Realforce R3

Sorry for the Japanese article. The keyboards are also already listed on the JP Realforce site.

Summary:

  • 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…

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but the outward design language has lost its ‘Realforce’ characteristics in my opinion and now it just looks like a Logitech/Logicool keyboard.

I agree, looks like crap.

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I’m not a fan of the newer font on the legends, but more Topre mount caps are welcome. Reminds me of Aliexpress PBT:

Does anyone know if that’s a 2U under the R3 JIS spacebar? Nvm, found it. Bottom row compatibility is going to be tough for anyone who wants to mod for MX–there’s a lot of 1.25U here. and 1.5U Fn key? woof. Maybe DES spacebar solution would still work with this.

Additional questions raised:

  • RGB will no longer be a thing moving forward?

  • Norbauer support for R3? a revival/redo of Mark I perhaps? Maybe Noxary can attempt something?

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Really hope the new plate will be compatible with the Norbaforce. Not a fan of the case aesthetics.

Feels like they’re moving from R2 to R3 at an extremely fast pace compared to standard topre time of decades :joy:

This makes me wonder if they actually want to make quicker improvements and iterations to their product, or the R2 just sold so poorly a higher exec told the keyboard division to put a new one out there to make up the numbers, or heads will roll.

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Your later postulation checks out.

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Dang. I thought R2 was good, and almost bought one. I wouldn’t buy one of these.

Time to stock up on R2 keyboards?

R2 is solid. It’s a lot heavier than I originally thought it would be and feels like a tank.

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History shows that this new model won’t be compatible with the norbaforce. I don’t like the visible gap around the top corner of the case. Actually that gap exists because the top plastic part is removable and designed to be swapped because they are releasing that part in different colors.

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It seems like they plan additional R3 releases under a ‘Gaming Series’ label, so a refresh looks likely in the future.

This definitely makes me more suspicious about R3.

If you like the R2, I’d say so, though I’m sure R2 models will still be floating around in years to come. They’re going to stop production on R2 JIS models when the R3 gets released, so when ANSI versions come out, I assume they’ll follow the same path.

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The R3 is less plain that it seemed at first…

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One, that’s kind of a cool idea.

Two, I suspect that may end up being a dust collector.

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Wow that’s actually pretty lit I’m rly into it

Can make something like this, now:

image

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I actually feel like they’re trying to go back to R1 aesthetics. R2 was a rectangle with a minimal bezel. It looks like R3 is trying to bring back the rounded case with a deeper forehead bezel similar to R1.

Right?!

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