Keyboards matter more than you may believe. Sure, they are among the most prosaic of peripherals, so we have the tendency to take them for given. But provided the sheer percentage of our lives that we invest clicking away at them, finding the right ones can be remarkably beneficial– might even chip away at the rough edges of our everyday grind.
When you set out to buy a keyboard, you’ll be confronted by a surprising quantity of diversity– there are inexpensive and pricey ones, mechanical and membrane ones, wired and wireless ones, goofy ergonomic ones and downright retro ones on sale. So we have actually selected 10 of the best, designed to suit many needs and pockets.
How to select the right keyboard for you
It’s worth noting that if you require the feel and feedback just provided by keyboards with mechanical secrets, rather than secrets that press a membrane, you might wish to peruse our top 10 best video gaming keyboards round-up.
Players basically require mechanical secrets, however mechanical keyboards tend to be very loud, so can be disapproved in office environments– thus that most non-gaming keyboards take the membrane path.
Note that the keyboards below were supplied to TechRadar by UK-based keyboard reseller
The Keyboard Company:
- Topre Realforce 87U Tenkeyless
- Topre Realforce 104 UBS Silent variable
- Filco Majestouch-2 Tenkeyless
- Unicomp Classic 104
1. Topre Realforce 87U Tenkeyless
A low-profile speed maker
User interface: Wired|Keyboard backlighting: No|Switches: Topre electrostatic capacitive (30/45/55 grams variable, 45 grams, 55 grams).
Made by the Japanese Topre Corporation, the Realforce is, as its name suggests, a force of nature in the keyboard world. It’s all down to the Topre switches inside, which contain springs that sit on top of the keyboard’s PCB and are covered by a rubber dome. In contrast to Cherry’s MX switches, which (for the a lot of part) feel much grittier under the fingers, Topre switches are extremely smooth to type on and are typically compared to playing weighted piano secrets.
The most popular Topre board sold by distributors such as The Keyboard Company in the UK, which supplied our review sample, the 45-gram variation of the RealForce (pictured above in black) offers a terrific combination of a fluid typing feel with premium stock PBT keycaps. It’s also available with heavier 55g switches that some swear transcend due to their weightier feel and more reassuring “thock” noise when pressed. For first timers, nevertheless, the 45g design is the perfect entry point. Oh, and we ought to probably point out that neither come cheap.
2. Topre Realforce 104UBS Silent variable
For a quieter Topre experience.
User interface: Wired|Switches: Topre electrostatic capacitive silenced (30, 45 and 50 grams).
So long as you do not mind losing some of the “thock” noise connected with a routine Realforce keyboard, choosing a silenced design like the 104 UBS lets you gain real advantages. Striking the 104 UBS’s secrets produces noise on a par with membrane keyboards, so it’s best for hectic offices or shared bedrooms. The “dampened” feel of Topre’s silenced switches can feel a bit like typing on sandpaper compared to non-silenced Topre, but we discovered that it’s worth the trade-off if you want a much quieter keyboard.
3. Filco Majestouch-2 Tenkeyless
Built like a tank and compact.
Interface: Wired|Switches: Cherry MX (Brown, Blue, Black, Red).
Filco’s keyboards tend to be built like tanks, and the Majestouch TKL is no various. This space-saving mechanical keyboard includes a compact tenkeyless style that has less than 1cm of area in between the edge of the secrets and the keyboard. Its durability doesn’t merely enable it to stand up well to knocks and scrapes– it has a favorable effect on its typing feel too. You can hammer away on it at speed, even bottoming out to your heart’s content, and the Majestouch 2 will take every bit of punishment.
4. PFU Happy Hacking Professional 2 (HHKB2)
A coder’s dream and typist’s treasure.
Interface: Wired|Switches: Topre electrostatic capacitive (45 grams).
Rather famous in keyboard circles, the PFU Happy Hacking Expert 2 (or HHKB2 as it’s typically described) is that rare beast – a 60% Topre keyboard. Focused on coders however wonderful for document warriors too, it bypasses conventional arrow keys, instead making use of function keys and crucial combinations to offer such performance. It just takes a brief while to obtain used to, once you have actually got there the big advantage is that the HHKB2 is small and light enough to take anywhere, offering you access to that sweet Topre “thock” sound and feel anywhere, anytime.
5. Leopold Fc660c
Has simply adequate secrets to be useful.
Interface: Wired|Switches: Topre electrostatic capacitive (45 grams).
Leopold’s Fc660c is more portable than the Realforce 87u, however less so than the lighter and more compact HHKB2. Nevertheless, the Fc660c take advantage of its extra heft and feels like the more solid board. Regardless of having the same 45 gram actuation force as the HHKB2, the Leopold’s keys feel a little weightier – somewhere nearer to 50 grams. It results one of the most satisfying “thock” sounds on a Topre board.
6. Unicomp Classic 104
The supreme keyboard for typing fond memories.
User interface: Wired|Switches: Buckling spring.
Remember IBM’s legendary Design M keyboard? That’s what the Unicomp Classic 104 sets out to imitate. Offered in USB and PS/2 versions, it uses a buckling spring switch that takes more effort to depress than just about each switch type. You’re rewarded with a tactile reaction that remembers the classic mechanical keyboards of old, together with a sound that would own your colleagues crazy.
7. Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL
Topre changes with a Cherry MX twist.
User interface: Wired|Keyboard backlighting: No|Programmable secrets: No.
Cooler Master has actually attained a variety of firsts with the NovaTouch TKL. It’s the first cost effective keyboard to use Topre switches, a hybrid variation that feels halfway in between using a membrane and mechanical keyboard.
Though linear, instead of tactile, the NovaTouch TKL’s secrets have a typewriter-like quality and make ‘bottoming out’ (striking the key so it depresses all the way down) curiously pleasing.
It’s the first affordable Topre keyboard, with other designs retailing at twice the price. It’s also the first of its type to use stems suitable with Cherry MX keycaps, allowing you to chop and alter keycaps at your leisure. We’re quite crazy about the stock ones, interestingly enough, however the choice is excellent to have.
8. Das Keyboard Prime 13
Blending minimalistic design with exceptional quality.
Interface: Wired|Keyboard backlighting: White|Change type: Cherry MX Red or Brown switches.
Some keyboards simply exude class, and the Das Keyboard Prime 13 is among them. Its functions a solid aluminum top panel for added rigidness and a really minimalistic appearance. With Cherry’s MX Red or Brown changes under the keycaps, you’re provided an option between direct and non-linear offerings with a range of actuation points.
It’s a great option for media enthusiasts thanks to side lit media control and the addition of white backlighting is another bonus. It’s not the most cost effective keyboard on our list, however if you’re looking for something a little bit more superior, Das is the method to go.
9. Logitech K780
An excellent option for mobile phone owners.
User interface: Wired|Keyboard backlighting: No.
According to a federal government study, the average British home owned 7.4 internet-connected devices in 2015. Logitech is targeting smartphone and tablet owners who choose to see their device’s display screen while sat at a computer with its most current keyboard, the K780. If you liked its predecessor, the K380, there’s more to love here. (Literally thanks to its added numberpad.).
The K780 can still pair with as much as three devices using Bluetooth or wireless, enabling you to chop and change in between them, and it features the same comfortable rounded keycaps that remain a pleasure to type on. The star of the program, however, is the keyboard’s base, which can hold mobile devices approximately 11.3 mm thick in an upright position. This positions them within arms’ reach to make anything from responding to WhatsApp messages or reading a digital publication easy as pie.
10. Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard
A compact, Surface-like keyboard.
Interface: Bluetooth|Features: Compact, USB charging, works with Android, Windows Phone and iOS.
Like a Surface Pro 3 Type Cover that can convert to a tent, Microsoft’s Universal Foldable Keyboard is among the most “fun-sized” on our list. Fold it closed and you have one of the most travel-friendly Bluetooth keyboards around, barely larger than a pack of cards.
Likewise reminiscent of the Type Cover, the Universal Foldable Keyboard is similarly unpleasant for typing on your lap (however, most keyboards are). Nevertheless, USB charging and simple Bluetooth syncing makes the Universal Foldable Keyboard a favored option over touchscreen display inputs– so long as you have a flat surface helpful.