Quest for a thocky split keyboard like my Topre


Last year I talked about going back to a split Microsoft ergonomic keyboard, because I felt some slight wrist pain. Overall is an item of clothing, and I was impressed with the build quality, especially for a cheap, mass-produced rubber dome. I found the position of my arms and wrists while typing on this to be more natural and less strained, especially during long technical writing sessions.

But then I made the mistake of bringing out my beautiful little Leopold FC660C with Japanese Topre switches again. Clara and I bought this in Osaka in 2020, and it’s simply perfection. Words can’t describe how much fun and joy it brings me. I’m grinning as I type this!

I’ve tried almost every permutation of Alps and Cherry switches, and have an IBM Model M clone with buckling springs stashed away for when I get a sound proof room in which to use it! But no switch I’ve used before, or since, match the supreme thock feel and sound of Topres. Going back to the office and using my dusty Cherry MX Brown board felt like I was going from welded to riveted rails, with all the train rattling and other metaphors. I’ve been spoiled.

I wouldn’t profess to be a keyboard expert at all, but I know just enough to be dangerous. Worse, I now know what I like, so I want to see if I can get something close to that in a split-keyboard form factor.

My dream would be to have an indie split enclosure and PCB, with switches that come close (enough) to Topres. I prefer the feel of linear switches if they have a nice base to bottom out on. Prelubed (heavens) would be preferable for a noob like me, but I wouldn’t be against learning how to do that properly.

A few of you recommended I check out Gateron KS-3 Milky Yellow Pros, or the NovelKey Creams. The latter seemed to be the darling of the tech world a few years ago, though I’ve since read and watched reviews of it being a bit scratchy. Clearly some more research is needed.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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