Normally I spend a few weeks with each keyboard before writing about it but in this case I have spent over a year with the Novatouch off and on in addition to the two weeks I have spent with this specific Novatouch. What have I learned in that time?
Well I think most people are going to be most curious about the Topre switches that make the Novatouch unique compared to most everything. Typing on Topre’s is a unique experience. Being a hybrid between a mechanical switch and a membrane keyboard it’s no surprise that is shares similarities of both. I think it is closest to a Cherry Brown with a tactile feel but overall mostly quiet operation. Unlike a brown the tactile feeling isn’t as mechanical. When pushing on a Topre you have to remember that the rubber dome is what gives and gives it a tactile feel so it is a little softer. That said it has a consistent feeling that isn’t just mushy like pushing on a membrane keyboard.
Specific to the Novatouch I do feel like typing on it can be a little noisy. Specifically, I find that the sliders rattle and make a bit of noise when you let go of the key. When typing on the Novatouch with the SA profile caps this ironically makes it feel more like I’m using an old school type writer.
Being a TKL keyboard with a completely standard layout, adjusting to the Novatouch took no time at all. There are times where I miss the numberpad when working, this is why I typically use a full sized keyboard in the office day to day and use a TKL or smaller when going to LAN events. The smaller TKL form factor cuts down on table space at events, something that comes at a premium.
So is there a difference typing on the Novatouch with a custom set of keycaps rather than the factor caps? Well for starters the different profile makes the typing experience completely different. Like I said earlier, the SA keycaps made it feel more like I was using an old typewriter. That said even if you go with a set of caps that have the same OEM or cherry profile that the factory keycaps had you will see an improvement. Custom caps are generally thicker, this quiets down the keyboard when typing. They are also available in PBT at times, this will prevent the keys from wearing down quickly to a glossy finish. Lastly they can come with double shot legends, this means the legend is completely integrated into the key so if there is any wear it won’t wear off the finish as it goes completely through the key.