CM Storm NovaTouch TKL Keyboard Review

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Cooler Master CM Storm NovaTouch TKL Keyboard with Topre Switches

The CM Storm NovaTouch TKL keyboard we are reviewing is unlike any of the keyboards we’ve typed with. We’ve reviewed mechanical keyboard which use metal springs and keyboards with more commonly used elastic plastic to reset the keys. The NovaTouch key mechanism uses both – each key is backed by a metal spring and plastic dome that work together. The patented switch design is named after its manufacturer and is called the Topre switch by Topre Corporation. Keyboard enthusiasts rave that these switches provide the ultimate typing experience.

switch

Previously, Topre switch keyboards had to be imported from Japan which made such keyboards difficult to find everywhere else in the world. They are also expensive, making them even more obscure. More attention for Topre and exotic key switch mechanisms followed the explosion of new keyboard enthusiasts during the mechanical gaming keyboard craze and Cooler Master took notice.CM Storm NovaTouch TKL Box

Cooler Master was there with the rest of premiere gaming peripheral brands on the mechanical keyboard front. However, their conservative, minimalistic, and relatively affordable QuickFire Rapid keyboards brought onto CM Storm a reputation for producing professional looking keyboards south of $100. Topre keyboards are also characteristically minimalistic and we see the NovaTouch TKL staying true to Topre’s ideals while adopting the same minimalist characteristics of many other CM Storm keyboards.CM Storm NovaTouch TKL

The NovaTouch TKL features 45g actuation Topre switches with modified stems that are Cherry MX keycap compatible, a detachable USB cable, full N-key rollover, media keys, and a tenkeyless design. This keyboard comes with a 2-year warranty and costs $199.99 shipped from Amazon.

Cooler Master CM Storm NovaTouch TKL (TenKeyLess) Keyboard Features:

  • Electrostatic Capacitive Switches (45g actuation), made in Japan
  • Ultra smooth, tactile key presses
  • Backwards Compatible with Cherry for pin-point accuracy
  • N-Key Rollover & Anti-Ghosting for pin-point accuracy
  • On-the-fly Repeat Rate Adjustments for the most responsive controls
  • On-the-fly Repeat Rate Adjustments for the most responsive controls
  • Detachable cable with 18K Gold Plated USB connector
  • Tenkeyless Form Factor

Cooler Master CM Storm NovaTouch TKL Keyboard Specifications:

  • Key Switch: Electrostatic capacitive switch
  • Key Rollover: NKRO (Windows only)
  • Polling Rate: 1000 HZ/1ms
  • Windows Key Lock: Yes
  • Media Keys: Yes (via F keys)
  • Interface: Micro USB 2.0, full speed
  • USB cable: 1.8m braided, 18K gold plated and removable
  • Dimensions: 35.9 (L) x 3.9(w) x 3.9(H) cm / 14.1(L) x 5.4(W) x 1.5(H) inch
  • Weight: 895g / 1.97 lbs
  • 2-year warranty

CM Storm NovaTouch TKL BoxThe NovaTouch TKL comes with a 6 ft. long USB-to-miniUSB cable, a keycap puller, o-rings, and a quick start guide that outlines warranty, features, specifications, and the plug-and-play setup of the keyboard.CM Storm NovaTouch TKL

 

With the NovaTouch TKL out of the box, we’re ready to take a look around the keyboard.

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  • Rudi Van Desarzio

    Topre switches actually behave and feel nothing like rubber dome keyboards. Just because both designs have a rubber membrane layer doesn’t make them comparable.

  • kolibac

    Unlike the $40 rubber domes, NovaTouch is actually tenkeyless *and* supports NKRO *and* supports decent keycaps that won’t start to shine in a year of heavy use, e.g. thick POM harvested from Cherry G80/G81 keyboards (some of which go for about €50 brand new). Also, I’m fairly confident the domes won’t age nearly as fast as in any modern cheap rubber dome over membrane keyboard.

  • rjrich

    If you look at the force-displacement curve of a Topre switch, you will see that it rises to a peak and then falls past the actuation point to a minimum before rising again at the bottom of the stroke. This is in contrast to Cherry mx switches, whose force curves increase from the actuation point to the bottom of the stroke.

    In addition, unlike an ordinary rubber dome switch, the collapse of the dome in a Topre switch provides substantial tactile feedback with a feeling similar to that of a weighted piano key. This is quite noticeable in the 45g HHKB Pro 2, 45g Realforce, and 55g Realforce keyboards.

    However, I find that the 45g hybrid switches in the CM Novatouch have a much lighter feel and less pronounced tactile bump than the Topre switches in 45g HHKB Pro 2, 45g Realforce, or 55g Realforce keyboards. Nevertheless, the Novatouch feels better than any Cherry mx keyboard I have tried, and it provides the advantage of being able to put Cherry keycaps on a Topre-switch keyboard.

  • ばーちゃーかー

    Oh so they actually partnered up with topre? cool

    • David Yee

      For realz.

      Here’s a picture of the PCB taken by Ripster over at r/MechanicalKeyboards.

      Topre! Just look below the bottom row.
      http://i.imgur.com/NhGw6OW.jpg

  • JC Swede

    So what are some of those other options for low-profile membrane keyboards for less than $40?

    • David Yee

      Logitech MK320 – $24 on Amazon; it is bundled with a mouse
      Logitech MK520 – $39.99 on Amazon; also bundled with a mouse
      Microsoft Sidewinder X4 – likes to hang between $40-50; lowest price I’ve seen that one is $20 on Black Fridays
      Tt
      eSPORTS Challenger Prime – preorder $30+$8.50 shipping at Newegg; this
      is an unreleased product that will ship later in Octobber, but keyboards
      like this and the already released CM Storm Devastator could very well
      set a new standard for $30-40 “gaming” keyboards.

      • JC Swede

        Thanks as lot, I’ll check them out right away.