There are many who would swear by Topre switches when it comes to keyboards, and many others who would scoff at the cost, the walled garden they tend to be behind, and the bad take that they are just glorified membrane keyboards. Unless you are a handful of Japanese keyboard makers, including Topre themselves, finding these electro-capacitive switches is extremely hard. Cooler Master tried to bring them to the market globally with the NovaTouch TKL nearly 7 years ago, but that ended up being a massive commercial flop to where the company would rather pretend it never happened. We recently saw a very interesting electro-capacitive (EC) switch design in the Varmilo MA87M, which is closer to the Cherry MX closed switch design, but NIZ keyboards have been a viable alternative to the Topre keyboards for even longer. Thanks to Epomaker, we get to take a look at one such NIZ keyboard today!
Epomaker is really living up to its Epoch of Makers name here, having multiple smaller brands under a collective umbrella. I do like this idea since it gives these brands a fighting chance in what is otherwise a dog-eat-dog world, especially when it comes to marketing in the West for what is ultimately a set of East Asian brands. To represent NIZ, I was recommended the Plum x87 35g, wherein "Plum" refers to the EC switches employed here, "x87" tells us this is an 87-key TKL form factor keyboard, and "35g" refers to the 35 gf actuation force of the switches. We will go over all this in the review that begins with a look at the specifications in the table below.
|NlZ Plum x87 35g Keyboard|
|Layout:||TKL form factor in a US ANSI layout|
|Material:||ABS plastic case, PBT plastic keycaps, steel plate|
|Weight:||0.8 kg/1.75 lbs.|
|Anti-ghosting:||Full N-Key rollover USB|
|Media Keys:||Available as a layered/assignable function|
|Dimensions:||133 (L) x 361 (W) x 38 (H) mm|
|Cable Length:||6 ft/1.8 m|
|Switch Type:||35 gf tactile NIZ Electro-capacitive switch|