Filco Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible keyboard review: The feel of the keycaps is addictive

The first new model in seven years.

Engadget JP (Translation)
Engadget JP (Translation) , @Engadget_MT
2020年08月31日, 午後 07:04 in egmt
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Filco Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.


On August 26, Diatec released the Filco Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible, a small mechanical keyboard. We were able to borrow the actual keyboard and bring you a quick review.

Nevertheless, the Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible is essentially a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX axis. The feel of the keystroke depends on the key switches, and it's a matter of preference. So in this review, we'll mainly focus on the two-color molded patch keycaps and DIP switches to change settings, which are the main selling points of this keyboard.

Bluetooth and USB compatible mechanical keyboard

The Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible is the first new model in the Majestouch series in about seven years. It's a so-called 60% keyboard with the numeric keypad and other features omitted.

Accessories include a USB cable, batteries, replacement keycaps, and a special keypuller to remove the keycaps.

Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
The one we borrowed this time is an English layout. Of course, there is also a Japanese layout.

This keyboard supports both Bluetooth 5.1 and USB connections, and the Bluetooth connection can be switched between the four units with the buttons at the top. Many keyboards use a combination with the Fn key to switch between pairing and connections, but it's easy to forget which key it was, so it's nice to have an independent key.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
It can be connected to 4 Bluetooth devices and 1 USB, for a total of 5 devices. The "U" switch stands for USB.

However, the USB is Mini-B. Honestly, I wanted to get USB Type-C here.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
USB Mini-B (right) for a wired connection. Type-A on the left can be used when connected via a wired connection.

In the rear, there is a battery box for power supply, a power switch, and DIP switches for changing settings. It can be powered by USB and connected via Bluetooth.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
Two AA batteries are used.

The distinctive two-color molded patch keycaps

The key pitch is 19mm like full keyboards, so even though it's a compact keyboard, it's not hard to type on.

The top of the keycaps are slightly smaller, so there's less room for your fingers, but the spherical design of the center portion of the keycaps makes it easy to fit your fingers in.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
The surface of the keycap is smooth and very comfortable to touch.

The keycaps have a flat design with no steps in the vertical row of keys when viewed from the side.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
If you look at it from the side, you can see that there are no steps in the vertical row of keys.

The key switches are based on Cherry MX switches. It is available in brown, blue, red, and quiet axis, and the official online shop will also sell a black axis model for overseas customers. The key switches were soldered together and not replaceable.

As anyone interested in this keyboard may know, the blue axis, for example, has a strong click and a solid typing feel, while the red axis does not have a click and has a lighter typing feel.

The brown axis is in between the blue and red axes, so each axis has a different feel to it.

Many mass-market stores have samples of each axis, so if you're not sure what you like, I recommend trying them out.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
Personally, I like the feel of the linear red axis, so I borrowed the red axis model for this one.

And what makes this keyboard unique is the keycaps, which are two-color molded patch keycaps that separate into two parts. You can remove them by pushing them out with the claws on the back using the special keypuller that comes with them, but it's a little scary because the claws on the key top side are likely to break.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
I don't want to do this work too often.

The advantage of this construction is that you can change the display on the side of the keycap when you customize the key using the DIP switches.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
DIP switches settings.

For example, in the standard state, the cursor movement keys (↑←↓→) are combined with the Fn key.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
Cursor input with the combination of 'ALT', 'WIN', 'DEL', and '? /'

At the same time, you can enter the cursor with the combination of the E, S, D, and F keys and the Fn key. However, if DIP switch 4 is turned on, the combination of the lower right Fn key will be reversed, and at the same time, the cursor input with the E, S, D, and F keys will not be possible.

At this time, the printing on the side of the keys is confusing, so if you remove the upper half of the keycap and turn the base side 180 degrees, the printing will not be visible from the front side.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible
I turned the base of the D key backward so that you can't see the '↓'.

It seems to me that you don't have to make such a complicated structure, you could just get a replacement keycap without the side printing. Probably it is cheaper to replace the whole keycap, but I don't dislike the attitude to solve the problem with this kind of structure. It is also a design accent.

By the way, the lower right side of the keyboard comes with a replacement keycap, and since 'CMD' and 'OPT' keys for Mac are also attached, the Mac user is also safe.

FILCO Majestouch MINILA-R Convertible

Not all keys are compatible with the vertical separation of the keycaps. According to the instruction manual, only the E, S, D, and F keys, as well as 'DEL', right 'ALT', and right 'WIN' (for US layout) need to be removed, and not for other keys.

There are many products that allow you to customize the key layout through software, but in those cases, what you can actually type is often different from what the key displays. In that respect, a patch keycap that allows you to physically customize the display seems to make sense.

You can see what you can do with the DIP switches in the PDF of the official site (Japanese layout, English layout)

The sucking feeling of the keycaps is addictive

After using it for a few days, it seems to be a fairly easy keyboard to type on. The keyboard weighs 680g, which is quite heavy for a compact keyboard, but the chassis is solid, and even if you hit the keys hard, the whole thing doesn't bend or slide around.

The stability (both physically and functionally) is excellent, and the sucking feeling of the keycaps is addictive.

However, my only complaint is that the USB is Mini-B. I'm not sure if the next model will be released in 7 years... Considering that it will be used for the next few years, I wanted it to be USB Type-C. We hope that the manufacturer will consider a minor change version of this product even now.

Related Link:
DIATEC|MINILA-R Convertible


This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.

 
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