The Realforce 104 Euro Tour

This is where the older threads are stored for the try before you buy ( sinklist ) items
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15 Mar 2013, 22:37

Here are my thoughts and the impressions of a few colleagues about the Realfore board. Thanks to 002 for making this tour possible.
Now for the review:

-The switches: sooooo smoooooooth! My beloved Cherrys all of a sudden feel very scratchy. Those Topres really are a joy to type on. I only miss some more resistance after the tactile bump.
-The variable weight feature is nice but the force needed for the pinky switches is too light IMO: these keys have almost lost their tactility.
-The space bar, however, could be lighter.
-With switches that silent (if you don't bottom out too hard), the noise of the stabilizers becomes somewhat annoying. Their metallic rattling sound really stands out.
-Ugly legends on back space and where a condensed font is used (Insert, Home, Delete). The legend of the letter "I" doesn't have the same left-flush alignment as the other keys. It's probably intentionally but it looks weird.

What some selected colleagues thought of it. All of them touch typists.

Colleague A:
-Nice keyboard to type on but certainly not overwhelmingly better than a "normal" (rubber dome) board.
-Pinky keys too light, lots of unintentional A's and ;'s
-Backspace felt like not registering correctly on some occasions. Maybe too heavy for a pinky key? Or maybe the fact that there's a stabilizer under this key that changes its characteristics too much?

Colleague B:
-Did not feel a large effect of the weighted keys.
-Keyboard too noisy in her opinion (probably related to bottoming out and being used to normal rubber domes).
-Needed to get used to the sculpted key profile (as opposed to the uniformly flat Hewlett-Packard boards of our office computers).
-Old school looks (meant in a negative sense).

Colleague C:
-Generally nice feel, but not spectacularly better than HP RD.
-Quite noisy (bottoming out?)
-Did hardly feel the effect of the variable force feature.
-Old school looks (meant in a positive sense).

So, would I buy a Realforce for myself? Probably not but that is mainly due to the layout constraints: I usually type on non-staggered keyboards, a Kinesis Advantage and a TypeMatrix 2030 being my daily drivers. I must say that I liked Topre switches more than I expected. Much more. If only they were available as discrete key modules - we could build our own Topre boards. Right now, the board that comes closest to my ideal Topre keyboard is the µTron. We need to have one of those on tour!
Last edited by Kurk on 16 Mar 2013, 10:31, edited 1 time in total.

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15 Mar 2013, 22:57

Interesting to get a bunch of 'noobs' to type on it.
Was Colleague C also female? :D

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Topre Enthusiast

15 Mar 2013, 23:03

Nice review, Kurrk.
I have to pull my finger out and start the second round of the tour. I also have to ask an admin how they archived their old threads first.

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16 Mar 2013, 10:56

Colleague C is male, hence the appreciation for the old school-ish grey color ;)
I was indeed curious as to what keyboard "noobs" would think about such a board, and I kind of expected their reactions about the switches not being spectacularly better. I remember my first hands-on experience with Cherrys and Alps. The non-clicky variants at first do not feel that different from cheap RD. It's when you have used a quality keyboard for a while and then switch back to RD that you wonder how you could have ever been satisfied with such crap. My colleagues each had the Realforce for one working day, maybe that was too short to learn appreciating quality switches.
I must say that I was surprised that only one of my co-workers really noticed the variable force feature. For me it was clearly present. The most likely reason is bottoming out: the ones that didn't notice the force variation were also the ones that complained about the noise the board made. I myself found it to be a rather quiet keyboard even if the stabilizers rattled somewhat.

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