Prepare for some sticker shock.
Fujitsu has taken up the mantle of being the reseller for Topre’s Realforce brand of mechanical keyboards, and the company has released the Realforce R2 RGB gaming keyboard in the US. It comes in both full-size and tenkeyless models, both complete with 16.7 million color RGB lighting and Topre keyswitches with customizable actuation points.
The Topre brand lends some clout to the new keyboard, but this is not the gaming keyboard for everyone, as at $299 (See it at Amazon) it costs about as much as a brand GPU like the Nvidia GTX 1660Ti, and that’s regardless of whether it’s the full or tenkeyless variant (both models are the same price, oddly).
Fujitsu Realforce R2 RGB – Design and Features
Straight out of the box, the Realforce R2 RGB announces itself with sheer weight alone. This is a heavy puppy at 2.98 pounds, topping even the 2.92-pound Corsair K95 RGB Platinum, which features more media controls, macro keys, and a wrist rest. However, that’s the only way it stands out. Until it’s plugged in, the Realforce R2 RGB is strikingly ordinary.
As far as the eye can see and the hand can touch, there’s just plastic and rubber. Plastic keycaps, plastic top plate, plastic rear, plastic legs, a thick rubber cable with a velcro bundle strap (and I believe velcro is plastic), and a few rubber grips on the underside.
That’s not to say the first impression was bad. It felt fairly sturdy, with only a small bit of flex to it. Cable routing underneath the board in three directions was also nice to see. But, for a $299 keyboard, I was a bit surprised there weren’t dedicated media keys (it has them, but aside from volume controls, they’re secondary functions on the Fn keys). The lack of a USB passthrough is also a letdown at this price.
Plugged into a computer, the story improves some. While single color backlighting isn’t all that exciting given the plain looks of the Realforce R2 RGB, the full RGB preset offers a mellow yet pleasing blend of colors.
The Realforce R2 RGB uses double-shot keycaps, so the legend on each key is actually part of the plastic making up the keycap, not a print that can rub off. Unfortunately that font isn’t quite normal, with closed sections of letters and numbers left open, looking almost like an error (e.g., the 0 key looks like (), which isn’t great when there’s an actual parenthesis right next to it on the keycap.
The Realforce R2 RGB also lights up all of the secondary functions on keys. However, only the main key sections (letters, numbers, punctuation) get the best lighting, because the secondary functions are positioned beside the primary functions instead of below. The F-key row see the brightness taper off lower on the keycap, where the secondary functions are, making them harder to see and kind of shoddy looking.
I popped off a keycap to see what was going on underneath, and while not the exact same setup you’d see on many Cherry MX keyswitches, it seems the Realforce R2 RGB can have Cherry keycaps installed.
the big feature on the Realforce R2 RGB is the actuation depth toggle.
Of course, the big feature on the Realforce R2 RGB is the actuation depth toggle. It uses Topre electrostatic capacitive switches, and each key can be set to actuate at 1.5mm, 2.2mm, or 3mm, allowing for custom responsiveness. This lets you set a high actuation point for light and quick typing (and gaming), or a lower actuation point if you tend to rest your fingers on the keyboard and don’t want to miss-click. A typical mechanical switch will only offer one, predefined actuation point, so this keyboard is quite unique.
Fujitsu Realforce R2 RGB – Software
Given how pleasant the gentle RGB lighting looks, it would seem like the Realforce customization software should have options to really spice it up. But, no such luck. The software is very basic. There are a handful of lighting effects, though they’re all simple. No music sync, no wild cyclones of color. There are waves and reactive keys, but otherwise the offerings are quiet predictable. I could setup per-key colors, though, even customizing the indicator light color for Num, Caps, Scroll, and Key Lock.
The most important feature in the software is the ability to customize the actuation point on a per-key basis. I could set WASD to have a low actuation point of 3mm since I rest my heavy fingers there, while leaving most of the other keys at 1.5mm for quicker responsiveness. And, that customization is available for every key, not just the ones most often used in gaming.
Fujitsu Realforce R2 RGB – Gaming
The Topre keyswitches feel oddly satisfying to press, and they’re not as loud as some other mechanical switches I’ve used (particularly keyboards with MX Blue style clicky switches and floating keycaps). Ergonomics aren’t bad either, but I couldn’t find anything special about the feel of the keyboard.
I took the Realforce R2 RGB through its paces in Apex Legends. I wanted to see just how responsive it could be with that 1.5mm actuation depth. Unsurprisingly, actions were snappy, as just a light press would do the job. I may not have won every match, but I never felt like there was an issue with the Realforce R2 RGB to blame.
One early-game issue in Apex Legends is the ability to press E faster than everyone else, thereby snatching up all the weapons after first landing. While the 1.5mm actuation is responsive, it’s harder to repeat an action if you bottom out (which I often do), since the key has to raise back up before actuating again. Using the software to change the actuation points on a per-key basis can fix this, as I could set the E key to a 3mm actuation point, so I only had to let the key up slightly before pressing it down again.
Per-key customization of actuation distance is undeniably a unique feature that your typical gaming keyboards don’t offer (unless you try swapping individual keyswitches, which isn’t impossible). But, it’s pretty much the only standout feature. Overall, compared to other mechanical gaming keyboards, the gaming performance of the Realforce R2 RGB doesn’t manage to excel in any tangible way.
The Fujitsu Real Force R2 RGB has an MSRP of $399 USD, but can be found at a somewhat less-staggering $299 online.