I’ve had my eye on the mechanical keyboards for a few years now, but hadn’t gotten around to ordering one before due to their lack of availability in Australia. Even now, some particularly popular boards are next to impossible to find here outside of eBay, but the situation has improved quite a bit.
A few days ago I bought a Leopold FC200R mechanical keyboard with cherry blue switches. This is my first mechanical board, and so far, I’m quite impressed. I thought I would write up a small review, since the Leopold boards don’t seem very widely used.
The Leopold is very similar to the Filco Majestouch tenkeyless boards. They are both simple, no-nonsense keyboards, lacking a number pad and bells & whistles like multimedia keys. Both are available with different switches (cherry blue, brown & red), and both are available in standard US key layouts.
As it’s my first mechanical keyboard, I can’t really say how it compares to others, but I do know it’s a lot nicer to type with than your average $15 board. The cherry blue switches are activated at around the half way mark, rather than having to bottom out each key press. This means less force is required when typing, but after a few days I still haven’t gotten used to this change; I have a habit of hitting keys rather hard. The cherry blue switches also make an audible clicking noise (hence the term “clicky keyboard”), but it isn’t as loud as I expected. Kind of noisy, but not very loud, especially if you avoid bottoming out the keys.
The keyboard seems to be of solid build. It has a noticeable heft to it and has large rubber feet, ensuring it won’t slide away while typing. If only it had a number pad (and was therefore longer), it might be an effective weapon in a zombie apocalypse, but this would inevitibly void the warranty.
Unfortunately, the keyboard does have a few faults. The most annoying one is the sharp space bar. The space bar has a rather pronounced edge that can be uncomfortable to strike. I tend to type with my wrists on the table and strike the space bar on an angle, which doesn’t feel so pleasant on the Leopold. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the space key seems to slope away from the user. Luckily, the cherry blue switches minimize the problem, and it can be further avoided by using the correct typing posture, so I guess it’s partly my own fault.
The other issue is rather small. Keyboards almost always have small bumps on the F and J keys to identify the home row without having to look at the keyboard. While the Leopold does have these bumps, they are unusually small and a little tricky to find by touch. It was annoying at first, but the problem passed after a few days, once the board layout became muscle memory.
In summary, I am very happy with the Leopold FC200R. I love the compact layout and feel of the cherry blue keys, and if the general reputation of mechanical keyboards is anything to go by, this board should last quite a few years.
- Compact, no number pad
- Solid build
- Simple, standard design and key layout
- Relatively cheap (AUD $110)
- Available in Australia
- Sharp edges on space bar
- Home row bumps on F and J keys are too small