Topre Recommendations

So, I’ve heard a lot about Topre and EC switches over the last several months that I have been interested in mech keyboards. Strangely enough, I originally was thinking about getting an EC keyboard when I got a 98 key (Leopold FC980M).

I’m still kind of curious about EC / Topre keyboards. But I am wondering what would be the recommendations for someone who is getting their first Topre / EC keyboard? Would you recommend something from NiZ, Leopold, Realforce, something else?

The one thing that I am concerned about with Topre / EC switches is that I see most of them are 35g or 45g switches. I tend to like being around 60g with my mech switches. I wonder if it would be a big adjustment to go to something that is so much lighter?

I’m currently looking at the NiZ Micro 82. The reasons that I am looking at it are:

  • The layout is fairly similar to my current keyboard
  • It has MX compatible sliders
  • The price doesn’t seem outrageous for an EC

Is there any reason that this isn’t a good place to start? Would something like a TKL be a better place? Or is NiZ not a good keyboard for a first purchase?

I’m probably not going to be ordering something soon – I’ve just dropped a lot of money this weekend so my wallet is hurting quite a bit. But, I think this is something that is likely to be on my list for a future purchase.

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The 45g in hhkb is actuation force, they bottom out at around 65g so it won’t be too different from you are comfortable with.


Yeah, I use Box Jades, which have an operating force around 50g, so 45g should be good.

Ahh - I knew I skipped a keyboard in my post… I think I didn’t mention the HHKB because it looks too compact for me (I don’t like 60% keyboards, and the HHKB seems to be an even more foreign layout than I’d be able to get used to).

I have some HHKBs, a Realforce R2, and a Niz Duo 82 (its like the Micro 82, but an aluminum case instead of ABS).

Your NIZ experience will be a bit different from an official Topre experience. The Niz will occasionally need to be recalibrated; something that has never been needed on my HHKB or Realforce. The feel of the domes of Topre vs what they use is also notably different. On my Niz Duo, after a few months of trying to like the Niz domes, I swapped them out for OEM Topre domes and they feel quite a bit nicer.

Also, if you’re used to 60g, the 35g domes on the Niz will be far too light for you. I actually find 60g switches too heavy for me (strangely, I’m okay with 56-58g switches; that 2g really makes a difference for me, lol). 35g was too light for me; simply resting your fingers lightly on top of the key will typically be enough to trigger a press event. IMO, 45g Topre is probably the sweet spot.

All that being said though, layout is probably one of the most important elements of the keyboard and Niz is the only one that has a wide range of layouts.

I vote for a 55g Topre (Realforce TKL?) unless you have a strong preference for a layout offered by Niz.

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I’ve got two Topre boards. The TKL Realforce R2 55g and the Leopold FC660C 45g silent, both are great, but I much prefer the feel and sound of the Leopold board.

I think once I get my case for the Realforce and put in the hop-up parts I bought for it the comparison might be less distinct, but while the typing experience on a stock Realforce is, well, real nice. The Leopold is positively sublime.

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As others have said, a 45 G EC dome is heavier than a 60 G MX switch. Since the 60 G MX is bottom-out weight, and 45 G EC is actuation weight.

I have an ABKO K935P Niz dome EC keyboard. It is heavier than my light tactile MX keyboards, including MX Brown. I would say that the 45 G Niz is roughly in-between an MX Brown and an MX Clear in weight, operating kind of like a 65-67 G Ergo Clear in that respect. So it’s about 65-67 G in MX weight.

I typed on some BOX Jades recently, and I would say that they are heavier than my 45 G Niz, if that helps. The Niz 45 G is probably closer to BOX Pink in intensity, but that’s a guess.

In terms of feel, the Niz domes are more linear than Topre, if you ask me. An easier transition from MX tactiles to be sure. There’s resistance at the top, but once you overcome it, there’s a linear collapse straight to the bottom, although there is a weird kind of linear-tactile resistance provided by the rubber dome along the way.

Topre, including 45 G Topre, has a richer and more substantive tactility. It doesn’t end when you actuate the switch. It’s like a piano key that keeps resisting as you push down, and it pushes you up. But it’s been a while since I type on one.

30-35 G Niz should be similar in intensity to MX light tactiles like MX Brown. If that’s too light for you, you want to go with 45 G at least. I think even 45 G Niz might feel weaksauce to you, if you’re used to BOX Jades.

The real richness in tactility in a stock EC keyboard is 55 G Topre. You will notice it, for sure. It’s very rich, and fun to type on. Not really practical for sustained typing unless you are used to it. As others have said, you might be best served by tactile domes in the 40-50 G range, the BKE replacements. They won’t be excessively heavy in weight, but will definitely be tactile.

Topre keyboards are much easier to put replacement domes in than Niz (which requires you to align things more carefully). So they are a better basis for dome modding. Niz’ advantages are:

  1. Usually MX-stem, which means easier replacement keycaps
  2. Some of the Niz boards, such as the ABKO, have excellent stock sound, and easily beat stock Topre.
  3. somewhat cheaper

Niz aren’t put together quite as well - there will be more minor issues of keycap alignment, case straightness, that kind of thing. A general sloppiness relative to Topre. ABKO are built better on average than your typical Niz, I think. Mine doesn’t have any noticeable issues.

The top Topre boards, like the ones with built-in silencing and multi acuation control, are the best. They’re meant for you to just buy and forget about, in terms of modding. But they’re also a good basis for those BKE domes.


I was in a similar boat, you might wish to check out my experience on this thread:- Topre/Nopre for a Boba U4 user :slight_smile:

You can check out the video/sound comparison between the following switches:

  • Box Pink stock switch
  • Boba U4 in Ice Housings (62g)
  • Niz 45g in Niz Nano75
  • Topre 45g with silencing rings in FC980C
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Yeah, I’m good with something that is either a TKL, or very similar to my 71-key layout (which is basically a reduced TKL minus the function row). So, since my preferred 71-key layout is pretty obscure (I know of only 6 keyboards that actually implement it), a TKL or soething very close to a TKL is going to be my best bet.

Noted, that’s something I haven’t heard before regarding the NiZ boards.

Thanks. As I said, when I got my FC980M it was because I balked at the price of the FC980C. :slightly_frowning_face: So, maybe it’s time to reconsider that choice.

I pretty thought that the 45g EC/Topre switches would be a bit lighter than the Box Jades… But 45g is closer than 35g. :slight_smile:

Noted, I’ll have to put ABKO on the list too.

Thanks it’s an interesting video.

I have settled on unsilenced 45g Topre, in a TKL form factor as my preferred setup. Unfortunately this is not a standard offering, so both of my daily drivers (work + non-work) are mix n match Realforces.

For your needs you might wait until the R3’s are released in US.


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Well, my needs are really just what is a good Topre / EC keyboard for a first experience.

The video was very interesting - seems like the R3 is a decent sounding / typing keyboard out of the box… And since I’m not in a hurry, I can definitely wait for the R3 to reach the US.

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I have realforce r1, realforce r2, hhkb and Niz 45g. My topre boards have most weight options including 45g 55g and variable weight.
My suggestion is getting a TKL realforce R2 PFU special edition. It’s factory silenced 45g. Unfortunately there is currently no option for unsilenced 45g. I like both silenced and unsilenced for different reasons.
I would skip Niz and go straight to topre because, although Niz boards are not bad, topre boards have better quality in terms of case, keycaps and imho typing feel. I agree to everything others wrote above about Niz.
Wait for realforce R3 if you need bluetooth, want unsilenced 45g board or prefer a more modern look (eg all white keycaps). Personally I prefer the vintage look of the off-white/grey keycaps of R1 and R2.


Since the recommendations above are solid, take a gander at these threads when you have a moment. Topre is awesome, and whilst it is ultimately a typing tool, its philosophy of enthusiasm tends to be different than MX :innocent: Hope you enjoy whatever you settle on!


Thanks. That definitely seems to be the consensus. And it looks like Realforce is also the consensus for a Topre keyboard.

Bluetooth is definitely a no. Unsilenced versus silenced is hard to say since I don’t have experience with either. IMO - it might be better to go unsilenced and then get to experience modding it myself.

Thanks… I’d seen a couple of these threads, but hadn’t seen a couple others. I will take a look at them.