Today we are going to be looking at something other than a PSU; in fact, we are now looking at keyboards. The first one to come across the desk is one that may not be too familiar. In a world engulfed with rubber domes and Cherry MX switches, Topre boards are kind of the odd man out as even I have very little experience with the boards. Let’s take a look at what the Topre Type Heaven has to offer that makes it a good buy for the regular typist or gamer.
SUPPLIED BY: Seasonic USA
PRODUCT: Type Heaven Keyboard
PROD LINK: Type Heaven Product Page
Price is at the time of testing!
Topre is a model of keyboard/switch which is not super familiar with many users as the market has recently gotten caught up in a flurry of new Cherry MX mechanical boards of varying switch types with the other well-known option being a standard membrane rubber dome style board. The Topre is a bit different and we will get into that here in just a bit.
When we first received the Topre board, I had only used one for a short time and I knew it was super expensive. If memory serves, it was around $200 dollars +/-, so to see the Type heaven coming to market around the $150.00 range it could be a really good solution. Many writers and testers who do a lot of articles tend to swear by Topre boards, but once again we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves on this. The Topre Type Heaven comes to you in a plain black box with a minimal amount of text telling you the name of it and a small sticker identifying a few key features, which is really the opposite of what we see with most retail products. Normally they include armor-clad women, some sort of space or future scene or some other “Gaming” centric scene which is believed to grab the eye. From what i can tell, Topre thinks the product will speak for itself. The need for outlandish packaging is really not necessary, but that is still waiting to be seen for this one.
The key features you can read above from the sticker seem very similar to what I have read on many mechanical boards so this could be an interesting solution depending on how it performs, but do remember that this is a bit above the present market for most mechanical boards on the market which for non-backlit units where you can find them for as low as $70-90 USD with the UBER gaming models fetching far more since they usually have some sort of wizardry which magically steals an extra percentage of your paycheck at time of purchase just for a different outside case appearance.
Upon first opening the box you will find the only two documents which is a warranty card and a user Guide/Spec Sheet. Here again, Topre provides some very detailed specs including the expected key weight or force for actuation. Being 45g it will be right around what you would expect from a Cherry MX Brown or Red switch but since the Topre style switch carries a small finger at the edge of the switch part you can expect a light tactile bump similar to a brown but not as pronounced.
|Topre Type Heaven – Specifications|
|Model||ZA0100 (Type Heaven)|
|Weight||1.4kg (including packaging)|
|Dimensions||155.9 mm x 455.0 mm x 31.1 mm|
|Number of Keys||104 Layout|
|Length of cable||1.5m|
|Key Life Time||50 million times|
|Key Weight||45g ±15g|
|Key Shapes||Step Sculpture|
|N-Key Rollover||6-Key rollover|
|System Requirements||Windows® 8, Windows® 7, Windows Vista®, or Windows® XP|
|Labeling of Keycaps||Laser|
|Warranty||2 year limited warranty|
The board itself is a standard layout you will find with any US 104 Keyboard. It does carry the standard smaller enter key vs the odd larger L shaped enter key that some still use which plays complete hell with other keys such as the slash and question mark key. As they do say in their own marketing, the design is simplistic and elegant, no-frills or flashy lights just what makes a keyboard, a keyboard. The rear carries little difference to any other keyboard, just plain with a label.
The bottom of the board carries a dual-sided cable management groove which allows effective management of the cable to clear other devices such as the mouse. The two cable management grooves run to each side of the board so that no matter the desk or item positioning you should be able to find a cable routing solution to meet your needs.
Here is somewhere where I am betting you will start to see the difference. When removing a keycap you can see instead of a thinner square stem-like we are used to on a Cherry MX switch instead it has a hollow slotted tube. Next to this, you can see I have set a Cherry MX keycap (Left) next to a Topre keycap (Right) and the Cherry MX keycap has the + cutout to fit the stem of the Cherry MX switch while the Topre has a split style tube to snap-fit inside of the tube style switch on the Topre board, so with that, you can easily identify the switches and caps from each other.
Along the top right-hand corner we find the Type Heaven naming and the indicator LEDs for Num Lock, Caps Lock, and Scroll Lock. One thing I have found from some manufacturers is that many times they will put super-bright LEDs in for the indicators, which can really suck in a darker environment. The Type Heaven’s LEDs are green in color and while they are bright they are not blinding. They are actually rather pleasant, even when typing in the dark, however since the keys are not backlit if you happen to look at your keyboard when typing you may be in some trouble.
You can see that like many boards on the market the Type Heaven is progressively angled as you move further up from the home row and angles upward when moving down from the home row. This ensures easy reach and actuation while also making return to the somehow super simple with very little effort. There is one thing to note though, the Type Heaven is a typist keyboard which makes me wonder how it would do in gaming, but we will discuss that later in the review.