Realforce RGB gaming keyboard review: Even for Topre fans this is a tough call

    Topre switches. You both love them or…properly, you’ve in all probability by no means tried them, as a result of they’re prohibitively costly to all however probably the most enthusiastic of keyboard lovers. Case in level: The Realforce RGB, Topre’s try at a contemporary RGB gaming keyboard, yours for the low, low value—and that is the purpose the place you swig some water—of $299.Okay, now that you just’ve wiped the spit-take out of your monitor, let’s dig in.Note: This evaluation is a part of our finest gaming keyboards roundup. Go there for particulars about competing merchandise and the way we examined them.Office areaThe Realforce RGB actually doesn’t seem like a $300 keyboard—and perhaps that’s following in an extended custom of high-end, function-over-form, “we’re so good we don’t need to impress you” {hardware}. You know, like Klipsch audio system and that rubbish can Mac Pro. The Realforce RGB seems just like the keyboard you’d discover coated in mud at a storage sale, ‘90s tech startup emblem and all. The F1 key even has a secondary command that simply says “web.”Web. IDG / Hayden DingmanIt’s aggressively uncool, as shut as you would come to the Google Image outcomes for “keyboard.” And I’ll admit that after years of flashy gaming keyboards the Realforce RGB is nearly a reduction to pound away on. This is {hardware} that claims “I’m for work first, play later,” or the keyboard model of a mullet. It’s heavy. It’s black. It’s boxy. It’s indistinguishable at a look out of your common $20 rubber dome keyboard, apart from a patch of glittery plastic within the high proper, like on the final second a designer had a disaster of conscience and mentioned, “we have to do something unique.”So okay, you’re not paying for the Realforce RGB’s seems. Why are you paying for it? What may persuade somebody to spend $300 on a gaming keyboard?And Topre is—a minimum of in case you’re a really particular sort of nerd—the reply.Here’s the half the place I point out that for a Topre keyboard, $300 truly isn’t that unhealthy. You can simply spend extra on much less. The Happy Hacking Keyboard, as an illustration, has in all probability half the keys and no backlight, not to mention RGB lighting, and is a programmer favourite. IDG / Hayden DingmanFor the uninitiated, Topre is a sort-of hybrid swap, one which’s lengthy invited debate. I’m not going to wade too deep into that void, however: The major mechanism for a Topre’s key resistance is a rubber dome, the oft-maligned basis of most funds membrane keyboards. The activation and really feel, although, are just like a mechanical keyboard’s, and the result’s a novel swap that diehard followers swear by.Me? I like Topre switches high-quality, although I’m all the time hard-pressed to justify the associated fee. They’re easy and reassuringly clunky, with a pleasant thock once you backside out the important thing. It’s a terrific typing expertise, although admittedly an odd alternative for video games.Topre does have one trick up its sleeves right here: Adjustable actuation. Actuation is the purpose the place a keystroke is acknowledged by the pc. A brief actuation is quicker and thus higher for video games, whereas an extended or deeper actuation is much less liable to errors whereas typing. Theoretically, a minimum of. IDG / Hayden DingmanIn actuality, these are variations of some millimeters and milliseconds. And the resistance profile of Topre switches—stiff up entrance, then a speedy collapse—makes the distinction between a 1.5mm and 3.0mm actuation even much less necessary. You’re unlikely to keep away from bottoming out the switches regardless, particularly with a comparatively light-weight resistance of 45 grams, similar as Cherry MX Reds.Let’s name a gimmick a gimmick then and transfer on. Really, you’re shopping for the Realforce RGB since you love Topre switches or a minimum of have an curiosity in high-end {hardware}.To that finish, it’s value noting a few of the Realforce RGB’s shortcomings.For one, it makes use of doubleshot ABS keycaps as an alternative of the popular (and premium) PBT. Most gaming keyboards use ABS as properly—however most gaming keyboards don’t value $300. And alternatively, most Topre keyboards use PBT as a result of they know the audience desires that degree of high quality.On the plus facet, this is without doubt one of the few Topre keyboards to combine a Cherry MX type “stem” design. As a consequence it’s appropriate with any customized keycap units you may personal, if certainly you personal any. If not, it’s fairly straightforward to seek out Cherry MX-compatible keycaps. It’s a further expense, and also you may lose your backlight, however a minimum of you’d inject a little bit of persona into the Realforce RGB within the course of. IDG / Hayden DingmanAnd actually the backlighting is mediocre anyway. It works as marketed, however seems pretty boring even at full brightness in a darkish room. I’m a bit disenchanted, given the value.Last, and doubtless most divisive: It’s so rattling loud. Topre keyboards are usually quieter than their mechanical counterparts, however the Realforce RGB’s Topre implementation rivals Outemu Blue switches for the loudest fashionable keyboard I’ve had cross my desk. Depressing a key isn’t so unhealthy, however on rebound it makes a loud, rattly clack that’s a lot louder than different Topre boards I’ve used—maybe due to the stem design? I’m undecided.Oh, and the cable is affordable rubber, and inconceivable to detach. That’s one other oddity for certainly one of these high-end keyboards.Bottom lineEven a subpar Topre keyboard continues to be a fairly rattling good typing expertise. If you (and your family members) can recover from the noise situation? Well I’ve discovered the Realforce RGB fairly satisfying to make use of day-to-day, and have truly moved it again onto my desk a number of occasions now. I like the texture of Topre switches for productiveness, even when they’re a tough promote for gaming.But given the backlighting is the Realforce RGB’s primary gimmick, and solely reasonably profitable at that, I’d wager most Topre followers are in all probability higher off with a unique keyboard. Get one with fewer compromises. These are expensive investments, and also you may as properly purchase the perfect. I’ve heard nice issues in regards to the non-RGB Realforce 2, even.For the non-Topre followers, simply give thanks you haven’t gone to date down this rabbit gap that you just’re paying $300 for a keyboard. Tear your gaze from the void when you nonetheless can.

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