Keyboards are an absolute necessity and come in a variety of styles for different applications. Amazingly, a lot of technology goes into the different keyboards beyond case materials and how the board is angled.
Today, we will review keyboards that use a Topre switch under the keycaps. Moreover, we will talk about the exact design and intended purpose of the keyboard as well as its unique traits.
So, let’s learn more about Topre switches and find out which of these best Topre mechanical keyboards is perfect for you…
What exactly is a Topre keyboard?
A Topre keyboard is a bit difficult to explain because it is subjective. We can tell you about the mechanics of it and how it works. Then we can even tell you what it is supposed to do for you and how it compares to other mechanical (Cherry MX) keyboards. But what we can’t do is tell you what your experience with it will be.
OK, but what makes them so different?
By definition, a Topre switch is an electrostatic capacitive non-contact switch that consists of a spring enclosed in a rubber cup. Therefore the press of the switch is sensed electronically and doesn’t need to physically close the circuit.
The Topre Corporation developed the switch in Japan, and these are used in high-grade commercial and military applications because of their reliability.
So, why put them on a keyboard?
Topre switches are put into keyboards for two main reasons. The first is that they reduce finger travel and fatigue, allowing you to work faster and for longer periods. The rubber cups provide resistance and can be of different weights, 35g, 45g, or 55g; this is the amount of pressure needed to press the keycaps.
Therefore, the keycaps only need to be pressed about a quarter of the way before you hear the Topre switch’s unique ‘thock’ sound.
Believe it or not, the second reason is for the ‘thock’ sound of the switch. Not only is it a strangely pleasing, deep sound, but it is quieter than conventional mechanical keyboards. After some use, you will begin to work off of this sound rather than the kick you get from other mechanical keyboards.
What it isn’t…
Keyboard enthusiasts debate how to categorize this type of keyboard, and we suppose for good reason. A Topre keyboard stands somewhere in the middle of a mechanical and a rubber-dome keyboard. Therefore, there is no mushy feel of a rubber-dome keyboard, nor is there the kick or travel of a mechanical board.
- 1 Top 5 Best Topre Mechanical Keyboards In 2021 Review
- 1.1 1 Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 w/ Stealth Blank Keycaps – Best Topre Mechanical Keyboard for Programmer
- 1.2 2 Seasonic Topre REALFORCE108-key RGB Keyboard (Wired) – Best Topre Mechanical Keyboard for Gamer
- 1.3 3 RealForce R2 Tenkeyless Keyboard w/Mixed Key Weight-Black – Best Topre Mechanical Keyboard for Office
- 1.4 4 Topre Realforce 104UB USB English Layout Keyboard – Black XF11T0 – Best Topre Mechanical Keyboard for Writer
- 1.5 5 Fujitsu RealForce R2 Full 55g Keyboard-Black – Best Topre Mechanical Keyboard for Speed Typing
- 2 Best Topre Mechanical Keyboards Buying Guide
- 3 What Else Is Out There?
- 4 Which Of The Best Topre Mechanical Keyboards Would We Go For?
Top 5 Best Topre Mechanical Keyboards In 2021 Review
1 Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 w/ Stealth Blank Keycaps – Best Topre Mechanical Keyboard for Programmer
The Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2 is a 60% keyboard consisting of only the necessary keys for typing. It has an ergonomic design that is very comfortable for hand placement and finger movement.
The best Topre mechanical keyboards can be a bit of a learning curve…
The keyboard has been rearranged a bit, and some of the function and direction keys have been moved. Thus, this works well for developers and programmers, in the fact that they do not need to move their hands back and forth for certain functions. However, it does take practice to get the feel of it.
The keycaps aren’t truly blank, as the markings are a shade or two above the key color. Therefore, if you are not in direct overhead lighting, the marks are very difficult to see.
The HHKB is an all-plastic construction and has some flex. It is very light compared to most keyboards, but don’t worry as it is actually very sturdy. Thus, the only real negative about this board is that it slides, so you will probably want a pad underneath.
The board has a micro USB cable to connect to the computer as well as two other USB ports to possibly connect a wireless mouse or other apparatus. On the back are dip switches that will allow you to change the configuration. The underside has the dip switches’ template and will guide you on how to make the changes and even set the keyboard to Mac Mode for working in IOS.
- Dimensions: 12.83 in x 5.91 in x 2.2 in
- Weight: 1.72 pounds
- Great for efficiency.
- Can reconfigure.
- Two additional USB ports.
- Key layout takes getting used to.
- Hard to see markings.
2 Seasonic Topre REALFORCE108-key RGB Keyboard (Wired) – Best Topre Mechanical Keyboard for Gamer
The Seasonic RealForce RGB is a full-sized 108-key keyboard that is completely customizable. Plus, the sensation of the keys compared to other Topre switch keyboards is slightly different due to the LED lighting capability, but more on that later.
Each of the multiple customizations can be done as a whole, in sections or rows, and all the way down to the individual keys. And this is all easily done after downloading the software.
The software is well laid out and simple to use. It allows you to adjust the travel of the keycaps from 3mm, 2.2mm, down to 1.5mm, which is useful if you tend to bump keys while typing or playing games. Also, you can control the amount of pressure required; 35g, 45g, and 55g to push the keys.
Back to the LED lighting…
There are 16.5 million color options available for you to design and light your keyboard as you see fit. While a white panel sits under the keycaps to help reflect the light, giving it a pleasing glow.
The Seasonic is quite simple in its construction, having a plastic body that surrounds a metal base plate. Non-slip rubber pads are on the bottom, along with left and right channels for the USB connection wire.
Switch out the keycaps…
The keycaps are constructed from PBT and have a nice pleasant feel. They can be replaced with third party keycaps that are made to fit Topre switches if you so choose.
- Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.6 x 17.9 inches
- Weight: 3.1 pounds
- Custom actuation points.
- Change color settings for individual keys.
- N-key rollover for gaming.
- Gaming shortcut setup is limited.
3 RealForce R2 Tenkeyless Keyboard w/Mixed Key Weight-Black – Best Topre Mechanical Keyboard for Office
The RealForce R2 is a perfect solution for a business office or a busy typist. The case and keycaps are ergonomically designed to allow your fingers to travel from lower to upper row keys with very little movement.
Variable pressure weights…
Using pressure-sensitive Topre switches, the keys have mixed weights, where the lightest weight of 35g is set for the keys that require your ring or pinky finger to strike. While the keys that are struck by your index or middle finger will require more pressure, at 45g. Then, the space bar and some other keys are set to the heaviest of 55g to avoid accidental registration if bumped.
The PBT keycaps have a good textile feel and shape to them, giving you confidence that you are firmly on the keys while typing.
Topre switches are known for their unique sound and being quieter than Cherry MX switches, so this will reduce the overall sound in the office significantly. RealForce has also gone as far as offering a silent version of the keyboard, but then you just wouldn’t experience the pleasing ‘thock’ that the switch makes.
A tidy workspace…
The keyboard is heavy and has rubber grips on the bottom, so it is sure not to slide around on the desk. Plus, the attached USB plug has now been redesigned with better fitting channels it can snap into to keep cable/wire clutter on the desk to a minimum.
- Dimensions: 14.5 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
- Weight: 2.43 pounds
- Contoured for comfort.
- Variable weights for keys.
- N-key rollover
- Dark keys with dark script.
4 Topre Realforce 104UB USB English Layout Keyboard – Black XF11T0 – Best Topre Mechanical Keyboard for Writer
A keyboard for the writers and programmers, the RealForce 104UB is a solid and popular performer. The board is ergonomically designed so that you don’t have to move your hands so much while typing. The keys are of variable weights with the pressure sensitivity based on what fingers are used to hit the keycaps. The pressure weight varies from 35g, 45g to 55g.
The board registers your keystrokes and essentially creates a list for the computer to read. This is called N-key rollover and allows you to type as fast as possible without needing to check that the key has been registered. However, the keyboard also prevents unintentional double or multiple registrations of a keystroke by understanding the user’s average stroke on the keycaps.
As with all the RealForce keyboards, the keycaps and switches can easily be replaced when they wear down. Inside, you will even find a printed diagram that shows where the pieces go and the order in which to set them. The board can also be modified or ordered for the quiet option.
The RF 104UB comes with a black on black design and quite honestly can be hard to read without proper lighting. Not to worry, though, as there is also a white and grey version of this and most other RealForce keyboards. You can take a look at the white version of the RF 104UB by clicking here.
- Dimensions: 6.65 by 17.95 by 1.54 inches
- Weight: 3.08 pounds
- Comfortable to use.
- N-key rollover learns users’ average strokes.
- Quiet option.
- Black version is hard to see.
5 Fujitsu RealForce R2 Full 55g Keyboard-Black – Best Topre Mechanical Keyboard for Speed Typing
With a bit of a name change, the Fujitsu RealForce R2 is the bigger brother of the RF-R2 that we reviewed earlier on the list. The construction and ergonomics are the same, but there are two main differences. The most obvious is that the right-hand side is fitted with a ten-key pad.
However, a difference that you can’t see is in the typing. This keyboard is aimed at people who have hammer fingers while typing. Unlike its smaller version, the Fujitsu RF-R2 does not have variable key weights. All of the keys have a set pressure weight of 55g.
Great for those speed freaks…
Both R2 boards have N-key rollover so that you can work as fast as your fingers can go. NKRO is a system that registers the keystrokes in the keyboard itself, essentially creating an ordered list for the computer to read. This means that the lag of having the computer register the keystroke before pressing other keys has been taken away.
Therefore, this is an excellent addition to any keyboard for lessening registration errors due to the speed of keystrokes.
Black on black…
Using the black version of this keyboard may be tricky for people who have to look at the keys while typing. This is because the script on the keys is just slightly lighter than the keycap itself, so if you are not in the proper lighting, it can be challenging to see.
- Dimensions: 18 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
- Weight: 2.98 pounds
- N-key rollover.
- Great for transcription.
- No weight variations.
- Black on black keys.
Best Topre Mechanical Keyboards Buying Guide
Let’s not beat around the bush here; Topre mechanical keyboards are expensive. And this is because of two reasons. The first is the superior quality of the switch; it is a military-grade product with proven reliability and has a long working lifespan.
The second is that only a few companies offer these switches on their keyboards. Moreover, the companies, other than the Topre Corporation, focus on making specialized keyboards and have little to no competition in the market.
Know the purpose of the keyboard…
Keyboards have a variety of layouts and structural designs to suit specific purposes. Thus, they can be programmed for personalized shortcuts, gaming, or writing and programming applications.
Specialized writing or programming keyboards may offer a better angle for hand comfort, better shaped and more tactile keycaps, and N-key rollover. However, a gaming board will most likely provide greater personalization with the use of LEDs and the ability to create key shortcuts.
The real question…
The only consideration after you have decided on what type of keyboard suits your needs is, do you want to spend that amount of money?
What Else Is Out There?
Suppose you’re a dedicated gamer or programmer checking out the latest keyboard offerings. In that case, we recommend reading our Best Membrane Keyboards Review, our Best Quiet Mechanical Keyboard Reviews, and then our Best Expensive Gaming Keyboards Review to get the full picture of what’s out there right now.
Hardcore gamers, our Steelseries Apex Pro Review showcases an exciting contender for one of the best gaming keyboards you can buy in 2021.
However, if you’re a writer or office worker where your comfort over long hours is the main aim, do check out our Best Ergonomic Keyboards Reviews, the Ergonomic Keyboard Tray Reviews, the Best Under Desk Keyboard Tray Reviews, our Best Vertical Mouse Reviews, and our Best Ergonomic Mouse Pads Review, for ideas on creating the perfect workspace for you, without breaking the bank.
OK, back to the best Topre keyboards…
Which Of The Best Topre Mechanical Keyboards Would We Go For?
Topre mechanical keyboards are becoming more popular and no longer just used by those in the know. Therefore, of the handful of companies that make them, they have expanded their line-up of keyboards to fit in the wider market. In fact, there isn’t a single keyboard in this review that isn’t worth owning.
However, our choice for the ideal Topre mechanical keyboard is the…RealForce 104UB
We chose the RF 104UB for its superior ergonomics, construction, and ease of replacing or modifying the elements. It is anything but basic.