Topre keyboards are perhaps something that you have rarely heard about. They are quite rare, whether at the business workplace or at your personal places. For the uninitiated, Topre is a Japanese keyboard manufacturer who is known to create a unique mechanical keyboard that differs considerably from the traditional options that we usually use. We thought of sharing a few of the best Topre keyboards that can dramatically improve your typing experience.
The unique design of Topre switches makes them very expensive. Topre switches are the most expensive keyboard switches on the market, one of the reasons why keyboards with Topre switches are few and far between. Nevertheless, there are enough models for almost everyone to find their favorite. Since Realforce, Topre’s keyboard manufacturing brand, manufactures most models with Topre switches, most Topre keyboards tend to offer similar features packed inside similar casings that have excellent build quality.
Overall, most Topre keyboards don’t have extra features or stuff like RGB lighting or a ton of extra buttons, but they do offer excellent typing experience and that’s what should matter the most. But, before we present the best Topre keyboards, let’s explain the design of Topre switches in detail.
5 Best Topre Keyboards of 2021:
HHKB or Happy Hacking Keyboard has been one of the clear leaders when it comes to the best Topre keyboards. The legendary manufacturer of the Topre switches has gained a name for itself for obvious reasons. The design initially was launched in 1992 by Prof Eiiti Wada.
The keyboard comes with a light and compact design with 60 keys design. The compact design is one of the features that would make it one of the best options for portability. The keyboard can easily fit inside your bag.
The construction of the keyboard is primarily made of plastic. The keyboard also comes with six DIP switch on the back. You also have a clear documentation for the functionality of each of the DIP keys. The layout is a little non-standard, and you may need to get used to the keyboard and a proper typing experience on it.
- Small and portable
- Good build quality
- Topre switches
- Lack of Arrow Keys
The Leopold FC660C is a 65% mechanical keyboard with electo-capacitive Topre switches. The base price of the FC660C is on MechanicalKeyboards.com, but it constantly fluctuating due to market demands, you can check the price here.
It comes in different colors, such as black, blue and gray, white, and gray. They come with two switch options, the Topre 45g and the Topre Silent 45g (for $10 more).
The Leopold FC660C comes in a tight compact 65% layout, which is very similar to 60% except with arrow keys.
A 65% layout is ideal for someone who needs a smaller keyboard, but doesn’t want to get rid of the arrow keys. If you find you don’t use the function row, numberpad, or navigation cluster, a 65% keyboard is worth considering.
Here is a sound clip of the Leopold FC660C with Topre 45g switches with the stock factory lubrication and lube stabilizers. In my opinion, Topre keyboards are some of the best sounding keyboards out there.
- Great build quality
- Topre Switches
- Compact and Portable
- Not programmable
- Unconventional key sizes
Topre’s keyboard manufacturing brand. While the keyboard looks plain, like millions of cheap keyboards found in offices around the world, the magic resides under the hood.
While plain-looking, the body is made of quality plastic and it’s very hard to flex. Overall build quality is excellent, and that stands for every keyboard model made by Realforce. The keycaps are made out of PBT plastic and should last for a long time. Further, the keyboard doesn’t have any extra keys or functions. It’s pretty basic in its design.
But once you start typing on it you should either start to love it or hate it. The typing feel is great and while a bit mushy, the keys are more silent than the Cherry MX and the tactile feedback is more pronounced. Overall, this should be a great choice for all who need a keyboard for long typing sessions on a daily basis. As typing goes, this should be a better choice than most other mechanical keyboards.
When it comes to downsides, the one that first comes to the mind is the dark grey lettering on black keycaps. If you don’t touch type, you might have trouble finding the right key after dark, or even during the day if you’re inside a poorly lit room. There’s no backlighting on this keyboard and Topre switches have unique keycap stems so replacing default keycaps with custom ones (which are in most cases designed to fit Cherry MX stems) is out of the question.
- Decent in Gaming
- Great typing experience
- Good Build Quality
- Lack of features
Upgrade your gaming experience with the Realforce R2 Ten Key Less keyboard. It comes in with the most advanced Topre switches, which offer high speed, electrostatic, capacitive touch. It smoothly registers a keystroke without key bounce or any physical contact. Another significant feature is its highly compact design. It has a Ten Key Less layout that occupies lesser space on your desk and creates more room for mouse movement.
It has a smart ergonomic design to reduce fatigue during long playing hours. Its step sculpture design allows the smooth sliding motion of the finger. Its extremely durable PBT Keycaps have an attractive matte finish that will prevent the building up of oil and grit. Keys are printed with dye-sublimation legends, meaning longer use without wearing off. It has full N-key rollover technology. Hence, it will enable you to register multiple key presses with individual scanning of each key.
It is available in multiple models, different on the basis of weight, color, designs, and sound.
- Smart ergonomic design prevents fatigue
- Highly tactile capacitive Topre key switches
- Ten Key Less construction occupy lesser space
- PBT keycaps are highly durable
- Available in several different designs
- Not portable
Epomaker NiZ Plum Atom 68 has a silent electrostatic capacitive touch. It has a rubber dome base that contains a slider over which printed keycaps are fitted with a spring. They offer precise actuation point and soft tactile bump. They are silent switches. It has PBT Keycaps, which are extremely durable and strongly resistive towards oil and grit build-up.
This keyboard is fully programmable and macro-compatible. It means each and every key is capable of performing multiple complex functions. For connectivity, it has a Type-C port. It is a 60 percent keyboard with only 68 keys design. It has a compact design that takes up less space on your desk and allows the mouse’s smooth functioning during gameplay. Another feature to consider is the Bluetooth connectivity that makes it compatible with computers and laptops. It has the best portability.
- High tactility and capacitive touch key switches
- PBT keycaps are very durable and long-lasting
- It has a compact design to save space
- Wireless connectivity makes it portable
- No ergonomic design
Why Are Topre Keyboards So Expensive?
You’ve seen people test Topre boards such as the HHKB, Realforce, Leopold, and some Topre-clone boards too, and many rave about the way they sound and feel. Topre boards, why are they so expensive?
Topre keyboards have a hefty price tag because the electrocapacitive switches are solely manufactured by a single company, made in Japan, go through rigorous quality standards, and are in low demand compared to more common mechanical switches.
That may be the short answer, but that doesn’t answer the question of whether you should purchase one and try it. Are they really worth the premium price that you see on countless different websites?
What Are Topre Switches?
Topre switches are “electrostatic capacitive non-contact keyboard switch(es)”. Their design consists out of a rubber dome (like in membrane keyboards), which houses the system that utilizes a phenomenon called capacitance. This phenomenon allows the circuit board to detect a keypress without any physical contact between the switch and the circuit board. On the other hand, every mechanical switch works by closing a circuit between two wires during each keypress, which always includes physical contact.
The system housed inside the rubber dome contains the plunger along with the switch housing. The switch also includes the buckle responsible for the tactile feeling when pressing the switch. Finally, there’s the coiled spring. Once you press the key, the switch will bend the spring until the PCB registers the keypress. Quite different from the Cherry MX mechanism where a keypress closes the circuit thus registering the stroke.
What to Look For in Topre Keyboards
- Keys and Switches: Switches make or break the keyboard as it basically is the feel and the sound of every typing experience. A happy medium exists between those two switches, being the Topre switches. Any Topre keyboard needs Topre Switches. They are famous for their unique feel and sound.
- Size: Keyboards can be diverse in size, mostly differing in the number of keys that the keyboard contains. The most common ones are the full-size, the TKL or Tenkeyless, and 60%. Each type has its own specialty and use.
- Ergonomics: Typists and gamers alike are not injury-proof. There is a lot that can go wrong between nonstop coding and intense gaming. Two examples of these would be strains and wrist injuries. It’s always better to buy a good ergonomic keyboard for better comfort and lesser trips to the hospital.
- Connectivity: To be able to carry and use a keyboard anywhere without the use of a cable is always a nice touch. But is it really the best for your lifestyle? Deciding between the two and figuring out the importance of each and how they adhere to your workflow can be crucial.
We have provided you with a list of the best Topre switches. Each of the products offers good tactile feedback and smooth capacitive keystrokes. To further ease your job, we have also provided our top choices in terms of performance, quality and advancement. Our detailed buyer’s guide will help you make the best choice. Hopefully, you will find a product that completely suits your requirements.