Monday, 30 December 2013

Revisiting the Leopold FC660M

So I got bored and decided to play with my other keyboards which I have been neglecting. One of them is the Leopold FC660M. Those who followed my blog will know that I am not exactly too enamoured by the Cherry MX Clears on the Leopold FC660M. I love their tactility but not their stiffness. As I also have a Cherry MX Blues Armageddon Stealth Raptor, I decided to play with the keycaps by swapping them around. Based on my experience with swapping keycaps on my Topre keyboards, I know that the keycaps plays a part in the feel of the keyboard. I figured I have nothing to lose. I was bored after all hehe.

The result is what you see above. Not perfect and not all the keycaps are an exact match. What I did not expect however, was an improvement made on BOTH keyboards after I had finished switching the keycaps. If you remember, one of my complaint of the Leopold is that the keys are hard to see with the gold-lettering on the white background. They are also stiff on entry and very stiff when bottoming out. The ABS keycaps of the Armageddon are not exactly that much better legibility-wise but it is an improvement. The biggest improvement however, is in its feel. I was caught by surprise how great these feels on the Leopold. The Armageddon keycaps are lighter (more flimsy actually) and also a bit taller than the original keycaps. In one stroke, it solves the problem of the stiffness and fatigue on your fingers. I mean the stroke is still stiff but not as stiff as before. It actually changes the character of the keystroke quite a bit. These are lighter on entry and because it is taller, the stiffness on bottoming out is also much lessened. Is it perfect? No but I sure as hell can live with it. Now even typing is a pleasure. Also because it is taller, the tactility is even more pronounced which is a real delight. I think ABS keys have been given an undeserved reputation. Maybe the lettering quality may not be as good but in terms of feel it is not necessarily worse than a PBT.

I really enjoy typing on the Leopold FC660M now. Initially I was thinking of using soft landing pads or o-rings to solve the stiffness problem. I was also thinking of lubing the stem to further smoothen the entry when typing. I may still do them but as it is now, these are really great to type on. At times I even enjoy typing on them more than the Topre. Never thought I'd say that.

P.S. I forgot to say something about the swapped keycaps on the Armageddon. The Leopold keycaps actually improved the feel of the Armageddon. Where previously the typing experience can be a bit wobbly, the new keycaps tighten up the experience. If anything, the keys are even more clicky than before making it quite enjoyable to type on. I still prefer the Cherry MX Clears though.

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