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Novatouch is Cooler Master's flagship keyboard model, featuring Japanese-made Hybrid Capacitive Switches (also known as electrostatic capacitive switches. More on these later!) instead of Cherry switches or knockoff Cherry switches. I will be discussing some of the unique aspects of the Novatouch as I get to them in my pictures, so I hope you enjoy it! The Novatouch's box has a very different texture than most packaging out there. It's an embossed crosshatch pattern that feels really nice to the touch and gives it a sleek, sophisticated look. The latch that holds the Novatouch's box together isn't a paper insert, but rather a set of magnets that smoothly latches the top of the box closed. Front of the box Side of the box Back of the box Features on the back The Novatouch feature list includes some firsts in the keyboard industry! Specifically, the Novatouch is the first Electrostatic Capacitive Switch keyboard to feature Cherry MX keycap compatibility. Traditionally, electrostatic switches have had very poor keycap compatibility and selection due to the limited number of keyboards that use the switch type, and the typical price range that the keyboards are in (often over 200 USD!), since electrostatic switches are usually only used in the very high end keyboard market (higher end than Cherry MX usually). By allowing for Cherry MX compatibility, the Novatouch is able to use the high end electrostatic switch while having a huge selection of keycaps to be used. (more on this later on!) The other point to note is that the Novatouch is the first electrostatic capacitive switch keyboard to have n-key rollover and anti-ghosting, making it a viable option for gaming, since you can press every single key on the keyboard at once and still have it register, not that anybody uses that many keys simultaneously, I hope And now for the general unboxing portion: The accessories include a 90 degree USB cable, a wire key puller, and O-rings. In my opinion, the choice of a 90 degree USB cable is questionable, since I usually just want the cable to go straight out the back of the keyboard, but the cable is nicely braided with a soft cloth braid, and it is gold plated for corrosion resistance, especially if you live in a humid place! I am a fan of the wire-type key puller versus the typical plastic one, because of the way it latches onto keys. I find it to feel nicer to split the wire, push it so the wire goes under the key, turn it 45 degrees, and pull it out. With a plastic key puller, you just push down on the key, which depresses the key and bends the plastic in the key until it pops over the bottom edge of the key, and then you can pull it out. I always feel like it'll affect the finish of the key that way if I pull too often, but I never really had that happen It's mostly a feel thing! The o-rings can serve to dampen the noise between the keycap and the keystem, but my opinion is that the keycaps are mounted pretty tightly onto the stem already, so there isn't much of a difference at all. There is a very slight sound difference, but I feel like the feeling of the keys is the same. YMMV though Here are some different angles of the keyboard: One thing to note that many people might not be so happy about, but there is no indicator light for the caps lock key (the scroll lock key is also missing it), unfortunately . I never use caps lock, but it's nice to be able to tell if it's on or not so I won't have to test a couple keys first before typing messages to people. The CM Storm logo The CM Storm logo is only in one spot when the keyboard is placed flat on a table-- the back left side. The hidden logo really adds to the minimalist look that the Novatouch is going for, and is a really big contrast to all the "gaming" keyboards released these days that usually end up looking too over the top for me. I prize minimalism in my computer stuff In the close-up shots you can get an idea of the texture of the body versus the keys. The body is a coated plastic that has a soft-touch texture that is really smooth and slightly grippy. It's a bit of a finger-print magnet, but the fingerprints wipe off easily! The keys have a rough texture and I believe are made from ABS plastic. Based on the feeling, the lettering is lasered and infilled, meaning that the keycaps are lasered to create a bit of a dip where the lettering is supposed to be and then material is injected onto these dips to fill in the color. These purple key stems are the star of the show! They make the Novatouch truly unique in the keyboard market, since there is nothing else like it in the market! The little "+" portion in the middle of the stem is the mount that Cherry MX keycaps use, and the circle portion around it is similar in shape to the traditional electrostatic capacitive switch keystem. The Novatouch is only compatible with Cherry MX keycaps, but there are so many more Cherry MX caps than there are electrostatic switch keycaps that this isn't a problem at all. While the purple key stem is a truly unique part of the Novatouch, the other most important point is the switch that the Novatouch uses. Everyone seems to be used to the Cherry MX switch types now, whether its black, red, brown, clear, blue, green, etc., since gaming companies have utilized them for all of their higher end keyboards, but not many companies use the electrostatic capacitive switch. Electrostatic capacitive switches are constructed using a rubber membrane along with a spring, so in a way, the feeling is somewhat similar to a rubber dome, but only in the positive aspects of rubber dome! A lot of people that start using mechanical keyboards mention that mechanical switches are really loud, really harsh sounding, and they have a really harsh bottom-out feeling, since there is no cushion at the bottom. The Novatouch's switches are quieter than typical Cherry MX switches, replacing the plastic-on-plastic snap sound that you hear when you bottom out a cherry switch with a sort of thud sound that's much lower pitched and is much more pleasant sounding, leading to an extremely satisfying sound of "thock thock thock" while typing. The bottom-out feel is nicely cushioned, but it's in no way mushy like a typical rubber dome. Rubber domes also need to be bottomed out in order for the key to sense that it is being depressed, but the Novatouch's switches activate at a middle point (2.0 mm depressed), similar to Cherry MX. There is no need to bottom out the Novatouch's keys, but I enjoy the sound a lot so I do pretty much all the time. Some keyboard enthusiasts will say that bottoming out is really bad, but I think it's all personal choice . There is a certain level of tactility the Novatouch's switches have. It's more pronounced than the small bump on the Cherry Brown switch, and it's not quite like the "snap" sound and feel of the Cherry Blue switch. I think the best way to think of it would be to combine the feeling of a linear switch like a Cherry Red or Cherry Black switch with the smooth hump of a rubber dome-- but not just any rubber dome-- the smoothest feeling one ever. This smoothness and the light 45g actuation force allows me type my fastest on the Novatouch - just a hair faster than I type on Cherry MX Blue keyboards like the Rapid-i I have. It's a ton quieter too! Basically, the Novatouch offers a switch that's not like most of the others out there. It is smooth, quiet, and just has a really premium feel to it. Finally, I wanted to share one last picture for now: I bought a set of blank white PBT plastic keycaps that I find to be a great fit for the Novatouch's minimalist look. Of course, it takes a while to get used to not having any punctuation marks on the keyboard, but I'm adjusting pretty well, I think. I am hoping to do some mods on the keyboard, but I have to get some tools first! Hope you enjoyed this, and please feel free to ask if you have any questions about the Novatouch keyboard.
Dear CM, will you bring a full keyboard to market with the hybrid capacitive switch? (like the clean and tight quickfire XT?) Or will the Quick Fire XT become availible with hybrid capacitive switches? I really like the numberpad on the side... so the Novatouch TKL will not be the one for me. Regards, JW