[Review] Filco Majestouch 2 Tenkeyless

This is a review of the Diatec Filco Majestouch 2 Tenkeyless keyboard, the ISO 88 key version with Cherry MX Blue switches and UK layout (Model FKBNMC/UKB2). This review unit was made available to me by the Keyboard Company, where this keyboard is listed for 103 EUR, along with several other versions (different switches and different layouts). The keyboard will be returned after review.

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The Filco Majestouch-2 is a basic, no-thrills keyboard. That is, you won't find glossy design elements in it, wild curves stabbing your eyes out, backlit keys, usb ports, media keys or a detachable usb cable. Me, I like it better with the first couple of these features missing, but that is personal taste. I don't like "crap" on my keyboard. But since this is an expensive keyboard, it could have done better by providing a detachable cable or offering a function layer for media keys or something like that.

I find the aesthetics of this keyboard very pleasing. Diatec invented the term tenkeyless with these series, but none of the copycats have managed to reproduce the exact classic curves of the Majestouch.

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This keyboard has Cherry MX Blue mechanical switches. For those who bump into this page and are not familiar, this is the same keyswitch as found in Das Keyboard and various other (gaming) keyboard such as from Razor. It is clicky & tactile, takes little force to actuate, and has a wide following. Other popular switches include the Cherry MX Brown and MX Red. Unfortunately, almost all modern mechanical keyboards are based on Cherry switches. These are good switches, that is not the problem, but your choice is limited to Cherry. Besides that all modern mechanical keyboards come from only two or three factories. So in the end, the Filco will feel much alike to Das Keyboard or whatever other new brand. What justifies the higher price tag, while it is more basic?

The answer is build quality. As soon as you take this keyboard out of the box, it is apparent that this is a heavy, firmly build keyboard unlike the cheap things which come with your pc or are for sale at your local shop. This is a fine, professional keyboard. The large keys have Filco stabilizers instead of Cherry ones, and although this makes keycap swapping more difficult, I much prefer the feel of these, and that's where it counts. Typing on this keyboard is a pleasure. It is firm, reliable, and the quality will shock anyone used to rubber dome keyboards only. It is also of higher quality than the mechanical tenkeyless competition I tried that undercut its price.

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Keycaps

However, it is not all roses.

This keyboard has known keycap problems. They look stylish and feel fine, but the problem is that the print will start to wear off and the caps will become glossy, although the period and amount of heavy usage this takes seems to highly fluctuate among users. One thing is sure, whether it is months or years, the caps will wear sooner than the switches, and that is a shame. Diatec took this problem to silly levels by releasing a "Ninja" version in this keyboard range, with labels in front, and stating in the press release this would eliminate the problem of disappearing labels. I like how the Ninja looks, but this reasoning is silly.

It is silly, because keycaps are made for fingers, and this is a keyboard at a professional price. The print should not wear off. However, all this said, there must be some sympathy for a company putting a keyboard like this in the market. Double shot keycaps would require a large investment and would make this keyboard much more expensive. You have to be realistic and put this keyboard at some price point in the market where you get a return. Topre keycaps are better, but the keyboards are also twice as expensive or more.

If it wasn't for this problem, the Filco would be like a Porsche 911. This is called a luxury sports car by wikipedia. But actually, you will find more luxury in a normal, mid class car. A Porsche has basic luxury. But drives like a dream. This keyboard also has basic luxury (no media keys, etc.) but performs its primary function, typing, at a top level. Alas, Topre boards are the Porsches in the keyboard world (if you like those switches), and Filco offers a payable alternative for the rest of us, but with bad tires. Or something like that. Oh well.

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Key ping

There have been reports from users complaining about a key ping problem. I found this keyboard had one pingy key as well. Besides the click, it produces a secondary, pingy sound. Various solutions are offered, and reseating the spring seems to solve the problem. Note that now I looked for it, I also found the same problem on a Majestouch-1 board. While this is not a big issue to start with, and not hard to solve if it irritates you, I also think this should not get past quality control and for this price one should get a keyboard without this (potential) problem.

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Majestouch 1 vs Majestouch 2

According to the official product info, the "PC board got all renewed! It devliers you a better duration, quality and typing feel! Double layers is adopted for a new board. Through a hole of each switch has been firmly soldered. With this, it can release any excess load or vibration that you make when you type in to a board not only to a metal plate inside. It enables you to enjoy a better typing feel!"

Well that is great. But I can be short about this. I compared this to a Majestouch 1 keyboard with Cherry MX Blues (see picture below), and without opening her up, I could find no difference in feel or otherwise whatsoever.

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Conclusion

Despite some lack in true innovation since the first version, if you're looking for a no-nonsense, high quality tenkeyless mechanical keyboard, the Filco Majestouch-2 still sets the standard. This is probably the best tenkeyless keyboard with Cherry switches currently available, with Leopold the main challenger.

Pros:
High build-quality
NKRO
No nonsense
Looks great (may be subjective)

Cons:
Keycap print and finish won't last
No USB ports, media keys or other extras
More expensive than competition

Rating:
8 / 10 - Professional mechanical keyboard
webwit
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Unread post14 Aug 2011, 22:30

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Nice review, and good photos.

I'd like to add, if that's OK:

The collapsible feet: Initially I was concerned they might be weak, but they're actually pretty sturdy and give a good angle at their fixed height. I've never had one give way while typing, or go loose while moving the keyboard.

In fact, the Filcos seem very resistant to accidental movement while typing, even on my slippy cheap Ikea desk's pull-out laminated keyboard tray. My other Filco rests on a neoprene mat and is as firm as anything. I have to pick it up to move it.

I agree about the keycaps - I think they're quite stylish, but the finish does begin to wear relatively soon. However, if this bothers the user, it's possible to buy replacement (104/5 key) sets in either printed or blank styles. The blanks do not have the same satin-finish coating the printed keys have, and the top surface is more textured, but they are attractive and pleasant to type on, and the F, J and numpad 5 keys are nubbed. Keyboardco sell these for £24 (ex VAT) at the time of writing.
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Unread post14 Aug 2011, 22:58

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Good points! This keyboard really stand firm on your desk like a brick.
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Unread post14 Aug 2011, 23:02

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Nice Review, webwit.

As for the keycaps, I don't care. Don't understand why people tend to make a fuss (IMHO) about the print issue. For someone who can typewrite it shouldn't be any issue at all if the keyprinting wears off. (at least IMHO)

Besides, double-shots will get shiny too in the course of time.


Anyway, I love my Filco the way it is.
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Unread post15 Aug 2011, 20:34

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Deleted for excess snarkiness in a rare sign of maturity.

Lame I know but I don't see the delete post button. It must disappear after a while.
Last edited by ripster on 25 Aug 2011, 00:24, edited 4 times in total.
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Unread post15 Aug 2011, 20:36

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Thanks for the review. I am thinking about getting one in brown for work (I'm a programmer).
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Sugoi wrote:Nice Review, webwit.

As for the keycaps, I don't care. Don't understand why people tend to make a fuss (IMHO) about the print issue. For someone who can typewrite it shouldn't be any issue at all if the keyprinting wears off. (at least IMHO)

Yes and if You are Michael Shumacher maybe you don care about driving with the slick tires on a wet street.

That's doesn't mean that you have to accept a supposedly premium board, sold at real premium price, with one of its basic elements keept as cheap as possible.

A premium board MUST have every single element at the top level, especially the functional ones.

I can accept a too bright LED or a detail like the not removable cable, but I can't accept the keycap choice, nor the poor project choices that made them resonating as a guitar.
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Unread post24 Aug 2011, 19:06

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But you're a tool. I think it's safe to ignore your keyboard advice.
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Unread post24 Aug 2011, 19:13

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Keyboards almost half the price of the Filco have better printing methods. Sure, you don't need the lettering, but it looks shit as it starts to wear off. You might as well have bought a blank one if that was what you are into.
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Unread post24 Aug 2011, 19:49

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I'm looking for a Tenkeyless and I don't know which keyboard will be mine ...
I was interested in the Ninja version but I could try 2 keyboards from another brands for 1 Filco.
Thanks for the review, Webwit's reviews are as detailed as I like :D
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To me it's only a pro that this board lacks media keys...
And you think the cable isn't detachable?
Well, it definitely is:

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Attached

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Detached

You only have to unscrew the case... :)

In my case, the PCB was also detachable: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=948 :mrgreen:
Last edited by martinmeijerink on 26 Aug 2011, 15:48, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post26 Aug 2011, 14:19

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martinmeijerink wrote:To me it's only a pro that this board lacks media keys..

Dont you think this is a bit fanboy like sentence ?

I can understand that one can live w/o this feature, but calling it a pro is surely an exaggeration.
martinmeijerink wrote:In my case, the PCB was also detachable

Yes it's detachable. :lol:

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Last edited by The Solutor on 26 Aug 2011, 14:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post26 Aug 2011, 14:43

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No, I really don't like keys or buttons which I never will use. Actually I also strongly dislike the Windows and Menu keys...
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Unread post26 Aug 2011, 14:48

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martinmeijerink wrote:No, I really don't like keys or buttons which I never will use. Actually I also strongly dislike the Windows and Menu keys...


Really I had the MS X6. Was one of the crappiest board I ever touched, but it's volume knob and the calc button were the two best invention after the wheel
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Unread post26 Aug 2011, 14:55

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Why did you detach the PCB? Did you also made your keyboard wireless??
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Unread post26 Aug 2011, 15:42

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martinmeijerink wrote:Why did you detach the PCB? Did you also made your keyboard wireless??


Different project you will see when finished (a couple of days i think). ;)
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Unread post26 Aug 2011, 15:46

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The Solutor wrote:Yes and if You are Michael Shumacher maybe you don care about driving with the slick tires on a wet street.

That's doesn't mean that you have to accept a supposedly premium board, sold at real premium price, with one of its basic elements keept as cheap as possible.

A premium board MUST have every single element at the top level, especially the functional ones.

I can accept a too bright LED or a detail like the not removable cable, but I can't accept the keycap choice, nor the poor project choices that made them resonating as a guitar.

If you get less fussy you might live longer and appreciate the really important things in life. ^__~

IMHO it's just a minor visual issue which won't impede with the mechanical funtions of the keyboard at all. That would be as if people were complaining about the color or so. But hey, if you have so much to complain about this board then just don't buy it.
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Unread post28 Aug 2011, 20:08

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The thing is, if you never complain nor refuse to buy a product if it has issues, you actually make it acceptable for companies to introduce more issues when it fits their agenda (i.e. they'll save on costs wherever they can) all while asking the same price for a worse product.
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Sugoi wrote:
IMHO it's just a minor visual issue which won't impede with the mechanical funtions of the keyboard at all.


Works for 40€ keyboards, not for the supposed top of the class.

But hey, if you have so much to complain about this board then just don't buy it.

Indeed is what usually I do.
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Unread post28 Aug 2011, 21:18

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I would have preferred SMT diodes.

But I got over it.

The keys btw pass the KG-8 solvent testing a LOT better than my lasered Kinesis keys do.
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Unread post28 Aug 2011, 22:15

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ripster wrote:I would have preferred SMT diodes.


You mean like Xarmors and BW ? :lol:
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Unread post28 Aug 2011, 23:17

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JBert wrote:The thing is, if you never complain nor refuse to buy a product if it has issues, you actually make it acceptable for companies to introduce more issues when it fits their agenda (i.e. they'll save on costs wherever they can) all while asking the same price for a worse product.

Look, I just say that people should take it easy. People rant so much on such (IMHO) minor issues that it's hard not to get the idea that they have no other serious problems.

Oh, and btw, you can bet your life that the Filco would cost appropriately more if it came with better caps. And even if it did come with better caps some people would still try to find something they can rant on (e.g. the price...). ^___~
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Unread post29 Aug 2011, 01:19

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Sugoi wrote:
JBert wrote:
Oh, and btw, you can bet your life that the Filco would cost appropriately more if it came with better caps. And even if it did come with better caps some people would still try to find something they can rant on (e.g. the price...). ^___~


When a filco cost 2x an xarmor or 1.5x a leopold, or 4x a cherry, the price for the doubleshots is already payed, the only think missing are the doubleshots.
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Unread post29 Aug 2011, 01:25

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The Solutor wrote:When a filco cost 2x an xarmor or 1.5x a leopold, or 4x a cherry, the price for the doubleshots is already payed, the only think missing are the doubleshots.

Oh, Really? Well, in that case I guess it's too bad that Filco demands so much for their brand name.
Last edited by Sugoi on 29 Aug 2011, 01:56, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post29 Aug 2011, 01:52

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Sugoi wrote:
The Solutor wrote:
Oh, Really? Well, in that case I guess it's too bad that Filco demands so much for their brand name. ^_~

Exactly.
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Unread post29 Aug 2011, 01:54

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What a shameless thing for them to do! We should abolish free enterprise to put an end to this!
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Unread post29 Aug 2011, 02:02

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Sugoi wrote:What a shameless thing for them to do!

No shame on them, they are up to make money. The shame is in the ignorance of the users.

We should abolish free enterprise to put an end to this!

We aren't on the right forum to discuss this.
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Unread post29 Aug 2011, 02:12

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The shame is in the ignorance of the users.

Please, explain in detail why people who don't mind printed caps even though they are fully aware of the differences between double-shots and printed ones are ignorant in your opinion.
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Unread post29 Aug 2011, 04:19

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I already covered this in the review.

You are both right.
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Unread post29 Aug 2011, 08:08

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webwit wrote:I already covered this in the review.


The review is perfect.
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Unread post29 Aug 2011, 10:36

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