You invest in a good office chair for your back. You purchase an IPS screen for your eyes. You grab an ergonomic mouse for your wrist. If you’ve already got these things, then a solid keyboard should be next on your list.
Uniquely in the mechanical keyboard market, the RealForce 104UB is not a luxury model in the traditional sense – there’s no backlighting, macro keys, media controls, additional USB ports, nor any wrist rest. And the price tag is most certainly high: $270, almost enough to buy two mechanical boards from other brands. So what do you get for your money?
One seriously fantastic typist’s keyboard.
The reason this is such a good keyboard to type on lies in the switches; rather than being clicky models from Cherry, these Topre switches are electrostatic and are effortless to type on for long periods. They’re individually weighted based on which fingers are supposed to press them, leaving a consistent feel across the entire board. They spring back nicely after each depression, and feature full n-key rollover so you can press up to 20 keys at once and have them all register perfectly.
They’re black with black printing; compared to the RealForce 103UB we looked at in 2009 the print is the same, but the lettering is larger to allow slightly easier picking of rarely-used keys. Black looks great, and certainly gives off a ‘hacker’ feel. However, if you can’t type a mostly error-free sentence with your eyes closed, you should choose the white version.
The 104UB has just a single extra key, the right-hand Windows Flag, and this is not particularly exciting. For the price we would’ve hoped a wrist rest would be included, but this is not the end of the world. If you sit at the computer and type for hours a day, this is definitely a great investment – for gamers and most users, it’s simply too expensive to recommend.