A Question About Topre (55g vs 35g)

Hi Friends -

I recently tried a 55g Topre keyboard (the Realforce 87, to be exact), and there was a lot to like. I thought the style of the board was understated (from the blacked out keycaps to the retro-chic Realforce logo), as well as the build quality (which felt insanely good).

There was just one problem: the 55g rubber domes were too heavy for me, and caused (minor) pains in my hands.

I know I can switch out the domes with aftermarket parts, but I am reluctant to do so for my first major keyboard mod. This, then, brings me to my question:

How does a “variable” Realforce topre board (e.g. 35g) compare to a 55g board? I like “thoc” of Topre, but I don’t like it when my hands hurt. In other words, does the 35g board still give the thoc without feeling mushy or airy?

PS: I know key feel is subjective, but these boards are expensive to buy and there isn’t really anywhere else I could even hope to get this kind of feedback.


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Maybe try out a uniform 45g board before deciding.


I want to, but it seems only the 55g and the “variable” versions are available on Amazon Prime in my country (and therefore have a possibility of being returned).

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Ah that makes it a bit tougher without the option to easily obtain (with the potential to return) the 45g uniform board. Usually the 45g uniform board is the solid go-to for those who like a light topre switch. 35g variable weight is met with very very mixed reviews.

Personally, I think it’s alright, but the main thing about the variable weight is the keyboard expects you to type on it properly. The keys are lighter/heavier corresponding to how close they are to the center (with your pointer and middle fingers being a bit stronger than your ring and pinky fingers). The exception is all of the keys surrounding the main typing cluster which they keep at 45g.

Even with this in mind, the variable weight has a naturally inconsistent feel that some people appreciate, but a lot of people dislike. Many people also don’t like 35g as it’s regarded as “too light”, but I know there are quite a few who have some appreciation for it. I think @norbauer likes his 35g domes.

I don’t know if this helps you any, but I hope it gave you some insight if you are looking into buying this board. Honestly I think it comes down to

  1. Your typing style
  2. Whether you might care/not care about the weight changes for different fingers
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Mine are actually 30g. :slight_smile:

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good lord. At 30g, I’m pretty sure you could stare at them hard enough and they would actuate.


Thank you for your thorough response! This does help, and inclines me toward 45g.

With that said, I can’t find 45g (TKL) topre boards for purchase in any of my usual spots, and certainly not on Amazon. Maybe my Google-Fu is weak, but I can’t find them there, either. I’ve found a few full-sized boards, but I so rarely use the 10-key outside work that I’d much rather have the desk space. I can’t even find a HHKB in 45g. Bleh.

I think I’ll give the 55g one more go before I return it, just to confirm that it isn’t for me. If that’s the case, I’ll probably just stick w/ my ErgoDox for a while until the keyboard bug bites again…

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If you like the tactility of the 55g domes, but want a lighter weight, then you could always go the BKE Redux route, getting their ultra-light domes and swapping them in to a Realforce board. The Ultra-Lights are pretty damn fantastic, as are all BKE domes. But since you are reluctant to do anything of the sort, in terms of modding, I’d recommend trying a Topre clone, as well. The ABKO boards are a little bit pricier than other clones, but have a smidge more tactility than other Topre clones, for some reason or another.

Pretty much, just as I’d like it. When I first started using them I had to train myself not to rest my fingers on the keys or I’d get long unintentional strings of key actuationsssssssssssssssssssssss. But now that I’m used to it I strongly prefer them.

Aren’t all HHKB’s sold with 45g domes as the stock option?

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Are they? Honestly, I have no idea. The page I found them on didn’t seem to specify…

They are, all HHKBs are 45g stock

Oh! Well, that’s good news I suppose. At least I can try a 45g topre board, even if the HHKB layout is not my cup of tea …

For folks who are in the know, is a 45g Realforce 87 still made? It seems like it has been discontinued based on how hard it is to find for sale.

I’m surprised no one mentioned RealForce R2 with Uniform 45g :slight_smile:

Where would one get some good lightweight non bke domes?