NovaTouch TKL Community Tour

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Nuum

15 Jul 2015, 18:13

Formula Student! We're building a pretty quick electric race car at our university.

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Madhias
BS TORPE

20 Jul 2015, 11:25

Got the NovaTouch today! Already typing on it, and also making some notes with pros and cons. Next person is here in the same city, so we will see how to proceed. As I am testing it at work, I am for sure ready until Friday, because I am using it all the day, enough time to get impressions!

andrewjoy

20 Jul 2015, 11:29

Mmmm , will be nice to compare it to the realforce, in the end i liked it apart form the crappy spacebar.

Lets see how this baby is with some decent caps on it :) will try thick PBT and round 4 i think :) and if i have them in time doubleshot PBT :)

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Madhias
BS TORPE

20 Jul 2015, 11:45

I'll bring tomorrow the Realforce TKL to work, but the Realforce I have has heavier switches. Instantly I thought today in the morning it is different (or to be honest I thought meh), but I have to compare it side by side.

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Bramster
Cooler Master Employee

23 Jul 2015, 10:49

Madhias wrote: I'll bring tomorrow the Realforce TKL to work, but the Realforce I have has heavier switches. Instantly I thought today in the morning it is different (or to be honest I thought meh), but I have to compare it side by side.
How was the NT at work Madhias :mrgreen: ? Whats your impression of it?

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Madhias
BS TORPE

23 Jul 2015, 12:29

Actually I'll write a short review on the weekend, I got it on Monday this week, now is the fourth day I am using it! I even tried to see how much difference will be with other caps. I'll forward to the next person in line on Friday this week. He's in the same city, so we will see how we proceed.

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Bramster
Cooler Master Employee

24 Jul 2015, 08:23

Sure Madhias, look forward to it! And may I say, what a nice keycap set you have on it! :)

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Redmaus
Gotta start somewhere

24 Jul 2015, 19:04

What keyset is that??? So beautiful

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chzel

24 Jul 2015, 19:06

It's R5. The Fabled R5!

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HAL

24 Jul 2015, 22:35

I got the Nova Touch this afternoon from Madhias but those nice white caps have diapeared :o

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Madhias
BS TORPE

26 Jul 2015, 20:23

HAL wrote: I got the Nova Touch this afternoon from Madhias but those nice white caps have disappeared :o
Very strange, we have avoided shipping where something could get lost and made the handover at a subway station. Even those methods you can't trust anymore!

I really enjoyed testing the NovaTouch, many thanks for the possibility! I do have some strange feelings about this hybrid, and am not sure if I like it or not. It is definitely different to a 'original' Topre keyboard like a Realforce - there I felt comfortable with using it instantly.

As soon as you get the package and open it you know Cooler Master is targeting prosumers and not only gamers (or just older gamers with more money?). Nice package, everything's black, and it is mostly done perfect, but some details I think do not fit then again and could have been done easily different. For example the case is simple, but not as simple as it could have been. I don't really like the stepped design on the side:

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The CM STORM tag accomplishes the case design, and the subtle lines and tag added to the case make it look like a gamers tool. It is not much, but enough for underlining the charisma of the keyboard.

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The cable is nice, it is with a fabric sleeving, and can be straightened. This one was a little bit aslope already, maybe because of lots of people taking it out and putting it back again in the box.

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It has an angled plug and the cable is then hidden behind the keyboard.

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It has a micro USB connector, which can be a drawdown, if you have like me already some nice mini USB cables from Pexon or other cable artists. But it could also be a better solution, since all smartphones and lots of devices use micro USB - so more cables lying around and a better chance to use another cable than the one you forgot at home!

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What I really don't like is the surface of the case, it feels like velvet a little bit, but you'll see every fingerprint very fast, and it gets looking dirty very fast. I do prefer normal plastic surfaces, where you only see after time that it gets dirty, and then you can also clean it easily. As I got the NovaTouch I cleaned it, and also after 4 days of using it, and it is not that easy to get rid of fingerprints! Maybe because I ate too much crisps and salty snacks... joking, since I started to like keyboards I try to keep the fingers clean and do not eat at the desk - at least almost always.

Another thing which is also already described in other reviews is the sound when typing. I do hope that users who try the NovaTouch don't think that this is the Topre feeling everyone likes! After 4 days of using the NovaTouch I switched to my Realforce TKL (but with 55g) and I have to say the difference is very big. Back was the satisfying THOCK, and gone was the 'ratteling' sound. I did not try some improvements like silencing, or lubing (of course not), but could imagine it would make a big difference.

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I also made this short video at work, which is not that professional regarding sound, cut, etc. but it should give an impression when the NovaTouch is compared to a Realforce TKL.
The stock caps are OK, do feel good with a nice texture, but this keyboard is made for using other keycaps, so I changed them after using for a short time for Round 5 SA caps. I have to say the negative aspects of the sound getting worse with SA profiled caps. As I put them off and back the original caps again, it was little bit better. I can imagine thick PBT caps with Cherry profile would be a nice try! Unfortunately I don't have a set, so that must be tested by someone else (if not already).

Thanks again to Cooler Master for this tour!

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wlhlm
~

26 Jul 2015, 22:49

Thanks for the review madhias. Your pictures are always a highlight for me!

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Bramster
Cooler Master Employee

27 Jul 2015, 09:30

Wow Madhias, such nice pictures and even a video!

From your review I do read some positives and some negatives (or points to improve on) but what is your overall feeling in the end? Did you like it or would you advice someone about this?

andrewjoy

27 Jul 2015, 12:55

I feel totally differently about mini vs micro USB! I like the fact that its micro USB and not mini USB , i hate it when brand new stuff from 2015 has a mini USB, its a crap connector and needs to be depreciated, they break all the time, the end of the cable is easy to mangle and the middle insert of the socket is prone to snapping , if i understand correctly micro has a long MTBF than mini too. Someone as Coolermaster was thinking with his head, or like me had had to repair too many older blackberries with mini USB on them :P.

Don't forget the Round 5 caps are ABS plastic and the realforce has PBT , that makes more of a difference than you would think.

I will try to get some sound with my thick cherry profile PBT caps on it when its my turn.

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Khers

27 Jul 2015, 13:06

Even if micro USB is better than mini from a durability point of view, I don't think it's the correct solution and I think Madhias correctly points to the fact that many of the prosumers CM seem to be targeting have a bunch of mini USB cables in their drawers that they would have used, had they been given the choice. Imo, they should have used USB C if they had truly been looking ahead.

andrewjoy

27 Jul 2015, 13:21

i struggle to find a mini USB but i have loads of micros

If you want sturdy full sized B would be best

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Khers

27 Jul 2015, 13:29

I think I have one micro or something like that, but then again I'm an apple man. B would definitely be sturdier than any of the smaller derivatives, but C is reversible. I like reversible quite a bit. Third time's the charm never again. For connecting USB cables that is...

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Madhias
BS TORPE

27 Jul 2015, 13:30

andrewjoy wrote: Don't forget the Round 5 caps are ABS plastic and the realforce has PBT , that makes more of a difference than you would think.

I will try to get some sound with my thick cherry profile PBT caps on it when its my turn.
Unfortunately I did not had some PBT caps in MX flavor, so I could not test this, but I would doubt it will change the sound in general and would not come close to the keyboard I compared it too. The Realforce caps are not thick PBT by the way.
CM Bram wrote: From your review I do read some positives and some negatives (or points to improve on) but what is your overall feeling in the end? Did you like it or would you advice someone about this?
Hmm, overall it is a personal decision you would have to make if you like it. For switch preference this is a hot topic, some like MX Clears, some hate them for example. My opinion is that if I want a Topre flavored keyboard I'd just get a 'normal' one. Mostly the stock caps are very good, and so there is no big need to change them. Of course you can't use then all the fancy keycaps you have. And that is probably the biggest advantage of the NovaTouch, which again for some people would be the reason to buy. I would switch then straight to a MX keyboard instead.

I don't really think or can't imagine that people who already have a Realforce would buy a NovaTouch (but that are not the customers you probably want to catch), but could imagine that others who are new to keyboards and like to buy a premium keyboard would be very happy. But as soon as you know how Topre should feel...

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Bramster
Cooler Master Employee

03 Aug 2015, 10:55

Thansk Madhies for your conclusion :)!

Is the NT already at the next one :D?

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HAL

12 Aug 2015, 22:42

CM Bram wrote: Is the NT already at the next one :D?
This morning I sent the Nova Touch to RoastPotatoes in the United Kingdom.
I skipped the next person: IanM (UK) since I did not get an answer on my PM within 10 days.

Thank you CM Bram for the possibility to test the Nova Touch. It is a great keyboard.

I will post my impressions along with some pictures shortly.
Spoiler:
NovaTouch_naked_2015-08-10_1920x784.jpg
Since Madhias kept the Round 5 caps I had to do this
NovaTouch_naked_2015-08-10_1920x784.jpg (230.99 KiB) Viewed 1358 times

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Bramster
Cooler Master Employee

13 Aug 2015, 09:57

Thank you Hal, that is fine by me!

Looking forward to reading the impressions! :)

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Hypersphere

13 Aug 2015, 18:43

Madhias wrote: <snip>
CM Bram wrote: From your review I do read some positives and some negatives (or points to improve on) but what is your overall feeling in the end? Did you like it or would you advice someone about this?
<snip>
I don't really think or can't imagine that people who already have a Realforce would buy a NovaTouch (but that are not the customers you probably want to catch), but could imagine that others who are new to keyboards and like to buy a premium keyboard would be very happy. But as soon as you know how Topre should feel...
I am one of the oddballs who bought a NT after already owning other Topre-switch keyboards, including RF87ub 45 and 55, FC660C, and HHKB Pro 2. I wanted to see how the NT compared to other Topre-switch keyboards, and I was attracted to the novelty of compatibility with Cherry mx keycaps. Now I am looking forward to some additional comparisons after installing silencing rings on the NT. I am also looking at Round 5a to get some tall sphericals for the NT.

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Bramster
Cooler Master Employee

14 Aug 2015, 16:10

Very good to read that you bought one already Hypershere! How do you like it :mrgreen:?




-------------------------



Did this tour sample already get to the UK to @RoastPotatoes?

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Hypersphere

14 Aug 2015, 17:01

CM Bram wrote: Very good to read that you bought one already Hypershere! How do you like it :mrgreen:?
I was able to purchase a NT in advance of the official release date, and I posted a review of it on DT:

http://deskthority.net/keyboards-f2/cm- ... t8687.html

As you can see, my impressions were mixed. As a Topre-switch TKL, I prefer the RF 87U. Of all Topre-switch keyboards, I prefer the HHKB Pro 2, mainly for the 60% form factor and layout.

The only change I might like to see in the HHKB is a steel plate. For future projects, CM might consider bringing out a 60% Topre with a steel plate and option for a HHKB layout, although I do not know how big the market might be for such a board.

Other things CM might consider for future versions of the NT are addition of DIP-switch options (or better yet, programmability) that would enable HHKB emulation. At the very least, it ought to be possible to create a user-defined Fn key, for example, by enabling Fn to be changed to Menu or Ctrl, whereupon one could use keyboard remapping software to remap Menu or a Ctrl key to Fn. Other niceties could include LEDs for CapsLock (and NumLock if you included an embedded numeric keypad).

I do like the NT better than any Cherry mx board I have tried, and perhaps the main attraction of the NT is its compatibility with Cherry mx keycaps.

My final verdict on the NT is yet to be rendered, however. I want to test it again after installing my silencing rings, along with lubing the stabilizers and adding foam pads under the spacebar.

Thanks for your willingness to collect opinions on CM products through this forum.

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Muirium
µ

14 Aug 2015, 17:28

Dampen the NovaTouch. Release a full size (zzz…) and a 60% (yay!). Add Bluetooth: profit!

It's downright amazing we still only have the Filco Minila Air available as a Bluetooth mech. After 2 years now. Not even Filco's Majestouch does it!

Bluetooth doesn't seem to be on Topre's radar either. That's a strong potential unique value proposition if ever I saw one. Along with compatibility all these Round 5 caps.

Speaking of which: you guys might want to team up with Signature Plastics.

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002
Topre Enthusiast

15 Aug 2015, 01:40

There's a Majestouch with Bluetooth. It ain't cheap though!
http://www.keyboardco.com/blog/index.ph ... announced/

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Muirium
µ

15 Aug 2015, 01:43

Finally! Wait, fullsize? Gah!

IanM

16 Aug 2015, 20:12

Balls, been away and missed my turn :( most embarrassing :oops:

EDIT: apparently it's on its' way to RoastPotatoes in the UK currently. So as long as there are no objections I could have it next?

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Hypersphere

16 Aug 2015, 21:34

I just installed a set of my "Hyper-Rings" on the Novatouch. The difference in sound between the native and silenced NT is remarkable.

Keycaps make a major difference in sound and feel as well. I tried some Imsto dye-sub thick PBT caps; these look and sound great, but some of the caps (in particular, the Enter key) are too low to avoid contact noise from hitting the switch housing or plate. The Granite set works fairly well, but I have difficulty typing on keys that do not have a sculpted profile. Fortunately, I recently bought two sets of Vortex doubleshot PBT; these are OEM profile, which is high enough for most of the caps to avoid downstroke contact. I still had to add a black O-ring to the center stems of the Enter and Right Shift keys, but now the Novatouch is a delight to type on. Finally, it has a true Topre sound.

Oh! I should mention that I also installed 55g domes in the Novatouch. This also makes quite a difference for the better.

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Muirium
µ

16 Aug 2015, 21:47

Tall SA profile spherical doubleshots work perfectly with your rings. All that height is good for something! They don't strike anywhere, on any key. And their lightening effect on key feel is just what I like, as someone who prefers 45g or less here.

Experiments like this are exactly what the NovaTouch excels at.

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