Filco Majestouch

Filco Majestouch

Update 2009-06-23: It looks like there is finally an official US distributor of Diatec/Filco keyboards, Elite Keyboards. The “Otaku” version has no markings on the keys, like the Das Keyboard.

This just in, after clearing customs from Japan: a Filco Majestouch FKB104M/EB.

I first heard about Filco via the geekhack.org keyboard forums, and eventually ended up placing an order for one via BeNippon. I had originally tried to get the newer FKBN104M/EB (which features N-key rollover) via another Japanese buying service, but it was sold out everywhere they looked. So I went for the standard model, figuring that since I’m not a gamer the lack of N-key rollover wasn’t going to affect me.

Anyway, besides the goofy name (Majestouch? Really? I almost expected trumpet fanfare when I unpacked it) the keyboard itself is quite nice: very little pressure is needed to register a keypress, and there’s a precise mechanical feel to the keyswitches. This board uses the brown Cherry MX keyswitches which have a very slight tactile feedback about halfway through the keypress before bottoming out, but you almost don’t feel it when typing normally. It’s very solid; I assume they used a metal baseplate.

It’s a fairly quiet keyboard as far as mechanical boards go, especially if you type without hammering on the keys. In that sense it’s not a “clicky” keyboard in the fashion of my Tactile Pro. The feel and build quality is comparable to the SteelSeries 7G that I had for a day and had to send back. Thankfully the Filco has the bog-standard US ASCII layout; no weird modifier keys in the wrong locations here.

Drawbacks? It lacks a built-in USB hub, so my mouse is now plugged in to one of the face USB ports on my Mac Pro. The USB cable is also a bit too short; I used one of the Apple USB extension cords to stretch it to one of the rear USB ports. There’s also the standard Option/Command key swap that you have to go through whenever using a Windows keyboard on a Mac; thankfully the OS X Keyboard Preferences make doing this a painless procedure.

I may have a few more notes as I continue to use it, but my initial impression is very positive. It fulfills the criteria I outlined when writing my big keyboards post a while back: mechanical keyswitches, low noise, and solid build.