Leopold FC650MDS ; WTF is a split spacebar?

I was walking around with Zen and wandered into PCByte because I kept telling him that Leopold has top notch pre-built keyboards but we did not expect to see this one that looked THIS special. A few days later he called me and asked me which switch variant  to get and here we are. (Zen’s impulse purchasing power is shocking).

Specs

Size60% layout, 64-key unique non standard
SwitchesCherry MX Silent Red, South Facing
HotswapNo
RGBNo
WirelessNo (wired, USB Type-C interface)
Typing Angle5/7 degree

“Yeah this is the nicest looking keyboard in the store”

What do I even say? It’s a Leopold. It has a reputation for being a premium build quality keyboard. But what makes this model really special among the Leopold catalogue is the color and key layout.

The color scheme for the one we have here is called White Blue Star, which somewhat resembles Chile’s national flag. The body comes in a bold red color and the Cherry profile keycaps come in PBT dual shot white-red and navy-white. This makes it stand out from a lot of the keyboards that were in the store during my first time seeing it and even left a very deep impression on me for the following days, which happened to Zen too.

The super unique key layout that Leopold came up for this model only makes it stand out more. The chin on this is super long and they shifted the arrow key below to make use of it, which kind of screams “Hey look! I’m small but I have arrow keys still!” and I like to think that this design move would stop people from turning away from the 60% stigma of not having arrow keys.

There’s a type c port on the right side of the keyboard which helps with cable management if your desktop or laptop USB port is on the right. Overall the color scheme, chassis design, key layout and keycap material comes together to form a really freaking good looking keyboard. But does it type and feel as good as it looks?


Okay why are split spacebars not a common thing??? Unassuming but incredibly smart

The Leopold FC650MDS PD comes in Cherry MX Red, Brown, Blue, Clear, Speed Silver and Red Silent switch variants. Speed Siler and Silent Red will set you back RM489 while the others will cost you around RM479. (Disclaimer this is not a recommended retail price but referenced from PCByte on Lazada). We went with the silent reds as lately I have been building custom keyboards with the Gazzew Boba Gum Silent linear switch. My piece on that will be coming soon :).

The silent red feels scratchier than your typical red linear switch, but that’s because it has tiny rubber inserts inside the switch to dampen it which makes it a silent switch. Is it dead silent and inaudible? No. But it won’t bother people around you at all. On all Leopold boxes it is advertised to have sound absorbing material to reduce hollow and pinging sounds, and as usual they did a fantastic job with acoustic dampening. They took care of everything, even going as far as adding dampening material under the split spacebars. The stabilizers are Cherry plate mounted but unlubed but they feel good due to the balanced wires out of the factory. If you don’t know what a really good sounding keyboard should sound like, just go to a store that carries Leopold and give it a go. It changed me forever, and it might do the same to you.

Speaking of software, there is no software, this keyboard is very analog in that sense. But what it does have, are dip switches at the back and this is where the split spacebar comes in.

So there are 8 dip switches at the back of the keyboard and they help you choose how keys behave. So let’s say you use f1-f12 more than typing numbers, you can flip switch 2 and now when you press 1,2,3 it now registers as f1,f2,f3 without you needing to hold shift and pressing 1,2,3 at the same time so it saves you time if you know what you use more.

What I enjoyed most about this keyboard is by mapping my right half of the spacebar as the fn key so I can just combo fn+m for the delete key with one hand only which saves me a lot of time as the default layout makes me use both hands. Since I habitually tap the spacebar with my left thumb only this change felt natural to me, but if your habits are different leopold has really thought things through to create dip switches to fit a very wide audience of people of different typing habits. 

Is there anything that I don’t like about the keyboard? Nope, not really.

Smash or Pass?

It looks good, it feels good, and it sounds good. The split spacebar and dip switches were something new for me, and i’m 100% on board the split spacebar movement if it’s on a 60-65% keyboard. Who is this for? If you don’t need wireless function and backlight for typing/ gaming in the dark, this is one of the best keyboards you can buy off the shelf. It will set you back rm500 but you will have a good time and a long time with it thanks to the premium build quality and switches.

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