What are Topre Switches Like?

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RBithrey

23 Nov 2019, 23:01

Hi all,

Just a question - I'm looking around for something TKL to sit on my desk, as I'm getting a little bored of the rotation of boards I've got now, and was wondering what Topre's switches feel like in comparison to the various MXs?

This is a completely new area for me, so, any advice or opinions would be very much appreciated. I'm a great lover of MX Browns if that's any gauging of preference!

Many thanks,

Reece.

User avatar
Menuhin

24 Nov 2019, 01:28

Hi Reece,

I suggest the best way to know how Topre switches feel like is to test it out yourself in a nearby keyboard meetup when it happens.

I'm typing on a Topre board (HHKB Pro2), while boards with MX clears and MX blacks, as well as MX-clones such as "Zealios" are sitting somewhere in m drawers. Nothing in the MX department are really similar the Topre which is an implementation of capacitive switch with a rubber-dome acting as the "spring". The initial resistance of key press is high, with only very tiny pre-travel; as soon as the rubber-dome gives and increases its resistance, there is a "roundness" to this buildup; and then the rubber-dome suddenly collapses, having a high tendency to let the user bottom-out on the keystroke (especially on lighter domes e.g. 35g domes).

Some people say, that Zealios V2 (an MX clone famous for its marked up retail price) or "Holy Panda" switches (a Frankenstein switch, with Halo switch stem in Invyr 'Panda' linear switch housing) are the two MX switches that resemble Topre most. I haven't tried these switches myself.

Findecanor

24 Nov 2019, 07:18

Luxury rubber dome. Smooth and stable. No mush.

They are not as tactile as many people want, so a market for replacement rubber dome components has been established for modding.

User avatar
Chyros

24 Nov 2019, 13:28

Like rubber domes, but much better. Not fundamentally different, though.

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Muirium
µ

24 Nov 2019, 14:25

I wish I ever encountered one of these magic unicorns that people imply exist out there: regular rubber domes that are just about as good as Topres. I'd never have needed to get into mechs in the first place!

You’ve got to try a Topre. It’s love / meh on first sight. Many of us adore them, and then there’s all the other folk who happen to be wrong! They’re damn smooth. Like so smooth you’ll be appalled at how your MX browns feel. Or reds! And then there’s that warm, melodious, clopping sound when you type. Not so unlike a magical unicorn, come to think…

Anyway, here’s me nattering about Topre vs. MX at moderate length. And shaky cam! If you’re into a friendly rant:

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=20371&p=431890&hilit=Filco#p431890

They each have their strengths. For me, Topre wins. But not for everyone.

ntv242

24 Nov 2019, 21:27

Muirium wrote:
24 Nov 2019, 14:25
I wish I ever encountered one of these magic unicorns that people imply exist out there: regular rubber domes that are just about as good as Topres. I'd never have needed to get into mechs in the first place!

You’ve got to try a Topre. It’s love / meh on first sight. Many of us adore them, and then there’s all the other folk who happen to be wrong! They’re damn smooth. Like so smooth you’ll be appalled at how your MX browns feel. Or reds! And then there’s that warm, melodious, clopping sound when you type. Not so unlike a magical unicorn, come to think…

Anyway, here’s me nattering about Topre vs. MX at moderate length. And shaky cam! If you’re into a friendly rant:

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=20371&p=431890&hilit=Filco#p431890

They each have their strengths. For me, Topre wins. But not for everyone.
Try the Poor man topre: BTC 5100c keyboard.

User avatar
Muirium
µ

24 Nov 2019, 21:44

Vintage rubber domes with sliders? That’s why I never encountered it. Too fancy! Especially the C version, where c means capacitive just like Topre.

wiki/BTC_5100

Topre, like every good mech, doesn’t need bottomed out. You fire the keys halfway down. Most domes just aren’t like that. And I’d never call Topre mushy either. It’s as mushy as buckling spring Model F! My other favourite.

ntv242

24 Nov 2019, 21:54

Muirium wrote:
24 Nov 2019, 21:44
Vintage rubber domes with sliders? That’s why I never encountered it. Too fancy! Especially the C version, where c means capacitive just like Topre.

wiki/BTC_5100

Topre, like every good mech, doesn’t need bottomed out. You fire the keys halfway down. Most domes just aren’t like that. And I’d never call Topre mushy either. It’s as mushy as buckling spring Model F! My other favourite.
Yeah I have seen the c version goes about £45 around UK-EU. Just ordered one from the US for significantly less (23). Will it truly be the 5100C (or even the right kyeboard lol)? IDK XD, we shall see when it arrives.
Link the product here anyways If you are ever interested
https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/163925220364

Cheers

robo

02 Dec 2019, 17:30

To me they essentially felt like rubber domes. Good quality rubber domes, but definitely not something I found satisfying to type on, either in terms of sound or feel.

I wouldn't complain if given one to use, but it certainly wasn't worth the price to me (I purchased and later sold mine - it was Realforce 55g TKL model).

User avatar
zslane

02 Dec 2019, 19:17

Topre are, to my mind, the gold standard in tactile switches. They are like typing on pillows that resist every so slightly before gently giving way. There's really nothing quite like them, and they are my favorite switches.

Riverman

02 Dec 2019, 23:16

There really isn't anything quite like them, but I agree with others that they're closer to a really refined rubber dome keyboard than any kind of Cherry MX switch. I'd almost describe them as boring, but they're extremely pleasant to type on. Cherry MX switches feel pretty rough and unrefined in comparison, but I still like them, too.

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