I've been involved in this obsessive hobby for a long time, starting with Model-M's. I've tried most variants of Topre switches and owned a decent selection of Topre boards. I've also collected many other keyboards and switch types. I love tinkering with and building MX boards, but still prefer the feel of Topre over anything else for daily use. Topre recently released the PFU special edition Realforce R2 in Japan and I couldn't resist the urge to try one out. I hope you enjoy my overview and photos:
So, what's new in the R2 Limited Edition model?
- Standard layout bottom row
- All-45g weighted
- Silenced Purple stems
- PBT spacebar
- Media keys with FN + arrow-cluster
- Software settings instead of of dip-switches
- Wooden wrist rest included
- Small (fake) carbon fiber inlay
- Backspace keycap legend is now a single line of text
- Glossy color packaging instead of a brown box
- LED status indicator colors and brightness can be changed
- No extra wobbly caps or flipped switch positions like Realforce R1 (caps-lock)
- New case design with similar design features to Novatouch/Leopold/RF RGB
- Variable actuation point (1.5mm, 2.0mm, 3.0mm)
The box includes: keyboard, attached USB-A cable, 2x sound dampening mats which sit under the caps and reduce key travel, timber wrist rest and 2x sets of rubber feet, keycap-puller, and extra caps for swapping ctrl/caps-lock positions.
The design is far more angular and lacks the signature rounded corners of earlier Realforce models:
The key-caps feel exceptionally precise and crisp, more so than other Realforce boards I've owned and used. Dye-sub labels are also top-notch with sharp edges. Keycaps and switches are all well-aligned too:
One element I wasn't a fan of was the awkward secondary legends which cover the numpad function layer and media + adjustable actuation point. Feels sloppy, and in the case of the numpad layer, completely unnecessary.
Purple stem best stem:
Here's one of the weird memory-foam mats which shortens key-cap travel distance (and further dampens sound). This can be used in combination with adjustable actuation point to alter your feeling of oneness quite substantially:
Two thicknesses of mats are included.
Windows-only, but a nice touch and interesting direction for Topre. Hopefully they expand upon this to offer better programmability. Any config changes are saved on the keyboard:
Adjusting the entire board actuation point vs individual keys:
The case is mostly a tight snap-fit, with plastic tabs securing it around all sides. The first step to cracking it open is removing the single warranty-sticker covered screw on the back:
Once you've removed the screw, find something to pry in between the two case layers such as a plastic spudger. Move along the back carefully prying apart where each yellow connector tab is marked:
Once the top half is loose you can do the same thing for the bottom, it's the same process but a bit harder to access and pop apart.
Lubing and Reassembly:
This is the spacebar's factory lube. It was much better than you'd typically see on first-gen RF's and other Topre boards. It wasn't perfect, but didn't have the signature Topre-rattle.
Typing audio sample:
- All-45g weighting + silent stems is a big plus
- Keycaps particularly crisp and fresh feeling, high quality dye-sub job.
- Adjustable actuation point is interesting and useful
- All-around better quality and value than the first Realforce, fixing many minor issues it had
- Some stabilized keys were a bit more scratchy than usual, fine after lube
- Non-programmable (aside from changing the actuation point and swapping ctrl/caps-lock key position)
- Secondary keycap legends are unnecessary and clutter an otherwise clean design
- No Linux or macOS support for configuration software or firmware updates
Configuration software download:
Realforce R2 control software
Firmware update downloads:
Japanese PFU Official site:
$435AUD($315USD) delivered via EMS to Australia, from a fellow keyboard nerd who was kind enough to help, no proxy fees.
Amazon Japan (i'll find the link soon). Please post details if you can find other suppliers.