’ll be able to easily use aftermarket keycaps. The underside of the keyboard has cable routing to the left, right, and front. There’s no name for the software yet (tentatively called Realforce Space), but you’ll be able to change actuation point, per-key lighting, and various other options.
Interestingly, Topre says that the keyboard’s final design has not yet been finalised, nor has the final release date been set (other than “later this year”). Pricing is also not confirmed, though a Topre rep at its Computex booth says it’ll be “around $250” (about RM1,040).