Sorry for the Japanese article. The keyboards are also already listed on the JP Realforce site.
- Announced 25 October 2021, sales in Japan begin 1 November 2021
- JIS layout only at the moment; TKL and 100%. Both silenced and unsilenced options available
- Bluetooth / USB hybrid model available (finally) - 2x AA battery but no HHKB-like battery bump
- Additional 0.8mm depth setting for APC
- Detachable cable (USB-C) for hybrid models; USB only models have integrated cable as before
- Onboard memory for keyboard settings
- REALFORCE CONNECT Software supports per-key remapping
- Article author’s experience: ‘typing feel’ retains the same feeling as previous R2: ‘I was also worried about this issue, but in reality there was nothing to worry about.’ However, it may be wise to take this with a grain of salt, as core Japanese users mostly keep their Topre keyboards stock.
- Colours: Super-white, Black (a la Realforce for Mac - no more beige mods for white), Dark Grey (silenced models only)
- Keycaps: PBT - Super-white: dye-sublimated; Black: Laser engraved / etched; Dark Grey: dye-sublimated (black on black)
- Additional models coming under the brand labels ‘Master Series’ - for home and office; and ‘Gaming Series’. This R3 model falls under the former label.
My thoughts: Bittersweet. Glad to see some aspects moving forward (presumably responding to the Japanese market’s demands - like wireless), but the outward design language has lost its ‘Realforce’ characteristics in my opinion and now it just looks like a Logitech/Logicool keyboard.
To me, the Realforce was one of the quintessential ‘living fossils’ of Japanese older-style computing (times when Japan felt technologically more exciting, at least to me), but this feels a bit too sterile even with all the welcome under-the-hood changes. I don’t know what it is; you could consider this a reversion to the motifs of the R1 models, but it feels a little off. Perhaps it will grow on me…