Topre Model K1-00 Short throw topre keyboard

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28 Sep 2017, 19:38

My Topre Model K1 was finally delivered today after paying an unfortunately significant customs fee, but so far I think it has been worth it!
Prior to seeing this ebay listing on the Club members' great / interesting finds thread I had no idea 'short throw topre' was even a thing. Massive thanks to 002 for finding the listings and sharing them with the group. Essentially it is a smaller version of topre with laptop height keys.

The feel reminds me of a thinkpad keyboard with a much stiffer actuation force requirement (around 65g) yet still retaining the smoothness of full size topre, though this can only be appreciated when pushing the keys down slowly as they keys tend to 'snap' under your fingers when typing normally.

The keycaps are quite odd. They seem to be dye sub PBT's with incredibly sharp lettering but unlike most PBT caps I have used on topre keyboards the ones on the K1 are very smooth to the touch - almost like the feel of ABS after years of use yet this board is brand new and the smoothness of the caps are definitely not because of any wear. My HHKB keycaps feel like sandpaper in comparison.
The larger keys are all stabilised beneath the keycaps themselves with wire stabilisers however they could benefit with some lube to reduce noise, or perhaps I am just too fussy after using a silenced HHKB.
A few of the keycaps are stepped e.g. tab and shift however neither keys bind when pressed off centre.

The cable it came with is a straight, thick 2m long dual ended ps2 cable which plugs in to the right hand side of the keyboard, overall quality is on par with the grey IBM SDL cables and far superior to any usb cables that ship with keyboards.

The build quality
Apologies for knowing absolutely nothing about plastics but I am going to take a guess and say the case is made out of a solid lump of PBT similar to the HHKB Professional 2. The case does not flex or creak whatsoever when flexed from opposing corners and weighs a hefty amount when taking its size into account - it feels like it weights a little more than the Pro 2 I keep comparing it to. The back of the keyboard contains four rubber grips to stop the board from sliding however has no adjustable feet. The case looks to be held together by a single screw and plastic clips.

Negative aspects

The JIS layout is a real pain in the backside so far, it is the very first time I have attempted to use it and everything feels like it's in the wrong place. I have improved ever so slightly since getting the board thanks to typing this little overview but I am missing the space bar constantly. And where the hell did my backspace go?

The larger stabilized keycaps seem to rattle ever so slightly, something I might be able to fix with some grease should I decide to keep this keyboard around.
The keys smaller than 1u seem to be somehow 'reacting' with the case. - When I push down the bottom of the case and press a small key it sounds normal like the rest, however when actuating the key normally the case seems to amplify the sound.

Positive aspects

Functionality of a ten keyless keyboard in the size of a 60%.
integrated numpad if you're not a number row peasant like I am.
low profile keycaps which are honestly much easier to type faster on.
Built like a tank - PBT everywhere.
6 key rollover
Sounds and feels just as good as full size topre with more tactility and less travel
It has a pen tray!!
Oh and.. it's topre.

Here are some pictures :)
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Offtopicthority Instigator

28 Sep 2017, 19:41

Ahh very nice indeed! Thanks for the info's, yeah JIS must be strange never tried it.

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28 Sep 2017, 19:44

seebart wrote: Ahh very nice indeed! Thanks for the info's, yeah JIS must be strange never tried it.
It's definitely frustrating to use at the moment, at least you get arrow keys out of it though I suppose.

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Offtopicthority Instigator

28 Sep 2017, 19:48

wobbled wrote:
seebart wrote: Ahh very nice indeed! Thanks for the info's, yeah JIS must be strange never tried it.
It's definitely frustrating to use at the moment, at least you get arrow keys out of it though I suppose.
If one can get used to that bottom row it could become pretty cool in terms of key mapping I guess. What is the assingment of the keys next to the spacebar? This is what our wiki says:
In place for shorter space bar adds extra keys mainly for Japanese character inputs. These are muhenkan, henkan, and kana keys respectively.
Last edited by seebart on 28 Sep 2017, 19:52, edited 2 times in total.

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28 Sep 2017, 19:50

Mine arrived yesterday, I've posted my first impressions earlier today in the Club members' great/interesting finds thread, but I'll just copy it here for more coverage:
Nuum wrote: My Topre K1-00 arrived yesterday, thanks again for the find, 002!

The board itself is quite heavy and feels really solid. The switches feel like what you would expect from a short-throw Topre, like Topre but with less travel ;) . They are quite stiff, maybe a little too stiff for my liking, probably about 60-70g weight, but I don't really notice it while typing fast. Every key above 1.5u is stabilized and the stabilizers are super rattly, quite disappointing, but probably easily fixed with some thick lube. Also the <1u keys are occasionally hitting the switch housing I think, they have a much louder bottom out sound than the rest.

Every key is registered in AquaKeyTest (Windows 10), although obviously some don't put out anything useful for my layout preset (German). So I guess you can use every key on Soarer's converter (PS/2) or such, which is super nice!

I'll take some photos and post a separate thread over the weekend.
@seebart, since every key outputs a unique keycode, even the unused keys left and right to the spacebar, right of shift and right of backspace, you can remap them with e.g. Soarer's converter!

Also with me being used to ISO, I quite like the layout so far!
Last edited by Nuum on 28 Sep 2017, 19:53, edited 4 times in total.

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28 Sep 2017, 19:50

The layout is rather strange — I don't think I had ever seen a 2U Alt key before, and I defintely had never seen 0.75U Ctrl, ↑ and ↓ keys before.

I hope to read a review of yours of this particular layout once you've "broken it in" (or, rather, once the layout has "broken you in").
Last edited by depletedvespene on 28 Sep 2017, 19:56, edited 1 time in total.

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28 Sep 2017, 19:53

I kinda what to know what does this thing sound like...

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28 Sep 2017, 20:11

The blank keycaps don't do anything however the key actuation is recognized so you could probably remap the keys to do something else. Though all I would do is remap to get a bigger spacebar and to get a bigger backspace key.

Here's a short clip of what it sounds like if anyone is interested. It sounds fairly accurate except for the loud 'clacks' which are a little exaggerated by my phones mic.

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01 Oct 2017, 14:45

I thought I might just as well upload a few pics of my board, specifically of the label and the PS/2 port. The PS/2 socket is on the right of the board, but it looks like it can be put onto the left side as well. I'd really like to internally convert this to USB, but I don't dare to open it as of now. Instead I'll try to build me a converter with a 90° plug to directly attach to the PS/2 port.
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01 Oct 2017, 14:59

Awesome pictures mate! I did open mine briefly and the opposite side does indeed look like you can transfer the PS2 socket over and take out the blanking plate, It'll require some soldering though. Maybe you could run a USB connector to the other side of the board and have both ps2 and usb options? That would be pretty cool.

Anyway, how are you finding typing on this board? I'm personally struggling to get used to the layout and the 60g+ weighting of the keys.

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01 Oct 2017, 15:28

Yeah, the weight of the keys is a bit of a problem for me, too, but when I'm in a typing "flow" it's ok. For gaming it's alright as well.
The layout is a bit confusing, especially the backspace. When I get a converter build for this, I'll likely just move it to the blank key to the left as I find myself constantly trying to hit it there. Luckily I use the right shift very seldom or I could imagine that being a problem as well. The rest of the key placement is fine, I think I'll adjust to it sooner or later.

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Offtopicthority Instigator

01 Oct 2017, 21:00

Nuum wrote: I thought I might just as well upload a few pics of my board...
Cool thanks for sharing! :)
wobbled wrote: I'm personally struggling to get used to the layout and the 60g+ weighting of the keys.
60g+ ?!? :o Good thing I didn't get one of these then.

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04 Oct 2017, 22:04

My Ricoh keyboard was basically shelved because of its layout.


31 Dec 2019, 17:54

If anyone still has one of these and would like to sell it I'd love to buy it from them. Thanks

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