Topre Realforce R2 review: A non-mechanical keyboard
I know a lot of us here at PCGamesN have been hyping mechanical switches like there was nothing better, and we stick to that thesis for the most part. But I have a confession to make: mechanics are no longer my first love, at least not for typing. That honor now goes to the Topre Realforce R2 review: a glorified rubber dome.
Just listen to me. The Topre switch is not a traditional membrane design. Rather, each capacitive switch consists of a rubber dome on a coiled spring that makes contact with a PCB. As a result, all that inconsistent softness of a membrane plate is gone, replaced by a performance like no other on the market.
Made solely in Japan by the Topre Corporation, these keyboards can often be expensive or difficult to find in other parts of the world. But those days might be over. Now that Fujitsu has become the official licensed Realforce dealer in the US, visibility and availability have increased, and I managed to get my hands on the Realforce R2-US5-BK 55g model for free trials.
The Realforce R2 features a smooth, professional minimalist aesthetic, borrowing somewhat from the previously released Realforce RGB. It’s also not without a touch of enthusiast, with black PBT keycaps, black key labels, and a lightweight yet slim overall design. And while the Realforce may look like a business saloon from the outside, it packs a twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood. Or the equivalent of the key switch, at least. That’s just as cool, right?
There are a couple of key benefits to this capacitive design from Topre. First, there is no talk. While mechanical switches need to induce debounce to prevent the mechanical contacts within each switch from registering multiple times, the Topre switch avoids this particular problem with its unique design.
Topre’s patent (via Deskthority) says that this is achieved thanks to the fact that “a constant hysteresis can be obtained without changing the operating characteristics, even if an operating value is set arbitrarily, thus adequately avoiding chatter”. If you know what that means, good for you. Either way, he becomes a chatterless switch innately.
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The Topre Realforce R2 switch is also much quieter than many of its mechanical counterparts, a saving grace for teary-eyed youngsters gaming late into the night. Many standard mechanical switches operate a few decibels louder than you might want late at night. Fortunately, the Topre switch is here to save the day, operating with a muffled thud instead of a loud clack.
But how good is the Topre Switch for gaming? I know I’ve been talking about it as the best script change to grace God’s green earth, really endgame stuff right here, but that’s not necessarily that it suits the players well.
And while it’s not gaming nirvana, there should be a place in gamers’ hearts for the Topre Switch. It may not boast the fastest actuation on the block, and at 55g it’s a bit heavier than most, but its smooth action and ergonomic stepped sculpture design manage to prevent fatigue during long gaming sessions.
But while the games may fall a bit beyond Realforce’s wheelhouse, they still offer impressive performance across the board.
However, its price is completely prohibitive.
At $258, the Realforce R2 with 55g uniform key switches is one of the most expensive boards I’ve reviewed. In that sense, it is the end of the game. You will almost certainly never want to spend money on another keyboard again.
The Topre Realforce R2 switch may be what memes are made of, and ridiculously expensive too. But if you want a board that outlasts you, eschews the gamer aesthetic, and has some of the smoothest switches around, I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing better than embracing the meme and getting the Realforce. But the end has a cost.
FAQs about Topre Realforce R2 review:
What is the Topre Realforce R2?
The Topre Realforce R2 is a premium mechanical keyboard known for its unique Topre electrostatic capacitive key switches. These switches offer a smooth and tactile typing experience that is highly regarded by keyboard enthusiasts.
What makes the Topre electrostatic capacitive switches special?
The Topre switches combine elements of both mechanical and rubber dome keyboards. They provide a tactile bump without the typical clicky noise, resulting in a quieter yet satisfying typing experience. The switches are also known for their longevity and consistency.
What are the features of the Topre Realforce R2?
The Topre Realforce R2 features a high-quality build with options for different key layouts, such as tenkeyless and full-size. It often comes with PBT keycaps for durability and a premium feel. The keyboard may include customizable key functions, RGB backlighting, and advanced anti-ghosting technology.
Is the Topre Realforce R2 suitable for gaming?
While the Topre Realforce R2 is primarily designed for typing enthusiasts, it can also be used for gaming. The tactile feedback of the Topre switches can enhance the gaming experience, especially for those who prefer a non-clicky yet responsive feel. However, the keyboard might lack some gaming-specific features found in dedicated gaming keyboards.
Is the Topre Realforce R2 worth its price?
The Topre Realforce R2 is considered a high-end keyboard with a premium price tag. Its unique switches, build quality, and typing comfort contribute to its value. However, whether it’s worth the price depends on individual preferences and needs. Enthusiasts who prioritize typing experience and are willing to invest in quality peripherals may find the R2 to be a worthy investment.
In conclusion, the Topre Realforce R2 stands out in the world of mechanical keyboards due to its distinctive Topre electrostatic capacitive switches. Its combination of tactile feedback, smooth keystrokes, and durability make it a favorite among typing enthusiasts. While it may also cater to gamers seeking a unique key feel, its primary appeal lies in its exceptional typing experience. The keyboard’s premium build quality, customizable features, and potential for gaming use contribute to its allure, despite its higher price point. Ultimately, the decision to invest in the Topre Realforce R2 review depends on the user’s appreciation for a top-tier typing experience and their willingness to embrace its premium features.